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Highlights

This report responds to House Report 111-166 to accompany the House bill (H.R. 2647) that later became the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. The House Report noted the House Armed Services Committee's concerns that the lessons learned regarding the prevention and management of corrosion in the F-22 Raptor had not been fully applied to the development and acquisition of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The House Report directed that the Director of Corrosion Policy and Oversight evaluate the F-35 program and submit a report to the defense committees within 180 days after the act was enacted. The Department of Defense (DOD) report was also to include implications for existing and future weapon systems based on the findings of the F-35 evaluation. DOD submitted its report to Congress in September 2010. House Report 111-166 also directed the Comptroller General to provide an assessment of the completeness of DOD's evaluation and submit a report to the defense committees within 60 days after the date on which DOD submits its evaluation. In assessing the completeness of DOD's corrosion study, our objectives were to determine the extent to which the study (1) assessed the incorporation of lessons learned from the F-22's corrosion problems into the F-35's corrosion prevention and control (CPC) program, (2) identified implications for other current and future weapon systems' CPC programs, and (3) was consistent with generally accepted research standards that define a sound and complete study with regard to design, execution, and presentation.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense To ensure sufficient follow-up to DOD's corrosion study, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD (AT&L)) to document program-specific recommendations flowing from the corrosion study with regard to the F-35 and F-22 and establish a process for monitoring and assessing the effectiveness of these programs' corrective actions.
Closed - Implemented
DOD, in briefings to congressional defense committees in January 2012 and January 2013, identified six program-specific recommendations from its corrosion study to improve F-35 and F-22 corrosion prevention and control. The briefings also included examples of the corrective actions that the two program offices have implemented or planned in response to the program-specific recommendations. According to DOD officials, the F-35 and F-22 program offices are responsible for regularly monitoring and assessing the effectiveness of the corrective actions they have taken. In addition, many of the planned or implemented actions should inherently assist these two programs with their oversight efforts, such as those actions taken in response to DOD's recommendations to (1) document all corrosion-related damage for future analysis and (2) verify the effectiveness of corrosion mitigations. Officials also said that, in addition to monitoring the F-22 and F-35 program offices' implementation of corrective actions for the congressional briefings, the Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight, along with the Navy and Air Force Corrosion Executives, will continue to periodically monitor and assess the effectiveness of actions taken during the normal oversight required by DOD's corrosion instruction. Specifically, they will review the corrosion-related documentation that DOD's acquisition policies require major weapon system programs (such as the F-22 and F-35) to submit at established points in the acquisition lifecycle, and will also obtain information during sustainment and other program reviews.
Department of Defense To ensure sufficient follow-up to DOD's corrosion study, the Secretary of Defense should direct the USD (AT&L) to document program-specific recommendations flowing from the corrosion study with regard to the other weapon systems identified--specifically, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, CH-53K helicopter, Joint High Speed Vessel, Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aircraft System, and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle--and establish a process for monitoring and assessing the effectiveness of the CPC programs for these systems.
Closed - Not Implemented
As of September 2015, DOD had not documented program-specific recommendations from the corrosion study for the other weapon systems identified in its report. However, DOD updated its Corrosion Prevention and Control Planning Guidebook in 2014 and, according to officials, is working to update DOD Instruction 5000.67, Prevention and Mitigation of Corrosion on DOD Military Equipment and Infrastructure. These actions may improve the corrosion prevention and control planning for the weapon systems identified in DOD's study. DOD partially concurred with this recommendation at the time of our report but as of March 2019, has since decided to take action to implement it. According to Corrosion Office officials, they interacted with two of five weapon-systems programs on corrosion-related matters. One of these weapon-system programs, per these officials, was eventually canceled. In addition to updating the Corrosion Prevention and Control Planning Guidebook for Military Systems and Equipment in 2014, officials stated that by the end of calendar year 2020 they were planning to: (1) update DOD Instruction 5000.67 and (2) include procedures for evaluating acquisition programs in a new DOD manual on corrosion. As of November 2020, the Corrosion Office will no longer create a new DOD manual on corrosion. As of June 2021, DOD has not updated DOD Instruction 5000.67. Further, officials stated that the Corrosion Office has limited ability to monitor and assess these programs because of changes to acquisition processes which increased the military services' oversight role. Therefore, we are closing this recommendation as not implemented.
Department of Defense To ensure sufficient follow-up to DOD's corrosion study, the Secretary of Defense should direct the USD (AT&L) to document Air Force-and Navy-specific recommendations flowing from the corrosion study and establish a process for monitoring and assessing the effectiveness of these services' corrective actions.
Closed - Not Implemented
As of September 2015, DOD had not documented Air Force- and Navy-specific recommendations flowing from the corrosion study. However, DOD updated its Corrosion Prevention and Control Planning Guidebook in 2014 and, according to officials, is working to update DOD Instruction 5000.67, Prevention and Mitigation of Corrosion on DOD Military Equipment and Infrastructure. Further, the Air Force and the Navy have both taken actions to address the DOD-wide recommendations from the corrosion study. These actions may improve corrosion prevention and control planning for Air Force and Navy programs. As of March 2019, Corrosion Office officials stated that they are planning to further update DOD Instruction 5000.67 (Prevention and Mitigation of Corrosion on DOD Military Equipment and Infrastructure) or other appropriate guidance related to the process or procedures for monitoring and assessing the effectiveness of Corrosion Prevention Control planning for weapon systems, particularly related to how the military services will accomplish this within their increased weapon system oversight role. In addition, per Corrosion Office officials, this information will be addressed in the new DOD manual on corrosion. The Corrosion Office's goal was to complete this instruction update and create the new manual by the end of calendar year 2020. As of November 2020, the Corrosion Office will no longer create a new DOD manual on corrosion. As of June 2021, DOD has not updated DOD Instruction 5000.67. Therefore, we are closing this recommendation as not implemented.
Department of Defense To ensure sufficient follow-up to DOD's corrosion study, the Secretary of Defense should direct the USD (AT&L) to document DOD-wide recommendations flowing from the corrosion study, implementany needed changes in policies and practices to improve CPC in new systems, and establish a process for monitoring and assessing the effectiveness of the department's corrective actions.
Closed - Implemented
DOD, in briefings to congressional defense committees in January 2012 and January 2013, identified four DOD-wide recommendations from its corrosion study to improve corrosion prevention and control in existing and future weapon systems. The briefings also included a number of ongoing or completed corrective actions, including changes to policies and practices, related to the four recommendations. For example, an update to DOD's requirements for corrosion planning and documentation was submitted to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics for consideration during major revisions to its acquisition policy, enhanced corrosion guidance was included in the Defense Acquisition Guidebook, and military standards for aviation finishes were revised and released. According to DOD officials, the DOD Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight and the Service Corrosion Executives will continue to monitor implementation efforts and assess the effectiveness of corrective actions taken in the normal course of their oversight duties. Under DOD's corrosion instruction, the Director of the Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight is responsible for developing and recommending corrosion policy and guidance and monitoring DOD efforts to prevent or mitigate corrosion during the acquisition and sustainment of military equipment, and the Service Corrosion Executives are responsible for corrosion processes and procedures within their respective military departments. As of March 2019, DOD's Instruction 5000.02 (Operation of the Defense Acquisition System) and the Defense Acquisition Guidebook continue to contain corrosion prevention and mitigation guidance. Also, DOD has made available an industry Corrosion Prevention and Control Planning Standard, completed or updated several military standards, and participated in systems engineering plan reviews.

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