Defense Management: The Department of Defense's Annual Corrosion Budget Report Does Not Include Some Required Information

GAO-12-823R Published: Sep 10, 2012. Publicly Released: Sep 10, 2012.
Jump To:
Skip to Highlights
Highlights

What GAO Found

Why GAO Did This Study

In 2012, the Department of Defense (DOD) estimates that corrosion costs the Department about $20.9 billion annually. Corrosion can negatively affect all military assets, including both equipment and infrastructure, and is defined as the deterioration of a material or its properties due to a reaction of that material with its environment. Corrosion also affects military readiness by taking critical systems out of action and creating safety hazards.

Section 2228 of Title 10 of the United States Code requires DOD, as part of its annual budget submission, to submit a report to Congress on corrosion funding. In the report, DOD is to include (1) funding requirements for its long-term corrosion reduction strategy, (2) the return-oninvestment (ROI) that would be achieved by implementing the strategy, (3) the current and previous fiscal year funds requested in the budget compared to funding requirements, (4) an explanation if funding requirements are not fully funded in the budget, (5) the amount of funds requested for both the current and previous fiscal years in the budget for each project or activity described in DOD's long-term strategy compared to the funding requirements for the project or activity, and (6) a copy of the annual corrosion report most recently submitted by the corrosion control and prevention executive of each military department as an annex to its report. The military departments' reports are to include recommendations pertaining to the department's corrosion control and prevention program and related funding levels to carry out all of the duties of the corrosion control and prevention executive. Corrosion also affects military readiness by taking critical systems out of action and creating safety hazards.

Section 2228 also requires us to analyze DOD's budget submission and report and provide an assessment to the congressional defense committees within 60 days after the submission of the budget for the fiscal year, which this year occurred on February 13, 2012. DOD submitted its annual report to Congress on May 21, 2012, and we received the report on May 23, 2012. Our objectives were to (1) determine the extent to which DOD's corrosion report included the mandated elements, (2) assess the extent to which DOD's Corrosion Prevention and Control (CPC) funding request met total estimated CPC funding requirements for activities and preliminary project proposals as identified in the fiscal year 2013 corrosion report, and (3) calculate the potential cost avoidance that DOD may achieve by funding CPC at the level requested in its fiscal year 2013 corrosion budget materials report and the cost avoidance DOD may miss by not fully funding its requirements. Enclosure I provides briefing slides for congressional committees detailing the results of our analysis of DOD's CPC budget request and the Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight's (CPO) accompanying report for fiscal year 2013.

Skip to Recommendations

Recommendations

To ensure that Congress has the accurate and comprehensive information it needs to exercise its oversight responsibilities, we recommend for fiscal year 2013 and beyond that the Secretary of Defense direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to take the following three actions:

  • Provide in the annual corrosion budget report to Congress a more detailed explanation of the development of DOD’s funding requirements.
  • Include in the annual corrosion budget report to Congress the funds requested in DOD’s budget compared to the funding requirements for the fiscal year covered by the report and the preceding fiscal year.
  • Provide in the annual corrosion budget report to Congress an explanation of DOD’s ROI methodology and analysis, including both projected and, to the extent available, validated ROIs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense To ensure that Congress has the accurate and comprehensive information it needs to exercise its oversight responsibilities, for fiscal year 2013 and beyond, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to provide in the annual corrosion budget report to Congress a more detailed explanation of the development of DOD's funding requirements.
Closed – Not Implemented
We have reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD's) corrosion budget reports for Fiscal Year 2014, Fiscal Year 2015, and Fiscal Year 2016 and found that DOD did not include a more detailed explanation of how it developed its funding requirements to ensure the requests are based on estimates that are complete, realistic, and backed up by historical data. As of March 2019, DOD continues to non-concur with this recommendation. In written comments to our report, DOD stated that the budget report as submitted provides Congress with all of the information it needs to exercise its oversight responsibilities. The Corrosion Office has had the same description on the development of DOD's funding requirements in its annual corrosion budget reports to Congress throughout fiscal years 2013 through 2020. According to Corrosion Office officials, the description of DOD's funding requirements in these budget reports is the minimum amount of funding necessary to meet the Corrosion Office's requirements. Corrosion Office officials stated that if additional funds are made available, increased investments can be made to increase readiness and reduce costs related to corrosion.
Department of Defense To ensure that Congress has the accurate and comprehensive information it needs to exercise its oversight responsibilities, for fiscal year 2013 and beyond, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to include in the annual corrosion budget report to Congress the funds requested in DOD's budget compared to the funding requirements for the fiscal year covered by the report and the preceding fiscal year.
Closed – Not Implemented
We have reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD's) corrosion budget reports for Fiscal Year 2014, Fiscal Year 2015, and Fiscal Year 2016 and found that DOD did not include the funding requirements for either year. As of March 2019, DOD continues to non-concur with this recommendation. The Corrosion Office has not included the funds requested in the budget compared to the funding requirements for the fiscal year covered by the report and the preceding fiscal year beginning with its fiscal year 2013 report. In written comments to our report, DOD stated that the funds requested in the budget are equal to the corrosion program's funding requirement considering the department's overall needs.
Department of Defense To ensure that Congress has the accurate and comprehensive information it needs to exercise its oversight responsibilities, for fiscal year 2013 and beyond, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to provide in the annual corrosion budget report to Congress an explanation of DOD's ROI methodology and analysis, including both projected and, to the extent available, validated ROIs.
Closed – Implemented
The Department of Defense's (DOD's) Fiscal Year 2015 corrosion budget report included an explanation of why and, to a degree, how DOD calculates its Return On Investment (ROI) reassessments, including the limitations of the reassessments. DOD reports that it bases its ROI projection for the Fiscal Year 2015 projects on the cumulative historical ROI for past projects that have submitted ROI reassessments. DOD also included in its report a table with the available ROI reassessments for past projects. As of March 2019, DOD continues to include in its annual corrosion budget report to Congress, an explanation of why and, to a degree, how DOD calculates its return-on-investment reassessments.

Full Report

GAO Contacts