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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the Air Force's efforts to correct aircraft maintenance training and safety problems that caused similar major accidents within a 13-month period at 3 air logistics centers (ALC).

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of the Air Force 1. The Secretary of the Air Force should direct the Commander, AFLC, to effectively implement needed improvements in maintenance training, certification, and safety programs, including providing clear guidance and procedures to managers and workers at its ALC and routinely monitoring and reinforcing the need for a strong and continuing commitment to safety.
Closed - Implemented
In February 1991, the Air Force Secretariat sent a memorandum to the Air Staff to ensure continued AFLC emphasis is placed on the improvement of maintenance training, certification, and safety programs. This is being accomplished through short-term actions and long-range programs planned to correct these deficiencies. The AFLC commander issued nine goals to address these problems in 1992. However, baselines were never established and no alternatives were made by the headquarters staff to monitor progress toward achieving the goals.
Department of the Air Force 2. The Secretary of the Air Force should direct the Commander, AFLC, to effectively implement needed improvements in maintenance training, certification, and safety programs, including evaluating and periodically reporting to the Secretary of the Air Force on AFLC progress in correcting the problems that contributed to the accidents at each ALC until all have been corrected.
Closed - Implemented
AFMC organized Safety Process Effectiveness Review teams to conduct initial reviews and determine compliance with directives and regulations at ALC. In follow-up reviews, the inspectors noted general improvements and identified areas that required additional attention. AFMC has given Headquarters USAF three update status briefings on depot-level maintenance safety initiatives. However, despite agency initiatives, safety violations have continued to occur at the San Antonio Air Logistics Center and mishap rates have continued to increase. GAO is processing a follow-up report that it will track separately.
Department of the Air Force 3. The Secretary of the Air Force should direct the Commander, AFLC, to effectively implement needed improvements in maintenance training, certification, and safety programs, including periodically monitoring and reporting to the Secretary of the Air Force on AFLC progress in achieving timely and effective implementation of needed improvements to maintenance training and certification programs at the ALC.
Closed - Implemented
AFMC revised regulations to improve maintenance training and certification procedures. The guidance provides that centers accurately identify special qualification skills and define training and proficiency requirements for critical tasks. It emphasizes that workers should follow technical data, use protective equipment, have proper tools, and complete required safety checks.

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