Defense Management:

Opportunities Exist to Improve Implementation of DOD's Long-Term Corrosion Strategy

GAO-04-640: Published: Jun 23, 2004. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 2004.

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Each year, the Department of Defense (DOD) spends an estimated $20 billion to repair the damage to military equipment and infrastructure caused by corrosion. Furthermore, corrosion profoundly impacts military readiness as well as the safety of military personnel. In the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003, Congress directed that DOD develop a long-term corrosion strategy, including specific requirements, and that GAO assess it. DOD submitted its strategy in December 2003. This report assesses the potential of the corrosion strategy (in terms of three elements--resources, performance metrics, and policy guidance) to effectively prevent and mitigate corrosion and its effects on military equipment and infrastructure.

While DOD's new long-term corrosion strategy generally addresses the requirements in the congressional mandate, it falls short of representing a comprehensive plan needed to implement successfully the strategy and manage DOD's extensive corrosion problems in the future. An effective, results-oriented strategy identifies resources required to achieve its goals and outcome-based performance metrics that can measure progress toward achieving those goals. Without addressing certain key elements, the strategy is unlikely to serve as an effective tool in preventing and mitigating corrosion and its effects on military equipment and infrastructure. These shortcomings could lead to the loss of billions of dollars in avoidable maintenance costs and the degradation of safety and readiness. GAO's review of three key elements showed the following. Funding and personnel resources--The strategy does not identify the level of funding and personnel resources needed to implement the corrosion reduction plan in the near- or long-term. Officials in DOD's corrosion office said that resource needs are still being determined and firm estimates should be available in December 2004. However, preliminary projections made by the corrosion task force indicated that the DOD-wide corrosion reduction program would require about $1.9 billion for fiscal years 2004 through 2009. DOD and the services, however, have not included any funds for fiscal year 2004 and less than 10 percent of the task force's fiscal year 2005 estimates. While the strategy calls for a mechanism that ensures sustained, long-term funding, DOD has been using a year-by-year funding approach. Performance measures and milestones--While the strategy includes some performance measures and milestones, they are not the resultsoriented metrics needed to successfully monitor the program's progress. In addition, DOD does not plan to complete a critically needed, corrosion cost baseline study until 2011 because of limited funding. Without results-oriented metrics and a baseline, DOD will not be in a sound position to establish cost-effective resource priorities or monitor progress toward corrosion reduction. Policy guidance--While the strategy strengthens DOD's policy guidance on corrosion prevention and mitigation, improvements can be made. The new guidance establishes a review process for corrosion prevention plans for major weapon systems programs, such as the Joint Strike Fighter. However, the guidance does not extend the review to non-major weapons systems and infrastructure programs, which are under the purview of the military services. The guidance also does not require the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff's Focused Logistics Functional Capabilities Review to consider corrosion prevention planning when it reviews project requirements.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DFARS 207.105(b)(13)(ii), dated 9/16/04, directs corrosion prevention considerations in every acquisition plan over $5M. This Corrosion Protection and Mitigation Notice of Change Ruling adds corrosion prevention and mitigation to the areas that agencies must address in acquisition plans. The DFARS change implements Section 1067 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 03, which requires DoD to prevent and mitigate corrosion during the design, acquisition, and maintenance of military equipment.

    Recommendation: To provide better assurances that the Department of Defense's long-term corrosion strategy is successfully implemented as envisioned by Congress, the Secretaries of the military services should establish policy guidance that would include the review of the corrosion prevention and control plans of non-major weapons systems and infrastructure programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DFARS 207.105(b)(13)(ii), dated 9/16/04, directs corrosion prevention considerations in every acquisition plan over $5M. This Corrosion Protection and Mitigation Notice of Change Ruling adds corrosion prevention and mitigation to the areas that agencies must address in acquisition plans. The DFARS change implements Section 1067 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 03, which requires DoD to prevent and mitigate corrosion during the design, acquisition, and maintenance of military equipment.

    Recommendation: To provide better assurances that the Department of Defense's long-term corrosion strategy is successfully implemented as envisioned by Congress, the Secretaries of the military services should establish policy guidance that would include the review of the corrosion prevention and control plans of non-major weapons systems and infrastructure programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DFARS 207.105(b)(13)(ii), dated 9/16/04, directs corrosion prevention considerations in every acquisition plan over $5M. This Corrosion Protection and Mitigation Notice of Change Ruling adds corrosion prevention and mitigation to the areas that agencies must address in acquisition plans. The DFARS change implements Section 1067 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 03, which requires DoD to prevent and mitigate corrosion during the design, acquisition, and maintenance of military equipment.

    Recommendation: To provide better assurances that the Department of Defense's long-term corrosion strategy is successfully implemented as envisioned by Congress, the Secretaries of the military services should establish policy guidance that would include the review of the corrosion prevention and control plans of non-major weapons systems and infrastructure programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: As part of the FY 2006 budget submission, DOD submitted a report identifying the long-term funding and personnel resources needed to implement the strategy. A list of candidate corrosion reduction projects was included, as was the status of the baseline study. In addition, the May 2005 Corrosion Prevention Report to Congress also addresses this recommendation.

    Recommendation: To provide better assurances that the Department of Defense's long-term corrosion strategy is successfully implemented as envisioned by Congress, the Secretary of Defense should instruct the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in consultation with the DOD Comptroller, to submit to Congress, as part of the fiscal year 2006 budget submission, a report identifying the long-term funding and personnel resources needed to implement the strategy, a status report of corrosion reduction projects funded in fiscal year 2005, and the status of a baseline study.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Starting in FY 2006, the Corrosion Prevention and Control Oversight Office submits its annual funding requests through the planning, programming and budgeting, and execution (PPBE) process. These funding requests are identified in a separate Office of the Secretary of Defense Program Element.

    Recommendation: To provide better assurances that the Department of Defense's long-term corrosion strategy is successfully implemented as envisioned by Congress, the Secretary of Defense should instruct the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in consultation with the DOD Comptroller, to establish a funding mechanism to implement the corrosion strategy that would be consistent with the strategy's long-term focus.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In April 2007, we reported that DOD completed the Army ground vehicles and Navy ships cost study segments in 2006, planned to complete the DOD facilities, Army aviation and missiles, and USMC ground vehicles segments in 2007. The remaining segments --Navy and Marine Corps aviation and Coast Guard aviation and ships -- are planned to be completed in 2008.

    Recommendation: To provide better assurances that the Department of Defense's long-term corrosion strategy is successfully implemented as envisioned by Congress, the Secretary of Defense should instruct the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in consultation with the DOD Comptroller, to establish a date to complete the corrosion baseline study well before its original estimated completion date of 2011 in order that cost-effective resource priorities and results-oriented performance measures can be established to monitor progress in reducing corrosion and its impacts on equipment and infrastructure.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the vice-chair for the Defense Acquisition Board (DAB), and as such, considers the corrosion prevention issues associated with all programs requiring DAB reviews. In addition, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Focused Logistics Capabilities Board has agreed to consider corrosion planning when it performs sustainability assessments of military weapon systems. According to the DOD Office of Corrosion Oversight and Policy, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Focused Logistics Capabilities Board now includes corrosion planning as a standard discussion topic during its deliberations, meetings and assessments.

    Recommendation: To provide better assurances that the Department of Defense's long-term corrosion strategy is successfully implemented as envisioned by Congress, the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff should direct the Focused Logistics Capabilities Board to include corrosion prevention issues in its sustainability assessments of military weapon systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

 

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