Defense Logistics:

High-Level DOD Coordination Is Needed to Further Improve the Management of the Army's LOGCAP Contract

GAO-05-328: Published: Mar 21, 2005. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 2005.

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The Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) is an Army program that plans for the use of a private-sector contractor to support worldwide contingency operations. Examples of the types of support available include laundry and bath, food service, sanitation, billeting, maintenance, and power generation. LOGCAP has been used extensively to support U.S. forces in recent operations in southwest Asia, with more than $15 billion in estimated work as of January 2005. While we issued two reports on LOGCAP since 1997 that made recommendations to improve the Army's management of the contract, broader issues on coordination of LOGCAP's contract functions were beyond the scope of our earlier work. This report assesses the extent to which the Army is taking action to improve the management and oversight of LOGCAP and whether further opportunities for using this contract effectively exist.

The Army has taken or is in the process of taking actions to improve the management and oversight of LOGCAP on the basis of our earlier reporting. The actions that the Army has completed or has underway include (1) rewriting its guidance, including its field manual for using contractors on the battlefield and its primary regulation for obtaining contractor support in wartime operations; (2) implementing near- and longer-term training for commanders and logisticians in using the contract; (3) developing a deployable unit to assist commands using LOGCAP; (4) restructuring the LOGCAP contracting office to provide additional personnel resources in key areas; and (5) taking steps to eliminate the backlog of contract task orders awaiting definitization--that is, coming to agreement on the terms, specifications, and price of the task orders--and conducting award fee boards. While improvements have been made, GAO believes that the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Army need to take additional action in two areas. First, although DOD continues to agree with our July 2004 recommendation to create teams of subject matter experts to review contract activities for economy and efficiency, it has not done so yet because the need to respond to statutory requirements took precedence. Prior GAO reviews have shown that when commanders look for savings in contract activities, they generally find them, as illustrated in the table. The second area needing attention is the coordination of contract activities between DOD components involved with using LOGCAP. While the Army Materiel Command (AMC) is the executive agent for LOGCAP, other DOD components also play important LOGCAP roles, including the combatant commander, individual deployed units, and the Defense Contract Management Agency. The effective and efficient use of the contract depends on the coordinated activities of each of these agencies. However, at the DOD level, no one is responsible for overall leadership in using the contract and, while AMC has sought to influence the way in which the other components carry out their roles, it does not have command authority over the other components and thus its influence is limited. For example, AMC knew that planning for the use of LOGCAP for Operation Iraqi Freedom was not comprehensive but lacked the command authority to direct better planning. AMC officials believe that training will resolve these problems over time. However, given the importance of LOGCAP to supporting military operations and the billions of dollars being spent on LOGCAP activities, we believe that more immediate and direct oversight is needed.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: To make more effective use of LOGCAP the Secretary of Defense should designate a LOGCAP coordinator with the authority to participate in deliberations and advocate for the most effective and efficient use of the LOGCAP contract. Areas where we believe this coordinator should provide oversight include (1) reviewing planning for the use of LOGCAP to ensure it is in accordance with Army doctrine and guidance, (2) evaluating the types and frequency of services to be provided, and (3) evaluating the extent to which the contract is being used economically and efficiently.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD agreed with the report and its recommendations and stated that, in January 2005, a new DOD instruction designated the position of Defense Logistics Executive and established a Defense Logistics Board. DOD said that oversight of LOGCAP is within the authority and responsibility of the Defense Logistics Executive and that the Defense Logistics Board will include logistics support contracts as part of its mandate to advise the Logistics Executive on oversight of the defense logistics system and make recommendations for improvement.

    Recommendation: To make more effective use of LOGCAP the Secretary of Defense should direct the coordinator to advise the Secretary of unresolved differences among the DOD components on how best to use LOGCAP, and to report to the Secretary periodically regarding how effectively LOGCAP is being used.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In a March 2005 report, GAO stated that while the Army is the executive agent for the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) contract, other DOD components also played important roles. GAO further stated that the effective and efficient use of the contract depends on the coordinated activities of each of these agencies, but no one is responsible for the overall leadership. In addition to recommending that the Secretary of Defense designate a LOGCAP coordinator, GAO recommended that the coordinator advise the Secretary periodically regarding how effectively the contract is being used. In written responses on GAO's draft report and in the response to the final report, DOD agreed with the report and its recommendations and stated that the Defense Logistics Executive, with the advice and assistance of the Defense Logistics Board, will do so.

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