Defense Inventory:

Improved Management Framework Needed to Guide Navy Best Practice Initiatives

NSIAD-00-1: Published: Oct 21, 1999. Publicly Released: Oct 21, 1999.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on the Navy's best practices implementation schedule for the acquisition and distribution of secondary inventory items, which the Navy submitted to Congress on June 16, 1999, focusing on: (1) the extent to which the schedule responds to the provisions of the Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999; and (2) identifying specific elements of a management framework needed for effective implementation and oversight of the Navy's best practice initiative.

GAO noted that: (1) the Navy's schedule is generally responsive to the act; (2) specifically, the schedule describes 25 initiatives that address the acquisition and distribution of secondary items managed by the Navy and the Marine Corps; (3) these initiatives are primarily aimed at improving the Navy and Marine Corps planning, sourcing, delivery, and maintenance processes; (4) while some of the initiatives did not include specific timeframes to complete implementation, the Secretary of the Navy advised Congress that with few exceptions, implementation of the initiatives is expected to be completed by 2003; (5) though generally responsive to the act's requirements, the management framework that is outlined in the schedule lacks specific elements that are needed to assess implementation progress, measure success, and identify needed changes; (6) as a result, while the schedule describes an overall implementation strategy, it does not provide sufficient information for Congress and Department of Defense (DOD) managers to measure the progress and results of the initiatives; (7) also, the management framework contained in the schedule does not provide a clear link to top-level DOD improvement goals or provide details for periodic evaluation of an initiative's progress; (8) in GAO's prior work, GAO noted that the lack of such information contributed to DOD's difficulty in implementing new initiatives; and (9) the Government Performance and Results Act offers a model for developing an effective management framework to improve the likelihood of successfully implementing initiatives and assessing results.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In its third quarter fiscal year 2000 update to its best practices implementation schedule, the Navy included direct links to objectives in the Department of Defense Logistics Strategic Plan and specific information on outcome measures related to reducing total inventory and pipeline time and improving customer service. For some of the initiatives in the schedule, however, the update did not include information that could be used to periodically measure implementation progress and the overall impact the initiatives have on inventory levels and supply system responsiveness.

    Recommendation: To provide a mechanism to improve the potential for successfully implementing the initiatives and measure results, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to improve the management framework for implementing the 25 initiatives based on principles embodied in the Results Act. Specifically, the management framework should include direct links to top-level DOD goals and objectives, including objective and precise outcome measures related to reducing pipeline time, improving customer service, and reducing total inventory.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In its third 1uarter fiscal year 2000 semiannual update to the best practice initiatives implementation schedule, the Navy included more specific implementation milestone dates and quantifiable performance measures where possible. The Navy plans to continue periodically updating and refining the schedule as plans unfold over the five year life of the schedule.

    Recommendation: To provide a mechanism to improve the potential for successfully implementing the initiatives and measure results, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to improve the management framework for implementing the 25 initiatives based on the principles embodied in the Results Act. Specifically, this management framework should include clearly defined initiative goals, quantifiable performance measures, implementation schedule milestones including specific implementation dates, and key issues and methodologies that will be used to periodically assess the overall impact the initiatives have achieved in reducing inventory levels while improving the responsiveness of the supply system to user needs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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