Defense Inventory:

Improved Management Framework Needed to Guide Air Force Best Practice Initiatives

NSIAD-00-2: Published: Nov 18, 1999. Publicly Released: Nov 18, 1999.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

William M. Solis
(202) 512-3000
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Air Force's best practices implementation schedule for the acquisition and distribution of secondary inventory items, 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) specific elements of a management framework needed for effective implementation and oversight of the Air Force's best practice initiatives.

GAO noted that: (1) the Air Force's schedule is generally responsive to the act; (2) it describes 17 initiatives that address the acquisition and distribution of secondary items that the Air Force manages, and with one exception, provides for implementation of these initiatives to be completed within 5 years; (3) the initiatives are aimed at reducing the Air Force's infrastructure and improving the maintenance, information management, and acquisition processes; (4) though generally responsive to the act's requirements, the Air Force's schedule provides a management framework that lacks an overall strategy and specific elements needed to assess implementation progress, measure success, and identify needed changes; (5) while the schedule's initiatives are linked to higher level Air Force logistics goals and objectives, there is no strategy that ensures the efforts are coordinated, nor are specific performance goals and baselines established to measure the overall results of the initiatives; (6) in prior work, GAO noted that the lack of a detailed management framework contributed to the Department of Defense's (DOD) difficulty in implementing new initiatives; and (7) the Government Performance and Results Act offers a model for developing an effective management framework through the use of strategic plans and establishment of performance measures to assess the results of the initiatives and improve the likelihood of successful implementation.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Initally, DOD intended to expand the Air Force Logistics Support Plan to implement our recommendation, which would more clearly articulate the relationships, goals, objectives, and metrics of logistics initiatives and to provide regularly scheduled review and analysis to the United States Deputy Chief of Staff (Installations and Logistics). Approval of the expanded Air Force Logistics Support Plan structure by the United States Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff (Installations and Logistics) was anticipated during the second quarter of fiscal year 2000. Continuing updates to a greater range of Air Force logistics initiatives and to the Air Force Logistics Transformation Plan, however, superseded publication of this document. DOD also stated that GAO recommendations were addressed in best practice initiatives in Air Force Instructions, functional area directorate strategic plans, and logistics transformation initiatives mandated by other Defense Reform Initiative Directives. The department also indicated that best practice initiatives (like those specified in response to Section 347 of the FY 1999 National Defense Authorization Act) continue in the Air Force and in many cases, where applicable, the Section 347 initiatives have been integrated into Air Force and Major Command instructions. According to DOD, the specific initiatives identified in the Section 347 report have already become part of the framework upon which the Air Force logistics and combat support communities operate and are no longer tracked as special initiatives, but as routine day-to-day processes. The goals of achieving reduced pipeline times, improved customer service, and reductions in total inventory have occurred in large measure to the collective application of Section 347 sspecified initiatives, new initiatives, improved funding, etc., and cannot be attributed or mapped directly to individual initiatives.

    Recommendation: To provide a mechanism to improve the potential for successful implementation of Air Force initiatives and measure results, the Secretary of the Air Force should develop a management framework for implementing best practice initiatives based on the principles embodied in the Results Act. Specifically, the management framework should include a strategy that is directly linked to top-level DOD goals and objectives and that recognizes the interrelationship of the initiatives and the overall impact the initiatives will have on the Air Force's logistics pipeline, such as reduced pipeline time, improved customer service, and reductions in total inventory.

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

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Initially, DOD intended to expand the Air Force Logistics Support Plan to implement our recommendation, which would more clearly articulate the relationships, goals, objectives, and metrics of logistics initiatives and to provide regularly scheduled review and analysis to the United States Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff (Installations and Logistics). Approval of the expanded Air Force Logistics Support Plan structure by the United States Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff (Installations and Logistics) was anticipated during the second quarter of fiscal year 2000. Continuing updates to a greater range of Air Force logistics initiatives and to the Air Force Logistics Transformation Plan, however, superseded publication of this document. DOD also stated that GAO recommendations were addressed in best practice initiatives in Air Force Instructions, functional area directorate strategic plans, and logistics transformation initiatives mandated by other Defense Reform Initiative Directives. The department also indicated that best practice initiatives (like those specified in response to Section 347 of the FY 1999 National Defense Authoriztion Act) continue in the Air Force and in many cases where applicable, the Section 347 initiatives have been integrated into Air Force and Major Command instructions. According to DOD, the specific initiatives identified in the Section 347 report have already become part of the framework upon which the Air Force logistics and combat support communities operated and are no longer tracked as special initiatives, but as routine day-to-day processes. The goals of achieving reduced pipeline times, improved customer service, and reductions in total inventory have occurred in large measure to the collective application of Section 347 specified initiatives, new initiatives, improved funding, etc., and cannot be attributed or mapped directly to individual initiatives.

    Recommendation: To provide a mechanism to improve the potential for successful implementation of Air Force initiatives and measure results, the Secretary of the Air Force should develop a management framework for implementing the best practice initiatives based on the principles embodied in the Results Act. Specifically, the management framework should include a performance plan that includes clearly defined goals and objectives, defined levels of accountability, quantifiable performance measures and baselines, interim schedule milestones, and plans 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: Department of the Air Force

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Oct 30, 2014

Oct 16, 2014

Oct 10, 2014

Oct 8, 2014

Sep 30, 2014

Sep 25, 2014

Sep 23, 2014

Sep 19, 2014

Sep 18, 2014

Looking for more? Browse all our products here