Defense Inventory:

Improved Management Framework Needed to Guide Army Best Practice Initiatives

NSIAD-99-217: Published: Sep 14, 1999. Publicly Released: Sep 14, 1999.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO evaluated the Army's schedule for implementing best commercial inventory practices for the acquisition and distribution of secondary inventory items, focusing on: (1) the extent to which that 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 Army's best practice initiatives.

GAO noted that: (1) the Army's schedule is generally responsive to the act; (2) specifically, the schedule describes 18 initiatives that address the Army's inventory management functions, and for most of the initiatives, it provides for implementation to be completed within 5 years; (3) the initiatives are primarily aimed at improving the Army's information management, maintenance, and acquisition processes and transferring logistics activities to the private sector; (4) specific timeframes for full implementation of three of the initiatives were not included in the schedule; (5) therefore, GAO could not determine whether these initiatives are to be implemented within the required 5-year timeframe; (6) though generally responsive to the act's requirements, the schedule provides a management framework that lacks specific elements such as an overall strategy and outcome-oriented goals and performance measures; (7) while the initiatives are generally guided by the Army's Revolution in Military Logistics, there is no comprehensive strategy or plan that guides the efforts; (8) consequently, no detailed framework exists to increase the likelihood that the initiatives are coordinated and do not conflict or duplicate efforts; (9) also, there are no specific performance goals established to measure the overall results of the initiatives; (10) in GAO's 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; (11) without a more effective management framework, opportunities for oversight by Congress and DOD managers would be limited since meaningful evaluations of progress and results would be impossible; and (12) the Government Performance and Results Act offers a model for developing an effective management framework to assess the results of the initiatives and improve the likelihood of successful implementation and assessment.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In July 2000, the Army developed its Logistics Transformation Plan in response to Defense Reform Initiative 54 which required the military services to submit annual plans documenting the planned actions and related resources for implementing logistics initiatives. The Army Logistics Transformation Plan documents a broad range of interrelated activities necessary to meet the objectives of the Department of Defense Strategic Logistics Plan. The Plan provides more information than that included in the initial schedule, including linking Army initiatives to specific DOD Logistics Strategic Plan objectives. However, the Plan does not fully describe the overall impact the initiatives are expected to have on the Army's logistics pipeline.

    Recommendation: To provide a mechanism to improve the potential for successfully implementing the Army initiatives and measure results, the Secretary of the Army should develop a management framework for implementing the 18 initiatives based on the principles embodied in the Results Act. Specifically, the management framework should include a comprehensive strategy that is directly lined 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 Army's logistics pipeline, such as reducing pipeline time, improved customer service, and reductions in total inventory.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In July 2000, the Army developed its Logistics Transformation Plan in response to Defense Reform Initiative 54 which required the military services to submit annual plans documenting the planned actions and related resources for implementing logistics initiatives. The Army Logistics Transformation Plan documents a broad range of interrelated activities necessary to meet the objectives of the Department of Defense Strategic Logistics Plan. The Plan provides more information than that included in the initial schedule, including more clearly defined goals and objectives, primary offices of responsibility, and interim milestones. However, the Plan does not, in many cases, provide quantifiable performance measures.

    Recommendation: To provide a mechanism to improve the potential for successfully implementing the Army initiatives and measure results, the Secretary of the Army should develop a management framework for implementing the 18 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, 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 Army

 

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