Readiness of Navy Tactical Air Forces

Gao ID: 122774 November 2, 1983

GAO testified on its review of the readiness of the Navy's tactical air (TACAIR) forces. GAO objectives were to: (1) examine the TACAIR forces' reported readiness and the accuracy of the data in the readiness reports; and (2) determine how well Navy carriers could meet their wartime deployment schedules. GAO concentrated its work on two key readiness indicators, mission capability rates and combat ratings. The review showed that TACAIR forces' reported readiness levels were generally below established Navy goals. However, because of the way the reports were developed, the forces' actual readiness may be significantly lower than the reports indicated. Although the Navy has taken or plans to take several steps to reduce errors in mission capability input data and to improve the procedures for computing combat ratings, problems remain with the Navy's overall guidance for developing mission capability rates. The review also indicated that shortages of various essential assets limit the Navy's ability to meet its wartime carrier deployment requirements. Continually upgrading TACAIR forces is absolutely vital to national defense. Determining the funds that should be allocated for upgrading these forces depends on accurate and complete data. Consequently, GAO believes that, in assessing the Navy's fiscal year 1985 budget request and its actions to improve readiness, Congress should take into account that the TACAIR forces' readiness is lower than reported.

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