Air Force LogisticsC-17 Support Plan Does Not Adequately Address Key Issues Gao ID: NSIAD-99-147 July 8, 1999
The Air Force is working to pilot test a new logistics support concept for the C-17 aircraft that relies more on the private sector. The Air Force plan supporting this idea that was sent to Congress has three key shortcomings that need to be addressed so that the pilots' merits can be adequately assessed. First, the plan does not identify C-17 core requirements or provide information on a process for establishing the capabilities needed to support such requirements. Second, the Air Force's conclusions that C-17 depot maintenance would be less cost-effective in Air Force depots are not adequately supported. Third, GAO questions whether the Air Force plan could be implemented under current law. The Air Force is required to determine that the services to be obtained from public depots are not commercially available. Past Air Force assessments have shown that commercial sources are available that can perform depot maintenance on the same or similar commodities for other aircraft.
GAO noted that: (1) the Air Force is working to pilot test a new logistics support concept for the C-17 that places increased reliance on the private sector for support; (2) the Air Force plan incorporating this concept was provided to Congress; (3) the plan has three key shortcomings that need to be addressed so the pilot's merits can be adequately assessed; (4) these shortcomings relate to identifying C-17 core requirements, the strategy's cost-effectiveness, and the Air Force's ability to implement the plan under law; (5) the plan the Air Force submitted to Congress did not identify C-17 core requirements or provide information on a process for establishing the specific capabilities needed to support such requirements; (6) the Air Force outlined its process for analyzing core requirements and capabilities and indicated that its approach to such analysis is not weapon-system specific; (7) to date, requirements for the C-17 aircraft have not been included in the Air Force's core process; (8) further, the Air Force stated that it does not expect to complete a core analysis incorporating the C-17 requirements until 2002; (9) the 1999 Air Force plan's conclusion that C-17 depot maintenance would be less cost-effective in Air Force depots is not adequately supported; (10) GAO's first concern is that the analysis is based on 1996 data, and more current information should have been used; (11) the conclusions drawn from the 1996 data about the cost-effectiveness of the private sector under the flexible sustainment approach are based on incomplete analysis; (12) the Air Force is not programming the funds that would be required to establish in-house logistics support capabilities, without which there may not be a viable in-house alternative; (13) GAO questions whether the Air Force plan can be implemented under current law; (14) the Air Force plan envisions that the C-17 contractor will contract with public depots for selected maintenance services for some C-17 systems and equipment; and (15) under applicable law, the Air Force must determine that the services to be obtained from public depots are not commercially available.Recommendations
Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.Director: Team: Phone: