Strategic MobilitySerious Problems Remain in U.S. Deployment Capabilities Gao ID: T-NSIAD-94-165 April 26, 1994
The Pentagon has identified extensive mobility requirements for its sealift and airlift forces. During major regional conflicts, the requirements call for moving as much cargo in eight weeks as was moved during the first six months of the Persian Gulf War. In a 1993 report, GAO questioned many of the assumptions underlying these requirements. The Defense Department's (DOD) stated mobility requirements are likely to increase even further under a DOD study now under way. To help meet current requirements, more ships are being purchased to expand sealift capabilities. Further, the Army is prepositioning more equipment and supplies at points around the globe, which means that they will be closer to potential battlefields. Significant issues concerning U.S. mobility capabilities remain unresolved, however. The problems experienced in the C-17 program mean that the service life of aircraft in the current fleet will likely have to be extended. As the drawdown of U.S. forces in Europe continues, air bases that are critical to meeting DOD's stated mobility requirements could become candidates for closure. The Army is still years away from improving its rail deployment capabilities. The readiness levels of Ready Reserve Force ships are out of sync with current airlift capabilities and the Army's current ability to get cargo to the ports.