Defense Logistics: Improved Oversight and Increased Coordination Needed to Ensure Viability of the Army's Prepositioning Strategy: GAO-07-144

February 2007
GAO Reports;2/15/2007, p1
Government Documents
Prepositioned military equipment and supplies on ships and overseas on land have become an integral part of the U.S. defense strategy. However, the Army's program has faced long-standing management challenges, including equipment excesses and shortfalls, invalid or poorly defined requirements, and maintenance problems. In Public Law 109-163, Congress required the Army to conduct an assessment of its prepositioning programs and required GAO to assess (1) whether the Army's report addressed the areas required by Congress, and (2) the major challenges the Army continues to face in its prepositioning program. GAO analyzed the Army's report and other information it obtained from the Joint Staff, the Army, and its subordinate commands to identify the issues affecting the Army's prepositioning program. GAO also visited prepositioned equipment sites in South Carolina, Europe, South Korea, and Kuwait. The Army's April 2006 report on the status of its prepositioning program addressed the areas required by Congress; for example, it included descriptions of operational capabilities, as well as inventory shortfalls expressed in terms of procurement costs. However, the Army significantly shifted its prepositioning strategy in the latter part of 2006, since that report was issued. According to the Army, this shift was based on insights gained from the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, but Army officials told us that budget reprogramming decisions and worsening Army-wide equipment shortfalls also influenced the expedited strategy revision. The Army's revised strategy proposes less reliance on heavy combat equipment afloat and the expansion of heavy equipment in Kuwait and Italy. As a result, the Army's April 2006 report to Congress is outdated, and neither Congress nor DOD should base funding decisions on it. The Army faces several major strategic and management challenges as it revises and implements its prepositioning program. From a strategic perspective, the Army cannot gauge how well its emerging strategy will align with DOD plans currently under development. The Army plans to begin implementing its revised strategy by the end of 2006. DOD has a departmentwide prepositioning study underway intended to set strategy and joint doctrine, but this will not be completed for several months and it anticipates that the Army will have to modify its prepositioning strategy when the DOD-wide strategy is issued. As a result, the Army is at risk of resourcing requirements that may be superseded by the DOD strategy. Moreover, because prepositioning is linked to airlift, sealift, and basing, the Army's decisions will have an as-yet undetermined effect on these areas. In addition to these strategic concerns, the Army faces three key management challenges. First, the Army has yet to determine sound secondary item and operational project stock requirements, and to systematically measure and report readiness. While the Army has been taking steps to address...


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