New GAO Audit of Weapon System Sustainment
According to this “must read” report from the GAO, “the Department of Defense spends tens of billions of dollars annually to sustain its aircraft fleets. But how many of those aircraft are ready for takeoff and able to complete missions? We looked at 49 types of military aircraft and found that only 4 types met their annual mission readiness goals from FY 2011 through FY 2021—an overall decline over time. Program officials gave us various reasons for these results, including aging aircraft, maintenance challenges, and issues with getting parts and supplies. We also reviewed the costs of sustaining these aircraft—which varied by aircraft type and age, fleet size, and number of flying hours.
Comparing fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2021, the average mission capable rate for the selected aircraft has fallen for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, to varying degrees. The average mission capable rate for the selected Army aircraft has risen. For fiscal year 2021, GAO found that only two of the 49 aircraft examined met the service-established mission capable goal. More specifically, for fiscal year 2021, 30 aircraft were more than 10 percentage points below the mission capable goal in fiscal year 2021; and 17 aircraft were 10 percentage points or less below the mission capable goal in fiscal year 2021. Many of the selected aircraft are facing one or more sustainment challenges (including aging aircraft, maintenance, access to technical data, lack of trained personnel, DMSMS, parts obsolescence, parts shortages, and others). According to program officials, these challenges have an effect on mission capable rates....”
Even if you are not assigned to an aircraft platform or program, highly encourage all DoD Life Cycle Logisticians and Product Support Managers to read this GAO report, as it has invalubale insights and lessons applicable to sustainment and product support that transcend specific weapon systems.