Defense depots face shortfalls due to poor strategic planning

The Defense Department's military depots may not be able to repair future weapons systems because of poor strategic planning, a failure to hire new depot workers and delays in upgrading facilities and equipment, according to a recent General Accounting Office report. "Investments in facilities, equipment and human capital have not been sufficient in recent years to ensure the long-term viability of the services' depots. DoD's downsizing of its depot infrastructure and workforce since the end of the Cold War was done without sound strategic planning," said the report, "Defense Logistics: Actions Needed to Overcome Capability Gaps in the Public Depot System" (GAO- 02-105). The Defense Department spends about $15 billion a year to employ more than 60,000 workers at 19 Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps depots, which are in-house repair and overhaul centers for the military's warfighting equipment. Since 1987, the number of depots has been cut by half and all the military services have turned to private sector contractors to perform overhaul and repair work. GAO warned that the government's downsizing and poor management of depots may leave the Pentagon ill-prepared to handle a national emergency or new weapon systems that will need repairs over the next decade. "If the existing policy is not clarified and [if] current practices continue, the military depots will not have the equipment, facilities and trained personnel to work on and provide related logistics support on many of the weapon systems and related equipment that will be used by the military in the next five to 15 years," the report said. GAO recommended several steps Defense should take to address the problem, including better defining what future work will be done by military depots and the private sector, and developing short- and long-term strategies to make sure needed capabilities, personnel and equipment are in place. The Defense Department largely concurred with GAO's recommendations and, in several areas, said it will refine depot policy and develop strategic plans.
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.