Tag Archives: Pentagon

Corrosion Costs U.S. DOD $20.9 Billion Annually

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) estimates that corrosion costs the Department about $20.9 billion annually.

Corrosion can negatively affect all military assets, including both equipment and infrastructure, and is defined as the deterioration of a material or its properties due to a reaction of that material with its environment. Corrosion also affects military readiness by taking critical systems out of action and creating safety hazards.

Section 2228 of Title 10 of the United States Code requires DOD, as part of its annual budget submission, to submit a report to Congress on corrosion funding. In the report, DOD is to include (1) funding requirements for its long-term corrosion reduction strategy, (2) the return-oninvestment (ROI) that would be achieved by implementing the strategy, (3) the current and previous fiscal year funds requested in the budget compared to funding requirements, (4) an explanation if funding requirements are not fully funded in the budget, (5) the amount of funds requested for both the current and previous fiscal years in the budget for each project or activity described in DOD’s long-term strategy compared to the funding requirements for the project or activity, and (6) a copy of the annual corrosion report most recently submitted by the corrosion control and prevention executive of each military department as an annex to its report. The military departments’ reports are to include recommendations pertaining to the department’s corrosion control and prevention program and related funding levels to carry out all of the duties of the corrosion control and prevention executive. Corrosion also affects military readiness by taking critical systems out of action and creating safety hazards.

Section 2228 also requires us to analyze DOD’s budget submission and report and provide an assessment to the congressional defense committees within 60 days after the submission of the budget for the fiscal year, which this year occurred on February 13, 2012. DOD submitted its annual report to Congress on May 21, 2012, and we received the report on May 23, 2012. Our objectives were to (1) determine the extent to which DOD’s corrosion report included the mandated elements, (2) assess the extent to which DOD’s Corrosion Prevention and Control (CPC) funding request met total estimated CPC funding requirements for activities and preliminary project proposals as identified in the fiscal year 2013 corrosion report, and (3) calculate the potential cost avoidance that DOD may achieve by funding CPC at the level requested in its fiscal year 2013 corrosion budget materials report and the cost avoidance DOD may miss by not fully funding its requirements. Enclosure I provides briefing slides for congressional committees detailing the results of our analysis of DOD’s CPC budget request and the Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight’s (CPO) accompanying report for fiscal year 2013.

WHAT THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE (GAO) RECOMMENDS

To ensure that Congress has the accurate and comprehensive information it needs to exercise its oversight responsibilities, we recommend for fiscal year 2013 and beyond that the Secretary of Defense direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to take the following three actions:

  • Provide in the annual corrosion budget report to Congress a more detailed explanation of the development of DOD’s funding requirements.
  • Include in the annual corrosion budget report to Congress the funds requested in DOD’s budget compared to the funding requirements for the fiscal year covered by the report and the preceding fiscal year.
  • Provide in the annual corrosion budget report to Congress an explanation of DOD’s ROI methodology and analysis, including both projected and, to the extent available, validated ROIs.

WHAT GAO FOUND

In summary, we found that DOD’s fiscal year 2013 corrosion budget report to Congress (1) included some, but not all of the six mandated elements; (2) included a funding request that equals DOD’s fiscal year 2013 stated requirements for corrosion activities and projects; and (3) lacked information needed to calculate the potential cost avoidance. First, DOD included three of the six mandated elements, did not include two of the elements, and one of the elements was not applicable this year. For example, DOD included the most recent annual corrosion reports of the military departments, attached in an annex. However, it did not include the funds requested in the budget compared to the funding requirements for the fiscal year covered by the report or the previous fiscal year. Second, DOD officials stated that the fiscal year 2013 budget request and the fiscal year 2013 funding requirements for activities and projects are the same this year–$9.1 million. According to these officials, DOD does not have any fiscal year 2013 unfunded requirements for corrosion activities and projects. Third, we did not calculate the cost avoidance DOD could achieve with its fiscal year 2013 budget request, because the analysis that DOD provided does not support the 14 to1 average ROI for projects cited in its report. Further, we did not calculate the cost avoidance that DOD might be missing by not funding its requirements, because DOD officials said that they do not have any unfunded requirements this year. Without all of the required information on DOD’s corrosion prevention and control activities and projects, DOD senior leaders and Congress may face challenges in assessing the levels of funding needed to effectively prevent and control corrosion.

SOURCE: http://www.defpro.com/news/details/39088/?SID=e7a9277292ecf9faaf31c408e22cc43a

U.S. Lawmakers Order New LCS Study

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., recently rebuffed by the U.S. Navy in asking the service to review its Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, has turned to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to further examine the shipbuilding effort.

In a July 27 letter to the GAO, Hunter, joined by Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., cited his concerns about the program’s historic cost overruns and schedule delays, and more recent corrosion and structural issues with the ships.

Hunter and Wittman asked the GAO to “review and as necessary update the August 2010 [GAO] report on the LCS program.” Specifically, the lawmakers want GAO to examine:

■ what the Navy is doing to overcome technical design flaws in the first two ships;

■ what the Navy is doing to make sure follow-on ships are delivered with cost and time estimates;

■ what actions the Navy has taken to make certain that mission packages have the capabilities they were intended to have; and

■ provide performance and operational maintenance date on the propulsion systems for both LCS variants.

Hunter, in a July 1 letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, had asked the service “to immediately conduct a formal review of the entire LCS program, provide an assessment of the technical design flaws of the current fleet and determine the best way forward to include the possibility of rebidding this contract so that the program can be put back on a fiscally responsible path to procurement.”

Mabus, in a July 7 reply, said the Navy had “faced and overcome the program’s past cost and schedule challenges,” and addressed many of the issues presented in the GAO’s 2010 report.

Noting that both ships have yet to complete all test and trial programs, Mabus wrote that the service now “is confident that we are on a path of success” with LCS.

In addition to Hunter, a group of seven senators, led by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have questioned the Pentagon’s handling of the LCS program. In a July 12 letter to Pentagon acquisition chief Ash Carter, the group questioned the Pentagon’s certification procedures allowing the program to go forward, and asked for more information on corrosion problems affecting the ships.

Joe Kasper, a spokesman for Hunter, explained that the San Diego-area congressman’s intent “is not to terminate the program.”

Rather, Kasper said, “it’s about efficiency of production, it’s about efficiency of dollars. And if there’s an opportunity to improve production and reduce costs in the process, then that’s important and something worth considering.”

SOURCE: http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=7220977&c=AME&s=SEA

7 senators question certifications for the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program…the saga continues

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., long has been a critic of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program (LCS). In Senate hearings last December and this spring, he lambasted Navy leaders for a series of problems with the LCS and decried the pressure put on Congress late last year to permit the Navy to change course and buy both, rather than only one, of the LCS variants.

And McCain is leading a new assault on the program in a letter sent to Ashton Carter, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer. The letter, dated Tuesday and sent on Senate letterhead, is co-signed by three Republicans and three Democrats, and asks for more information on the corrosion problem that has plagued the second LCS, the aluminum-hulled Independence.

Perhaps more significant, however, is that the letter opens up a newer area of concern and questions several Pentagon procedures that allowed the LCS program to move forward.

McCain was joined in the effort by five colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) — Republicans Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Rob Portman of Ohio, and Democrats Mark Begich of Alaska, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Jim Webb of Virginia — and Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

“It is highly unfortunate that we first learned about the discovery of significant corrosion on the Independence, and obtained your letter about your decision to waive certain certifications,” after the SASC marked up its 2012 defense bill, the senators wrote to Carter.

“Needless to say, it is absolutely vital for the committee to have in a timely fashion all information material to its deliberating the Department of Defense’s funding requests.”

The senators gave Carter until July 25 to respond to the letter, “to assist in our further deliberation of the act by the full Senate.”

The letter questions and asks for further information on several moves by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) to allow the program to move ahead.

Specifically, the senators asked the following:

• Question an April 7 OSD certification to move the LCS to Milestone B, or the engineering manufacturing and development phase of the program. OSD waived several requirements of the certification — a move prompting concerns from the senators that specific reasons for the waivers were not provided.

• Ask why OSD allowed the program to use Navy acquisition cost estimates, rather than those developed by Pentagon’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) group, as required by law under Title 10 of the U.S. Code. “Please provide a full explanation of the CAPE’s position, the analysis the CAPE relied on to support its position, and why you chose to use the Navy’s cost estimates rather than the CAPE’s,” the senators wrote.

• Ask for an explanation as to why OSD granted a waiver of the need to certify program tradeoffs late in the program, rather than earlier in the development of the LCS.

• Ask Carter to indicate when he “will be prepared to certify to those provisions that you recently waived,” and provide a business case analysis for the certifications and wavers.

• And ask how, in light of the corrosion problems on Independence, the LCS program “will ensure reliability and minimize major cost growth in operations and sustainment costs” in accordance with a March directive from defense under secretary Frank Kendall requiring all Pentagon programs to do so.

The senators also ask Carter to provide detailed information on the corrosion issue discovered on elements of the waterjet system on Independence. The Navy already has been fielding answers on the issue, which involves a failed alternative to more standard efforts to provide cathodic protection against corrosion and rust in underwater areas where two or more kinds of metal are used. A more conventional fix has been designed into subsequent units of the class, the Navy said, and modifications will be made to Independence to deal with the issue.

The letter also asks Carter to respond to a charge by Andrew Bellamy, chief executive of Austal — the Australian parent company of Independence builder Austal USA — that poor maintenance by the Navy, rather than faulty craftsmanship by the shipyard, is likely to be the cause of the aggressive corrosion on the ship. Bellamy also was reported as saying, according to the letter, that any corrosion on Independence would be the fault of the operator or maintainer and not the builder. The senators ask the Navy to describe how it plans to address the problem, if poor operational maintenance is “at least part of the cause.”

The letter from the seven senators comes shortly after a similar, but less detailed, missive from Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. In a letter dated July 1, Hunter cited concerns about the corrosion and other problems, along with the LCS program’s oft-reported cost growth, and asked the Navy to conduct “a formal review of the entire LCS program.”

The Navy, in a response last week to Hunter, declared it was aware of the problems Hunter cited, had fixes already in hand or applied, and was satisfied that the program now is on a satisfactory track.

SOURCE: http://www.navytimes.com/news/2011/07/navy-lcs-senators-question-qualifications-071311w/