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Management of Army and Marine Corps Prepositioned Stocks in U.S. European Command DODIG-2018-152

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Objective:

We determined whether the Army and Marine Corps maintained and stored prepositioned stock in accordance with established maintenance schedules and storage requirements in the U.S. European Command area of responsibility. We reviewed the storage and maintenance of Supply Class VII vehicles and weapons for Army Prepositioned Stock and Marine Corps Prepositioning Program–Norway.

Background:

The Army Prepositioned Stock program maintains combat-ready equipment and material strategically located and ready for use at a moment’s notice. The purpose of the Army’s Care of Supplies in Storage program is to ensure the readiness of the Army’s stored supplies by identifying and mitigating exposure to temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors so items in storage remain serviceable and ready to deploy when needed.

Army Technical Manual 38‑470 establishes maintenance cycles that the Army is required to implement for tactical and combat equipment in the Care of Supplies in Storage program. To determine whether the Army maintained its prepositioned stock in accordance with Army regulations, we performed site visits to Zutendaal, Belgium, and Leghorn Army Depot, Livorno, Italy. However, Zutendaal, Belgium, did not begin receiving equipment until May 2017 and had not yet conducted maintenance on the equipment because Army personnel have 2 years to establish maintenance operations to stay in compliance with regulations.

Marine Corps Prepositioning Program–Norway is a Marine Corps-managed prepositioned stock program in Norway, operating in accordance with a memorandum of understanding between the U.S. Government and the Government of the Kingdom of Norway for the storage and maintenance of U.S. equipment and supplies. Maintenance for the majority of Marine Corps Prepositioning Program–Norway equipment is conducted by Norwegian government civilians and supervised by Norwegian military personnel with Marine Corps Blount Island Command oversight.

Marine Corps Technical Manual 4790-14/1G provides guidance and procedures for the storage and maintenance of equipment stored with Marine Corps Prepositioning Program–Norway. In addition to the guidance and procedures in the Technical Manual 4790-14/1G, a local bilateral agreement between Blount Island Command and the Norwegian Defense Logistics Organization establishes the daily procedures for logistics support of Marine Corps Prepositioning Program–Norway. To determine whether the Marine Corps maintained its prepositioning stock in accordance with Marine Corps regulations, we performed site visits to Bjugn, Frigaard, and Tromsdal caves in Norway.

Findings:

Army and Marine Corps officials did not effectively manage the storage and maintenance of prepositioned stocks in the U.S. European Command area of responsibility. Specifically, Army and Marine Corps officials did not ensure proper storage facility humidity levels, weapons maintenance, and vehicle maintenance.

Army personnel at Leghorn Army Depot in Livorno, Italy, did not manage the humidity levels in accordance with the Army requirements because Army Material Command did not include clear requirements in Technical Manual 38‑470 that state who is responsible for maintaining humidity levels or performing the inspections. Additionally, Army Material Command officials did not specify in Technical Manual 38‑470 how often personnel should perform preventive maintenance on Army Prepositioned Stock weapons.

Army officials at Leghorn Army Depot also did not ensure that 21 of 63 vehicles we nonstatistically sampled to test were maintained in accordance with Army regulations because the officials did not anticipate having to perform maintenance required for unscheduled operational missions.

Marine Corps Blount Island Command officials did not control the humidity levels in Marine Corps Prepositioning Program–Norway storage sites because Marine Corps officials did not include a requirement in the local bilateral agreement for the Norwegian personnel to control the humidity levels.

In addition, Marine Corps Blount Island Command officials did not perform or document maintenance on 30 of 36 weapons and 124 of 165 vehicles from our nonstatistical sample because officials did not develop maintenance requirements for weapons stored in protective packaging, develop standard operating procedures for recording completed maintenance, and monitor the completion of required maintenance.

As a result, the DoD does not have assurance that the Army and Marine Corps properly stored and maintained at least $203.7 million worth of prepositioned stock at Army Prepositioned Stock and Marine Corps Prepositioning Program–Norway sites in the U.S. European Command area of responsibility. While we only reviewed five locations, we believe our findings raise potential concerns regarding the maintenance of prepositioned stock at other U.S. European Command locations that follow the Army Technical Manual 38‑470 and Marine Corps Technical Manual 4790-14/1G. Without adequately managed prepositioned equipment, the Army and the Marine Corps may not be able to fully support a request to provide immediate crisis response when the need arises in Europe or Africa.

Recommendations:

We recommend that the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, G-4 (Logistics), in conjunction with the U.S. Army Materiel Command Commander, update Technical Manual 38‑470 to specify who is responsible for maintaining controlled humidity levels and inspecting controlled humidity facilities and to clearly state how often the weapons should be maintained.

We recommend that the 405th Army Field Support Battalion–Africa Commander include estimated unscheduled operational missions in the planning process for maintenance of prepositioned stocks.

We also recommend that the U.S. Marine Corps Installations and Logistics Deputy Commandant, in conjunction with the Blount Island Command Commander, assess the degree of corrosion on equipment in the Marine Corps Prepositioning Program–Norway storage sites; include requirements to monitor and control humidity levels; develop maintenance requirements for weapons stored in protective packaging; develop standard operating procedures for recording completed maintenance; and automate the process for monitoring maintenance cycles.

Management Comments and Our Response:

The Strategic Mobility Division Chief, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, G-4 (Logistics), responding for the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, G-4 (Logistics), and the U.S. Army Materiel Command Commander neither agreed nor disagreed with the recommendations to update Technical Manual 38‑470 to specify who is responsible for maintaining controlled humidity levels and clearly state how often Army Prepositioned Stock weapons should be maintained. Specifically, the Strategic Mobility Division Chief stated that the Army Material Command will publish directives in the Technical Manual with specific guidance outlining schedules for planned inspections of controlled humidity in Army Prepositioned Stock facilities. However, the corrective actions do not fully answer the recommendation. Therefore, the recommendation is unresolved. We request that the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, G-4 (Logistics), provide additional comments on the final report. The Strategic Mobility Division Chief also stated that the Army Materiel Command will direct the Army Sustainment Command to specify maintenance frequencies in Technical Manual 38‑470. Therefore, the recommendation is resolved, but will remain open until we verify the Technical Manual has been updated and is consistent with applicable criteria.

The 405th Army Field Support Battalion–Africa Commander did not respond to the recommendation to include estimated unscheduled operational missions in the planning process for maintenance of prepositioned stocks. Therefore, the recommendation is unresolved. We request that the Commander provide comments on the final report.

The Head, Audit Coordination, Office of the Director of Marine Corps Staff, responding for the Deputy Commandant for U.S. Marine Corps Installations and Logistics, agreed with the recommendations to assess the degree of corrosion on equipment in the Marine Corps Prepositioning Program–Norway storage sites; include requirements to monitor and control humidity levels; develop standard operating procedures for recording completed maintenance; and automate the process for monitoring maintenance cycles. Therefore, the recommendations are resolved, but will remain open until we verify that the corrective actions have been taken.

In addition, the Head, Audit Coordination, Office of the Director of Marine Corps Staff, responding for the Deputy Commandant for U.S. Marine Corps Installations and Logistics, agreed with the recommendation to develop maintenance requirements for weapons stored in protective packaging and stated that U.S. Marine Corps Installation and Logistics will review the established policy to determine whether additional guidance is required. However, based on prior conversations with U.S. Marine Corps officials, this policy does not exist for weapons stored in Level A packaging. Therefore, the recommendation is unresolved. We request that the Deputy Commandant for U.S. Marine Corps Installations and Logistics provide additional comments on the final report.

This report is a result of Project No. D2017-D000RE-0197.000.