Report | June 13, 2022

Audit of the Department of Defense’s Implementation of Predictive Maintenance Strategies to Support Weapon System Sustainment (DODIG-2022-103)

Audit

Publicly Released: June 15, 2022

Objective

The objective of this audit was to determine whether the DoD tracked, monitored, and shared lessons learned regarding impacts of predictive maintenance on weapon system sustainment. Our objective was also to determine whether select predictive maintenance strategies achieved cost and availability goals. However, during the planning phase, we identified that the Services had not fully implemented predictive maintenance strategies. Therefore, we amended our objective to determine the extent that the DoD had implemented predictive maintenance in accordance with guidance.

 

Background

Materiel maintenance is the work required to keep the DoD’s weapon systems and mission support assets in a mission-capable status, therefore ensuring the readiness and sustainability of the DoD’s combat forces. Predictive maintenance is a technique used to predict the future failure of a component, so that the Services can plan to replace the component before it fails. Condition-Based Maintenance Plus (CBM+) is the overarching strategy of knowing the condition of parts to reduce or eliminate unscheduled maintenance.

DoD Instruction 4151.22, “Condition-Based Maintenance Plus for Materiel Maintenance,” August 14, 2020, states that the DoD will use CBM+ as a primary strategy for achieving cost-effective weapon system life-cycle sustainment. The DoD Instruction requires CBM+ maintenance to be fully integrated in the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System process for all new weapon systems, and requires the integration of CBM+ technologies and processes in current weapon systems where it is technically feasible, improves materiel availability, and is cost-effective to do so.

 

Finding

The DoD has made progress toward implementation of predictive maintenance strategies but has not fully implemented predictive maintenance on any of its weapon systems. In addition, DoD officials did not:

  • develop comprehensive strategic plans or policies,
  • have full visibility of CBM+ and predictive maintenance projects, or
  • develop training tailored to the appropriate levels in the life-cycle sustainment workforce necessary to implement predictive maintenance strategies.

The DoD also identified challenges to implementing predictive maintenance, such as transitioning from a run to failure maintenance culture to a predictive maintenance culture, lack of a standardized method to distinguish parts removed based on forecasts, lack of accurate and usable data and algorithms to make maintenance forecasts, and limited funding and resources.

The DoD’s goal is that the Services will implement and execute CBM+ to reduce total life-cycle sustainment cost and minimize unscheduled maintenance. Therefore, the DoD could miss opportunities to decrease maintenance cost and increase weapon system availability if predictive maintenance strategies are not fully implemented across the Services, as appropriate.

 

Recommendations

We recommend that the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Materiel Readiness), in coordination with the CBM+ focal points for the Services and other relevant stakeholders, develop and execute a mechanism to report and provide visibility of CBM+ and predictive maintenance projects and tools; and to standardize a method to distinguish parts removed due to predictive maintenance forecasts.

We recommend that the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Materiel Readiness) continue updating and distribute the DoD “Condition Based Maintenance Plus Guidebook” to reflect updated CBM+ guidance. We recommend that the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering, and Force Protection, and the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics:

  • continue to develop clear and comprehensive guidance for their respective Services’ implementation of CBM+ and predictive maintenance that aligns with DoD Instruction 4151.22; and
  • develop and tailor training to the appropriate levels in the life-cycle sustainment workforce necessary to achieve effective CBM+ and predictive maintenance implementation. We also recommend that the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics continue to develop and implement a clear and comprehensive strategic plan for scaling CBM+ and predictive maintenance across the Army enterprise.

We recommend that the Chief of Naval Operations update Office of the Chief of Naval Operations Instruction 4790.16B to detail the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, based on guidance provided by DoD Instruction 4151.22.

We recommend that the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Sustainment):

  • develop and implement a clear and comprehensive strategic plan for scaling CBM+ and predictive maintenance across the Navy enterprise;
  • develop and tailor training to the appropriate levels in the life-cycle sustainment workforce necessary to achieve effective CBM+ and predictive maintenance implementation; and
  • designate a CBM+ focal point to oversee CBM+ and predictive maintenance implementation across Department of Navy

 

Management Comments and Our Response

The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Materiel Readiness); the Air Force Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering, and Force Protection, responding for the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering, and Force Protection; the Director of Maintenance Policy and Programs, responding for the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics; and the Director, Fleet Readiness Division, responding for the Chief of Naval Operations, agreed with our recommendations and provided comments and corrective actions to address the recommendations. Therefore, those recommendations are resolved and open. We will close the recommendations once we verify that the agreed‑upon actions are complete.

The Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Sustainment) CBM+ Functional Lead, responding for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Sustainment), agreed and provided comments that addressed the specifics of the recommendations to develop and implement a strategic plan for scaling CBM+ and predictive maintenance and to designate a CBM+ focal point.

Therefore, these recommendations are resolved and open. We will close these recommendations once we verify that the agreed-upon actions are complete.

The CBM+ Functional Lead disagreed with the training development recommendation, stating that current training resources exist and are already required for practitioners. Comments from the CBM+ Functional Lead did not address the specifics of the training development recommendation. Therefore, the recommendation is unresolved.

We acknowledge that the Naval Air Systems Command, Naval Sea Systems Command, and Marine Corps have varying levels and comprehensiveness of CBM+ training available. However, Systems Command and Marine Corps personnel acknowledged that comprehensive curriculums are still being developed, or that currently available training is not always required. We request that the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Sustainment) reconsider this recommendation and assess the availability and adequacy of CBM+ and predictive maintenance training across the Department of the Navy, and develop and tailor additional training, as appropriate.

This report is a result of Project No. D2021-D000AH-0080.000.