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Report | July 26, 2023

Audit of the Army’s Use of Public-Private Partnerships at Anniston Army Depot (DODIG-2023-097)


Publicly Released: July 27, 2023


The objective of this audit was to determine whether Army officials established metrics to measure benefits from public‑private partnerships (P3) for product support at Anniston Army Depot, Alabama, in accordance with DoD policies, and whether the Army received the benefits. We scoped our audit to P3s at Anniston Army Depot because of the large dollar value of the P3s at Anniston Army Depot.


Product support P3s are cooperative arrangements between organic (government‑owned and government‑operated) product support providers and one or more commercial entities to perform defense‑related work, use DoD facilities and equipment, or both. DoD policy requires that DoD officials establish benefits, use metrics to monitor benefits, and review the P3 at least every 5 years.


Army officials did not always establish benefits for the seven P3s we reviewed and did not establish metrics needed to determine whether the Army received benefits from the P3s. In addition, Army officials did not review the P3s every 5 years. This occurred because:

  • the DoD lacks a structure for P3 oversight;
  • officials were not fully aware of DoD and Army requirements applicable to P3s and were not required to attend P3 training; and
  • Army P3 policies did not align with DoD P3 policy.

Army officials did not have readily available data to support that the Army received the benefits from the P3s. While we were able to validate that the Army received some benefits from the P3s, in some instances officials could not support that the Army received the identified benefits. Not establishing benefits and associated metrics and failing to reassess the P3s on a regular basis limits the Army’s ability to maximize the value of its P3s.


We made 12 recommendations to address the findings in this report. Among other recommendations, we recommend that the:

  • Secretary of the Army designate an office that is responsible for ensuring project management office and depot officials execute P3s in accordance with policy and issue a policy memorandum reiterating the importance of reviewing and applying the information in the “Public‑Private Partnering for Product Support Guidebook,”;
  • Assistant Secretary of Defense (Sustainment) establish a P3 oversight structure to ensure Military Departments are implementing their responsibilities and update guidance requiring that the officials developing and implementing P3s complete the updated P3 training course;
  • Commanding General of the U.S. Army Materiel Command; the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Tank‑automotive and Armaments Command, and the Commander of Anniston Army Depot update their respective policies to align with DoD P3 requirements;
  • Program management office and Anniston Army Depot officials review their P3s at Anniston Army Depot to identify and document the benefits of the P3s, establish metrics to measure the benefits, and implement a process to monitor those benefits; and
  • President of the Defense Acquisition University update the P3 training course.

Management Comments and Our Response

Officials from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Sustainment), Defense Acquisition University, and Army agreed with the recommendations and described actions planned and taken to resolve or close 11 of the 12 recommendations. One recommendation remains unresolved because the Secretary of the Army’s comments were not detailed enough to determine if the Secretary of the Army plans to designate an office responsible for ensuring the appropriate analysis is conducted to determine that P3s are structured to maximize benefits to the Army. Therefore, we request that the Secretary of the Army provide additional comments within 30 days in response to the final report.