oversight

Defense Management: Opportunities to Reduce Corrosion Costs and Increase Readiness

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-07-07.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

             United States General Accounting Office

GAO          Report to Congressional Committees




July 2003
             DEFENSE
             MANAGEMENT
             Opportunities to
             Reduce Corrosion
             Costs and Increase
             Readiness




GAO-03-753
             a
                                                 July 2003


                                                 DEFENSE MANAGEMENT

                                                 Opportunities to Reduce Corrosion Costs
Highlights of GAO-03-753, a report to            and Increase Readiness
Congressional Committees




The Department of Defense (DOD)                  Although the full impact of corrosion cannot be quantified due to the limited
maintains equipment and                          amount of reliable data captured by DOD and the military services, current
infrastructure worth billions of                 cost estimates, readiness, and safety data indicate that corrosion has a
dollars in many environments                     substantial impact on military equipment and infrastructure. In 2001, a
where corrosion is causing military              government-sponsored study estimated the costs of corrosion for military
assets to deteriorate, shortening
their useful life. The resulting
                                                 systems and infrastructure at about $20 billion annually and found corrosion
increase in required repairs and                 to be one of the largest components of life-cycle costs for weapon systems.
replacements drives up costs and                 Corrosion also reduces readiness because the need to repair or replace
takes critical systems out of action,            corrosion damage increases the downtime of critical military assets. For
reducing mission readiness.                      example, a recent study concluded that corrective maintenance of corrosion-
                                                 related faults has degraded the readiness of all of the Army’s approximately
GAO was asked to review military                 2,450 force modernization helicopters. Finally, a number of serious safety
activities related to corrosion                  concerns have also been associated with corrosion, including Navy F-14 and
control. Specifically, this report               F-18 landing gear failures during carrier operations and crashes of several
examines the extent of the impact                Air Force F-16 aircraft due to the corrosion of electrical contacts that
of corrosion on DOD and the                      control fuel valves.
military services and the extent of
the effectiveness of DOD’s and the
services’ approach to preventing                 DOD and the military services do not have an effective approach to prevent
and mitigating corrosion.                        and mitigate corrosion. They have had some successes in addressing
                                                 corrosion problems on individual programs, but several weaknesses are
                                                 preventing DOD and the military services from achieving much greater
                                                 benefits, including potentially billions of dollars in additional net savings
The departmentwide strategic plan                annually. Each service has multiple corrosion offices, and their different
currently being developed should                 policies, procedures, and funding channels limit coordination. Also, the goals
contain clearly defined goals;
                                                 and incentives that guide these offices sometimes conflict with those of the
measurable, outcome-oriented
objectives; and performance                      operational commands that they rely on to fund project implementation. As
measures. The strategy should also               a result, proposed projects are often assigned a lower priority compared to
identify standardized methods for                efforts offering more immediate results. Together, these problems reduce
evaluating project proposals,                    the effectiveness of DOD corrosion prevention. While DOD is in the process
estimating resource needs, and                   of establishing a central corrosion control activity and strategy, it remains to
coordinating projects in an                      be seen whether these efforts will effectively address these weaknesses.
interservice and servicewide
context. The military services                   Examples of Corrosion Damage in the South Pacific
should develop overarching
strategic plans consistent with the
departmentwide plan. In written
comments, DOD agreed with all of
these recommendations.




www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-753.

To view the full product, including the scope
and methodology, click on the link above.
For more information, contact William Solis at
(202) 512-8365 or solisw@gao.gov.                Left: Corroded 500-pound bombs, Guam. Right: Corroding bridge column, Pearl Harbor.
Contents



Letter                                                                                               1
                             Results in Brief                                                        3
                             Background                                                              4
                             Impacts on Military Costs, Readiness, and Safety Indicate That
                               Corrosion Is an Extensive Problem                                     6
                             DOD and Services’ Approach to Corrosion Control Is Not Effective
                               but Has Achieved Some Successes                                      21
                             Conclusion                                                             38
                             Recommendations for Executive Action                                   39
                             Agency Comments                                                        40


Appendixes
              Appendix I:    Scope and Methodology                                                  42
             Appendix II:    Examples of Corrosion Prevention Efforts That Have
                             Not Realized Their Full Potential                                      45
             Appendix III:   Comments from the Department of Defense                                52


Figures                      Figure 1: Corrosion on Army 5-Ton Truck in Hawaii                       8
                             Figure 2: Corroding Bridge Columns at Naval Station Pearl
                                        Harbor, Hawaii                                               9
                             Figure 3: Corrosion on Army UH-60L Black Hawk Helicopter               11
                             Figure 4: Corroded 500-Pound Bombs at Andersen Air Force Base,
                                        Guam                                                        14
                             Figure 5: Cracked Runway at Point Mugu Naval Air Station,
                                        California                                                  17
                             Figure 6: Marine Corps Helicopter Rinsing Facility Kaneohe Bay,
                                        Hawaii                                                      20
                             Figure 7: Army National Guard Controlled Humidity
                                        Preservation                                                23
                             Figure 8: K-Span Shelter at Army Reserve Unit Fort Shafter,
                                        Hawaii                                                      29
                             Figure 9: Corroded Connectors on Air Force F-16 Main Fuel
                                        Shutoff Valve                                               30
                             Figure 10: Corrosion Inhibitor Application Facility at Army’s
                                        Schofield Barracks, Hawaii                                  32
                             Figure 11: Corrosion on High Temperature Pipelines at Air Force
                                        Tracking Facility Antigua, West Indies                      36
                             Figure 12: Corroded Air-Conditioning Valves at Quantico Marine
                                        Corps Base, Virginia                                        38



                             Page i                                       GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Contents




Abbreviations

ASPRCS       Aviation Systems Performance Readiness and Corrosion Study
DOD          Department of Defense
GPRA         Government Performance and Results Act of 1993
HMMWV        High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles


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Page ii                                                  GAO-03-753 Defense Management
A
United States General Accounting Office
Washington, D.C. 20548



                                    July 7, 2003                                                                                   Lert




                                    The Honorable John Ensign
                                    Chairman
                                    The Honorable Daniel Akaka
                                    Ranking Minority Member
                                    Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support
                                    Committee on Armed Services
                                    United States Senate

                                    The Honorable Joel Hefley
                                    Chairman
                                    The Honorable Solomon Ortiz
                                    Ranking Minority Member
                                    Subcommittee on Readiness
                                    Committee on Armed Services
                                    House of Representatives

                                    The Department of Defense (DOD) maintains equipment and infrastructure
                                    worth billions of dollars in many environments where corrosion, in one
                                    form or another, is causing military assets to deteriorate, shortening their
                                    useful lives. The resulting increase in needed repairs and replacements
                                    drives up costs and takes critical systems out of action, reducing mission
                                    readiness.1 Corrosion can also create severe safety hazards leading to loss
                                    of life when, for example, corroded electrical contacts in aircraft cause
                                    system failures during flight. Because numerous advances in products and
                                    technologies have been found to enhance efforts to prevent and mitigate
                                    corrosion, it is critical that DOD, as the steward of an enormous investment
                                    in military assets, ensure that all appropriate measures are implemented to
                                    reduce corrosion costs to the greatest extent possible.




                                    1
                                      Readiness is generally defined as a measure of the Department of Defense’s ability
                                    to provide the capabilities needed to execute the mission specified in the National
                                    Military Strategy. At the unit level, readiness refers to the ability of units, such as Army
                                    divisions, Navy ships, and Air Force wings, to provide capabilities required of the
                                    combatant commands.




                                    Page 1                                                       GAO-03-753 Defense Management
The Congress, recognizing corrosion as a serious military concern, enacted
legislation as part of the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act
for Fiscal Year 2003 which requires DOD to designate a senior official or
organization responsible for preventing and mitigating the corrosion of
military equipment and infrastructure.2 The act requires the designated
official or organization to oversee and coordinate efforts throughout the
department, recommend policy guidance, and review the funding levels
proposed by each military service. The Secretary of Defense is required
to develop and implement a long-term strategy to reduce the effects
of corrosion.

You requested that we review military activities related to the prevention
and mitigation of corrosion. In this report we address the following
questions: (1) What is the extent of the impact of corrosion on the
military services’ equipment and facilities? (2) To what extent do DOD
and the military services have an effective approach to prevent and
mitigate corrosion?

To respond to these questions, we reviewed numerous studies and
discussed military corrosion impact issues with experts in and outside
DOD. To examine DOD and the military services’ approach to corrosion
prevention and mitigation, we visited field installations and developed
several case studies on specific corrosion prevention and mitigation efforts
that are summarized in appendix II and referred to throughout the report.
More detailed information about our scope and methodology is contained
in appendix I.




2
    P.L.107-314, section 1067.




Page 2                                          GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Results in Brief   Although the full impact of corrosion cannot be quantified due to the
                   limited amount of reliable data captured by DOD and the military
                   services, data on current cost estimates,3 readiness, and safety indicate
                   that corrosion has a substantial impact on military equipment and
                   infrastructure. For example, in 2001, a 2-year, government-sponsored
                   study estimated the direct costs of corrosion for military systems and
                   infrastructure at approximately $20 billion annually and found corrosion to
                   be one of the largest components of life-cycle costs for military weapon
                   systems.4 Another study puts the cost at closer to $10 billion.5 Corrosion
                   has also been shown to substantially increase equipment downtime,
                   thereby reducing readiness. For example, a 2001 study concluded that
                   corrective maintenance of corrosion-related faults has degraded the
                   readiness of all of the Army’s approximately 2,450 force modernization
                   helicopters; the Army estimated in 1998 that approximately $4 billion was
                   spent on corrosion repair of helicopters alone. In 2001, DOD also reported
                   that more than two thirds of its military facilities have serious deficiencies
                   and are in such poor condition that they are unable to meet certain mission
                   requirements; corrosion was identified as a major contributor to much of
                   this deterioration. Finally, a number of safety concerns have also been
                   associated with corrosion. During the 1980s, the crashes of several F-16
                   aircraft were traced to corroded electrical contacts that caused
                   uncommanded fuel valve closures. More recently, Navy F-14 and F-18
                   aircraft have experienced landing gear failures (collapses) during carrier
                   operations that were attributed to corrosion-related cracking.

                   DOD and the military services do not have an effective approach to prevent
                   and mitigate corrosion. While the military services have achieved some
                   successes on individual corrosion prevention projects, their overall
                   approach to corrosion control has significant weaknesses that have
                   decreased the effectiveness of their efforts. For example, DOD does not
                   have a strategic plan for corrosion prevention and mitigation, and the
                   services have either not developed such plans or have not implemented
                   them. While DOD is in the process of establishing a central corrosion

                   3
                       Cost estimates were not audited.
                   4
                     Koch, Gerhardus H. et al., Corrosion Cost and Prevention Strategies in the United States,
                   CC Technologies and NACE International in cooperation with the U.S. Department of
                   Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Sept. 30, 2001.
                   5
                     Corrosion in DOD Systems: Data Collection and Analysis (Phase I), Harold Mindlin
                   et al.; Metals Information Analysis Center, February 1996.




                   Page 3                                                    GAO-03-753 Defense Management
             control office, no single office exists within each of the military services
             to manage corrosion control over equipment and infrastructure. Instead,
             each service has multiple corrosion offices within various operational
             units and weapon systems programs. These offices often have different
             policies, procedures, and funding channels that limit coordination and
             standardization. In many cases, corrosion control officials were not aware
             of the activities and achievements of their counterparts in other commands
             and across the services. Further, corrosion control offices act largely in
             an advisory role and are guided by goals and incentives that sometimes
             conflict with those of the operational commands that they rely on to fund
             project implementation. As a result, many proposed projects—even those
             with the potential for very large future-year cost savings—are often
             assigned a low funding priority compared to operations and repair projects
             offering more immediate results. These weaknesses combine to reduce the
             overall effectiveness of DOD’s approach to corrosion control and result in
             the services missing important opportunities to achieve greater benefits,
             including potentially billions of dollars in additional net savings annually
             that would accrue from a long-term reduction in corrosion of military
             equipment and infrastructure.

             To strengthen DOD’s approach to corrosion control, we are recommending
             that it define and incorporate into its long-term corrosion mitigation
             strategy measurable, outcome-oriented objectives and performance
             measures that show progress toward achieving results. In addition, we
             are recommending that the strategy include a number of elements to
             address problems and limitations we identified in current corrosion
             prevention efforts. In comments on a draft of this report, DOD generally
             concurred with all our recommendations. The department also provided
             technical clarifications, which we incorporated as appropriate.



Background   Corrosion affects all military assets, including approximately
             350,000 ground and tactical vehicles, 15,000 aircraft and helicopters,
             1,000 strategic missiles, and 300 ships. Maintenance activities—including
             corrosion control—involve nearly 700,000 military (active and reserve)
             and DOD civilian personnel, as well as several thousand commercial firms
             worldwide. Hundreds of thousands of additional mission support assets
             and thousands of facilities are also affected.

             Corrosion is defined as the unintended destruction or deterioration of a
             material due to interaction with the environment. It includes such varied
             forms as rusting; pitting; galvanic reaction; calcium or other mineral build



             Page 4                                           GAO-03-753 Defense Management
up; degradation due to ultraviolet light exposure; and mold, mildew, or
other organic decay. It can be either readily visible or microscopic. Factors
influencing the development and rate of corrosion include the type and
design of the material, the presence of electrolytes (water, minerals,
and salts), the availability of oxygen, the ambient temperature, and the
amount of exposure to the environment. The rate of corrosion increases
exponentially when the ambient humidity is over 50 percent. Corrosion
can also occur in the absence of water, but only at high temperatures, such
as in gas turbine engines.

The effects of corrosion on DOD equipment and infrastructure have
become more prominent as the acquisition of new equipment has slowed
and more reliance is placed on the service of aging equipment and
infrastructure. The aging of military systems poses a unique challenge
for maintenance and corrosion control for all services.6

A number of DOD and commercial studies have identified and evaluated
technologies and techniques for corrosion prevention and control. The
studies indicate that although effective corrosion prevention and control
methods and technologies are well known and have been recommended for
years, they have not been implemented effectively. The studies also
identify a number of relatively simple solutions—such as covered storage,
controlled environment, washing and rinsing, spray-on rust inhibitors, and
protective wrapping—to mitigate and control the effects of corrosion.

Congress has recognized the need to significantly reduce the economic
burden on the military services of the damage caused by corrosion and
of the efforts to mitigate its adverse affects. In November 2002,
Congress passed the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for
Fiscal Year 2003, which required the Department of Defense to take the
following steps:

• Designate a responsible official or organization within the department
  to (1) oversee and coordinate corrosion prevention and mitigation of
  military equipment and infrastructure; (2) develop and recommend
  policy guidance; (3) review programs and funding levels; and


6
  For example, the average age of the Air Force aircraft fleet is 22 years. By fiscal year 2020,
the average age will increase to nearly 30 years, with current programmed investments. This
would translate to 60-year-old tankers, 47-year-old reconnaissance/surveillance platforms,
and 44-year-old bombers. (The B-52 would be nearly 60 years old.)




Page 5                                                       GAO-03-753 Defense Management
                           (4) provide oversight and coordination of the efforts to incorporate
                           corrosion control during the design, acquisition, and maintenance of
                           military equipment and infrastructure.

                        • Develop and implement a long-term strategy to reduce corrosion and
                          the effects of corrosion on the military equipment and infrastructure of
                          the Department of Defense not later than 1 year after the date of the
                          enactment of the act.

                        • Submit to Congress an Interim Report regarding the actions taken to
                          date by the corrosion control office when the President submits the
                          budget for fiscal year 2004. On May 22, 2003, DOD submitted the report.



Impacts on Military     Numerous studies in recent years have documented the pervasive nature of
                        corrosion and its various effects on military equipment and infrastructure.
Costs, Readiness, and   Although the full impact of corrosion cannot be quantified due to the
Safety Indicate That    limited amount of reliable data captured by DOD and the military services,
                        current cost estimates, readiness, and safety data indicate that corrosion
Corrosion Is an         has a substantial effect on military equipment and infrastructure. Costs are
Extensive Problem       significant because corroded military assets must often be repaired or
                        replaced at great expense. Readiness is also severely impaired because
                        corrosion increases the maintenance needed and, therefore, the downtime
                        on a large quantities of military equipment. The effects extend to
                        infrastructure, which, in turn, has an adverse impact on the military’s
                        ability to meet mission requirements. Further, corrosion has an equally
                        profound effect on the safety of equipment and infrastructure.




                        Page 6                                          GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Corrosion Costs Appear   Corrosion’s impact on military costs appears to be enormous, representing
to Be Enormous           one of the largest life-cycle cost components of military weapon systems.
                         In a 2001 government-sponsored study, corrosion is estimated to cost the
                         Department of Defense at least $20 billion a year. Another study done in
                         1996 puts the cost at closer to $10 billion annually. The costs identified
                         in these reports are direct costs such as the manpower and material that
                         are used primarily to inspect and repair damage resulting from corrosion.
                         However, there are also indirect costs that, were they to be quantified,
                         would significantly increase the total reported costs. Indirect costs
                         include the loss of the opportunity to use equipment that is not in
                         operating condition. Although extensive equipment downtime results
                         from corrosion, the attendant financial impacts have not been fully
                         captured. Even more difficult to quantify is the cost of using equipment
                         that, while not inoperable, has diminished utility due to corrosion.
                         Considering the enormous total value of all of the equipment owned by
                         the military services, these costs are considerable, to say the least.
                         Corrosion also shortens the service life and accelerates the depreciation
                         of DOD facilities, which in a recent GAO report are estimated to have a
                         replacement value of over $435 billion.7 This impact on facilities translates
                         into costs that are not included in the government corrosion cost study.

                         There are numerous examples of how profoundly corrosion affects costs.
                         For example, in 1993, the Army estimated spending about $2 billion to
                         $2.5 billion a year to mitigate the corrosion of wheeled vehicles, including
                         5-ton trucks.8 (See fig. 1.)




                         7
                           U.S. General Accounting Office, Defense Infrastructure: Changes in Funding
                         Priorities and Strategic Planning Needed to Improve the Condition of Military
                         Facilities, GAO-03-274 (Washington, D.C.: February 2003).
                         8
                          Corrosion Prevention for Wheeled Vehicles, DOD Inspector General Audit Report,
                         Number 93-156, August 13, 1993.




                         Page 7                                                 GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Figure 1: Corrosion on Army 5-Ton Truck in Hawaii




Source: U.S. Army.




                                         Corrosion was found to be so extensive on some of the trucks that the
                                         repair costs were greater than 65 percent of the average cost of a new
                                         vehicle. Cost impacts appear to be even greater on Army helicopters, as
                                         evidenced by a 1998 analysis estimating costs of about $4 billion to repair
                                         damage attributed to corrosion.9 Corrosion is also a formidable cost
                                         driver to the Navy. As an illustration, the Navy’s Pacific and Atlantic Fleets
                                         estimate that about 25 percent of their total combined annual maintenance
                                         budget is directed to the prevention and correction of corrosion. Navy
                                         officials told us that the prevention and removal of corrosion on shipboard
                                         tanks alone costs the Navy over $174 million a year. Navy facilities such
                                         as waterfront structures are also decaying because of corrosion, and


                                         9
                                           U.S. Army TACOM-ARDEC communication referenced in Corrosion Costs
                                         and Preventative Strategies in the United States, Gerhardus H. Koch, Ph.D., et al.;
                                         CC Technologies Laboratories, Inc., September 30, 2001.




                                         Page 8                                                    GAO-03-753 Defense Management
                                          these facilities will need to be replaced at considerable cost. For example,
                                          naval military construction projects estimated to cost $727 million are
                                          required to restore 20 piers that have suffered extensive corrosion damage.
                                          (See fig. 2.)



Figure 2: Corroding Bridge Columns at Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii




Source: U.S. Navy.




                                          In 1990, the Air Force estimated the cost of corrosion to be about
                                          $700 million. Interestingly, even though the number of operational
                                          Air Force aircraft decreased significantly, corrosion costs for the
                                          Air Force increased to over $1 billion by 2001,10 or $300 million more
                                          than previously reported.




                                          10
                                           Cost of Corrosion: Final Report, prepared for Air Force Research Laboratory,
                                          NCI Systems, Inc., Fairborn, Ohio, March 26, 2003.




                                          Page 9                                                  GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Corrosion Substantially   Corrosion has been shown to substantially increase equipment downtime,
Degrades Equipment and    thereby reducing readiness. Whether it affects a truck, helicopter, ship, or
                          pipeline, corrosion is a major contributor to the amount of maintenance
Facilities Readiness      required on military equipment and infrastructure. Depending on the kind
                          and severity of corrosion, the maintenance may be performed as part of
                          the scheduled maintenance cycle or as emergency repairs, especially
                          when it involves safety concerns. Whether scheduled or not, maintenance
                          translates into equipment downtime. As a result, readiness is diminished
                          because the equipment cannot be used for training purposes or for other
                          kinds of operations. In addition, corrosion contributes to or accelerates the
                          deterioration of equipment and, therefore, reduces its service life. As a
                          result, the condition of some equipment is assessed to have deteriorated
                          beyond repair capability and the equipment is no longer usable.

                          The effects on readiness are extensive throughout the military services,
                          and they are clearly evidenced in regard to military aircraft. For example,
                          a 2001 study concluded that corrective maintenance of corrosion-related
                          faults has degraded the readiness of all of the Army’s approximately
                          2,450 force modernization helicopters. (See fig. 3.)




                          Page 10                                          GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Figure 3: Corrosion on Army UH-60L Black Hawk Helicopter




        Fuel cell compartment           Control rod linkage   Spindle bolts


Source: U.S. Army.




                                        Page 11                               GAO-03-753 Defense Management
The effects on the Air Force’s KC-135 are particularly pronounced, with
corrosion identified as the reason for over 50 percent of the maintenance
needed on the aircraft. While the Air Force has yet to quantify the total
impact, one study identified corrosion of avionics equipment contacts to
be a significant cause of failure rates on all Air Force aircraft. Because
these failure rates affect equipment that is sophisticated and often occurs
in hard-to-access areas, a significant amount of time is needed for testing,
inspection, and repair. This extends aircraft downtime and reduces
readiness levels. Corrosion has also reduced the readiness levels for the
Navy’s P-3C aircraft. According to Navy officials, corrosion has always
been responsible for a large part of maintenance required for the aircraft,
but the amount has doubled in recent years. While these officials do not
have specific information regarding the effects of corrosion, they did
note that in just the past year they had to ground two aircraft specifically
because of severe corrosion.

The effects on readiness extend well beyond aviation and include
virtually every type of equipment maintained and operated by the military.
Corrosion also severely affects the readiness of other types of equipment,
such as Army vehicles. In 1996, the Army identified corrosion as the reason
why 17 percent of its trucks located in Hawaii were not mission capable.
Earlier in 1993, the availability of the Army’s High Mobility Multipurpose
Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) had been particularly diminished because of
corrosion. While some of the vehicles were out of service for as long as a
year, others had such severe corrosion that they had to be scrapped after
5 years, many years short of their expected 15-year service life. The Air
Force also identified severe corrosion on its ground vehicles, resulting
in increased maintenance and downtime. Some of the vehicles showed
significant deterioration just months after being delivered to field units.

Corrosion and its impact on readiness are especially a concern for the
Navy, because its ships operate in highly corrosive salt water and in
high-humidity locations. A notable example of these effects occurred in
2001 on the aircraft carrier USS John F Kennedy. Maintenance problems,
including many that were corrosion-related, were so severe that the
carrier could not complete its planned operations. Even more recently, the
carrier USS Kitty Hawk returned from a series of deployments, including
Operation Enduring Freedom, with significant maintenance problems
that also included topside corrosion. As a result, the carrier is expected
to undergo extensive maintenance.




Page 12                                          GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Such effects are found Navy-wide, and the Navy estimates that about
25 percent of its fleet maintenance budget goes toward corrosion
prevention and control. This and other kinds of maintenance are largely
completed at a Navy depot and require an average of 6 months. During this
extended period of time, the ship is not available for service. The amount
of time the ship is in the depot is due in part to the repairs needed because
of corrosion; Navy officials told us this amount of corrosion-related
maintenance is understated because it does not include the vast amount
of manpower and resources spent on corrosion removal and repainting
while the ships are on operations. These repairs, too, have an impact on
readiness, because crew members who would normally be undergoing
training or other kinds of operations are, instead, required to
perform maintenance.

Corrosion also impairs the readiness of military armament. For example,
the Army reported a significant number of failures due to corrosion on the
155 mm medium-towed howitzer so severe that they resulted in aborted
missions. The study estimates that between 30 to 40 percent of the aborts
are direct results of corrosion. Corrosion is also identified as accounting
for 39 percent of all unscheduled maintenance for the howitzer, further
reducing the readiness levels of the equipment. In addition, corrosion has
affected the readiness of the Air Force’s general purpose iron bombs.
(See fig. 4.)




Page 13                                          GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Figure 4: Corroded 500-Pound Bombs at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam




Source: U.S. Air Force.




                                       According to Air Force records, of the approximately 450,000 bombs of
                                       this type in the Air Force inventory, more than 107,000 (or over 24 percent)
                                       have varying levels of deterioration caused by corrosion and, as a result,
                                       are not mission capable. While many of these bombs are repairable, a
                                       certain level of maintenance is needed to restore most of them to



                                       Page 14                                         GAO-03-753 Defense Management
                           acceptable operational condition. Some of the bombs, however, are too
                           severely corroded to be salvageable.

                           Military facilities are also decaying due to corrosion and, as a result,
                           readiness is affected adversely. In 2001, the Department of Defense
                           reported that more than two-thirds of its military facilities have serious
                           deficiencies and are in such poor condition that they are unable to meet
                           certain mission requirements. The department identifies corrosion as a
                           major contributor to much of this deterioration. According to military
                           service officials, the most significant area of concern may be the condition
                           of military airfields. Each of the military services has reported runway
                           cracking so severe that the runways were judged unusable. Deterioration
                           of this kind was even identified in airfields used for operations during
                           Enduring Freedom. For example, runway cracks at Pope Air Force Base,
                           North Carolina, were so extensive that several C-130 cargo planes and A-10
                           fighters heading for Afghanistan were diverted to other U.S. installations.
                           Further, Navy facilities officials told us that infrastructure deterioration is
                           so significant that it has adverse impacts on the service’s ability to perform
                           required maintenance on its equipment. For example, they said that parts
                           of the ceiling of an aircraft hanger located at North Island Naval Air Station,
                           California, had crumbled as a result of corrosion. Because of the safety
                           hazard and potential damage to aircraft, the hanger had to be closed down
                           for several months for repairs and the aircraft relocated to other storage
                           facilities. Corrosion of facilities and the impacts on readiness go well
                           beyond problems experienced at airfields and hangars. The Pacific Air
                           Force Command cited corrosion as the cause of failures of numerous
                           critical infrastructure, including aircraft refueling, fire protection,
                           electrical, and command and control facilities. The Command noted that
                           this kind of deterioration can significantly impact its ability to perform
                           its mission.



Corrosion Poses Numerous   Corrosion also poses numerous safety risks and is a source of major
Safety Risks               concern to all military services. This concern is particularly acute when
                           associated with the safety of military aircraft. According to an Army study,
                           from 1989 through 2000 the Army experienced 46 mishaps, 9 fatalities,
                           and 13 injuries directly related to corrosion. During calendar year 2001, the
                           Army issued four Safety of Flight messages for its rotary wing systems due
                           to corrosion-related material deficiencies that adversely affected 2,100,
                           or over 88 percent, of its force modernization helicopters. As recently as
                           March 2002, the Navy suspended carrier operations for F-14 aircraft when
                           one aircraft crashed because its landing gear collapsed due to corrosion.



                           Page 15                                           GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Just 2 years earlier, the Navy had identified corrosion as the cause of a
landing gear failure on a F-18 that occurred during carrier operations.
Despite regular inspections, stress cracking in the landing gear evaded
detection, and the problem was not revealed until after the accident when
the equipment was examined under an electron microscope. Perhaps even
more difficult to detect, but nevertheless just as significant, are the safety
risks corrosion presents on F-16 avionics connectors. This aircraft has
sophisticated electronics equipment that is housed in Line Replaceable
Units. Although these containers provide considerable protection from the
elements, they cannot entirely eliminate moisture from entering, and even
microscopic amounts of moisture can cause catastrophic accidents. For
example, during the 1980s, uncommanded fuel valve closures caused
several F-16 aircraft crashes. The equipment failures were believed to
be the result of corrosion on the avionics connectors.

Corrosion also poses major safety hazards at military facilities. Perhaps
the greatest safety risk, according to facilities officials, is the cracking
of concrete runways at airfields operated by all of the military services.
(See fig. 5.)




Page 16                                           GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Figure 5: Cracked Runway at Point Mugu Naval Air Station, California




Source: U.S. Navy.




                                          One of the causes of this deterioration results from a corrosive chemical
                                          process called alkali-silica reaction, which occurs when alkalis react with
                                          water in ways that cause cracking, chipping, and expansion of concrete. As
                                          airfields continue to decay and crumble, more pieces of concrete are left on
                                          the runway, and these pieces have been absorbed by military aircraft and
                                          cited as the causes of innumerable aircraft safety incidents and accidents.
                                          Airfield cracking due to corrosion and the safety risk that it presents is so
                                          extensive that all the military services have experienced serious incidents
                                          resulting from this hazard. Examples of this kind of damage have been
                                          reported at Osan Air Base, Korea; Ft. Campbell Army Airfield, Kentucky;



                                          Page 17                                          GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California; and Marine Corps Air Station,
Iwakuni, Japan. The foreign object debris hazard was so severe at the Little
Rock Air Force Base that the Air Mobility Command assessed a taxiway as
unsuitable for operations. At Naval Air Station Pensacola, several recent
incidents were reported of Navy aircraft penetrating cracked airfield
pavement and jeopardizing pilot safety.

Pipelines that contain natural gas and other kinds of fuel also pose a
safety risk at military facilities. A majority of the pipelines are quite old and
are constructed largely of metal that is susceptible to corrosion, which is
the major cause of pipeline ruptures. Air Force facilities officials told us
that some of the pipelines were installed as far back as the 1950s, and
older pipelines pose an even greater hazard because they have a higher
probability of rupturing from corrosion. The services are gradually
replacing many of the metal pipelines with pipelines made of high-density
polyethylene plastic and other materials that are more corrosion resistant.
The use of cathodic protection devices also helps to prevent corrosion.
Facilities officials told us that despite these measures and periodic
inspections, they have experienced numerous pipeline ruptures they
attribute to corrosion. They said that until all of the existing pipelines are
replaced, such ruptures will continue to be a source of major concern.
However, replacing pipelines is very expensive, and facilities officials said
that it would take many years to obtain enough funds to replace all of them.
Facilities officials at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, said
that they have experienced several fuel line ruptures, many of them caused
by corroded pipe valves. They said fuel lines that run alongside base
housing pose the greatest safety concern, and they have begun to replace
these lines first. Eventually they hope to replace all of them throughout
the base.




Page 18                                            GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Full Impact of Corrosion      For more than a decade, a number of DOD, military service, and
Unknown Due to                private-sector studies have cited the lack of reliable data to adequately
                              assess the overall impact of the corrosion problem. Studies done in
Incomplete Cost, Readiness,   1996 and 2001 on DOD corrosion data collection and analysis found that,
and Safety Data               while individual services have attempted to quantify the cost of corrosion,
                              neither the mechanisms nor the methodologies exist to accurately quantify
                              the problem.11 A 2001 Army study found that no single data system provides
                              aggregate corrosion data related to cost, maintenance, and readiness, and
                              that the existence of many separate databases restrict the ability to collect
                              standardized data reflecting consistent characteristics.12 The study, which
                              focused on Army aviation, concluded that existing automated information
                              systems do not provide decision makers with complete, accurate, or timely
                              corrosion repair and replacement data. An Air Force study came to similar
                              conclusions.13 Navy officials told us that information regarding the cost of
                              corrosion is incomplete because these costs are difficult to isolate from
                              overall maintenance costs. They said these data limitations make it difficult
                              to determine the severity of the problems and to justify the funding needed
                              to prevent corrosion problems in the future. Facilities officials at Marine
                              Corps Base Camp Pendleton said that their databases do not specifically
                              identify data as corrosion related. They told us they would prefer to have
                              better data for making investment decisions but instead must rely primarily
                              on information obtained from periodic and annual corrosion inspections.

                              We identified many examples of how the lack of reliable and complete
                              information impeded the funding and progress of corrosion prevention
                              projects. In addition, military officials at the unit level told us that they
                              had trouble obtaining sufficient data and analysis to justify the cost
                              effectiveness of prevention projects. They cited the lack of information as
                              one of the main reasons why corrosion mitigation projects were not being
                              funded. For example, Air Force officials told us that an aircraft rinsing


                              11
                                Corrosion in DOD Systems: Data Collection and Analysis (Phase I), Harold Mindlin,
                              et al.; Metals Information Analysis Center, February 1996; and Corrosion Costs and
                              Preventative Strategies in the United States, Gerhardus H. Koch, Ph.D. et al.; CC
                              Technologies Laboratories, Inc., September 30, 2001.
                              12
                                Aviation Systems Performance Readiness and Corrosion Study (ASPRCS), Ken Mitchell,
                              Study Director, Center for Army Analysis, 2001.
                              13
                                A Study to Determine the Annual Direct Cost of Corrosion Maintenance for Weapon
                              Systems and Equipment in the United States Air Force, prepared for the Air Force Corrosion
                              Program Office, NCI Information Systems, Inc., Fairborn, Ohio, February 6, 1998.




                              Page 19                                                  GAO-03-753 Defense Management
facility at Hickam Air Force Base is no longer operable, and they need
about $4 million for a new facility. They also said that although they do not
have sufficient data to accurately estimate expected cost savings from
reduced maintenance, they believe it would far exceed initial investment
costs. They added that their inability to move forward stems largely from a
lack of the data and analysis needed to justify the projects. The Marine
Corps faced similar obstacles in justifying the installation of a helicopter
rinsing facilities at Marine Corps Air Facility, Kaneohe Bay. (See fig. 6.)



Figure 6: Marine Corps Helicopter Rinsing Facility Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii




Source: U.S. Marine Corps.




Officials told us that the corrosion maintenance costs they would avoid in
the first year alone would exceed the total amount of funding needed to
build an additional facility, but they do not have the data or resources to
support the necessary analysis, and without it they cannot justify the
project or obtain approval for the funds.




Page 20                                            GAO-03-753 Defense Management
DOD and Services’           While the military services have achieved some successes on individual
                            corrosion prevention projects, significant weaknesses in their overall
Approach to                 approach to corrosion control have decreased the effectiveness of their
Corrosion Control           efforts. An important limitation is the lack of a strategic plan that includes
                            long-term goals and outcome-based performance measures. In addition,
Is Not Effective            coordination within and among the services is limited, and the priorities of
but Has Achieved            organizations that plan corrosion prevention projects and those that
Some Successes              implement and fund them are frequently in conflict. As a result, promising
                            projects often fall far short of their potential, and many are never initiated
                            at all.



Some Corrosion Prevention   Major commands, program offices, and research and development
Improvements Are Being      centers servicewide have made and continue to make improvements
                            in the methods and techniques for preventing corrosion. Corrosion
Introduced during and
                            prevention improvements can either be introduced during the design and
after Acquisition           production phases or some time after equipment is fielded. For example,
Production Process          durable coatings, composite materials, and cathodic protection are being
                            incorporated to an increasing extent in the design and construction of
                            military facilities and equipment to reduce corrosion-related maintenance.
                            Systems as diverse as the joint strike fighter, the DD-X destroyer,
                            amphibious assault vehicles, and HMMWV trucks plan to use composite
                            materials and advanced protective coatings to increase corrosion
                            resistance. The military services estimate that as much as 25 to 35 percent
                            of corrosion costs can be eliminated by using these and other corrosion
                            prevention efforts, which would amount to billions of dollars in potential
                            savings each year. Our recent report on total ownership costs of military
                            equipment discusses some of the approaches DOD is using to incorporate
                            maintenance reduction techniques, including corrosion mitigation, into the
                            design and development of new systems.14

                            Regarding the maintenance of existing equipment and infrastructure, we
                            have identified several examples of projects that show potential for a
                            high return on investment and advances in the technologies of corrosion
                            prevention but which have not, for various reasons, been fully
                            implemented. For example, the Naval Sea Systems Command has


                            14
                             U.S. General Accounting Office, Best Practices: Setting Requirements Differently
                            Could Reduce Weapon Systems’ Total Ownership Costs, GAO-03-57 (Washington, D.C.:
                            February 2003).




                            Page 21                                               GAO-03-753 Defense Management
developed durable coatings that increase the amount of corrosion
protection for various kinds of tanks (such as fuel and ballast tanks)
on Navy ships to 20 years instead of the 5 years formerly possible. The
installation of the coatings started in fiscal year 1996. However, by the
end of fiscal year 2002, the Navy had installed these coatings on less than
7 percent of the tanks, for an estimated net savings of about $10 million
a year. The tank preservation effort has not been widely implemented
because, Navy officials told us, the fleet has other needs that have a higher
priority. Navy officials told us they frequently have to defer the installation
of the new coatings because of the limited availability of ships due to the
increased pace of Fleet operations and more pressing maintenance
requirements. As a result, the Navy estimates that it is about $161 million
short of achieving the total annual net cost savings projected for this
corrosion prevention effort. The Command has numerous other projects
that have fallen short of their potential because the fleet had higher
priorities. While these projects have total projected annual net savings of
another $919 million, they have achieved about $33 million in yearly
savings to date. Once implemented, the benefits of these efforts extend
well beyond cost savings because they have the potential to significantly
reduce ship maintenance, thereby increasing the availability of ships for
operations.

The Army National Guard’s Controlled Humidity Preservation project
represents another example of a high potential savings effort that has not
been fully realized. Under this project, dehumidified air is pumped into
buildings or equipment to reduce the rate of corrosion. (See fig. 7.)




Page 22                                           GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Figure 7: Army National Guard Controlled Humidity Preservation




Source: Army National Guard Bureau.




Project officials claimed net savings of $225 million through the end of
fiscal year 2002. While officials state the project has proven to be a success
so far, they now estimate that it will take about 15 years to achieve the total
projected savings, or 5 years longer than originally planned. Army National
Guard officials told us they could achieve greater savings if they receive
additional funding earlier than is currently planned.

The Air Force’s bomb metalization project is also not achieving its full
cost savings potential. According to an Air Force study, treating cast iron,
general-purpose bombs with a special protective metallic spray coating
would save the Air Force at least $30 million in maintenance costs over
30 years, although one study estimated the savings to be as much as
$100 million. The Air Force stores about 450,000 of this type of bomb in
locations throughout the world. Air Force officials told us that the total
investment costs for the project are about $5 million, which, based on the
higher cost savings estimate, translates into a return on investment ratio



Page 23                                           GAO-03-753 Defense Management
                             of 20 to 1. After several years of planning and implementation, about
                             15,000 bombs, or 3 percent, have received the treatment.

                             Appendix II provides more detailed information about these and other
                             examples of projects that are not reaching their full potential.



Strategic Plan Lacking for   DOD does not currently have a strategic plan for corrosion prevention and
DOD and Service              mitigation, and the services either have not developed such plans or have
                             not implemented them.
Corrosion Efforts
                             However, DOD is required within 1 year of enactment of the
                             Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003
                             (i.e., by December 2, 2003) to submit to Congress a report setting forth
                             its long-term strategy to reduce corrosion and the effects of corrosion on
                             military equipment and infrastructure.15 The act requires DOD include in
                             its long-term strategy performance measures and milestones for reducing
                             corrosion that are compatible with the Government Performance and
                             Results Act of 1993 (GPRA).16 GPRA offers a model for developing an
                             effective management framework to improve the likelihood of successfully
                             implementing initiatives and assessing results. Under GPRA, agencies at all
                             levels are required to set strategic goals, measure performance, identify
                             levels of resources needed, and report on the degree to which goals have
                             been met. Without implementing these critical performance-measuring
                             elements, management is unable to identify and prioritize projects
                             systematically, allocate resources effectively, and determine which
                             projects have been successful. As a result, managers are not in a position to
                             make sound investment decisions on proposed corrosion control projects.




                             15
                               No later than 18 months after date of enactment of the act GAO is required to submit to
                             Congress an assessment of the extent that DOD has implemented its long-term strategy to
                             reduce corrosion.
                             16
                                  P.L. 103-62, Aug. 3, 1993.




                             Page 24                                                  GAO-03-753 Defense Management
The military services either have not established effective strategic plans
that include goals, objectives, and performance measuring systems17 or
they have not implemented them. The limitations to the military services’
efforts to establish strategic plans are as follows:

• The Army created a comprehensive corrosion control program plan—
  including goals, objectives, and performance measures—but the plan
  was never fully implemented.18 As part of the plan, the Army defined
  specific performance measures to track the progress of corrosion
  mitigation efforts, but these were not put into effect. The strategy
  called for the creation of panels comprised of top government and
  industry corrosion experts who would use performance metrics to
  evaluate proposed and ongoing projects against approved goals and
  objectives. However, the panels were never established and the metrics
  were not implemented. Army corrosion control officials told us that they
  have very little performance data, such as return on investment or
  annual savings, for any of their corrosion control initiatives. Officials at
  the Army Center for Economic Analysis told us they have not measured
  performance for the purpose of determining the return on investment
  for any corrosion control project for many years; the last performance
  evaluation was carried out in 1997.

• In 1998, the Air Force published a business plan for equipment corrosion
  control, but the plan was implemented for a short time and did not
  contain all of the elements of a strategic plan. For example, it identified
  three management goals,19 but did not include performance measures.
  Also, the Air Force Equipment Maintenance Instruction that identifies
  responsibilities for the Air Force Corrosion Prevention and Control
  Office does not identify goals or performance measures. Although an Air
  Force Instruction on Performance Management states that performance

17
  Performance measures can include such data as return on investment, frequency of
required corrosion maintenance, equipment availability, readiness rates, and mean time
between failures.
18
   The plan included three main objectives: decrease life-cycle costs by 40 percent, increase
readiness by reducing downtime, and reduce the maintenance burden on diminishing active
and reserve workforce resources.
19
   The goals are as follows: (1) identify, advance and apply emerging materials and
processes to existing and future weapon systems; (2) identify current corrosion traits of
weapon systems and logistics processes, and (3) maintain data and technical manuals
related to corrosion control and provide expert consultation and technical support to field
and depot activities.




Page 25                                                    GAO-03-753 Defense Management
     management, including goals and performance measures, is the
     Air Force’s framework for a continual improvement system,
     officials told us that the business plan was no longer being used.
     They said that, in the past, there has been more emphasis on creating
     goals and monitoring performance, but because of limited resources,
     reductions in personnel, and increased optempo these activities are
     no longer performed.

• The Navy commands (Naval Air Systems Command and Naval Sea
  Systems Command) have engaged in some strategic planning for
  corrosion control, but the Navy does not have a servicewide strategic
  plan in this area, and its corrosion control offices lack the information
  and metrics needed to track progress. The Naval Air Systems Command
  planned to establish a corrosion control and prevention office but the
  plan—which included goals and objectives and outlined how progress
  would be measured—was never approved. The corrosion control and
  prevention activity at Naval Sea Systems Command is also not a formal
  program, and it lacks clearly defined overall goals and objectives. This
  office has identified cost avoidance projects and tracks the amount of
  savings achieved to date. However, more could be done to monitor
  performance. For example, there was no analysis of the reasons why
  specific projects were proceeding at a slow pace. Without this
  information, the office is not in a position to know what actions can be
  taken to improve the effectiveness of these projects.

• The Marine Corps has a corrosion control plan that includes long-term,
  broadly stated goals but does not include measurable, outcome-oriented
  objectives or performance measures. Marine Corps officials told us that
  they are in the process of revising the plan to include measures that will
  track progress toward achieving servicewide goals.

Corrosion control officials said they measure progress through a
combination of field surveys, special corrosion assessments, and
Integrated Product Teams.20 They also rely on the evaluations of
operational and installation commands and program offices but readily
acknowledge that this is not sufficient. They told us that they would prefer

20
  Integrated Product Teams are comprised of individuals representing a variety of
competencies or disciplines such as material science, system engineering, logistics,
and environmental management. These teams are assembled to take a multidisciplinary
approach to finding solutions to routine and nonroutine maintenance and acquisition
problems.




Page 26                                                GAO-03-753 Defense Management
                              to have more systematic performance measures and that these tools
                              would improve the success of individual projects and the corrosion effort
                              as a whole.



Limited Coordination Within   DOD has multiple corrosion control efforts—with different policies,
and Among the Services        procedures, and funding channels—that are not well coordinated with each
                              other; as a result, opportunities for cost savings have been lost. DOD is in
                              the process of establishing a central corrosion control office in response to
                              the authorization act, but no single office exists within each of the military
                              services to provide leadership and oversight for corrosion control of
                              equipment and infrastructure. Although the services have attempted to
                              establish central corrosion control offices, the responsibility largely falls
                              on numerous commands, installations, and program offices to fund and
                              implement projects. Military officials told us the offices were not fully
                              established, primarily because of limited funding. The Army, for example,
                              has established a central office for corrosion control of all service
                              equipment; the chain of command for the Army corrosion office for
                              facilities is separate from this office. Although a central office for
                              equipment exists, each Army command also has separate corrosion control
                              offices that are responsible for certain types of equipment—for example,
                              tanks/automotive, aviation/missiles, armaments, and electronics. Further,
                              individual weapon system program offices within each command may have
                              their own corrosion control functions. In addition, installations implement
                              their own corrosion control projects with the assistance of the Army
                              Department of Public Works and the Army Corps of Engineers. The
                              recently established Army Installation Management Agency provides
                              overall management and funding for upkeep on Army installations.

                              The Navy and Air Force also have multiple corrosion prevention and
                              mitigation offices. The Navy manages them through the materials offices
                              within the Naval Sea Systems Command and Naval Aviation Command.
                              The Air Force Materiel Command manages the Air Force’s efforts at an
                              office located at Robins Air Force Base. Like the Army, these commands
                              have multiple weapon systems program offices that also plan and
                              implement corrosion projects. The Navy and Air Force also have separate
                              organizations that are responsible for corrosion prevention and mitigation
                              efforts related to infrastructure. The Naval Facilities Engineering Center at
                              Port Hueneme, California, provides this service for both the Navy and
                              Marine Corps and, in turn, relies on the individual installations to manage
                              and implement their own efforts. The Air Force Civil Engineering Support
                              Agency provides this service for the Air Force.



                              Page 27                                          GAO-03-753 Defense Management
This fragmentation of corrosion prevention efforts minimizes coordination
and limits standardization within and among the services, as evidenced by
the following examples:

• A June 2000 corrosion assessment of the Army’s Pacific area of
  operations concluded that no standard corrosion control program,
  policy, or training exists for any Army commodity, which reduces the
  effectiveness of the Army’s efforts to control corrosion on vehicles,
  tanks, and other equipment.

• Even when the services are in a severely corrosive environment
  in which they operate relatively near to one another, few formal
  mechanisms exist to facilitate the exchange of corrosion information.
  For example, in Hawaii Army officials for the Reserve and National
  Guard and active units stated that they had limited knowledge of one
  another’s corrosion control activities or the activities of other services.
  Army officials told us they cannot afford to miss an opportunity to use
  the latest corrosion control products and practices, and it would be
  unfortunate to be deprived of any advances, especially if they are
  available and being used elsewhere. In addition, Air Force facilities
  officials in Hawaii told us that they are not aware of any formal process
  for sharing corrosion prevention and control information with
  other services.

• Officials at Marine Corps Air Facility Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, an area of
  high humidity and salt, told us that temporary shelters can be a very
  cost-effective way to reduce the corrosion of equipment such as
  vehicles, transformers, and aviation ground equipment that are
  currently stored outside because of limited space. (See fig. 8.)




Page 28                                          GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Figure 8: K-Span Shelter at Army Reserve Unit Fort Shafter, Hawaii




Source: GAO.




     These officials were unable to acquire the shelters because they did
     not have the time or resources to undertake the analysis necessary to
     support the purchase. They were aware that temporary shelters are
     being used at other Marine Corps and Army installations, but they did
     not know how the installations acquired the shelters or justified their
     purchase. The officials suggested a standard mechanism for gathering
     and communicating the information necessary to justify purchase of
     the shelters.

• The Air Force conducted a series of multiyear studies that found that
  using inexpensive corrosion-inhibiting lubricants on aircraft electrical
  connectors has the potential to save hundreds of millions of dollars
  annually. (See fig. 9.)




Page 29                                             GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Figure 9: Corroded Connectors on Air Force F-16 Main Fuel Shutoff Valve




Source: U.S. Air Force.




                                         Page 30                          GAO-03-753 Defense Management
    Air Force officials estimate that using corrosion-inhibiting lubricants
    could save more than $500 million annually on the F-16 fleet alone.
    Although the use of these lubricants is recommended in a joint
    technical manual on avionics corrosion control,21 their use is not
    required. The Air Force and Navy have developed different product
    specifications for the lubricants. The Navy’s specification covers
    the lubricants’ use on both metal surfaces and electrical connectors,
    and more than a dozen products have qualified for use under the
    specification. However, Air Force studies determined that while
    some of the products work well on electrical connectors, others are
    detrimental. As a result, the Air Force created a new specification for
    lubricant use, limiting it to electrical connectors. Air Force officials
    want the Navy to modify its specification so that only the appropriate
    products can qualify; otherwise, Air Force officials believe, those who
    refer to the joint manual containing both specifications could order a
    product detrimental to electronic systems. An Air Force contractor
    has drafted specification revisions for the Navy, but due to differing
    requirements and changes of personnel, the Navy has apparently
    decided to conduct further studies before revising its specifications.
    According to Air Force officials, these and other difficulties in
    coordinating with the Navy have prompted the Air Force to consider
    withdrawing from participation with the Navy in joint service manuals
    on corrosion control of aircraft and avionics.

• Army National Guard officials in Hawaii told us that they were not
  aware of the status of the Army’s nearby corrosion inhibitor application
  center. (See fig. 10.) The facility currently has the capacity to apply
  corrosion inhibitors to about 6,000 vehicles per year. National Guard
  officials told us that they often store vehicles for long periods of time,
  and corrosion is always a problem. They indicated interest in finding
  out more about the Army’s facility and any opportunities for
  participating with the Army if the corrosion inhibitors can reduce
  corrosion cost effectively.




21
   Technical Manual Organizational/Unit and Intermediate Maintenance, Avionics Cleaning
and Corrosion Control, NAVAIR 16-1-540, Air Force TO-1-1-689, Army TM-1-1500-343-23;
September 1, 2000.




Page 31                                                 GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Figure 10: Corrosion Inhibitor Application Facility at Army’s Schofield Barracks, Hawaii




Source: GAO.




                                           The services have created some valuable mechanisms, including
                                           special working groups22 and annual corrosion conferences, which make
                                           important contributions to corrosion prevention efforts and help facilitate
                                           intra- and inter-service coordination. However, these mechanisms do not
                                           represent a systematic approach to coordination. The effectiveness of
                                           these mechanisms is often dependent on the individual initiative of those
                                           who participate directly, as well as on the funds available to initiate
                                           corrosion-related activities. For example, each of the services hosts an
                                           annual corrosion conference, but individuals attend only to the extent that
                                           available time and travel funds allow. Furthermore, the dissemination of
                                           conference information relies to a large extent on attendees taking the
                                           initiative to use the information or communicate it to others. Limited
                                           follow-up is carried out to determine the extent to which this information


                                           22
                                             Special working groups—within and across the services—have been established, such as
                                           the Joint Council for Aging Aircraft, Air Force Corrosion Prevention and Advisory Boards,
                                           and various Science and Technology Advisor programs. DOD has also established working
                                           groups such as the Maintenance Technology Senior Steering Group, Joint Technology
                                           Exchange Group, and the Joint Logistics Commanders to share information on acquisition
                                           and maintenance issues, including corrosion control.




                                           Page 32                                                 GAO-03-753 Defense Management
                             is used in new applications. Several of the officers acting as corrosion
                             coordinators in Hawaii indicated that their commands were often unable
                             to allow them the time or travel funds to attend corrosion conferences.
                             They added that some, but not all, of the conference papers and briefings
                             were available to them.



Conflicting Incentives and   Because of the differing priorities between short-term operational needs
Priorities Limit Corrosion   and long-term preventative maintenance needs, corrosion projects are
                             often given a low priority.
Project Implementation
                             Corrosion control offices act largely in an advisory role, providing
                             guidance, information, and expertise on initiatives and practices. They
                             have limited funding and authority, and they promote initiatives with
                             benefits that may not become apparent until a project is far along in its
                             implementation, which may be years in the future. These priorities and
                             incentives are very different from and sometimes conflict with those held
                             by the operational or installation commands and their subordinate units.
                             While these commands also strive for better corrosion prevention, they
                             place a greater emphasis on more immediate, short-term needs that are
                             directly tied to current operations.

                             Because the corrosion control offices generally receive only limited
                             start-up funding for corrosion prevention projects, they must rely
                             heavily on operational commands and other program offices to provide
                             the necessary resources and implementation. However, these commands
                             often have limited resources beyond those needed to carry out their
                             immediate mission objectives, and the military services have not
                             established sufficient incentives for the commands (which have the
                             approval and funding authority) to invest in the long-term, cumulative
                             benefits of corrosion prevention and control efforts. As a result, many
                             proposed corrosion control projects—even those with large cost saving
                             potential and other benefits, such as increased readiness and enhanced
                             safety—often remain underfunded because they are a low priority to the
                             commands compared to operational and repair projects that offer more
                             immediate results.

                             These conflicting incentives and priorities are demonstrated by the fact
                             that the services have sacrificed the condition of their facilities and
                             infrastructure by using base maintenance accounts, including funds
                             for corrosion prevention and control, to pay for training and combat
                             operations. We were told at many of the bases we visited that the problem



                             Page 33                                        GAO-03-753 Defense Management
with maintaining the infrastructure was that base commanders siphon
off infrastructure maintenance and repair funds for other operational
priorities. For example, at Fort Irwin we were told that only 40 percent
of infrastructure requirements were funded and that most preventative
maintenance is deferred. Officials at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
said that they have an infrastructure maintenance backlog totaling over
$193 million and many of the projects are to repair facilities that have
deteriorated due to corrosion. The backlog is not limited to this location,
as the Navy reports an infrastructure backlog of $2 billion Navy-wide.
Navy officials said they do not have accurate data but estimate that a
large percentage of the deferred maintenance is corrosion related.
Hickam Air Force Base facilities officials also told us that they often
have to defer or reduce corrosion prevention projects because the base
continually needs funds for higher priorities, usually those associated
with operations. At the same time, the Army, in its 2002 Annual Report
to Congress, stated that it cannot continue to fully fund its Combat Arms
Training Strategy without further degrading its infrastructure and related
activities. The Army recently established a new agency that centralizes
all installation management activities to ensure that maintenance
dollars, including those for corrosion control, are disbursed equitably
and efficiently across installations. Officials of the new Installation
Management Agency said that the goal of centralization is to halt the trend
of major commands transferring funding from infrastructure maintenance
accounts to pay for other operations.

The Navy’s corrosion projects are similarly affected by a tendency to
postpone maintenance projects to address more immediate demands.
For example, the Navy’s efforts to reduce corrosion on more than
11,700 tanks on Navy ships are very time-consuming and expensive.
(See app. II for more details of this case study.) To reduce costs, the Navy
developed advanced coatings that are intended to last much longer, require
less maintenance, and result in net savings of over $170 million annually.
As of the end of fiscal year 2002, the Navy has only been able to install the
new coatings on about 750 tanks, or less than 7 percent. Navy officials
attribute the slow pace to the fact that shipyards place a higher priority on
maintenance that requires immediate attention. These officials told us that
the shipyards are hard-pressed to complete even necessary repairs and
have little incentive to undertake prevention projects that will not show
any benefits for many years.




Page 34                                          GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Conflicting priorities are also evidenced by Navy and Marine Corps efforts
to prevent the corrosion of underground pipelines. Navy officials informed
us that pipeline corrosion is one of their major facilities maintenance
concerns. According to these officials, many pipelines at multiple Navy
installations are several decades old and made of metal that is highly
susceptible to corrosion. (See fig. 11.)




Page 35                                        GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Figure 11: Corrosion on High Temperature Pipelines at Air Force Tracking Facility Antigua, West Indies




Source: U.S. Air Force.




                                           Page 36                                             GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center officials told us that they do
not have accurate data, but they estimate that several million dollars are
being spent each year to fix leaks and ruptures that result from corrosion.
They further stated that they could save significant maintenance costs if
they were to aggressively start replacing existing pipelines with pipelines
made of high-density polyethylene plastic and other nonmetallic material
that is much more corrosion resistant. Naval facilities officials said that
while this replacement project would be a big money-saver in the long run,
the strategy would require a substantial investment, and they need to place
a higher priority on fixing more immediate problems that disrupt or impair
current operations. The Marine Corps is faced with similar conflicting
pressures. At Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, officials told us
that they have old and decaying pipelines and valves throughout the
installation. To save significant repair costs, they would prefer to replace
them with pipelines and valves made of high-density polyethylene plastic as
quickly as possible. (See fig. 12.)




Page 37                                         GAO-03-753 Defense Management
             Figure 12: Corroded Air-Conditioning Valves at Quantico Marine Corps Base,
             Virginia




             Source: GAO.




             However, the process is labor-intensive and, therefore, very expensive.
             They said that as a rule they must attend to more immediate problems, and
             only when resources permit are they able to invest in projects that have
             more long-term benefits.



Conclusion   At present, DOD and the military services do not systematically assess
             proposals for corrosion control projects, related implementation issues,
             or the results of implemented projects, and they disseminate project
             results on a limited, ad hoc basis. Without a more systematic approach
             to corrosion problems, prevention efforts that have a high return on
             investment potential will likely continue to be underresourced and
             continue to proceed at a slow pace. As a result, DOD and the military
             services will continue to expend several billion dollars annually in



             Page 38                                            GAO-03-753 Defense Management
                      avoidable costs and continue to incur a significant number of avoidable
                      readiness and safety problems. Since corrosion that is left unmitigated
                      only worsens with time, costs will likely increase as weapon systems and
                      infrastructures age. Perhaps this is why the adage “pay now or pay more
                      later” so appropriately describes the dilemma with which the military
                      services are repeatedly confronted when making difficult investment
                      decisions. The military services will continue to pay dearly for their limited
                      corrosion prevention efforts and will be increasingly challenged to find the
                      funds for ongoing operations, maintenance, and new systems acquisitions.



Recommendations for   In an effort to improve current military approaches to corrosion control,
                      the Bob Stump Defense Authorization Act of 2003 requires the department
Executive Action      to develop and implement a long-term strategy to mitigate the effects of
                      corrosion in military equipment and infrastructure. If properly crafted, this
                      strategy can become an important means of managing corrosion control
                      efforts and addressing the problems and limitations of these efforts as
                      described in this report.

                      To craft an effective strategy, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense
                      direct that the department’s strategic plan for corrosion prevention and
                      mitigation include the following:

                      • develop standardized methodologies for collecting and analyzing
                        corrosion cost, readiness, and safety data;

                      • develop clearly defined goals, outcome-oriented objectives, and
                        performance measures that show progress toward achieving objectives
                        (these measures should include such elements as the expected return
                        on investment and realized net savings of prevention projects);

                      • identify the level of resources needed to accomplish goals
                        and objectives;

                      • establish mechanisms to coordinate and oversee prevention and
                        mitigation projects in an interservice and servicewide context.

                      To provide greater assurances that the department’s strategic plan will be
                      successfully implemented, we recommend that the secretaries of each of
                      the services




                      Page 39                                          GAO-03-753 Defense Management
                  • develop servicewide strategic plans that are consistent with the goals,
                    objectives, and measures in the departmentwide plan and

                  • establish procedures and milestones to hold major commands and
                    program offices that manage specific weapon systems and facilities
                    accountable for achieving the strategic goals.



Agency Comments   In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD concurred with our
                  recommendations. The comments are included in this report in
                  appendix III. DOD also provided technical clarifications, which we
                  incorporated as appropriate. In its technical comments, DOD did not
                  concur with our finding that the department does not have an effective
                  approach to prevent and mitigate corrosion. DOD noted that the
                  department develops and incorporates prevention and mitigation strategies
                  appropriate to DOD’s national defense mission within various constraints
                  associated with operational needs, affordable maintenance schedules,
                  environmental regulations, and other statutory requirements. DOD
                  noted that corrosion is one of many issues that must be managed and
                  incorporated into an overall defense mission. DOD also noted that it
                  continually endeavors to improve its ability to manage corrosion through
                  advanced research, upgrading of systems and facilities, application of new
                  materials, processes and products and continuous information sharing.
                  Our report recognizes and mentions DOD's efforts and successes with
                  corrosion mitigation. However, we believe that DOD lacks an effective
                  approach to deal with corrosion since it lacks an overall strategy, has
                  limited coordination within and among the services, and conflicting
                  incentives and priorities. As we noted in our report, the current DOD
                  approach has led to readiness and safety issues as well as billions of dollars
                  of corrosion-related maintenance costs for DOD and the services annually.


                  We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Defense;
                  the Director, Office of Management and Budget; and other interested
                  congressional committees. We will also make copies available to others
                  upon request. In addition, the report will be available at no charge on the
                  GAO Web site at http://www.gao.gov.




                  Page 40                                          GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Please contact me on (202) 512-8365 if you or your staff have any questions
concerning this report. Key contributors to this report were Allan Roberts,
Allen Westheimer, Dorian Dunbar, Sarah Prehoda, Sandra Sokol, and
Susan Woodward.




William M. Solis, Director
Defense Capabilities and Management




Page 41                                        GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Appendix I

Scope and Methodology                                                                    A
                                                                                         A
                                                                                         ppep
                                                                                            nen
                                                                                              d
                                                                                              xIeis




             Our study focused on how the military services implement and manage
             corrosion prevention and control efforts for both equipment and
             infrastructure. To perform our review, we contacted corrosion control
             offices and officials in each of the four military services. We also
             reviewed studies and discussed military corrosion issues with experts
             within and outside the Department of Defense (DOD). To develop an
             in-depth understanding of how corrosion prevention projects are initiated
             and managed, we visited field installations and developed case studies
             on corrosion prevention and mitigation efforts. We also contacted and
             obtained information from DOD, services headquarters, materiel
             management, research and development, logistics, systems acquisitions,
             safety, and installation management and maintenance organizations.

             To determine the extent of the military services’ corrosion problems, we
             reviewed numerous studies and contacted experts in both government
             and private industry. We contacted and obtained information from
             DOD, military service headquarters, strategic planning, research and
             development, systems acquisitions, materiel management, logistics,
             safety, and installation management and maintenance organizations.
             We also attended the U.S. Navy and Industry Rust 2002 Corrosion
             Technology and Exchange Conference, and we reviewed papers and
             presentations of other service and private industry corrosion conferences
             and forums. In addition, we contacted private industry suppliers,
             consultants, and research organizations. We contacted the following
             research organizations to obtain information regarding the extent of
             military service corrosion problems:

             • National Research Council

             • National Materials Advisory Board

             • NCI Information Systems, Inc.

             • CC Technologies Laboratories, Inc.

             • American Power Jet Company

             • Science Applications International Corporation

             • Battelle Laboratories

             • Calibre Systems, Inc.



             Page 42                                        GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Appendix I
Scope and Methodology




• Sandia National Laboratories

• Metals Information Analysis Center

• Center for Army Analysis

• Joint Council on Aging Aircraft

• Services Command Corrosion Assessments and Surveys

• Services Corrosion Prevention and Advisory Boards

• Services Science and Technology Advisor Programs

• Services Corrosion Conferences and Forums

To determine the extent to which DOD and the military services have an
effective approach to corrosion control, we interviewed officials and
obtained documentation from the four military services’ corrosion
control program offices for equipment and infrastructure. For equipment,
these included the Army Corrosion Prevention and Control Program,
the Air Force Corrosion Prevention and Control Office, the NAVAIR and
NAVSEA Corrosion Prevention and Control Programs, and the Marine
Corps Corrosion and Prevention Program. For infrastructure we
contacted the Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Public Works,
the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency, and the Naval Facilities
Engineering Service Center Command. We also contacted and obtained
information from DOD, service headquarters, strategic planning, materiel
command, and field command officials. We reviewed corrosion prevention
and control plans, policies, procedures, instructions, regulations, studies,
trip reports, memos, and other forms of documentation. We also visited
selected military bases, where we held discussions with unit commanders,
facilities engineering and maintenance officials, and users of DOD
equipment such as aircraft, ships, tanks, trucks, and support equipment,
including discussions with operators, logistics, and maintenance
personnel. We interviewed officials and gathered data at the following
installations in California and Hawaii:




Page 43                                         GAO-03-753 Defense Management
             Appendix I
             Scope and Methodology




California   • Fort Irwin Army Base

             • Los Angeles Air Force Base

             • March Air Force Reserve Base

             • North Island Naval Air Station

             • Point Mugu Naval Air Station

             • Port Hueneme Naval Base

             • Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

             • Marine Corps Air Station Miramar



Hawaii       • Fort Shafter Army Base

             • Schofield Barracks Army Base

             • Wheeler Army Air Field

             • Diamond Head Complex, Hawaii Army National Guard

             • Pearl City Unit Training and Equipment Site, Hawaii Army
               National Guard

             • Hickam Air Force Base

             • Pearl Harbor Naval Complex

             • Lualualei Naval Magazine

             • Marine Corps Air Facility Kaneohe Bay

             • Marine Corps Camp H.M. Smith

             We conducted our review from August 2002 through April 2003 in
             accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.




             Page 44                                      GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Appendix II

Examples of Corrosion Prevention Efforts
That Have Not Realized Their Full Potential                                                              AppenIx
                                                                                                               di




Durable Coatings for    The Navy has over 11,700 tanks, such as ballast, fuel, and potable water
                        tanks, on all of its surface vessels and submarines. Because of their
Tanks on Navy Ships     constant exposure to salt and moisture, these tanks rapidly lose their
                        exterior and interior protective coatings and begin to corrode. Although
                        maintenance personnel spend considerable time and resources removing
                        as much of the visible corrosion as possible and repainting while the ship is
                        deployed, some of the work cannot be accomplished until the ship returns
                        to its home port and undergoes scheduled and unscheduled maintenance.
                        Maintaining the tanks is labor intensive, costly, and extends the amount of
                        time ships must spend undergoing maintenance, thereby reducing their
                        operational availability. Naval Sea Systems Command has developed
                        coating systems that are expected to last 20 years instead of the 5 years
                        that existing coatings last. According to the Navy, the effort could
                        potentially save more than $170 million a year in maintenance costs. The
                        initiative appears to be somewhat successful, because the Navy reports
                        that it has achieved net savings of about $10 million a year. However, in
                        the past several years, the Navy has installed the new coatings on only
                        about 750 tanks, or less than 7 percent of the total. Navy officials attribute
                        the slow pace to the fleet placing higher priorities on other needs, and
                        explained that they often must defer the installation of the new coatings
                        because of the limited availability of ships due to increased optempo and
                        more pressing maintenance requirements. Navy officials added that
                        because of higher operational and maintenance priorities, resources in
                        the form of funding and manpower usually go to these needs instead of
                        prevention efforts such as tank coatings. These officials told us that the
                        shipyards that perform most of the maintenance for the fleet have difficulty
                        trying to complete the work currently scheduled with available resources
                        and would be further challenged by having to add the application of new
                        coatings to their existing workload. In addition, the officials told us that
                        there is limited incentive for shipyard maintenance workers to carry out
                        preventive projects that show benefits only in later years instead of
                        completing more immediate repairs that show more immediate benefits.



Army National           The Army National Guard maintains a wide range of equipment that
                        includes M1 tanks, howitzers, air defense artillery systems, and radars.
Guard Controlled        This equipment is susceptible to corrosion, and one of the primary causes
Humidity Preservation   of corrosion is humidity. The Army National Guard estimates it could
                        achieve cost savings totaling more than $1.6 billion over 10 years by
                        storing its equipment in short- and long-term controlled-humidity
                        preservation centers. Depending on the type of equipment, some will be



                        Page 45                                          GAO-03-753 Defense Management
                     Appendix II
                     Examples of Corrosion Prevention Efforts
                     That Have Not Realized Their Full Potential




                     stored in long-term facilities and some will be stored for the short-term.
                     Equipment that is not required for regular training use will be preserved in
                     metal shelters for an average of 3 years, while equipment for which there is
                     a recurring need will be preserved by installing dehumidifying air ducts in
                     crew compartments and other vehicle spaces. The project, which started in
                     1997, is expected to have a return on investment of over 9 to 1. According
                     to Army National Guard officials, through the end of fiscal year 2002, the
                     project has achieved a total of $225 million in cost savings. While Army
                     officials state that the project has proven to be a success so far, they now
                     estimate that it will take about 15 years to accomplish the total projected
                     savings, or 5 years longer than originally planned. They attribute the
                     delay to other needs being given a higher priority and, as a result, not
                     receiving the necessary funds and having to defer the installation of
                     some controlled-humidity centers. These officials still expect to acquire
                     and install all of the facilities, but at a slower pace. They acknowledge
                     that the delay will likely mean deferring a significant amount of cost
                     savings—perhaps as much as $100 million—for several years.



Fly Ash in           Concrete airfield pavements for all of the military services have
                     experienced cracking and expansion that pose significant safety hazards,
Concrete Airfields   impair readiness, and increase maintenance costs. One of the causes of this
                     deterioration results from a corrosive chemical reaction called alkali-silica
                     reaction, which occurs when alkalis react with water in ways that cause
                     cracking, chipping, and expansion of concrete. Examples of this kind of
                     damage have been reported at facilities for all military services, such as
                     Osan Air Base, Korea; Ft. Campbell Army Airfield, Kentucky; Naval Air
                     Station Point Mugu, California; and Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni,
                     Japan. The foreign object debris hazard caused by cracking and crumbling
                     concrete was so severe that the Air Mobility Command assessed a taxiway
                     at Little Rock Air Force Base as unsuitable for use. While the military
                     services do not have cost estimates, DOD facilities officials told us that
                     significant resources are spent each year on mitigating the effects of
                     alkali-silica reaction.

                     The Navy determined that one way to mitigate the effects of alkali-silica
                     reaction in the future is to substitute fly ash for a certain amount of cement.
                     According to a Navy study, the use of fly ash increases the strength and
                     durability of cement structures such as airfields. Navy officials told us
                     that this mitigation would increase the operational availability of airfields
                     because the facilities would experience less cracking and chipping and,
                     therefore, pose fewer foreign object debris hazards. While the Navy did not



                     Page 46                                           GAO-03-753 Defense Management
                 Appendix II
                 Examples of Corrosion Prevention Efforts
                 That Have Not Realized Their Full Potential




                 perform the analysis, these officials told us that perhaps the greatest
                 benefit would be the savings that would result from a marked reduction
                 in manpower needed for maintenance. The study did not include cost
                 savings or a return on investment analysis because its focus was on the
                 causes of and methods for mitigating the deterioration. The study did
                 note that fly ash substitution could save the Navy about $4 million a year
                 in construction costs because the material is less expensive than the
                 kinds of cement currently being used. Navy officials told us that their
                 understanding of the overall benefits is convincing enough that the use of
                 fly ash is required for all Navy and Marine Corps construction projects that
                 include pavements.

                 The Air Force recommends the use of fly ash, but only in certain
                 circumstances. Air Force officials told us that requiring the use of fly ash
                 for all construction projects is not feasible because fly ash is not available
                 at all locations where the Air Force has facilities, and the additional
                 cost and time involved in transporting the material to these places may
                 be greater than the benefits from using it. However, Air Force officials
                 acknowledge that they have not done a return-on-investment analysis that
                 includes construction and maintenance costs, and additional information
                 like this would be very useful in making decisions regarding the use of
                 fly ash.

                 The services continue to study the effects of alkali-silica reaction and
                 what to do about them. However, due to limited funding, efforts to identify
                 feasible comprehensive solutions to the entire problem for all military
                 services have been delayed. In the meantime, airfields continue to decay,
                 resulting in high maintenance costs as well as restricted use.



Army Corrosion   Corrosion damage to tactical wheeled vehicles and ground equipment is
                 costly and prolongs equipment downtime. According to officials of the
Inhibitors       Army Materiel Command, seawater that seeps into the inner cavities of
                 equipment that is being transported overseas causes serious corrosion
                 damage and represents the highest risk to the command. The equipment
                 then decays rapidly in humid environments.

                 This kind of corrosion damage was so extensive that in 1998 the
                 Commanding General U.S. Army Pacific requested that all ground
                 vehicles shipped to his command be treated with rust inhibitors. Army
                 data indicated that 17 percent of the Army trucks in Hawaii were so
                 corroded that performance of their missions was impaired. In 1999, the



                 Page 47                                           GAO-03-753 Defense Management
                 Appendix II
                 Examples of Corrosion Prevention Efforts
                 That Have Not Realized Their Full Potential




                 Commanding General of the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii indicated
                 that unit readiness was in serious jeopardy and requested funding for
                 several corrosion control projects, including one to treat an estimated
                 3,000 remaining vehicles with corrosion inhibitors. Army testing had
                 demonstrated that corrosion inhibitors, compared to other products,
                 provided a high degree of corrosion protection and enough corrosion-
                 reducing potential to warrant beginning their limited use. Initial estimates
                 indicated a return on investment of 4 to 1 for every dollar spent.

                 In 2000, the Army awarded a contract for approximately $400,000 to treat
                 3,000 vehicles over a period of 12 months. The contract was later doubled,
                 increasing costs to nearly $900,000 for 6,000 vehicles over a period of
                 24 months. Army officials plan to analyze the information obtained on the
                 performance of the product before deciding whether to continue using it
                 or expand the effort to other locations. The Army has over 341,000 tactical
                 vehicles and pieces of ground support equipment worldwide, as well as
                 3,770 airframes, and a significant amount of this equipment is exposed to
                 harsh, corrosion-inducing environments.

                 The Army originally planned to establish an all-purpose, full service
                 corrosion control center to repair corrosion damage, as well as provide
                 preventative corrosion-inhibitor treatments. The center, which would have
                 had multiple service bays and wash racks would have processed more than
                 15,000 vehicles per year, was to have been used by all the military services
                 in Hawaii. However, the center is currently only being used by the Army as
                 a corrosion-inhibitor application facility.1 In addition, a lack of coordination
                 exists within the individual services. For example, at an Army National
                 Guard facility in Hawaii officials told us that they were not aware of the
                 status of the Army’s corrosion-inhibitor application facility but that they
                 would be interested in finding out more about it, the application of
                 corrosion inhibitors, and participating in the project.



Air Force Bomb   The Air Force stores about 450,000 cast iron general-purpose bombs
                 in locations throughout the world. The bombs are estimated to have
Metalization     a replacement cost exceeding $1 billion. Many of the locations are in
                 high-humidity environments that contribute to corrosion. As of
                 February 2003, more than 107,000 of these bombs, or 24 percent,

                 1
                   The services could not reach agreement on location, funding, and standard application
                 procedures.




                 Page 48                                                  GAO-03-753 Defense Management
                       Appendix II
                       Examples of Corrosion Prevention Efforts
                       That Have Not Realized Their Full Potential




                       have been assessed as being no longer mission capable because of
                       excessive corrosion. The Air Force acquires new bombs and repairs
                       existing ones so that it will have enough mission-capable bombs to meet its
                       requirements. The Air Force spends about $7 million a year for corrosion
                       protection of cast iron general-purpose bombs. Until 1996, all the bombs
                       were renovated by maintenance personnel who removed any signs of
                       corrosion and recoated them with liquid paint. The bombs would undergo
                       this labor-intensive process every 3 to 8 years. In 1996, the Air Force
                       converted a bomb renovation plant at Kadena Air Base, Japan, from a
                       facility that used liquid paint to one that used a metal wire arc spray
                       technique that is otherwise known as metalization. The plant conversion
                       cost about $3 million. A metal wire arc spray coating is expected to
                       preserve cast iron bombs for 30 years, or about 25 years longer than liquid
                       paint. By using this preservation method, the Air Force estimates saving
                       maintenance costs of $30 to $100 million over 30 years, resulting in a return
                       on investment ratio of 20 to 1. The plant successfully renovated about
                       8,000 bombs. Based on previous successes, the Air Force decided to
                       acquire and install mobile versions of the Kadena unit in other locations.
                       In 2000, a prototype of the Mobile Bomb Renovation System was acquired
                       and installed at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, at a cost of about
                       $2 million. About 500 bombs received the metal arc spray coating at Guam
                       before the system experienced equipment failures. To date, the system
                       remains inoperable. The Army has also refurbished and metalized about
                       6,500 bombs for the Air Force.

                       Air Force studies show that although the metal arch spray coating process
                       is more expensive than the use of liquid paint, it greatly minimizes the risk
                       that bombs will need costly maintenance or deteriorate so severely that
                       they will need replacing. Despite these benefits, about 3 percent of Air
                       Force bombs have been treated with this coating process. While Air Force
                       officials recommended that a much higher percentage of bombs receive
                       this treatment, they explained that their role is mostly advisory, and the
                       Air Force Material Command and Pacific Air Force Command together
                       must determine the relative importance of the project, given other
                       competing priorities.



F-16 Aircraft          Although not visible, the corrosion of connectors on aircraft electronics
                       equipment is prevalent throughout DOD and a significant safety risk for
Corrosion Inhibitors   aircraft in all military services. The resources spent on this kind of
                       corrosion are so vast that it is estimated that the Air Force spends perhaps
                       as much as $500 million a year on corrosion control on the F-16 fleet alone.



                       Page 49                                          GAO-03-753 Defense Management
                   Appendix II
                   Examples of Corrosion Prevention Efforts
                   That Have Not Realized Their Full Potential




                   The costs are high because of the significant amount of labor that is
                   involved in locating and eliminating the often microscopic sources of
                   corrosion on very sophisticated avionics equipment. Avionics corrosion
                   has been a topic of major interest to the Air Force for several decades. This
                   concern was particularly heightened in 1989, when the Air Force reported
                   several F-16 accidents caused by uncommanded fuel valve closures that
                   were believed to have been caused by corrosion.

                   For several decades, the Air Force has conducted extensive studies on the
                   corrosion of aircraft avionics connectors and what should be done about it.
                   In the 1990s, several studies recommended the use of certain lubricants
                   that have the potential of eliminating connector corrosion on F-16 aircraft,
                   with estimated savings exceeding $500 million a year. Although the Air
                   Force did not complete a return on investment analysis, the return would
                   be very impressive, given the low cost of purchasing this off-the-shelf
                   product. The Air Force has yet to take full advantage of these corrosion-
                   inhibiting lubricants, even though they appear to be widely available. While
                   the use of such lubricants is recommended in the joint service technical
                   manual on avionics corrosion control, it is not required. We were told
                   that the Air Force would need to amend in detail more than 200 specific
                   technical orders and job guides to require the use of lubricant to protect
                   F-16 aircraft electrical connectors, but progress in this area has been
                   sluggish at best.2 For every year that the Air Force does not require the
                   use of the lubricants, the service loses the opportunity to avoid annual
                   expenses that total hundreds of millions of dollars.



Army Helicopter    Conflicting incentives also impeded the Army’s efforts to obtain modern
                   helicopter rinse facilities called “birdbaths.” According to the Army
Rinse Facilities   Aviation Corrosion Prevention and Control office, these facilities are
                   expected to extend the life of costly aircraft components, reduce
                   contractor man-hour expenditures, increase aircraft fleet readiness, and
                   provide an added margin of crew safety. The project is estimated to cost
                   $12 million for startup and $400 thousand per year in operating costs.
                   Even more notable was the analysis showing a 31 to 1 return on
                   investment, with the investment costs recouped within 2 years. Citing
                   opportunities to implement and promote effective corrosion control, the


                   2
                     The F-15 aircraft program has established a pilot program requiring use of corrosion
                   inhibiting lubricants on electrical connectors during flightline depot maintenance by simply
                   mandating the recommended use as stated in the joint service avionics technical manual.




                   Page 50                                                   GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Appendix II
Examples of Corrosion Prevention Efforts
That Have Not Realized Their Full Potential




Army recommended identification of locations and deployment areas for
establishing birdbath rinse facilities. Despite the potential benefits, the
project has not received funding to date. Army officials told us that the
project cannot compete with efforts that have a higher priority, and they
have deferred the request for funds until fiscal year 2005. The Army’s
attempt to obtain funding for a birdbath facility in Hawaii suffered the
same fate. During our field visit to Hawaii, we were told that for a number
of years a birdbath facility was included in a list of projects that required
funding, but the facility never received the funds because other operational
needs were considered to have a higher priority. Army officials said that
funding more pressing operational needs almost always takes precedence
over funding projects that have a strong potential to avoid future
maintenance costs.




Page 51                                          GAO-03-753 Defense Management
Appendix III

Comments from the Department of Defense                    Appen
                                                               Ix
                                                                di




(350219)       Page 52         GAO-03-753 Defense Management
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