oversight

Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations: DOD Decision Makers Need Additional Analyses to Determine Costs and Benefits of Returning Excess Equipment

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-12-19.

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

United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548



           December 19, 2012

           Congressional Committees

           Subject: Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations: DOD Decision Makers Need Additional
           Analyses to Determine Costs and Benefits of Returning Excess Equipment

           In June 2011, the United States announced plans to reduce the number of U.S. troops
           in Afghanistan. The remaining U.S. forces will work to support the U.S. objective of a
           transition to Afghan-led security by December 2014. The Department of Defense (DOD)
           has begun planning for this reduction and, as part of its planning, has identified more
           than 750,000 major end items—equipment important to operational readiness to support
           the combat forces, such as weapons and vehicles—that can be returned from
           Afghanistan (to DOD inventories), transferred to another U.S. government agency or
           another country, or destroyed in theater. 1 According to DOD, this equipment, estimated
           to be worth more than $36 billion, has accumulated during a 10-year period. DOD
           officials also estimate that it could cost $5.7 billion to return or transfer equipment from
           Afghanistan.

           We initiated this review to provide Congress with information concerning DOD
           preparations for the drawdown of equipment in Afghanistan, and prepared this report
           under the Comptroller General’s authority to conduct evaluations on his own initiative.
           We provided a briefing of our preliminary observations to the House Armed Services
           Committee on October 10, 2012. We also provided this briefing to the Senate Armed
           Services Committee on October 24, 2012, and to the Senate and House Defense
           Appropriations Subcommittees on November 14, 2012.

           This report formally transmits the information developed for that briefing and provides
           information on the preparations for the Afghanistan drawdown, specifically the extent to
           which DOD has (1) applied relevant lessons learned from the Iraq drawdown in its
           planning for equipment reductions in Afghanistan; (2) planned for the reduction of
           equipment in Afghanistan by establishing command structures and guidance, property
           accountability, and transportation processes; and (3) considered costs in its planning for
           equipment reductions in Afghanistan.

           To determine the extent to which DOD has applied relevant lessons learned from the
           Iraq drawdown to the Afghanistan drawdown preparations, we reviewed military service
           documents and GAO products identifying lessons learned in Iraq. We also reviewed
           DOD preparations for the drawdown of equipment from Afghanistan. To determine the
           1
             DOD Manual 4160.28, vol. 1, Defense Demilitarization: Program Administration (June 7, 2011). When there is a
           risk that DOD property could be diverted into the hands of enemies of the United States, it may be necessary to
           demilitarize or destroy these items. When an item undergoes demilitarization, critical features are removed or
           destroyed and the item cannot be used for its original purpose.

                                                                GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
extent to which DOD has planned for the reduction of equipment in Afghanistan by
establishing command structures and guidance, property accountability, and
transportation processes, we examined policies, orders, and processes in those three
areas. To determine the extent to which DOD has considered costs in its planning for
equipment reductions in Afghanistan, we examined DOD and service processes and
documents to ascertain when and how costs were factored into decision-making
processes. In support of all these objectives, we contacted officials from the Office of the
Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), U.S. Forces –
Afghanistan (USFOR-A), U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), Military
Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command,
Headquarters Department of the Army/Logistics Retrograde Team, U.S. Army Materiel
Command, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle
Management Command, U.S. Marine Corps/Installations and Logistics, U.S. Marine
Corps Logistics Command, Headquarters U.S. Navy/Expeditionary Readiness,
Headquarters U.S. Air Force/Lessons Learned, Headquarters U.S. Air Force/Equipment
Management Branch, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), and Defense Logistics Agency-
Disposition Services.

We conducted this performance audit from November 2011 to December 2012, in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards
require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to
provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit
objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.

In summary, we found the following:

    •   The military services and DOD agencies have applied some, but not all, of the
        relevant lessons learned from the Iraq drawdown to their planning for equipment
        reductions in Afghanistan. For example, the drawdown from Iraq demonstrated
        the importance of early planning for equipment drawdown, and the military
        services have already issued guidance and orders outlining the processes and
        procedures for drawing down equipment in Afghanistan. However, not all
        relevant lessons learned from the Iraq drawdown have been applied in
        Afghanistan. For example, during the Iraq drawdown, the Army identified that
        contractor equipment must be inventoried and entered into an automated records
        accounting system, yet inventories in Afghanistan did not include this
        equipment. 2 We note, however, that USFOR-A officials told us they are
        establishing a Contractor Drawdown cell that would improve visibility of
        contractor equipment in Afghanistan.

    •   DOD has planned for the reduction of equipment from Afghanistan in that it has
        (a) established command structures and guidance; (b) made efforts to improve
        property accountability; and (c) established and expanded transportation options,
        but challenges still remain. Command structures and guidance, property
        accountability, and transportation options are three areas that we have previously



2
 For the purposes of this report, contractor equipment includes government-owned equipment that was either
furnished to contractors by the government or acquired directly by the contractor.

2                                                    GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
        identified as important for drawdown operations. 3 Concerning command
        structures and guidance, CENTCOM has established USFOR-A as the
        supported command for retrograde operations, and USFOR-A has published a
        base closure and transfer guide that outlines processes for the handling of
        equipment during transition. 4 Regarding planning for property accountability, in
        September 2011, USFOR-A directed an inventory of all the equipment in
        Afghanistan to identify items not previously accounted for in DOD’s systems of
        record. However, as described in Objective 1, DOD officials acknowledge that
        they lack visibility over contractor equipment. In the area of transportation
        options, DOD has established and increased the potential capacity of
        transportation routes out of Afghanistan. However, some of the transportation
        options have limited operational capability for the return of equipment due to the
        region’s complex geopolitical environment.

    •   Consistent with DOD’s supply chain materiel management policy, DOD has
        issued additional guidance requiring the services to analyze the costs and
        benefits of transferring or destroying equipment. However, there is no specific
        guidance requiring the military services to assess and document the costs and
        benefits associated with the return of equipment from Afghanistan, and they have
        not done so. Some services told us that they conduct informal cost-benefit
        analyses to support the return of major end items from Afghanistan. However,
        none of the services was able to provide us with documentation of these cost-
        benefit analyses. As a result, the extent to which these analyses are being
        performed is uncertain. Based on our analysis, this is particularly problematic
        when considering whether or not to return equipment that is excess to current
        requirements. 5 When an excess item is returned without consideration of the
        costs and benefits, there is increased risk of unnecessary expenditures on
        transportation and storage of unneeded items.

In conclusion, the military services can return major end items without documentation of
cost and benefit considerations or analyses used in the decision-making process.
Because the services have not consistently performed and documented analyses to
support decision making concerning the return of excess major end items from
Afghanistan, there is a risk that the costs of returning excess items may outweigh the
benefits of returning them.




3
 GAO, Iraq and Afghanistan: Availability of Forces, Equipment and Infrastructure Should Be Considered in
Developing U.S. Strategy and Plans, GAO-09-380T (Washington, D.C.: February 12, 2009); and Operation Iraqi
Freedom: Actions Needed to Enhance DOD Planning for Reposturing of U.S. Forces from Iraq. GAO-08-930
(Washington, D.C.: September 10, 2008).
4
 In the context of command relationships, the supported commander has primary responsibility for all aspects of
a task, such as drawdown from Afghanistan, and receives assistance from other commanders’ forces or
capabilities as required to accomplish the assigned mission.
5
 DOD defines excess equipment as any quantity of equipment above the sum of the approved requirement, as
well as equipment retained for economic and/or contingency purposes.




3                                                     GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Recommendations for Executive Action

To reduce the risk of returning excess major end items from Afghanistan without full
consideration of costs and benefits, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense
ensure that the Service Secretaries and the Commander, U.S. Central Command,
conduct and document analyses to support the decisions to return excess major end
items by taking the following two actions:

1) Conduct and document analyses to compare the costs of returning excess major end
items with the benefits of returning them. These analyses might include considerations
of factors such as:
            • Repair;
            • Transportation and storage;
            • Handling;
            • Condition of the item; and
            • Sensitivity of the item.

2) Use these cost-benefit analyses as a key factor in decision making concerning the
return of excess major end items.

See the enclosure that contains the information prepared for our briefing and provides
additional details regarding our findings.

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation

DOD did not provide signed written comments but did provide draft comments that we
have used for this evaluation. DOD concurred with both of our recommendations, stating
that our report accurately captures DOD’s and the services’ analyses and processes for
disposition of excess major end items in compliance with DOD guidance. Our draft
report initially recommended that DOD develop and implement policies to ensure that
analyses are conducted, documented, and used to support decisions to return excess
major end items. After further discussions with DOD officials, we agreed that DOD
Instruction 4140.01, which states that DOD components shall consider all costs in
making best-value decisions across the supply chain, sufficiently addresses the need for
the services to conduct cost-benefit analyses and therefore, no new policies or guidance
were required. However, as we state in this report, the services could not provide
evidence that they complied with this instruction by conducting analyses to compare the
costs of returning excess major end items with the benefits of returning them and using
these analyses in their decision making. As a result, we amended our recommendation
language to state that the Secretary of Defense ensure that the services and
CENTCOM conduct, document, and use these analyses as a key factor in decision
making concerning the return of excess major end items, and DOD subsequently
concurred with these recommendations in its comments. DOD also provided technical
comments that we have incorporated into this report where appropriate.
DOD concurred with our first recommendation that the Secretary of Defense ensure that
the services and CENTCOM conduct and document analyses to compare the costs of
returning excess major end items with the benefits of returning them. DOD’s comments
indicated that two of the services, the Army and Marine Corps, were conducting cost-
benefit analyses. DOD commented that the Army has worksheets, processes, and a
tracking system that clearly depict cost benefit analyses. During the course of this

4                                          GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
engagement we reviewed and assessed these worksheets, processes, and a
description of the tracking system. We found that none of these products weighs the
costs and benefits of returning excess equipment from Afghanistan. Moreover, they do
not inform decision making on this issue, because these documents relate to other
drawdown issues—that is, the drawdown of equipment in Iraq and the transfer of
equipment in Afghanistan. Furthermore, in meetings with officials from Headquarters
Department of the Army, Logistics Retrograde Team; U.S. Army Materiel Command;
U.S. Army Sustainment Command; U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management
Command; and Headquarters Department of the Army, Director of Supply, none could
provide documentation of a cost-benefit analysis for the return of excess equipment
from Afghanistan. However, the cited Army documents demonstrate its ability to
conduct, document, and use cost-benefit analyses in its decision making to reduce the
risk of unnecessary expenditures. We believe that analyses specifically focused on
weighing the costs and benefits of returning excess major end items from Afghanistan
will reduce the risk of unnecessary expenditures, and DOD concurs with our
recommendation.
DOD comments indicated that the Marine Corps currently assesses each item by
condition, sensitivity, and enduring warfighting requirement to determine whether the
item is economical to repair and is handled in accordance with pertinent orders and
directives. We acknowledge that these steps may minimize the cost of drawdown.
However, Marine Corps officials told us that they do not consider and document costs,
such as transportation costs, against the benefits of returning equipment from
Afghanistan. Therefore, we believe that DOD needs to take action as recommended to
ensure that the Army, the Marine Corps and the other services conduct and document
cost-benefit analyses to inform retrograde decision making and reduce the risk of
unnecessary expenditures.
DOD concurred with our second recommendation that the Secretary of Defense ensure
that the services and CENTCOM use these cost-benefit analyses as a key factor in
decision making concerning the return of excess major end items. DOD commented that
the services, in coordination with DOD, already conduct cost-benefit analyses to ensure
cost and non-cost factors are applied and documented. However, as stated in our
report, some services told us that they conduct informal cost-benefit analyses to support
the return of major end items from Afghanistan. None of the services was able to
provide us with documentation of these cost-benefit analyses. DOD comments indicate
that it intends to continue to review its policies to reduce the risk of returning excess
major items from Afghanistan without full consideration of costs and benefits. Until DOD
implements our recommendations, we believe that this risk will continue to exist. As
noted above, conducting and documenting cost-benefit analyses can help the
department reduce this risk.
                                          ----

We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Defense and appropriate
congressional committees. The report also is available at no charge on the GAO
website at http://www.gao.gov.

Should you or your staff have any questions on the matters discussed in this report,
please contact me at (202) 512-5431 or russellc@gao.gov. Contact points for our offices
of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last page of this
report. GAO staff who made key contributions to this report are Guy LoFaro, Assistant

5                                          GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Director; Tara Copp; Charles Johnson; Gregory Marchand; Charles Perdue; Amie
Steele; Jose Watkins; Cheryl Weissman; Amanda Weldon; and Steve Woods.




Cary Russell
Acting Director
Defense Capabilities and Management

Enclosure




6                                      GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
List of Committees

The Honorable Carl Levin
Chairman
The Honorable John McCain
Ranking Member
Committee on Armed Services
United States Senate

The Honorable John Kerry
Chairman
The Honorable Richard Lugar
Ranking Member
Committee on Foreign Relations
United States Senate

The Honorable Joseph Lieberman
Chairman
The Honorable Susan Collins
Ranking Member
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
United States Senate

The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye
Chairman
The Honorable Thad Cochran
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Defense
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate


The Honorable Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
Chairman
The Honorable Adam Smith
Ranking Member
Committee on Armed Services
House of Representatives

The Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Chairman
The Honorable Howard Berman
Ranking Member
Committee on Foreign Affairs
House of Representatives




7                                       GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
The Honorable C.W. “Bill” Young
Chairman
The Honorable Norman D. Dicks
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Defense
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representative




8                                 GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




AFGHANISTAN DRAWDOWN PREPARATIONS: DOD
  Decision Makers Need Additional Analyses to
Determine Costs and Benefits of Returning Excess
                  Equipment

                             DECEMBER 2012


                Results of Work Prepared for Congressional
                               Committees

9                                       GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Briefing Overview


     •   Introduction and Background
     •   Objectives, Scope, and Methodology
     •   Summary
     •   Findings
     •   Conclusions
     •   Recommendations
     •   Appendix I: Marine Corps Reset Playbook Sample
     •   Appendix II: Marine Corps Playbook Process
     •   Related GAO Products



10                                    GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Introduction

     • U.S. forces have been operating in Afghanistan since 2001.
     • In December 2009, the President ordered an additional 30,000 troops into
       Afghanistan.
     • The 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon affirmed NATO’s support for Afghan forces to
       assume full responsibility for security throughout Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
     • In June 2011, the United States announced plans to begin reducing the number
       of U.S. forces in Afghanistan:
            • The United States completed the reduction of 33,000 troops from
              Afghanistan in September 2012.
            • The remaining U.S. forces (approximately 68,000) will work to support the
              U.S. objective of a transition to Afghan-led security by December 2014.

     • In May 2012, the United States and the Government of the Islamic Republic of
       Afghanistan signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement that provided for
       continued access to Afghan facilities for U.S. forces through December 2014. It
       also provided for negotiations that would result in a bilateral security agreement
       within one year.


11                                                    GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Background

     • In fiscal year 2011, U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) shipped
       over 268,000 tons (more than 42,000 containers) of supplies into
       Afghanistan through its northern surface routes. 1
     • The Army has said that 10 years’ inflow of equipment without corresponding
       outflow has created an abundance of equipment in Afghanistan.
     • Preparations are underway to dispose of stocks in Afghanistan, ranging from
       consumables to major end items. Major end items are equipment that is
       important to operational readiness such as aircraft; boats; motorized
       wheeled, tracked, and towed vehicles; and weapons.
     • The military services estimate that more than 750,000 major end items—
       worth more than $36 billion—are in Afghanistan.
     • DOD officials have estimated that it could cost $5.7 billion to transfer or
       return the equipment from Afghanistan.

1
 A container or 20-foot equivalent unit is an inexact unit of cargo capacity often used to describe the capacity of container ships. It is based on the
volume of a 20-foot-long standard sized metal box, which can easily be transferred between modes of transportation.



12                                                                                     GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Background (cont.)
     • To reduce or draw down the number of items in Afghanistan, DOD has three primary
       disposal options: transfer the equipment to another U.S. agency or another country;
       destroy the equipment in country; or retrograde (return) the equipment to other DOD
       locations.
            • Transfer: DOD plans to redistribute some equipment to either another U.S.
              agency or other country.
            • Destruction: DOD plans to destroy (demilitarize) some equipment at Defense
                                                        2
              Logistics Agency (DLA) disposition sites. There are currently three disposition
              sites in Afghanistan, and there are plans to add a fourth in 2012.
            • Return: DOD plans to prepare equipment for return through 10 Army
              Redistribution Property Assistance Team (RPAT) yards situated throughout
                                                              st
              Afghanistan. These yards are operated by the 401 Army Field Support Brigade,
              which inspects and prepares equipment for transport.



2
 DOD Manual 4160.28, vol. 1, Defense Demilitarization: Program Administration (June 7, 2011). When there is a risk that DOD property could be
diverted into the hands of enemies of the United States, it may be necessary to demilitarize or destroy these items. When an item undergoes
demilitarization, critical features are removed or destroyed and the item cannot be used for its original purpose.




13                                                                                GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Background (cont.)
     • According to the Army Execute Order for the reduction of equipment currently in Afghanistan, the
       conditions affecting the drawdown from Afghanistan are vastly different from those in Iraq.
     • Some examples of the differing conditions are as follows:
            • Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan is landlocked. In addition, U.S. forces in Afghanistan do not have
              easy ground access to a large U.S. military logistics hub, as U.S. forces in Iraq had in
              Kuwait.
            • In Iraq, U.S. forces could drive equipment to Kuwait, from whose ports it could be shipped
              onward. Getting equipment out of Afghanistan by ground requires transiting routes that pass
              through Pakistan or surface routes through European and central Asian countries, from
              which the equipment can be loaded onto ships for onward movement. However,
              TRANSCOM is currently conducting tests to determine the capacity of the main ground
              routes for the return of equipment from Afghanistan. Due to geopolitical complexities in the
              region it is unknown when these ground routes will be operational for retrograde.
            • According to DOD officials, DOD faces space limitations in Afghanistan. For example, U.S.
              forces cannot expand the RPAT and DLA disposition yards to their desired sizes because of
              challenges associated with de-mining, obtaining property rights, and providing additional
              security.
            • According to DOD officials, as compared with Iraq, the Government of the Islamic Republic
              of Afghanistan has a more limited ability to absorb and maintain transferred equipment.




14                                                              GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Objectives, Scope, Methodology

To what extent has DOD:

1) Applied relevant lessons learned from the Iraq drawdown in its
planning for equipment reductions in Afghanistan?

2) Planned for the reduction of equipment in Afghanistan by
establishing command structures and guidance, property
accountability, and transportation processes?

3) Considered costs in its planning for equipment reductions in
Afghanistan?



15                                    GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Objectives, Scope, and Methodology (cont.)

To determine the extent to which DOD has identified and applied relevant lessons learned from the
drawdown in Iraq to its efforts to reduce equipment in Afghanistan, we reviewed military service
documents and GAO products that identify lessons learned from the Iraq drawdown. We then evaluated
planning documents for the Afghanistan drawdown to determine whether the relevant lessons identified
from Iraq had been applied to Afghanistan operations.

To determine the extent to which DOD has planned for the reduction of equipment in Afghanistan by
establishing (a) command structures and guidance, (b) property accountability, and (c) transportation
processes, we examined policies, orders, and processes in those three areas.

To determine the extent to which DOD has considered costs in its planning for equipment reductions in
Afghanistan, we examined the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force processes and documents to
ascertain when and how costs were factored into decision-making processes that will determine whether
equipment should be transferred, destroyed, or returned.

In support of all these objectives, we conducted site visits and interviewed officials from the Office of the
Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, military services, combatant commands, subordinate commands, and
other agencies. A detailed list of the organizations we visited is presented below.




16                                                             GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Objectives, Scope, and Methodology (cont.)
Agencies Contacted
     • Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
     • Joint Staff
     • U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM)
         o U.S. Forces – Afghanistan (USFOR-A)
     • U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) and component commands:
         o Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command
         o U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command
     • Headquarters Department of the Army / Logistics Retrograde Team
     • U.S. Army Materiel Command
     • U.S. Army Sustainment Command
     • U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command
     • U.S. Marine Corps / Installations and Logistics
     • U.S. Marine Corps Logistics Command
     • Headquarters U.S. Navy / Expeditionary Readiness
     • Headquarters U.S. Air Force / Equipment Management Branch
     • Headquarters U.S. Air Force / Lessons Learned
     • DLA
         o DLA – Disposition Services


17                                                    GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Summary
Objective 1: Applying Lessons Learned
The military services and DOD agencies have applied some of the relevant lessons
learned from the Iraq drawdown to their planning for equipment reductions in
Afghanistan. For example, the Iraq drawdown demonstrated the importance of early
planning for equipment drawdown, and the military services have already issued
guidance and orders outlining the processes and procedures for drawing down
equipment in Afghanistan. However, not all relevant lessons learned from the Iraq
drawdown have been applied in Afghanistan. For example, during the Iraq drawdown,
the Army identified that contractor equipment must be inventoried and entered into an
automated records accounting system, yet inventories in Afghanistan did not include
this equipment. We note, however, that USFOR-A officials told us they are
                3


establishing a Contractor Drawdown cell to improve visibility of contractor equipment
in Afghanistan.




3
 For the purposes of this briefing, contractor equipment includes government-owned equipment that was either furnished to contractors by the
government or acquired directly by the contractor.



18                                                                                 GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Summary (cont.)

Objective 2: Planning for Equipment Reduction
DOD has planned for the reduction of equipment from Afghanistan by establishing (a)
command structures and guidance, (b) property accountability, and (c) transportation
options—three areas we have previously identified as important for drawdown
operations.4 Concerning command structures and guidance, CENTCOM has
established USFOR-A as the supported command for retrograde operations, and
USFOR-A has published a base closure and transfer guide that outlines processes for
the handling of equipment during transition. Regarding property accountability, in
                                              5


September 2011 USFOR-A directed an inventory of all the equipment in Afghanistan
to identify items not previously accounted for in DOD’s systems of record. In the area
of transportation options, DOD has established and increased the potential capacity of
transportation routes out of Afghanistan. However, some of the transportation options
have limited operational capability for the return of equipment due to the region’s
complex geopolitical environment.
4
 GAO, Iraq and Afghanistan: Availability of Forces, Equipment and Infrastructure Should Be Considered in Developing U.S. Strategy and Plans,
GAO-09-380T (Washington, D.C.: February 12, 2009); and Operation Iraqi Freedom: Actions Needed to Enhance DOD Planning for Reposturing
of U.S. Forces from Iraq, GAO-08-930 (Washington, D.C.: September 10, 2008).
5
 In the context of command relationships, the supported commander has primary responsibility for all aspects of a task, such as drawdown from
Afghanistan, and receives assistance from other commanders’ forces or capabilities as required to accomplish the assigned mission.



19                                                                                 GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Summary (cont.)

Objective 3: Consideration of Costs
Consistent with DOD’s supply chain materiel management policy, DOD has issued
additional guidance requiring the services to analyze the costs and benefits of
transferring or destroying equipment. However, there is no specific guidance requiring
the military services to assess and document the costs and benefits associated with
the return of equipment from Afghanistan, and they have not done so. Some services
told us that they conduct informal cost-benefit analyses to support the return of major
end items from Afghanistan. However, none of the services was able to provide us
with documentation of these cost-benefit analyses. As a result, the extent to which
these analyses are being performed is uncertain. Based on our analysis, this is
particularly problematic when considering whether or not to return equipment that is
excess to current requirements. When an excess item is returned without
consideration of the costs and benefits, there is increased risk of unnecessary
expenditures on transportation and storage of unneeded items.




20                                                GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Objective 1: Applying Lessons Learned

A DOD-wide program gathers lessons learned to enhance the combatant
commander’s ability to prepare, integrate, and synchronize combat and
support forces.6 In addition, the military services and major commands
have identified specific lessons learned from Iraq for application in
Afghanistan.




6
 The Joint Lessons Learned Program (JLLP) is a DOD-wide effort to enhance the joint operator’s ability to learn from the conduct of operations
across all levels of engagement and improve mission effectiveness.




21                                                                                  GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Objective 1: Applying Lessons Learned (cont.)

     • DOD lessons learned from the Iraq drawdown that have been applied in
       Afghanistan include the following:
         o The early initiation of planning for the drawdown. An example of this is
           the Marine Corps effort initiated in 2009 to review its requirements,
           which led to the Marine Corps Equipment Reset Strategy and a detailed
           Reset Playbook in 2011. We have highlighted the Marine Corps Reset
           Playbook in appendixes I and II as an example of a detailed planning
           tool for the drawdown that could be useful if adopted by other services
           and DOD.

            o The early establishment of disposition instructions. The Navy, for
              example, issued instructions to units in March 2009 to determine
              disposition for equipment in Afghanistan. In September 2010, the Army
              issued disposition instructions for the return of serviceable equipment
              from Afghanistan.




22                                                  GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Objective 1: Applying Lessons Learned (cont.)

               o The reduction of equipment through early identification, screening, and
                 disposition. USFOR-A and DLA began early processing of some vehicles
                 and other equipment for transfer, destruction, or return.

               o Setting monthly targets for the reduction of equipment. USFOR-A
                 established equipment reduction goals for vehicles and containers; its goal
                 is to eventually achieve the sustained monthly reduction of 1,200 vehicles
                 and 1,000 containers of materiel. USFOR-A has identified more than 50,000
                 vehicles and more than 90,000 containers of materiel in Afghanistan
                 requiring disposition, and has begun keeping metrics on the reduction of this
                 equipment. Specifically, in July 2012 the Army:
                      Processed and TRANSCOM shipped 579 vehicles out of Afghanistan;
                      Delivered 183 vehicles to DLA-Disposition Services yards for
                       destruction;
                         Identified 9 vehicles for foreign military sales.
                                                                                                          7




7
    The quantities listed for the July 2012 reduction of equipment in Afghanistan reflect quantities reduced up to July 26, 2012.



23                                                                                       GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Objective 1: Applying Lessons Learned (cont.)
Not all relevant lessons learned from the Iraq drawdown have been applied in Afghanistan. For example,
DOD still has limited visibility over contractor equipment:


     • In the Iraq drawdown, the Army determined that contractor equipment should be inventoried and
        entered into an automated records accounting system; however, inventories in Afghanistan did not
        include contractor equipment.

     • In September 2011, we recommended that the Secretary of Defense direct the Under Secretary of
        Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Army and
        the Commander, U.S. Central Command, to approve and implement a process, as appropriate, to
        include associated policy and training, for acquiring and maintaining real-time visibility of contractor
        equipment before it is delivered to the U.S. government that meets the needs of operational forces
                                                                                8
        while retaining oversight features inherent to DOD’s current processes. At that time, DOD agreed with
        our recommendation.
     • USFOR-A and Army officials told us that full inventory of contractor equipment has not yet been
        attained in Afghanistan. We note, however, Army officials also told us they are increasing automation
        and publishing guidance to improve visibility of contractor equipment in Afghanistan. In addition,
        USFOR-A officials told us they are establishing a Contractor Drawdown cell that would improve
        visibility of contractor equipment in Afghanistan.
8
 GAO, Iraq Drawdown: Opportunities Exist to Improve Equipment Visibility, Contractor Demobilization, and Clarity of Post-2011 DOD Role, GAO-
11-774 (Washington, D.C.: September16, 2011).




24                                                                               GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Objective 2: Planning for Equipment Reduction –
Command Structures and Guidance

DOD has planned for the reduction of equipment from Afghanistan by establishing (a)
command structures and guidance, (b) property accountability, and (c) transportation
options.
A) Command structures and guidance. According to Joint Doctrine, supported
commanders must identify an organizational structure to control and execute the
redeployment of forces. Additionally, the supported commander is to establish priorities and
provide guidance to accomplish redeployment tasks. We found that command structures
and guidance for the reduction of equipment in Afghanistan have been established.
Specifically:
            • DOD has issued guidance establishing who can approve the transfer of
              equipment (by cost threshold) to the Government of the Islamic Republic of
              Afghanistan.
            • CENTCOM has established USFOR-A as the supported command for retrograde
              operations.
            • USFOR-A has published a base closure and transfer guide that outlines
              processes for the handling and disposition of equipment during transition.


25                                                       GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Objective 2: Planning for Equipment Reduction –
Property Accountability

B) Property accountability. To efficiently and effectively plan for the reduction
of equipment, planners must know what and how much must be moved.
According to the Army Execute Order for the reduction of equipment in
Afghanistan, 10 years of inflow without corresponding outflow has led to the
accumulation of equipment in Afghanistan.
            • DOD officials said Operation Clean Sweep improved equipment
              accountability and has provided planners with a more accurate picture
              of the amount of equipment they will ultimately need to process in
              Afghanistan. However, as described in Objective 1, DOD officials
              acknowledge that they lack visibility over contractor equipment.




26                                                 GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Objective 2: Planning for Equipment Reduction –
Transportation
C) Transportation Options: Joint Doctrine emphasizes the need to adjust or reprioritize transportation assets to meet
operational requirements. To this end, DOD has established and increased the potential capacity of transportation routes
out of Afghanistan. However, an assumption on which DOD has based its drawdown planning is the availability of ground
routes: the Pakistan ground routes (PakGLOC) and the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), a surface route through
European and central Asian countries. 9 At present, these routes have limited operational capability for the return of
equipment due to the complex geopolitical environment in the region. Specifically:
            •   To date, the NDN is operational for inbound sustainment, but not fully operational for outbound equipment.
                    o TRANSCOM officials stated that DOD faces challenges in converting the NDN routes to support
                      outbound flow due to customs and diplomatic clearance issues.
                    o U.S. forces still rely on the NDN for inbound sustainment, limiting its capacity to support the return of
                      equipment. A number of NDN routes are approved for the return of equipment and TRANSCOM is
                      currently conducting tests to determine route capacity.
            •   Since November 2011, the PakGLOC has not been operational for the return of equipment. While the United
                States and Pakistan agreed to open the PakGLOC in July 2012, the route is still in the test phase for the
                return of equipment. As a result, DOD has had to rely on multi-modal (air and sea) transport, a more costly
                transportation option.
The next two slides depict projections for the outbound flow of equipment by route and mode of transportation, and the
costs associated with moving equipment over each route.


9
  According to military doctrine, an assumption is a supposition about a current military situation or future course of events assumed to be true in
the absence of facts. Assumptions that address gaps in knowledge are critical for the planning process to continue. Assumptions must be
continually reviewed to ensure validity.



27                                                                                     GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Objective 2: Planning for Equipment Reduction –
Transportation (cont.)
                                 • This graphic shows TRANSCOM
                                   projections that 14.2 percent of
                                   all returning equipment will be
                                   transported via the NDN, 19.9
                                   percent via the PakGLOC, and
                                   65.8 percent via multi-modal.

                                 • However, as the previous slide
                                   notes, use of the NDN and
                                   PakGLOC may have limitations,
                                   and a greater dependence on
                                   multi-modal transportation may
                                   become necessary.




28
                                   GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Objective 2: Planning for Equipment Reduction –
Transportation (cont.)

                              • This graphic depicts the routes and
                                estimated associated costs for the
                                return of equipment from Afghanistan.


                              • The costs vary, depending on such
                                factors as type of equipment being
                                shipped, customs, and shipping
                                standards. For example, according to
                                DOD data, transportation costs for the
                                return of a single vehicle or container
                                can range from $8,000 to $153,000.




29                              GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Objective 3: Consideration of Costs in Equipment
Reduction – Transfer, Destroy, or Return
•      According to DOD guidance, DOD components shall consider all costs associated with materiel management
       in making best value decisions throughout the DOD supply chain. The guidance further states that best
                                                                            10


       value decisions should be determined through the use of a business case analysis methodology that
       evaluates both cost and non-cost factors. Examples of cost factors could include transportation, repair,
       handling, and storage costs; non-cost factors could include the condition of the item, existing requirements for
       the item, and the sensitivity of an item (which may dictate its return even if the item is no longer required).
•      Consistent with DOD’s supply chain materiel management policy, DOD has issued additional guidance
       requiring an assessment and documentation of the costs and benefits of transferring or destroying
       equipment. Specifically:
                    o Transfer – In order to transfer equipment, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and
                       Materiel Readiness requires the military services to provide analyses and documentation
                       demonstrating that the benefit to the United States will be commensurate with the value of the
                       property transferred.
                    o Destroy – If an item is to be destroyed, USFOR-A requires certification that the item has been
                       vetted through a service process and that all avenues for reutilization/transfer have been
                       exhausted, or that a cost-benefit analysis was conducted and destruction found to be the
                       most cost-effective option.



10
     DOD Instruction 4140.01, DOD Supply Chain Materiel Management Policy (Dec. 14, 2011).
30                                                                                GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Objective 3: Consideration of Costs in Equipment
Reduction – Transfer, Destroy, or Return (cont.)
Return – Unlike transfer or destruction of equipment in Afghanistan, there is no specific guidance
requiring the military services to assess and document the costs and benefits for the return of
equipment. The services have not fully considered the costs and benefits of returning major end
items from Afghanistan. While some service officials stated that they conduct informal cost-benefit
analyses, none of the services was able to provide documentation of these cost-benefit analyses,
and so the extent to which these analyses are being performed is uncertain.


     • Army officials said that cost-benefit analyses for the return of equipment from Afghanistan are
       being conducted informally. However, because the Army could not provide documentation of
       these cost benefit analyses, the extent to which these analyses are being performed is
       uncertain.
     • The Air Force is not currently performing such cost-benefit analyses.
     • Marine Corps officials said that in their decisions to return equipment they give consideration to
       whether the repair of the equipment is more cost-effective than new procurement, but do not
       consider transportation costs. However, the Marine Corps could not provide documentation of
       cost-benefit analyses. Also, the Marine Corps has developed a tool that decision makers could
       use to analyze the possible costs and benefits of returning major end items (see appendix II).

31                                                            GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Objective 3: Consideration of Costs in Equipment
Reduction – Transfer, Destroy, or Return (cont.)
     • Navy officials told us that they use an economic analysis that considers transportation
       costs concerning the return of equipment from Afghanistan. The Navy has issued
       guidance stating that, in general, the return of equipment must be more cost-effective
       than new procurement, adding that units should return only those pieces for which a
       clear business case can be made. Navy officials said that such assessments include
       transportation costs and the condition of the equipment. However, the Navy could not
       provide documentation of these analyses, so the extent to which they are being
       performed is uncertain.


Based on our analysis, the return of major end items without consideration of the costs and
benefits is particularly problematic for returning equipment that is excess to current
requirements. When an excess item is returned without consideration of costs and benefits,
there is increased risk of transportation and storage expenditures on unneeded items.




32                                                      GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Conclusions
     • DOD has applied some relevant lessons learned from the Iraq drawdown to its plans
       for the reduction of equipment in Afghanistan. DOD has also planned for the reduction
       of equipment in Afghanistan by establishing (a) command structures and guidance, (b)
       property accountability, and (c) transportation options. However, DOD decision
       makers do not have cost-benefit information concerning the return of equipment from
       Afghanistan.
     • The military services can return major end items without documentation of cost and
       benefit considerations or analyses used in the decision-making process.
     • Because the services have not consistently performed and documented analyses to
       support decision making concerning the return of excess major end items from
       Afghanistan, there is a risk that the cost of returning excess items may outweigh the
       benefits of returning them.
     • Decision makers cannot make fully informed decisions concerning costs and benefits
       associated with the return of excess equipment without documented supporting
       analyses.



33                                                     GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Recommendations
To reduce the risk of returning excess major end items from Afghanistan without full
consideration of costs and benefits, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense
ensure that the Service Secretaries and the Commander, U.S. Central Command,
conduct and document analyses to support the decisions to return excess major end
items by taking the following two actions:

1) Conduct and document analyses to compare the costs of returning excess major
end items with the benefits of returning them. These analyses might include
considerations of factors such as:
            • Repair;
            • Transportation and storage;
            • Handling;
            • Condition of the item; and
            • Sensitivity of the item.

2) Use these cost-benefit analyses as a key factor in decision making concerning the
return of excess major end items.
34                                               GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Appendix I: Marine Corps Reset Playbook Sample
• As early as 2009 the Marine Corps began a review of its requirements that led to
  the Marine Corps Equipment Reset Strategy.
                                             11



• As a result of its requirements review the Marine Corps also developed a Reset
  Playbook—a single, detailed accounting of each of its 78,168 major end items in
  Afghanistan— that contains the following information for each item:
            o current and future requirements data;
            o on-hand inventories in Afghanistan and service-wide;
            o the initially forecast disposition instructions (return, transfer, or destroy) for
              each item; and
            o the information used to determine the best mode of transportation for return.
• The information contained in the Playbook is updated periodically based on inputs
  from Afghanistan and Marine Corps inventory managers. Excerpts from this
  playbook are contained in the following slides.

11
  The Marine Corps broadly defines reset as the repair, recapitalization, and replacement actions taken to restore unit equipment to a desired
level of combat capability commensurate with the unit’s future mission.
35                                                                                   GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Appendix I: Marine Corps Reset Playbook Sample
(Cont.)




36                            GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Appendix II: Marine Corps Playbook Process
     Fiscal Year 2012 Requirements                                 Fiscal Year 2017 Requirements




Source: GAO analysis of Marine Corps data

      • Using the Playbook, decision makers can identify equipment in Afghanistan that is forecast to return, but is
        excess to their requirements. The Marine Corps currently plans to return 61,996 major end items from
        Afghanistan. Of the 61,996 items forecast to be returned, 11,191 (18%) do not have a fiscal year 2012
        requirement or other documented justification for return; 16,106 (26%) do not have a fiscal year 2017
        requirement or other documented justification for return.

37                                                                     GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Appendix II: Marine Corps Playbook Process (cont.)

     • Using the Playbook, decision makers could determine possible costs and
       benefits of returning major end items.


     • The items that follow are examples of major end items that are forecast to be
       returned, but may be excess to requirements. The wide disparity in
       transportation costs for returning equipment could be a deciding factor in the
       determination of whether to return an item.


     • Even if the items are excess, there may be a rationale for returning them,
       rather than transferring or destroying the items.


     • A documented analysis that considers both cost (e.g., transportation) and
       non-cost (e.g., sensitivity of the item) factors would validate the decision to
       return excess items or to dispose of them in country (transfer or destroy).
38                                                  GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Appendix II: Marine Corps Playbook Process (cont.)


                                                  There are a total of 33 Marine Corps
                                                  Backscatter Vans in Afghanistan, all of
                                                  which are forecast to be returned via
                                                  multimodal transportation. Based on the
                                                  Playbook requirement, the return of 28
                                                  could meet Marine Corps-wide
                                                  requirements.


                                                  If the remaining 5 vans are determined to
                                                  be excess when the disposition
                                                  instructions are issued, the transportation
                Van, Z Backscatter                cost for the return of these vans could
                   (July 2012 Playbook, p. 268)   range from $150,000 to $765,000,
                                                  underscoring the importance of a cost-
                                                  benefit analysis.

39                                                    GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Appendix II: Marine Corps Playbook Process (cont.)

                                                  There are155 Marine Corps Scoop Type
                                                  Loaders in Afghanistan, all of which are
                                                  forecast to be returned. Based on the
                                                  Playbook requirement, the return of 59
                                                  could meet Marine Corps-wide
                                                  requirements.


                                                  If the remaining 96 loaders are determined
                                                  to be excess when the disposition
                                                  instructions are issued, the transportation
                                                  cost for the return of these loaders could
                                                  range from $1.8 million to $14.7 million,
               Loader, Scoop Type                 underscoring the importance of a cost-
                   (July 2012 Playbook, p. 292)
                                                  benefit analysis.



40                                                    GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Appendix II: Marine Corps Playbook Process (cont.)



                                                  There are 217 Marine Corps Small Field
                                                  Refrigerators in Afghanistan. Depending
                                                  on when disposition occurs, all 217 of
                                                  these refrigerators in Afghanistan could be
                                                  excess to Marine Corps-wide
                                                  requirements. However, all of them are
                                                  forecast to be returned from Afghanistan if
                                                  serviceable.


           Small Field Refrigerator
                   (July 2012 Playbook, p. 299)




41                                                    GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
Enclosure: Briefing Slides




Appendix II: Marine Corps Playbook Process (cont.)

     • Marine Corps officials told us that they are preparing an interim
       policy regarding cost-benefit analysis for the return of excess
       equipment from Afghanistan. This analysis would be used to
       determine disposition instructions for excess equipment that is
       forecast for return.
     • Marine Corps processes and the use of cost-benefit analyses could
       be applied to all the military services.
        o Marine Corps equipment has more than 70,000 major end items
          in Afghanistan. The Army has the most major end items in
          Afghanistan—more than 640,000.
        o Transportation costs could be reduced if items are moved from
          the return option to the transfer or destroy options.

42                                            GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations
           Enclosure: Briefing Slides




           Related GAO Products
           Operation Iraqi Freedom: Actions Needed to Enhance DOD Planning for Reposturing of U.S. Forces from Iraq. GAO-08-
           930. Washington, D.C.: September 10, 2008.

           Iraq and Afghanistan: Availability of Forces, Equipment and Infrastructure Should Be Considered in Developing U.S.
           Strategy and Plans. GAO-09-380T. Washington, D.C.: February 12, 2009.

           Operation Iraqi Freedom: Preliminary Observations on DOD Planning for the Drawdown of U.S. Forces from Iraq. GAO-
           10-179. Washington, D.C.: November 2, 2009.

           Operation Iraqi Freedom: Actions Needed to Facilitate the Efficient Drawdown of U.S. Forces and Equipment from Iraq.
           GAO-10-376. Washington, D.C.: April 19, 2010.

           Warfighter Support: Preliminary Observations on DOD's Progress and Challenges in Distributing Supplies and Equipment
           to Afghanistan. GAO-10-842T. Washington, D.C.: June 25, 2010.

           Defense Logistics: DOD Needs to Take Additional Actions to Address Challenges in Supply Chain Management. GAO-11-
           569. Washington, D.C.: July 28, 2011.

           Iraq Drawdown: Opportunities Exist to Improve Equipment Visibility, Contractor Demobilization, and Clarity of Post-2011
           DOD Role. GAO-11-774. Washington, D.C.: September 16, 2011.

           Warfighter Support: DOD Has Made Progress, but Supply and Distribution Challenges Remain In Afghanistan. GAO-12-
           138. Washington, D.C.: October 7, 2011.


           43                                                                    GAO-13-185R Afghanistan Drawdown Preparations



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