Improvements Are Needed in Managing Aircraft Used by Federal Civilian Agencies

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-12-22.

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

                                 DOCUMENT BE;UOE
  04682 - [ B35744 ]
  I3provements   :e eeded in anaging Aircraft Used by
  Civilian Agenc:ies.  CD-77-430; B-164197(1). December Federal
                                                        22, 1977.
  43 pp.   8 apper.dices (40 pp.).
  Beport to the Coagiesa; ly iBler B. Staats,
                                                            Coptroller General.
  Issue rea:      acllitis      ad4 aterial anagesent (700); Federal
      Procurement of Goods; an Services (1900).
  Contact: Logistics and Communications
  Budget Punctio;n:                             )i.       -
                           eneral Government: Oher General Government
  orgatniation Concerned: Office of anageadnt
  Authority: OHSB Circular -76.                             and Budget.

              Civilian gencies in the Federal
  650 arcraft orth at least S340 million. Government own over
                                                       They lease, charter,
  or rent several tousand more annually.
  spent each year by agencies to acquire             illions of dollars are
 civilian Government aircraft fleet, his         and     operate the combined
  Andspeudently and without any overnment-widedone b each agency
 Pindiags/c.sionsons: he differences                         policy guidance.
 procedures for all aspects of aircraft        in    the    policies   and
 agencies contribute to inefficient and          operations       among    the
                                                 uneconomical aircraft
 programs. Because there is no information
 aircraft resources of the civil agencies; syste for the
 sufficient ifovation to determine aircraft           agencies do not have
 obtain aircraft services, aircraft utilizationneeds, methods to
 maintenance and storage practices, uniform                   practices,
 and st:ndard pilot qualificatioun.                      cperating    standards,
 Director of the Office of mnnagement and    Recommendations:         The Acting
 reevaluation of existing aircraft program           Budget    should:    '-equie
capabilities, even if this means releasing            needs    and
 using an alternative source for support                some aircraft or
overall policy to provide broad uidance           capabilities;        develop
common civil agency aircraft program activities       or standardizing
acquisition, utilization, maintenance,                         such as aircraft
to bring about increased interagency cooperationad      storage;    take action
airccaft programs, with epkasis on greater                      regarding
aircraft and support facilities ard on                    interagency use of
for consolidation contracts and agreements      identifying        potentials
aircraft services; and develop overall                  for  ccamercial
systems and aircraft information systemscriteria for uniform cost
costs and identify agency aircraft and              that will standardize
could be shared. O0B should investigate         aircraft      services that
having a single anager for common aircraft       the     possibility     of
fAuthor/SC)                                              prograA    activitie,.


               Improvements Are Needed In
               Managing Aircraft Used By
               Federal Civilian Agencies
               Office of Management and Budget

              Civilian agencies acquire nd operate aircraft
              independent of each other and without
              Government-wide policy guidance. There is a
              need or greater cooperation among these
              agencies to realize greater aircraft efficiency
              and economy.

              Such cooperation should be supported by uni-
              form information systems--including cost
              accounting systems--with data concerning
              common activities such as mairtenance,
              storage, and acquisition practices.

              LCD-77-430                                        DECEMBER 22, 1977
                          WASHINGTON. D.C.;   OUI


To the President of the Senate and the
Speaker of the House of Representatives
     This report describes how Federal civilian agencies
acquiring, operating, and managing aircraft independently
and without any Government-wide guidance.

     We initiated this review after pre imin-rv research
indicated decentralized management of aircLr              igrams,
particularly utilization, maintenance, and logistical
port, was inefficient and uneconomical.  Because there is no
concerted effort to establish Government-wide policies
procedures, these problems could continue to grow as
craft become more supportive of civil agency responsibili-
ties.  We are recommending to the Acting Director, Office
of Management and Budget, a number of actions we believe
are needed to improve management of the agencies' aircraft

     We made our review pursuant to the Budget and Account-
ing Act, 1921 (31 U.S.C. 53), the Accounting and Auditing
Act of 1950 (31 U.S.C. 67), and 10 U.S.C. 2313(b).

     We are also sending this report today to the Acting
Director, Office of Management and Budget; the Secretaries
of Agriculture, the Interior, Transportation, and the
ury; the Attorney General of the United States; and
Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

                                   Comptroller General
                                   of the United States
                                                IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED IN
                                                BY FEDERAL CIVILIAN
                 DIG ES T
                 Civilian agencies in the Federal Government
                 own over 650 aircraft worth at least
                 million. They lease, charter, or      $340
                 several thousand more annually. Millions
                 of dollars are spent each year by
                 to acquire and operate the combinedagencies
                 Government araft fleet.
                This is done I each agency independently
                and without any overnment-wide policy
                ance. Each agency has its own policies guid-
                procedures for all aspects of aircraft and
                operations and there are extensive
                tions among agencies. These differences
                contribute to nt£ficient and uneconomical
                aircraft programs making Government-wide
                policy guidance for aircraft programs
                essac y.                              nec-

                Agencies do not have sufficient informa-
                tion to determine aircraft needs,
                to obtain aircraft services, aircraft
                utilization practices, maintenance
                storage practices, uniform operatingand
                standards, and standard pilot qualifica-
                tions. This is because no information
                system exists for aircraft resources
                the civil agencies.
               Agencies are not using uniform methods
                systems to accumulate and report aircraft
               program costs. Many cost systems
               complete. Therefore agencies do notare in-
               adequate cost information to compare have
               ous alternatives to satisfy their     vari-
               needs or better control aircraft
               The Drug Enforcement Administration,
               example, considers only operating     for
               such as fuel, oil, parts, labor,   costs
               and miscellaneous expenses. Otherhangar,
               consider operating costs plus various

 OArStoA.    Upon removal, the report
cover date should be noted hereon.i
and indirect fixed costs such as deprecia-
tions, crew salaries and travel, adminis-
trative personnel costs, etc.   (See pp.
32 to 35.)
Little has been done by agencies to coordi-
nate aircraft programs. This has further
contributed to inefficient and uneconomical
operations throughout the Government.
Some agencies are recognizing the need for
better management of aircraft programs.
The Office of Aircraft Services has cen-
tralized control over all Interior Depart-
ment aircraft programs in Alaska and is
attempting to expand tis control to the
48 continental States.  (See pp. 12 and 13.)
Someone must take the lead to improve
aircraft programs in Government. The Of-
fice of Management and Budget appears
best suited to initiate action and obtain
necessary agency cooperation.  (See p. 37.)
The Acting Director, Office of Management
and Budget, should:
-- Require reevaluation of existing aircraft
   program needs and capabilities, even if
   this means releasing some aircraft or
   using an alternative source for support
-- Develop overall policy to provide broad
   guidance for standardizing common civil
   agency aircraft program activities such
   as aircraft acquisition, tilization,
   maintenance, and storage.
-- Take action to bring about increased
   interagency cooperation, regarding air-
   craft programs, with emphasis on (1)
   greater interagency use of aircraft,
   maintenance capabilities, storage facili-
   ties, and training facilities, including
   military resources and (2) identifying
   potentials for consolidating contracts
   and agreements for commercial aircraft

            -- Develop overall criteria for uniform cost
               systems and aircraft information systems
               that will standardize costs and identify
               agency aircraft, their location as well
               as potential availability for sharing,
               and other services that could be shared,
               such as hangars, maintenance facilities,
               training facilities, and refueling.
           These actions should be initiated promptly.
           After this is done, in the long term,
           greater opportunities for achieving econom-
           ies and efficiencies lie in improvemients on
           a Government-wide basis.
           Although a single manager approach is but
           one of many ways for achieving Government-
           wide savings, the Government has used this
           approach, in many cases, to meet needs of
           different customers for common services and
           commodities.   In deciding how Government-
           wide savings can best be achieved, the Of-
           fice of Management and Budget therefore
           should look into the possibility of having
           a single manager for common aircraft pro-
           gram activities. The functions of such
           a manager could include responsibility and
           authority to monitor and formulate policies
           and procedures for common aircraft program
           activities.  (See pp. 38 and 39.)
           Most civilian agencies agreed that increased
           emphasis on interagency cooperation and
           coordination would provide greater economies
           and efficiencies. The Office of Management
           and Budget agreed that more uniformity in
           cost accounting systems is needed.
           Several agencies believed that a uniform
           aircraft management information system
           could and should advance interagency air-
           craft sharing, particularly if such a sys-
           tem included information on aircraft type
           and location, expected availability, and
           the types of services that might be shared.

           Most agencies, however opposed designat-
           ing a single manager with responsibility
           for Government-wide aircraft programs

Ter heet                        iii
primarily because of the vast differences
in agency aircraft requirements and types.

Although mission and administrative air-
craft have different configurations and
tasks, thee are some activities--such as
maintenance, storage, procurement, and
pilot qualifications--that are common.
It may be feasible and desirable, there-
fore, to standardize these activities on
a Government-wide basis.
Centralized management is not the immediate
or only solution to improving program weak-
nesses in management of civil agency aircraft
pro-rams. Based on the successful experi-
ences of selected individual agencies, how-
ever, notably the Department of the Inter-
ior, it is an alternative that shows promise
for achieving Government-wide economies and
The single manager approach has proven to
be successful, in several cases, when the
Government has had many different customers
with a need for common services and commodi-
ties.  (See pp. 41 and 42.)


DIGEST                                                 i

   1      INTRODUCTION                                 1
              Mission aircraft                         1
              Administrative aircraft                  2
              Scope                                    2
            AGENCY AIRCRAFT                            8
              Determining the level of aircraft
                operations in civilian agencies       8
              Meeting needs for aircraft services     8
              Other issues to be considered          11
              Limited application of central man-
                agement                              12
              Analyzing the issues                   13
            MENTS                                    14
              Measuring total aircraft needs         14
              Satisfying aircraft needs              18
              Practices that warrant change          21
            NEEDED                                   25
              Savings possible through consolida-
                tion of aircraft maintenance         25
              Potertial for reducing the cost of
                aircraft storage                     26
              Need to establish uniform aircraft
                standards                            29
              Need to establish standard pilot
                qualifications                       30
              Benefits of uniform cost information   32
            COMMENTS                                 36
              Conclusions                            36
              Recommendations                        37
              Agency comments and our evaluation     39

      I    Letters from the Office of Management and
             Budget, Department of Agriculture,
             Department of the Interior, Department
             of Justice, National Aeronautics and
             Space Administration, Department of
             Transportation, and Department of the
             Treasury                                       44
  II       Description of selected agencies operat-
             ing aircraft                                   67
 III       Aircraft operated by civilian agencies
             and the U.S. Coast Guard                       72
  IV       Questions in questionnaire to selected
             agencies                                       73
      V    Summary of agency written responses
             to GAO questionnaire                           76
  VI       National Park Service Flights and
             Cos. Data--April and May 1.975                 80
 VII       Comparison between Bureau of Reclama-
             tion Specification Requirements and
             Manufacturer's Description of Rockwell
             Commander Aircraft                             81
VIII       Principal officials responsible for
             activities discussed in this report            82
OMB        Office of Management and Budget
NASA       National Aeronautics and Space Administration
                          CHAPTER 1
     Today aircraft are being used more extensively than
ever by civilian Government agencies to carry out assigned
responsibilities. Agencies spend millions of dollars each
year to acquire, operate, and maintain aircraft. Civilian
agencies own more than 650 aircraft, ranging in size from
small single engine aircraft costing less than $10,000 to
large jet aircraft, such as a Boeing 747, costing many mil-
lions of dollars. Cursory information obtained from the
agencies indicates the total value of the aircraft inventory
is at least $340 million.

     Since agencies perform many different progrpis, air-
craft are used for a variety of purposes and, as    result,
agencies use many different aircraft. Most aircraft are
single or twin engine aircraft available from commercial
sources costing from $8,000 to $580,000. These aircraft
are generally propeller driven and fly slower than smaller
jets (such as the Gulfstreams and Sabre Liners). The jets
fly considerably faster but also cost considerably more
money--approximately $2 million to $3 million.

     In addition to owning aircraft, Federal agercies lease,
relt, and charter several thousand aircraft. These aircraft
services are normally obtained by individual agercy field
organizations; therefore, information was not readily avail-
able showing either the total aircraft or total costs involved.
Discussion with agenryv  ficials revealed that obtaining air-
craft services by these means is very common.

      Most agencies place their aircraft i.Lto two general
categories, depending on work type--mission ircraft and
administrative aircraft. Experimental aircraft are a minor
category of aircraft, generally used for research and develop-
ment.   (See p. 5.) Since we could not easily determine the
value of these aircraft, they are included in this report,
in the numerical inventory but not in the total dollar value.


     Mission aircraft primarily support special programs such
as fire protection, law enforcement, and land surveys. These
aircraft, often needing special equipment, enhance agency
efforts to complete special programs. Their use as personnel
transport aircraft is limited. Agency officials indicated

that the majority of aircraft owned by civilian agencies fall
into this category.  An example would be the aircraft used
by the Forest Service to transport personnel that fight fires.
(See p. 4.)


      Administrative aircraft can be used to perfor.,i missions,
but primarily transport cargo and personnel.    These aircraft
generally are not modified and do not contain special equip-
ment.   Administrative aircraft provide transportation normally
associated with the services provided by companies that
specialize in renting, chartering, or leasing aircraft.     (See
pictures on the following pages.)


     With some exceptions, agencies independently operate
and manage their aircraft programs without any Government-
wide policy guidance.  Because of this independence among
agencies, we reviewed aircraft program management at various
civilian agencies throughout the Federal Government.  Our
work was to identify the wide variations in aircraft programs
arong different agencies and to determine if the variations
were warranted.  We concentrated our work on six civilian
agencies, but also briefly contacted others for limited in-

    We made our review primarily at the following locations:

    Department of the Interior:

          Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the
          Interior (Management)
          Washington, D.C.

          Office of Aircraft Services
          Boise, Idaho

         Bureau of Reclamation Headquarters
         Washington, D.C.

          Bureau of Rezlamation
          Denver, Colorado

         Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters
         Washington, D.C.

         Fish and Wildlife Service
         Denver, Colorado

      z               r~~~~~~~~~~~

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         (I,)        ~ii

                     54     i
     U.S. Geological Survey Headquarters
     Reston, Virginia

     U.S. Geological Survey
     Denver, Colorado
     National Park
     Service Headquarters
     Washington, D.C.
     National Park Service
     Denver, Colorado
Department of the Treasury:
     U^S. Customs Service Headquarters
     Washington, D.C.
Department of Justice:
     Drug Enforcement Administration Headquarters
     Washington, D.C.

     Drug Enforcement Administration
     San Pedro, California
Department of Transportation:
     Federal Aviation Administrat-on Headquarters
     Washington, D.C.

     Federal Aviation Administration
     Los Angeles, California

     U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters
     Washington, D.C.

     U.S. Coast Guard
     Long Beach, California
Department of Agriculture:

    U.S. Forest   'ervice Headquarters
    Washington,   .C.
    U.S. Forest Service
    Ontatio, California

    U.S. Forest Service
    Boise, Idaho

     National Aeronautics and Space Administration:
          National Aeronautics and Space Administration
          Washington, D.C.

          Jet Propulsion Laboratory
          Pasadena, California

          Dryden Flight Research Center
          Edwards Air Force ase, California
     Appendix II provides more details about these agencies
and their aircraft programs. Appendix III lists all civilian
agencies identified as having aircraft and the number of air-
craft they operate.

     We also sent questionnaires to 10 of these agencies con-
cerning their policies and procedures for selected aspects of
aircraft operations. A copy of the questions to each agency
is included as appendix IV. The responses were too voluminous
to include in this report. Therefore, in addition to references
throughout the report, we have summarized selected information
in appendix V.

                           CHAPTER 2


     Aircraft programs have been established independently
within the agencies and are generally managed independently
of one another. No single agency is responsible for the over-
all management of civilian agency aircraft programs, and
there are no Government-wide policies and procedures for
agencies to follow. There also has not been any concerted
effort at this time to establish Government-wide olicie
and procedures. Because of the nearly 700 civilian aircraft
involved worth at least $340 million (about $200 million for
the U.S. Coast Guard alone), a better approach with careful
consideration for many key factors is needed. At the agency
leve', some key factors are being considered, but further con-
sideration and joint analysis in certain areas is required.

     These areas include the level of aircraft operations,
aircraft utilization, maintenance and storage practices,
aircraft safety, and costs of operations.


     Using aircraft to perform various specialized missions
and Warry out routine activities has become popular with many
civilian agencies of the Federal Government. While it is
evident that a need for aircraft exists, defining the appro-
priate level of operations--i.e., how many and what kind of
aircraft are necessary--requires consideration of several
issues. Of,primary importance is the way agencies satisfy
their needs. Other issues such as utilization, maintenance
and storage practices, aircraft safety, and cost of operations
also require careful consideration, particularly when assess-
ing the effectiveness of aircraft programs throughout the


     How can the various aircraft needs ol all civilian agen-
cies'be met at least cost to the Government, without sacrific-
ing timeliness or safety? The answer is not simple because
various factors must be considered:

     -- Is all of the civilian aircraft fleet necessary or can
        some be eliminated?

     -- What impact will greater interagency use of existing
        aircraft have on current or projected inventories?
     -- How and who should provide aircraft maintenance a.d

     -- How safe are Government aircraft programs and what
        improvements can be made?

     -- What are the costs of aircraft programs and how might
        savings be achieved?

      Indepth analyses and investigations are needed to
adequately answer such questions for each agency or all agen-

     With the above we suggest that Government-wide needs
can be established with some precision. In addition, w con-
tend better aircraft programs can be achieved with greater
cooperation and coordination.

     The number of aircraft and cost of operations have in-
creased significantly. In the past, each agency had only a
few aircraft scattered througnout the country and the cost
was relatively low; there was little need to cooperate and
coordinate aircraft activities. But past experience is prob-
ably a poor guide and should not be used to determine what
is best for the future. As will be seen in chapters 3 and 4,
agencies have made only the most elementary efforts to coor-
dinate aircraft program activities, and no efforts have been
begun to establish Government-wide policies and procedures.

     Considering staffing and budget constraints Federal
agencies should first determine the level of services that
can he provided. Also, it is important agencies continually
insure that the most economical resources, necessary to ac-
complish their missions, are selected. Aircraft are but one
alternative. Detailed analyses should be performed to answer
the question about whether aircraft is the best alternative.
This is necessary, whether aircraft are needed to transport
people or to carry out special functions such as fire fight-
ing, law enforcement, or scientific research. Current capa-
cities, both within and outside the agency, should be evalu-
ated to determine whether aircraft are essential or merely
nice to have and whether, in fact, essential work is accom-
plished hat couldn't be accomplished some cheaper way.

     Such an evaluation has been prompted by an October 14,
1977, Department of Defense Audit Service report on adminis-
trative aircraft. This report recommended that military air-
craft, used for administrative support needs, only be used
when commercial airlines cannot satisfy the existing require-
ments. When the continual use of aircraft can no longer be
justified, such aircraft and support capabilities should be
eliminated.  Recently, the House Committee on Appropriations
instructed the Air Force to dispose of five 737 jet aircraft
that could no longer be justified.

     Similar analyses should be made to determine how air-
craft services can best be provided. To accomplish this, con-
sideration should be given to all possible methods, such as
renting, chartering, leasing, purchasing, lease-purchasing,
borrowing, or obtaining the aircraft from Government excess.
For example, it may be less expensive to rent or borrow an
aircraft if the agency only needs the aircraft for a short
time. Longer term needs may be better satisfied by acquir-
ing the aircraft through Government excess or by purchase.
Sometimes a short-term need may exist; however, the flying
conditions may be considered dangerous and the most practical
solution may be a Government-owned aircraft piloted by Govern-
ment personnel.

     Needed guidance for some of these decisions is provided
by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-76. Once
agencies decide an aircraft is needed, they are required to
analyze whether the services should be provided by the private
sector or through Government resources. We recognize the
necessity for such an analysis and believe the citL. ar has
greatly assisted some agencies in this area.

     However, OMB circular A-76 is not designed to deal solely
with aircraft programs and therefore does not specifically
address some key issues pertaining to aircraft programs. Be-
fore acquiring an aircraft, agencies should determine if air-
craft services can be adequately provided from existing
Government-owned resources. W are not necessarily suggest-
ing that OMB Circular A-76 should be the means to specifically
address this or other issues discussed in this report, but
the problems identified throughout this report indicate
specific guidance is necessary to deal with these issues. For
example, we sent a questionnaire to several agencies asking
about written policies and procedures to determine (1) the
most appropriate mode of transportation and (2) the most ap-
propriate aircraft to acquire. Some agencies indicated a
lack of written policies and procedures in these areas.
Other responses were unclear about the extent of policies

 and procedures in these areas.   (See apps. IV and V for
 further details.)


      Other issues, such as aircraft utilization, maintenance
 and storage practices, aircraft safety, and the cost of opera-
 tions, should be considered when determining the most appro-
 priate level of aircraft operations. Several agencies have
 established varying degrees of policies and procedures to
guide them in managing these aspects of aircraft programs,
but no common guidelines exist for all agencies to use under
 similar conditions so that aircraft use, maintenance, and
storage can be consistent, coordinated, and shared. Without
common minimum standards for pilot qualifications, aircraft
maintenance, or equipment, not all persons flying under similar
conditions are afforded the same safety level. Further com-
plicating the above problems is the absence of a common
formation system to permit agencies to evaluate and compare
aircraft programs. Management also needs to be able to assess
aircraft programs to make responsive decisions to improve
them. Information systems should be devised that tell man-
agers whether aircraft needs can be met through existing
capacities, how safe their programs are, what is the best
method to use when performing maintenance, and many other

      Another essential issue is the cost of existing aircraft
programs. Accurate and reliable costs must be compiled
that comparisons can be made between Government aircraft so
ices and private aircraft services. For example, continuing
analyses of individual aircraft programs are needed to deter-
mine if the existing services can be performed more econom-
ically through other means. Similar comparisons are needed
to determine if aircraft maintenance can be more economically
provided by the Gove:nment or by contracted services. Po-
tential for consolidating redundant capabilities in certain
geographic areas should be analyzed periodically. In   one
case, as many as 18 airplanes are operated, maintained,
stored in the same area by nine different Government agencies;
each has somewhat different aircraft policies.

     The impact of more sophisticated
aircraft for a variety of uses is also and greater numbers of
                                        an important considera-
tion. New Government programs may require new, expensive
aircraft services. At the same time, the current administra-
tion has fostered a policy for conserving energy. Therefore,
careful assessment of the growing, sophisticated aircraft
fleet is needed.

     Limited attention has been given centralized management
within some civil agencies; however, OMB has not given serious
consideration to having a single manager for the aircraft used
by civilian agencies. OMB officials stated they have not con-
sidered a central manager because they do not know if the
benefits derived from central management are greater than those
under the existing system.

     While OMB has not considered centralizing civilian aircraft
programs, nor provrided any overall direction in this area, we
believe more centralization of selected    ogram activities
would offer distinct advantages. We are    ot suggesting that
centralization is the only solution for    rcraft program ac-
tivities but want to emphasize that some agencies have taken
various measures to more centrally cor.trol or consolidate
selected aircraft activities in recent years.

     The Department of the Interior has made the most signif-
icant effort toward centralizing aircraft management. In
July 1973, the Office of Aircraft Services was established
to manage, direct, and coordinate the Interior Department's
aircraft programs. This office has since taken control of
the Interior's aircraft program in Alaska, and has control
of the Interior's contracting and leasing for aircraft serv-
ices in the 48 continental States. This office also maintains
cost data for all the Interior aircraft and has established
many standard aircraft policies and procedures that apply
to all the Interior agencies. As evidenced in recent con-
gressional testimony, these consolidation efforts have been
successful in eliminating about one-half of the Interior's
Alaskan facilities and maintenance personnel. The cost of
operating the Interior's Government-owned aircraft in Alaska
is expected to decrease from $2.2 million in fiscal year
1974 to less than $1 million in fiscal year 1977. Further
discussions with Office of Aircraft Services officials in-
dicated that the maximum number of personnel employed has
decreased by about 25 percent while overall aircraft services
increased considerably. For example, while the program costs
increased from $14 million in fiscal year 1975 to a current
$21 million the number of personnel needed to operate the pro-
grams dropped from 100 to 75.

     While efforts y other agencies have been on a much
smaller scale than those within the Department of the Interior,
they are indicative of rather widespread concern for aircraft
programs, particularly the possible need for a more central
ized program.

     For example, in 1974 a National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA) study of aircraft management recom-
mended an aircraft office be established to serve as a focal
point for overall aircraft management matters throughout
the agency. As a result NASA now has a small headquarters
staff for this purpose. Another agency, the Forest Service,
has established a separate aviation organization in Washington
that primarily coordinates technical and operational matters
among the various Forest Service regions.


     In general, each Federal civilian agency assumes that
its aircraft program is running smoothly and is as good as
those of other Federal agencies. But we found that this may
not necessarily be true.

     The basic management problems that exist under the
present system of operations, therefore, revolve around the
lack of

     -- coordination among agencies;
     -- differences in policies and procedures among
        agencies to firmly manage aircraft programs; and,
     --a central data system to inform agencies of all air-
       craft resources.
     Standardization-in aircraft programs among different
agencies can be accomplished by increasing interagency com-
munication.   Increased communication allows for establishing
and delineating different policies and procedures to later
produce agreement on mutually acceptable overall policies
and procedures. But dramatic changes (such as consolida-
ting agency aircraft activities) cannot be made until a
correlation between overall and individual civilian Govcrn-
ment aircraft operational needs is drawn. Through thesz
efforts overall civilian Government aircraft resources can
be most effectively managed while responsiveness to individual
agency needs is assured.

     The chapters that follow will deal in more depth with
agency policies and procedures to manage aircraft resources,
and various methods used to independently manage agency air-
craft resources.

                           CHAPTER 3
     Accurate information from all agencies using aircraft
is needed to determine the appropriate type and amount of
aircraft services required to match these requirements with
the existing aircraft resources in he Federal airfleet.

     Detailed analyses of agency needs should be the start-
ing point. Once determined, how can these needs be satisfied?
The answer would include a determination of existing capabili-
ties both within and outside the Government, plus, the econom-
ics of available services.

      We found that agency requirements are not based on the
above analysis. One reason is that agencies that need air-
craft are not always aware of existing capabilities within
other Federal agencies. Another reason is that agency per-
sonnel independently satisfy their aircraft requirements from
their own resources without determining if their needs could
be met from resources from other agencies. As noted in
chapter 2, the Department of the Interior established an of-
fice that coordinates its aircraft procurements, leases, and
operations. We believe that similar coordination, extended
throughout other departments and possibly the entire Federal
Government, could determine the maximum number of aircraft
required to satisfy overall needs. This reassessment should
include an evaluation of all capabilities, even though some
of these may exist outside the age;cy.


      Determining transportation needs is the first step
developing aircraft requirements. Detailed analyses are in
needed to determine if air transportation will provide the
best service for the agency. These analyses should evaluate
other modes of transportation and compare the benefits from
each mode. Along with an evaluation of the other modes the
analyses should include the extent and frequency of probable
use. This should form the basis for decisions regarding the
aircraft needed and the best method for obtaining the necessary
services (i.e., outright purchase, lease, lease-purchase,
charter, rent, loan, or interdepartmental transfer).   In response
to our questionnaire (apps. IV and V) and further inquiry most
agencies indicated they were making some analysis on these
aspects cf aircraft operations. But the analyses were all
somewhat different, lacking specific studies and quantitative
information on expected aircraft needs.

      In contrast to previous studies, a specific study was
performned by the Department of the Navy for the U.S. Customs
Service. The study was to update Customs' ability to counter
smuggling activities by providing sufficient data on system
requirements, characteristics, and operational conditions so
that the most cost-effective air program could be implemented.
We found no evidence of similar studies in any other agencies
and, in fact, found that few agencies had a formal written
policy that spec fically stated what should be included in
an analysis and how the analysis should be made. In no case
did we find that the analyses were coordinated with other
Government agencies.

     Agencies contend that the informal analysis provides
the information necessary to establish aircraft requirements.
Although some factors needed to determine aircraft requirements
may be considered without specifically coordinating requirements
and formalizing the results, it is not possible to determine if
requirements can be fulfilled by existing Government aircraft
resources. A good illustration of recent coordination within
the Interior Department aircraft office was brought to our
attention when arrangements were made by the Interior's Office
of Services to provide services to one Interior agency through
another Interior agency's aircraft, thus precluding the acquisi-
tion of additional aircraft. This arrangement was made possible
because the Interior Department's aircraft office oversees all
aircraft operations for all agencies in the Department.

     In addition, we question whether the agencies' informal
analysis provides the quantitative information needed to de-
velop requirements. In our review of an analysis prepared
by the National Park Service in 1973 on the purchase of a
$450,003 airplane, it was not possible, based only on the re-
port's information, to determine if the service could be
provided through some other mode or if the airplane would
provide the most economical transportation. According to
the fiscal year 1973 Senate hearings on this matter:

    "A seven-passenger aircraft is needed to provide
    logistical support at Glacier National Park,
    Montana. Aerial patrol of this large and isolated
    National Park is the most effective and efficient
    means for providing support to search and rescue
    operations, fire control and forest management
    activities, as well as ecological surveys. The
    aircraft will be based at Glacier and will provide
    primary aircraft support for Glacier and Yellow-
    stone including activities associated with the
    duties of the State Coordinator who is responsible

     for Service affairs in Montana. Secondary support
     will provide for other park areas of the Midwest
     Region such as Big Horn Canyon National Recreation
     Area. This size aircraft will provide adequate
     freight capacity.

     "Commercial aircraft service is often neither
     available nor reliable in this mountainous area
     during much of the year. With a Service-owned
     aircraft, a primary benefit would be realized
     by the thoroughness and speed with which manage-
     ment objectives could be accomplished."
The National Park Service analysis provides no information on:

     -- How the airplane will be ued, i.e., the number of
        hours the aircraft will be flown each year or how
        many years the aircraft wi.,l be needed; the number
        of passengers normally transported; or the amount and
        type of freight to be carried.
     -- The cost of alternative methods that could provide
        the same service (e.g., services provided by ground
        transportation rather than aircraft).
     -- How ser-ice is present'ly being i~ovided in the area
        where   e aircraft will be used.
     In another instance, an agency quantified the information
on its requirement for an aircraft because OMB specifically
requested the agency to do so before approving the aircraft
acquisition. OMB asked the agency for the following informa-
tion about the proposed acquisition:

    -- A concise description of what information the air-
       plane is to collect.
    -- Alternative methods that could be used to obtain the
    -- Cost estimates for acquiring the data by each alter-
    --The calculations used to arrive at the conclusions.

    -- If the agency were required to replace an aircraft
       presently operated for the proposed additional air-
       plane, which aircraft could be disposed of, what is
       it currently being used for, and how many hours is
       it being flown each year?

      In response, the agency said the aircraft will be used
primarily to develop and apply electromagnetic methods of
exploring geothermal, fossil fuel, radioactive, and ore min-
eral resources. They stated that the flight time would be
250 hours annually; however, considerably more time would
be needed for installation and testing. They also stated
that it would not be feasible to rent the aircraft because
major modifications to the aircraft structure would be nec-
essary. While modified, the aircraft would not be useful
for other operations so rental would have to be full time.
According to the budget justification presented by te agency,
estimates for modification would exceed $65,000 whi'.e the re-
modifying cost to remove the additions would excee6 $25,000.
Based on a total probable c-st of about $100,000 for the
modification cycle the agency decided against renting an
     Our review showed that the agency neither flew the air-
craft for 250 hours nor made major modifications as they had
indicated. We observed that during the first year of opera-
tion the agency flew the aircraft only 83 hours. Thirty-
seven of the flight hours were for agency-related programs
while the remaining forty-six hours were flown for pilot pro-
ficiency training.

     We found that modification and remodification costs were
highly overstated. The Aircraft Operations supervisor
estimated only $3,800 would be needed to make minor changes
to the aircraft structure. About the same amount probable
cost would be needed to remodify the aircraft to its original
condition. Based on this infornation the total modification
and remodification costs would be approximately $,600 or
$92,400 less than the probable cost shown in the budget just-

      Based on the number of hours the agency used the air-
craft the first year and the updated modification and re--
modification figures, it appears that the agency should have
rented the aircraft rather than made an outright purchase.
If acceptable arrangements could have been made to rent an
aircraft from either a private contractor or another Federal
agency the aircraft procurement would not have been necessary,
and possibly have produced considerable savings to the Govern-

     OMB or a designated single manager needs quantified
information to analyze all aircraft acquisitions. But, even
if quantified information is provided by the agency there is
no guarantee that the services are in fact required and could

not be provided at a lower cost. We recognize this problem
and also -rognize that OMB has neither the manpower nor
the time    verify all information presented by the agency.
But we also believe that if agencies are required to justify
aircraft acquisitions with detailed analyses and periodic
independent information verifications, a high potential
exists for reducing the number of aircraft in the Government

     Once aircraft requirements have been accurately defined,
additional analyses are required to determine how the require-
ments will be satisfied. Should aircraft services be provided
by federally owned aircraft or by aircraft in the private
sector? If Federally owned aircraft are the most appropriate
alternative, how will the aircraft services be provided? The
most common method is to acquire aircraft--generally by out-
right purchase, lease-purchase, or transfer of excess to
needy agencies. Aircraft are also borrowed from the Defense
Department. While interagency use of aircraft is another
alternative, it is often not considered because no overall
Government aircraft information system exists to identify
aircraft resources.

     If aircraft services are provided by the private sector,
the services are generally provided by lease, charter, rent,
or contract. Sere'       -ovided by any of these agreements
may include the     at     the aircraft with maintenance and
fuel, or any combinatio.   greed on between the agency and
the operator. Since private sector agreements are adminis-
tered at agency field offices, we know neither the number of
agreements nor the most common type of agreement.

     OMB Circular A-76 is designed to assist agencies to
determine if services should be provided by the Government
or the private sector. Based on responses to our question-
naire (see app. V) most agencies indicated they re presently
complying with the circular. While we did not etermine if
agencies are complying fully with the circular, our review
showed that agencies interpret the circular differently and
as a result comply in varying degrees. We also noted there
has been no concerted effort within OMB to assure that all
agencies fully comply with the circular when considering
aircraft operations.

Aircraft procurement

     According tc agency officials, outright purchase is the
most preferable method of meeting their aircraft needs and

is used whenever procurement funds are available. If procure-
ment funds are not available when the aircraft is needed, but
funding will be available later, agencies prefer (and do)
lease-purchase aircraft. (See chart on p. 23 showing exten-
sive use of lease-purchase arrangements.)

     We reviewed in more detail a limited number of recent
aircraft procurements--outright purchase and lease-purchases--
to see if adequate consideration was given to alternative
methods for providing required services.   Federal agencies
are prohibited by law (31 U.S.C. 638a) from acquiring aircraft
unless specifically authorized by the Congress. Although OMB
and the appropriate congressional committees subject agency
requests for aircraft acquisitions to thorough reviews, we
found little evidence that alternatives were considered before
deciding to purchase or lease-purchase an aircraft. Based on
discussions with agency personnel, we confirmed that ccnsidera-
tion is only given to other alternatives if funds for outright
purchase or lease-purchase are not available. If agencies were
required to fully evaluate all possible methods for obtaining
aircraft services the Government might be able to better use
its existing fleet of aircraft and minimize the procurement
of additional (and possibly unnecessary) aircraft.

Aircraft use
     Consideration of the availability of aircraft already
in the Government airfleet is very important when deciding
how aircraft services should be provided. In this regard,
as many requirements as possible should be met with existing
aircraft before new purchases are made. Careful studies of
existing Government aircraft capabilities are needed. With-
out such studies, no assurance exists that current capabili-
ties cannot fulfill new or additional requirements. The
following example illustrates a case where an overall air-
craft management information system would have greatly
assisted the agencies in evaluating their aircraft needs
with a view toward making the greatest use of existing air-
craft before acquiring additional aircraft.

     In 1973 National Park Service purchased a Beechcraft
Kingair for $445,000 with a nine-person seating capacity.
The airplane is stationed in Denver and is primarily used
tc transport National Park Service personnel throughout the
Western United States. (app. VI shows the number of passen-
gers and locations during April and May 1975.)  Since
the aircraft has been flown about 500 hours each year. 1973
     A similar aircraft also stationed in Denver was purchased
by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1976 at a slightly higher cost
($565,000). The airplane, a Rockwell International Aero

Commander 690A, has a similar seating capacity (eight people)
and is used to haul passengers throughout the Western United
States. Based on the first 5 months of operation it appears
that the aircraft will be flown annually about the same number
of hours a the National Park Service's Kingair. Bureau of
Reclamation flight records indicate that the aircraft is
rarely full, and in many instances only one or two passengers
are aboard. For instance, during a 3-month period in 1976,
the aircraft was only used to carry six or more passengers
on 11 of 129 flights. The same general locations are served
by both the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Park Serv-
ice aircraft.

     Since these two aircraft comprised only a small part of
our review, we did not study in detail whether or not the
transportation needs of the-two agencies could have been sat-
isfied with one aircraft in comi-nation with commercial serv-
ices. Our point is that the potential rot using a single air-
craft was not considered in evaluating transportation needs.
Had a single aircraft been considered, it is entirely possible
that one of the aircraft would not have been acquired.

     Appendix VI shows the relatively low utilization of the
National Park Service Aircraft and the potential for sub-
stituting commercial flights. This underscores the oten-
tial for possible use of a single government-owned aircraft
by both agencies for service to points not served by com-
mercial airlines.

     Our inquiries disclosed that most agencies agree with
interagency use of Government aircraft and have formulated
written policies that allow the agencies to lend aircraft, if
requested. But, based on discussions with the agencies, no
formal program has been designed to identify other agencies'
aircraft that could be shared. Without this information,
agencies do not know what aircraft are available and, as a
result, continue to satisfy their requirements with their own

     Another example where an aircraft management information
system would greatly assist the agencies was found in the
Los Angeles area, where many different agencies operate
Government-owned aircraft. Some of these agencies supplement
their aircraft with chartered aircraft from private companies.
Similar aircraft are owned by at least three of the agencies.
Based on flight records, one agency--National Aeronautics and
Space Administration--uses one aircraft to transport personnel
to and from a remote site. Since this aircraft cannot satisfy
the agency's requirements, other aircraft are chartered from

commercial operators. During the last three fiscal years
NASA chartered aircraft for approximately 300 hours each year.

     Based on a review of the flight records of the two other
agencies, it appears their aircraft could have been used by
NASA to reduce its need to charter aircraft. Both agencies'
aircraft averaged between 300 and 400 flight hours during
fiscal year 1976.

      At the time of our review NASA officials were not aware
of the availability of the other aircrafts, but later con-
tracted both agencies. NASA officials in both cases stated
that satisfactory arrangements could not be made. NASA of-
£itcials stated that one of the aircraft was considered an
unreliable alternative because of aircraft configuration and
availability problems. The other aircraft was on lease to
the other agency and was not available for use by others dur-
ing the lease period.

     Although NASA did not take action to use other Government
aircraft in the area; we believe, since NASA was unaware of
the aircraft, the example illustrates the need for an aircraft
management information system in this part of the country as
well as other areas of the United States.


      In addition to the need for a more indepth analysis of
aircraft needs and alternatives for satisfying them, we noticed
that some present practices should be changed. Though these
practices appear to be confined to individual agencies, we
feel they indicate the many problems that exist within the
present system of decentralized aircraft operations. Since
only a limited review was conducted, we do not know the ex-
tent that these practices exist but feel they warrant atten-

Sole-source purchases

     So.e of the agencies contacted are not soliciting bids
from more than one manufacturer or dealer. According to
agency personnel, bids are not solicited for a number of
reasons, some of which are:

    -- Only one manufacturer builds the airplane that com-
       plies with agency specifications.

    -- Only one manufacturer or dealer can provide the re-
       quired airplane when the airplane is needed.

     -- Only one manufacturer has an airplane available within
        the agency's budgeted funds.

     In one case the agency did not prepare the contract
specifications until after it was determined that only one
dealer or manufacturer could provide the aircraft. The
aircraft specifications were so similar that they appear to
have been copied directly from the specifications included
in the manufacturer's brochure. (See app. VII.)   According
to the agency a sole-source procurenent was authorized be-
cause only one aircraft met their requirements.
     Rather than predetermine which dealer or manufacturer
could meet their needs, it appears that the agency should
have first prepared the specifications based on their needs
and then solicited bids from the different dealers and manu-
facturers. This may have given the agency a larger group of
manufacturers and dealers to select from and increased com-
petition, possibly resulting in a more favorable price.

     Officials from various agencies stated that some air-
craft procurements are made through lease-purchase rather
than outright purchases because sufficient funds in any one
fiscal year are not available. Consequently, some agencies
lease aircraft and, some time in the future, purchase tne
aircraft by applying some of the lease costs to the total
purchase price or allow the lease to expire, losing any
money which could have been applied to the purchase. In
those cases where agencies purchased the aircraft we found
instances where the manufacturer or dealer allowed as much
as 75 percent of the lease cost to be applied to the pur-
chase price. In contrast, one manufacturer permitted the
agency to apply only 48 percent of the lease cost to tie
purchase price.

     Since our review covered only a limited number of
agencies, we were unable to determine the total lease pur-
chase made by all Federal agencies. However, we did iden-
tify the last 5 years' lease-purchases entered into by the
following agencies:

                       of lease-                       Presently
                       purchased                         under
       Aaency          aircraft Purchased   Returned    contract
 Customs Service         16         5          5
 Drug Enforcement                                           6
   Administration        13         3          3
 Federal Aviation                                          7
   Administration        23        20         -            3
 National Aeronau-
   tics and Space
   Administration         2         1
 Office of Aircraft                           1
   Services, Depart-
   ment of the In-
   terior                 2         2
     As indicated, in a number of cases the agencies did
purchase the aircraft after they entered into a lease-purchase
contract.  In discussions with two agencies
ercise some of their lease-purchase options that  did not ex-
                                            (the Drug Enforce-
ment Administration and U.S. Customs Service), we
                                                   were informed
sufficient funds were not provided during subsequent
exercise the options.                                 years to

      The Drug Enforcement Administration took delivery
four Piper Navajo PA-31-310 aircraft in April 1974       on
                                                    with the
initial lease to be for a 12-month period and options
tend for 3 additional years. The contract provided      to ex-
pay $20,076 per month for the first year, $18,340    they  would
for the second year, $15,136 per month for the third    month
                                                       year, and
$13,688 per month for the last year.   If at any point the
agency exercised the purchase option, 75 percent of
                                                     all moneys
paid would be applied toward the original purchase
agency used the four aircraft for 12 months, exercised        The
purchase option on only one aircraft, and discontinued   the
the three remaining aircraft.

     About the same time the Drug Enforcement Administration
took delivery on their aircraft, the Customs Service
into an initial agreement to lease-purchase 10 Maule entered
aircraft. This agency agreed to pay $585 per month Rocket
                                                     per air-
craft for 5 years. As of December 1976 the Customs
still had five aircraft under lease-purchase contract,
planned to return the aircraft some time dur:;na calendarbut
1977. Over the duration of the contract, the combination year
lease payments and purchase costs will exceed the
                                                   cost  of
outright purchase by a large amount. An April 2,

Customs Service internal audit report criticized Customs'
lease-purchase policies. The report indicated that leased
aircraft arrangements are substantially more expensive than
outright purcnase. The report stated that lease payments
for the Maule Rockets, a Beech-Duke Aircraft (leased in
1971), and a Cessna Citation will exceed the purchase cost
by $572,844.

                           CHAPTER 4
                     GREATER CONTROL OVER
     Aircraft operations consist of several facets, including
maintenance, storage, aircraft standards, and pilot qualifica-
tions. Each facet requires consideration of various altrna-
tives and establishment of policies and procedures to assure
the most economical and safe operation possible while still
meeting agency needs. To assure economically sound operations
agencies need accurate and reliable cost information.

     To be an effective tool to carry out the various ag-ncy
missions, aircraft must be carefully maintained. Maintenance
can be performed by Government capabilities or private com-
panies, or by a combination of these methods.  In fact, agen-
cies are using all three. However, at least two additional
factors should be considered to obtain acceptable service
at the least cost to the Government:

     -- Are there agencies with inhouse maintenance capabili-
        ties that could support agencies without such capabili-
     -- Can maintenance contracts for several agencies be con-
        solidated to negotiate better prices?

     Sixteen c the 20 agencies perform some Government air-
craft maintenance with personnel and equipment operated or
controlled by the Government. But the agencies with facili-
ties, personnel, and equipment generally maintain only their
own aircraft even though other agencies have similar aircraft
and are contracting commercially for aircraft maintenance.

     The Federal Aviation Administration has a maintenance
facility in the Los Angeles area which is used primarily to
maintain their own aircraft. However, there are other agen-
cies with aircraft in the area (such as Drug Enforcement
Administration, Forest Service, and NASA) which contract
for their maintenance with commercial companies. At one
time, the Federal Aviation Administration provided storage
and some maintenance for Drug Enforcement Administration
aircraft, but the agreement was terminated because the air-
craft could be stored and more conveniently operated at

another location closer to the Drug Enforcement Administration
Office.  At the time of our review, the Federal Aviation
Administration stated there was excess space at this facility
that we believe could be used by other agencies.

     NASA operates aircraft in the Ls Angeles area similar
to one of the Federal Aviation Administration Los Angeles
aircraft, but has its maintenance performed by a commercial
contract.  Subsequent to our bringing the matter to the at-
tention of NASA officials, they indicated that a satisfactory
arrangement with the Federal Aviation Administration could
not be worked out and the cost of maintenance would be equal
to NASA's existing commercial contract.  Although a satisfac-
tory arrangement could not be made, the fact remains that no
interagency communication had taken place prior to our inquiry.

     Several agencies have consolidated aircraft maintenance
activities at a department or agency level.  For example, when
the Office of Aircraft Services was established in 1973 to
manage all aircraft in the Interior Department, they inherited
two maintenance facilities in Anchorage, Alaska.   In November
1975, they closed one facility and consolidate, the entire
function into a single facility, stating that the efficiency
of operating out of one facility will have a significant im-
pact on the  roductivity of maintenance personnel.

     Currently, consolidation efforts have been attempted only
within a department or agency but similar efforts could be
applied to all civilian agencies. Such a consolidation effort
could be accomplished through extensive coordination and
cooperation from all agencies involved, but more likely con-
solidation can succeed with a single or central manager
responsible for aircraft maintenance.


     Aircraft must he stored in one manner or another when
not actually being flown.  Based on climate, location, agency
needs,  nd other considerations, aircraft are stored in small
individual hangars, large hangars with other aircraft, heated
or unheated hangars (see p. 27 for photograph of unheated
hangar), or merely tied down on parking ramps.  Recognizing
that aircraft must be stored at locations most suitable to
their mission needs and in a manner which allows full use,
there is still a potential to obtain better use of present
Government facilities and to economize by consolidating
storage requirements under fewer contracts wherever possible.

                       UNHEATED HANGAR

     Eight civilian agencies and one Defense agency store
aircraft at two airports in the Denver metropolitan area.
Two of the civilian agencies own the facilities where their
aircraft are stored, and six agencies lease space independ-
ent of each other. T'he following schedule shows the number
of aircraft operated by Federal agencies in the Denver area.

      Aircraft Storage by Agencies in the Denver Area

                                  Number of    Ownership of
         Agency                   aircraft    hanger facility
Army Readiness Command              3          Non-Federal
Bureau of Reclamation               1          Federal
Drug Eniorcement Administration     2          Non-Federal
Federal Aviation Administration     1               (a)
Forest Service                      1          Non-Federal
Fish and Wildlife Service           1          Non-Federal
Geological Survey                   4          Non-Federal
National Park Service               1          Non-Federal
National Science Foundation         4          Federal
a/Using Army Readiness Command Space.

As shown, most of the agencies have not consolidated their
aircraft storage needs. For example, the National Park Serv-
ice leases commercial hangar space at the same airport where
the Bureau of Reclamation owns a hangar that is large enough
to accommodate an additional aircraft, similar to the Service's
aircraft. With such an arrangement it appears the Government's
total cost for storing aircraft could be more than necessary.

some existing commercial contracts.   Some agencie1 are cur-
rently making extensive use of military airfields.   For ex-
ample, the Customs Service keeps most of their aircraft at

ern, and Western borders of the United Statas.   In contrast,
the Environmental Protection Agency leases storage facilities
for 10 aircraft at a commercial airport near Las Vegas, Nevada,
while there is a major Air Force base about 15 miles away.

      We believe that a focal point must be established before
extensive consolidation efforts can be expected. As far as
we know, agencies have no system for determining what resources
are available from other Government agencies or how to con-
solidate needs with         agencies for joint
                          other                  contracting bene-
fits.   There must be a central point where agencies can find
out who has similar needs, what storage   space is available,
what the costomsw    ill
                     b    e, all o
                         and            pertinent information.

      Since the General Services Administration has a signif-
 icant responsibility to procure and supply servies tor
 by executive agencies, and since they are presently involved
 in leasing aircraft storage space for some agencies,
 could be an appropriate focal point (or data base) forthey
 storage and availability needs for all civilian agencies.


     To enhance safety, it is necessary that
standards be established for aircraft used by airworthiness
agencies. The Federal Aviation Act of 1958 technically
aircraft owned or operated by a Government entity from exempts
normal airworthiness certification requirements for all
aircraft operators. Nevertheless, agencies have generally other
established their own standards of airworthiness.

      Understandably, aircraft airworthiness requirements will
differ, depending on the aircraft's use. For example,
worthiness standards for aircraft used for routine travel
may be less stringent than the standards for aircraft
to direct firefighting operations (where aircraft are used
over mountainous terrain, close to the ground, and through
extensive smoke and heat). But standards for aircraft
for similar operations should be the same. For example,used
passengers in aircraft used primarily for routine travel
should be provided the same level of safety regardless
the agency which operates the aircraft. Similarly, the of
worthiness of aircraft used in firefighting operations air-
one agency should be the same as the standards in other by
agencies using aircraft for a similar purpose.

     Common standards would assure the same safety level for
all personnel using the aircraft, facilitate the availability
of aircraft for other agencies's use, and reduce the
tion of inspection efforts by several agencies.
     Both the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management
use aircraft to control forest fires on public land,
has its own established standards of acceptability. but each
                                                      In 1975,
a fire occurred on Bureau of Land Management lands which
quired the assistance of nearby Forest Service crews.     re-
portation of Forest Service fire crews to the fire was  Trans-
dent upon a helicopter contracted and inspected by the depen-
of Land Management. Because the Forest Service felt the
Bureau's contracted equipment failed to meet Forest
specifications, its personnel refused to ride in t.t

 helicopter and the fire burned approximately 3,500 acres.
 Forest Service officials felt the incident was isolated and
 not indicative of their general relationship with the Bureau
 of Land Management. However, the incident does point out
 the kind of problem that can arise without common standards.

     Agencies also duplicate inspection efforts. For example,
both the Forest Service and the Office of Aircraft Services
send inspectors to certain contractors to certify their
ment and pilots, thus subjecting the operators to two inspec-
tions. These two agencies attempted a joint inspection effort
for 1 year but could not agree on continuing this effort
have apparently decided to perform separate inspections inand
the future which will again be duplicative.
     Differences in standards and duplicative services among
agencies have not gone unnoticed.   For example, a helicopter
association complained in 1975 to the Forest Service about
lacking standard contract provisions among agencies, stating
that the association had arrived at mutually acceptable
standards with the Office of Aircraft Services but not with
the Forest Service. The association cited such lack of
coordination as expensive and precluding joint agency use
particular aircraft. Since that time the Office of Aircraftof
Services and the Forest Service have standardized several
aspects of aircraft contracting, includi-   the use of air
tankers, mredium helicopters, and large helicopters, but dif-
ferences still exist.


      Pilot qualifications, like aircraft standards, lend
selves to some degree of standardization. Special uses them-
aircraft such as fire control and game counting may warrant
special kinds of pilot qualifications, but whenever passengers
are transported in Government-owned or operated aircraft,
should be afforded a common safety level. Consequently, they
believe that agencies who allow pilots to transport other
sonnel in aircraft should all have similar minimum qualifica-
tions when similar flying environments exist, particularly
when flying conditions can and do chance without advance

     To fly an aircraft for hire in private irndustry, a pilot
must possess a commercial pilot's license (which includes
instrument rati:g and a minimum of 250 hours of flight
and a second class medical certificate. Minimum pilot qual-
ifications differ widely between Government agencies.

     The National Weather Service requires the very minimum
amount of experience and qualifications for their pilots.
They must possess only a Federal Aviation Administration
private pilot license (minimum of 40 flight hours experience)
and a third-class medical certificate (the least thorough
of all air medical certificates).  Pilots are also required
to fly a minimum of 48 hours annually or else have a pro-
ficiency check yearly.

     Prior to 1975, Fish and Wildlife Service pilots had very
limited requirements--basically only a private pilot license
and a second-class medical certificate were required.  Since
1975 the Office of Aircraft Services has standardized the
ninimum pilot requirements for all the Interior Department
 ureaus.  The minimum requirements are now

      --a commercial pilot license,

      --an instrument rating,

      -- a Federal Aviation Administration second-class medical
         certificate, and

      --500 total flight hours.

     Of the agencies reviewed, NASA appears to have the highest
minimum pilot standards for administrative aircraft.  NASA re-
quires an airline transport pilot certificate (the highest
Federal Aviation Administration pilot certificate available),
an instrument rating, a first-class medical certificate (the
most stringent medical examination), 5 years experience as
a pilot, and 2,500 total flight hours as a pilot.

     The following schedule shows of the minimum pilot require-
ments established by some agencies:
         Minimum Pilot Requirement of Selected Agencies

                       Pilot        Instrument     Medical      flight
     Aen y          certificate       rating     certificate    hours
National Weather      Private           No       Third class       40
Federal Aviation      Commercial        Yes      Second class     250
Department of the     Commercial        Yes      Second class   1,500
Drug Enforcement     Commercial         Yes      Second class     250
Forest Service       Commerical         Yes      Second class   1,500
National Aeronau-    Airline            Yes      First class    2,500
  tics and Space       transport

     Even though the schedule indicates that each agency
has different minimum requirements, the schedule shows that
most agencies rquire pilots to possess a commercial pilot
license nd have at lease 250 hours of flight experience.
We did not evaluate any agency requirements but did find such
a wide range of requirements to be questionable, because in
every c ;e pilots are allowed to transport passengers.
     We recognize that some agencies do not need full-.time
pilots, and consequently use existing personnel to fulfill
flight needs whenever possible. Nevertheless, passengers
have a right to expect an acceptable safety level.

     Agencies with extremely high pilot qualifications, on
the other hand, may leave established unnecessary requirements.
NASA pilots trainport passengers the same wy as many other
agencies, yet are equireo to have much greater qualifications.
However, NASA does not believe its standards should be con-
sidered extremely high or unnecessary, in view of the responsi-
bilities f its aircraft commanders.
     "7ain, it appears that there hould be a focal point
where agencies can beconme awaLr of ther agency pol_ :ies and
procedures, or a single manager who could establish common
pclicies nd pocedures and maintain acceptable minimum
standards that allow expansior to meet special needs.


     Cost is a major consideration in evaluating most Govern-
ment programs, and aircrait programs are no exception. It is
imperative that agenc es be able to identify the costs
associated with F-ovidilg aircraft services to determine if
benefits are worth these costs. Any system should provide
sufficient cos! data to allow for comparisons with otier means
for obtaining t   service, including what similar services
cost other agencies.   Therefore, as a minimum there should
be similarity among  the various agency systems, or methods
for maintaining aircraft operating costs, to allow reasonable
cost comparisons.

     We did not attempt to extensively evaluate the systems
or methods used by agencies for maintaining and using aircraft
programs costs. From observation only, some appeared better
than others and it became evident from discussions with agency
officials that this is one area that leads to problems in
attempting to effectively evaluate aircraft programs.

     We found that the methods being used by civil agencies
to supervise aircraft operations vary from unsophisticated
manual operations (which include only the most elementary
cost elements) to rather complex systems (which have been
computerized and include numerous cost elements). The result
of these differing methods is that some agencies have detailed
cost information to base management decisions on and others
do not.

     For example, the Drug Enforcement Administration only
accumulates costs in their aircraft reports for fuel, oil,
parts, labor, hangar, and other miscellaneous expenses, ex-
cluding such items as aircraft depreciation, pilot salaries,
and administrative personnel costs. Conversely, NASA reports
aircraft costs in much more detail, but similarly makes no
allowance for depreciation, since its input are for internal
operating cost reports. Also, where agency reports did con-
tain depreciation, the input could not be realistically com-
pared with the various depreciation schedules used by private
industry. The Office of Aircraft Services also breaks down
the various elements of aircraft costs in considerable detail
(including depreciation) but the format differs from other
agencies. The following schedule shows the various cost ele-
ments used by these three agencies and, as can be seen, scene
costs have been excluded.

                            Elements of Aircraft Costs

Drug Enforcement     National Aeronautics and                      Office of
 Administration        Space Administration                    Aircraft Services
    Fuel            Indirect and fixed costs:            Direct maintenance:
    Oil                 Airframe                              Scheduled maintenance
    Parts                Insurance                           Unscheudled maintenance
    Labor               Engine and component                 Avionics
    Hanger                 overhaul                          Modifications
    Other               Contract fees                        Parts
                        Formal training                  Fixed costs:
                        Overhead:                            Crew salary
                             Operations and admin-           Crew travel
                                istrative personnel          Mechanic salary
                             Buildings maintenance           Mechanic travel
                             Utilities                       Fuel purchase
                             Hanger rent                     Lease and taxes
                             Special tools and               Administrative
                               ground support                Depreciation
                               equipment                     Reserves:
                             Other                                Scheduled overhaul
                   Direct operating costs:                        Unscheduled overhaul
                        Crew expenses:                           Accident
                             Flight mechanics
                             Cabin attendants
                             Other crew
                             Travel and per diem
                       Landing and parking fees
                          and ramp service costs
                   Direct maintenance costs:
                       Routine maintenance:
                             Labor (mechanics)
                            Labor (special)
                            Component rental
                       Major maintenance:
                            Component rental

     There are also differences in recording costs as current
expenses or as capitalized improvements, which are normally
depreciated over a rumber of years. For example, some agen-
cies record all aircraft costs as they are incurred rather
than recording depreciation costs for major items such as
engines throughout the life of the item. This results in
fluctuations of cost from one period to another and makes it
difficult at best to compare one agency's operating costs
with another's or with commercial operations.

     By contrast the Office of Aircraft Services uses a cost
accounting system that anticipates engine overhaul and ac-
cident costs. Consequently, costs are charged against each
aircraft based on hours flown. These amounts are accrued in

reserve accounts which can be reduced when actual costs are
incurred. Such a method tends to reduce large fluctuations
in operating costs and provide a more realistic and effective
basis for comparing Government aircraft operation against the
private sector.

     We also found that some agencies do not account for
costs for individual aircraft, but accumulate costs by air-
craft type. This may provide a basis for averaging costs
to individual aircraft, but it also precludes evaluation
of whether individual aircraft are cost effective.

     In summary, this discussion on accounting is not intended
to be conclusive. Instead, it points to a problem which could
be solved by agency coordination and strong central leadership
so that Government aircraft program costs are kept in a uniform
manner and management decisions are consistently supported.

                          CHAPTER 5

                    AND AGENCY COMMENTS

     The use of aircraft by Government civil agencies has
drastically increased in recent years. More than 650 air-
craft are owned by agencies and several thousand additional
aircraft are rented, leased, and chartered annually. As a
result, millions are spent each year to acquire and operate

     For many years agencies were concerned only with meet-
ing their individual aircraft needs. Aircraft use was more
limited and costs were not nearly as high. These factors
gave agencies little incentive to communicate and coordinate
with each other about aircraft programs, and agencies con-
tinued to go their separate ways. As aircraft use and operat-
ing costs increased there has been little change in agencies'
attitudes regarding interagency coordination.
     Our review of civil agency aircraft programs clearly
shows that management of these programs is highly decentra-
lized throughout the Government.  In dct, each agency inde-
pendently established policies and procedures for all aspects
of aircraft programs with very little overall Government-
wide guidance. Each agency also has its own aircraft program
and there is only limited communication or coordination among
     In addition, there is no central data base for aircraft
program management within the Government to which agencies
can refer for information concerning such key aspects as
aircraft ownership, Government-wide aircraft utilization,
maintenance and storage practices, aircraft safety practices,
and aircraft operating costs. Without such information,
agencies must rely on their individual systems which are
in many cases incomplete and inadequate.
     At the same tim-  the lack of uniform ost systems makes
it difficult to compare aircraft program c ts of the various
agencies with each other or with the costs for similar serv-
ices available from commercial sources. Thus, it is virtually
impossible to determine how and by whom aircraft services
should be provided to assure least cost to the Government.

     We believe this decentralized system, which lacks 1)
uniform policies and procedures in many areas of aircraft
programs, (2) an adequate aircraft program information sys-
tem, and (3) a cost system to provide an adequate basis for
comparing alternatives has created a lack of overall man-
agement control and contributed to inefficient and unecono-
mical aircraft operations within the Governme-t.

     To provide civil agencies an opportunity to realize
greater aircraft program efficiencies and economies, common
direction is needed so that more commonality exists among
civil agencies aircraft program policies and procedures.
To increase the communication and coordination among agen-
cies, a structured system to facilitate the exchange of air-
craft program intormation among agencies is also needed.
This structure, at a minimum, should include a management
information system--including a cost accounting system--
which would include information concerning activities such
as maintenance, storage, and acquisition practices.

      If an information system was developed and the data
was used by aircraft program managers when making decisions
regarding common activities such as maintenance and storage;
we believe that the program would be more efficient and eco-
nomical.   In the long run, we believe that even greater eco-
nomies and efficiencies could be achieved if the civil agen-
cies aircraft programs were coordinated by a single manager
rather than operated independently. While a single manager
may n-ct be needed to identify actions which should be taken,
we believe a single mamacur, with the strong leadership in-
herent in such a positicn could make and implement difficult
decisions which might be needed, such as consolidation. Ap-
pointing a single manager hs proven to be an effective way
to improve the overall miagement of support activities.
The Defense Logistics Agency and the General Services
Administration arre two examples.

      Someone must take the lead if economies and efficiencies
are to be made in the civilian agency aircraft program. Such
leadership should provide the framework to make it possible
for civil agencies to systematically establish and evaluate
needs and analyze alternatives to meeting these needs. Also,
this framework should assist the development of Government
goals and set broad policies for reaching thess goals through
uniform concepts, procedures, and practices among the agen-

     Logically it appears that OMB, with its policymaking
authority and Government-wide interest, is in the best posi-
tion to lead Federal civil agencies in making needed improve-
ments and establishing a solid aircraft program.
     Therefore, we recommend that the Acting Director, OMB:
     -- Require reevaluation of existing aircraft program needs
        and capabilities, even if this means releasing some
        aircraft or using an- alternative source for support
     -- Develop overall policy to provide broad guidance for
        standardizing common civil agency aircraft program
        activities such as aircraft acquisition, utilization,
        maintenance, and storage.
     -- Take action to bring about increased interagency
        cooperation, regarding aircraft programs, with particu-
        lar emphasis on (1) greater interagency use of air-
        craft, maintenance capabilities, storage facilities,
        and training activities, including military resources
        and (2) identifying potentials for consolidating con-
        tracts and agreements for commercial aircraft serv-

     -- Develop overall criteria for uniform cost systems and
        aircraft information systems that will standardize
        aircraft program costs and identify agency aircraft,
        their location as well as potential availability for
        sharing, and other aircraft related services that
        could be shared, such as hangars, maintenance facili-
        ties, training facilities, and refueling.
These actions need to be initiated promptly in order that
economies can be achieved similar to those achieved by the
Interior Department's Office of Aircraft Services. After
this is done, in the long term, we believe there would be
greater opportunities for achieving economies and efficien-
cies if improvements were made on a Government-wide basis.
     We realize numerous approaches exist for achieving
Government-wide efficiencies and economies; however, in
many cases when the Government has wanted t meet the needs
of different customers, having a need for common services
or commodities, a single manager approach has been used to

provide such services and commodities efficiently and econo-
micallv. We believe, therefore, that in deciding how
Government-wide savings cn best be achieved, the Acting
Director, OMB, should give serious consideration to having
a single manager for common aircraft program activities. The
functions of such a manager could include responsibility and
authority to monitor and formulate policies and procedures for
common aircraft program activities; acquire necessary air-
craft; consolidate aircraft use, maintenance, training, and
storage where appropriate; establish minimum aircraft operat-
ing standards and pilot qualifications; and insure cost sys-
tems are controlling costs and agency managers are evaluating
all available alternatives before deciding how aircraft serv-
ices should be provided.

     We recognize that a single manager is but one approach to
achieving Government-wide savings. Also, we realize that this
approach could require alteration to existing management struc-
tures. However, the single manager approach has worked on
previous occasions when the Government has wanted to improve
its support of common services and commodities used by dif-
ferent customers.

     Most of the agencies agreed that increased emphasis on
interagency cooperation and coordination would provide greater
economies and efficiencies in the Government's civilian aircraft
programs. However, some agencies questioned the need for in-
creased standardization because of the diversity of assigned
missions among the agencies.

     OMB agreed that more uniformity in cost accounting systems
is needed. Several agencies also believed that a uniform air-
craft management information system could and should advance
interagency aircraft sharing, particularly if it included such
information as aircraft type and location, expected avail-
ability, and the types of services that might be shared.

     Most agencies opposed the recommendation that a single
manager be designated who would have responsibility for air-
craft programs Government-wide primarily because of the vast
differences in agency aircraft requirements and types. OMB
said a well-constructed case had not been made for many of
our conclusions and recommendations and urged that additional
efforts be directed toward:

     --Making a determination that the management deficien-
       cies reflect widespread problems rather than isolated
       incidents of poor management decisions.

     -- Developing a position ti:at the inadequacies of the
        current management approache to aircraft management
        have in the past and will in the future have a sub-
        stantial cost impact on Government.
     -- Identifying and measuring the specific bnefits to
        be gained by the creation of a single aircraft man-
        agement entity to oversee the diverse aircraft re-
        quirements of the many agencies and departments.
Ianagement weaknesses reflect
wiespread roblems

     The examples cited in the report were used to illustrate
aircraft program weaknesses. We have additional examples that
further demonstrate the need for better management of aircraft
programs. Furthermore, the responses to our questionnaire,
in our opinion, indicate widespread program weaknesses exist.
For example, in response to the question, "Does the agency
have written policy and procedures to determine the most ap-
propriate mode of transportation?" cnly 3 of 10 agencies that
responded said yes (see p. 76).  In response to the question,
"Does the agency have written policy and procedures to ,select
the most appropriate type of aircraft?" only 1 of the 10
agencies responding indicated the affirmative. Agency re-
sponses to these and other questions in cur questionnaire lead
us to conclude that the examples we identified are not iso-
lated cases but illustrative of widespread problems.

Current management practices
have substantial cost impact

     We believe that the savings that have accrued to the
Interior Department since a separate office was established
to manage selected aircraft programs within the Department
demonstrates that centralized management of selected air-
craft program activities can be more efficient and economical.
During recent congressional testimony, Department officials
stated that this office has taken control of all aircraft
programs by the Interior in the State of Alaska, and has
control of the Department's contracting ad leasing of air-
craft services in the 48 continental States. They also main-
tain cost data for all of the Department's aircraft and have
established many standard aircraft policies and procedures
which are applicabie to all agencies in the Department of
the Interior. These consolidation efforts have beeu success-
ful, resulting in the eliminatian f about one-half of the
Alaskan facilities and maintenance personnel. The cost of

operating the Interior's Government-owned aircraft in Alaska,
alone, is expected to decrease from $2.2 million in fiscal
year 1974 to less than $1 million in fiscal year 1977.   ur-
ther, the number of people employed by the Office of Aircraft
Services has decreased by about 25 percent while overall air-
craft services increased considerably. For example, while
the program costs increased from $14 million in fiscal year
1975 to a current $21 million, the number of personnel needed
to operate the programs dropped from 10G to 75.
Measuring benefits of single
manager approach
     We did not attempt, nor is it feasible at tis time, to
measure the specific benefits to be gained by the creation
of a single manager for civil agency aircraft programs.

     Moreover, we do not suggest that centralized management
is the immediate or only solution to improving management of
civil agency aircraft programs. However, based on past ex-
periences, it is an alternative that should be considered
especially in view of the economies and efficiencies gained
by the Interior Department when it established he Office of
Aircraft Services.

     Also, the single manager approach has roven to be suc-
cessful within the Government when many different customers
have needed a common service or commodity. For example,
the General Services Administration was established in 1949
partly because the Hoover Commission found that three major
internal activities of Government suffered from a lack of
central direction--supply, records management, and the opera-
tion and maintenance of public buildings. Section 2 o the
Federal Property and Administcative Services Act of 1949,
which established the General Services Administration,
states: "It is the intent of the Congress in enacting this
legislation to pcovide for the Government an economical and
efficient system * * *" through the use of a central manager
that would standardize management policies and procedures
for providing common supplies and services, as well as re-
lated activities; and increasing the use of available re-

     The Department of Defense is also successfully using
centralized management in a number of areas.

    -- Military Airlift Command.

     -- Defense Logistics Agency.

     -- Defense Communications Agency.
     --Military Sealift Command.

Also, on November 26, 1975, the Secretary of Defense desig-
nated the Army the single manager for conventional ammunition
for the Department of Defense. A    ingle manager the Army
is responsible for the procurement, maintenance, renovation,
and storage of conventional ammunition. 1/ The Secretary of
Defense believes that this arrangement wl11

     -- improve management of ammunition production, planning,
        and scheduling;
     -- improve interservice asset visibility;

     -- improve storage sites selection; and
     -- centralize control of modernization planning and
      Prior to designating the Army the single manager, ammuni-
tion management was handled y a coordinating group and work-
ing committees operating under the Joint Logistics Commanders.
This approach was not completely effective because the indi-
vidual services retained the final approval authority for all
recommendations made by the groups/committees. As a result
it could not be effective in such areas as depot closures or
consolidations. Nevertheless, although this concept was not
a full commitment towards single management until November
1975, it did provide centralized visibility which is an im-
portant aspect of the single manager concept.

Mission versus administrative aircraft

     A number of the agencies indicated that it would be
extremely difficult to establish standard policies and prac-
tices for all civil agency aircraft because many aircraft
are classified as mission aircraft (see p. 1 for description).
We recognize that differences exist between mission and ad-
ministrative aircraft. However, aircraft program activities

l/Prior to designating a single manager, these responsibilities
  belonged to the individual services.

are common to both mission and administrative aircraft--such
as maintenance, storage, procurement, and pilot qualifications--
and thus it should be feasible to establish standard policies
and practices. For example, regardless of the aircraft's
tasks, it must be adequately maintained. Thus, it should be
feasible to establish standard policies that would address
questions such as:
     -- How often should maintenance be performed?

     -- Where should the maintenance be done? (A commercial
        maintenance facility or particular agency's mainte-
        nance facility.)

     -- What level of maintenance is acceptable within and
        among Government agencies?
     After thorough evaluation and consideration of comments
on our draft report by OMB and several civil agencies, we
still believe there is potential for savings and better serv-
ice through increased intra- and inter-agency coordination
of aircraft programs.   herefore, we think our recommenda-
ti3ns should receive prompt and serious attention from the
Acting Director, Off.ce of Maragement and Budget.

APPENDIX I                                                         APPENDIX    I

                   EXECUTIVE OFFIC       OF THE PRESIDENT
                      OFFICE OF ,MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
                              WASHI NGTON. D.C.   20503

                                                            SEP 29    77
   Mr. Victor L. Looe
   Director, General Government
   United States General Accounting Office
   Washington, D. C. 20548
   Dear r. Lowe:
   Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on the draft of a GAO
   report entitled, "Improvements Are Needed in Management of Aircraft Used
   By Federal Civilian Agencies." We note that you have provided copies of
   the draft report for comment to the agencies discussed therein and there-
   fore we will not provide a lengthy discussion of the adequacy of the
   current aircraft management practices of the various agencies.
   Follcwing a review of the report by the Office of Management and Budget,
   my general reaction is that a well-constructed case has not been made for
   many of the report's conclusions and recommendations. We would urge that
   additional efforts be directed toward such areas as:
        -- determining whether the manageent def;ciencies noted
           in the draft report reflect a widespread problem rather
           than isolated incidents of poor management decisions.
        -- establishing whether the inadequacies of the current
           management approaches to aircraft management have in
           the past and will in the future have a substantial
           cost impact on government.
        -- identifying and measuring the specific benefits to be
           gained by the creation of a single aircraft management
           entity to oversee the diverse aircraft requirements of
           the many agencies and departments.
   Our additional comments are directed primarily toward the recommendations
   which are presented for the Office of Management and Budget's consideration:
        -- We do not agree that the agencies should be relieved
           of the accountability of managing a well-run aircraft
           operations program through the establishment of a

APPENDIX I                                                           APPENDIX I

        central management function for government-wide aircraft
        operations. In cases, such as cited in the report, where
        questionable management practices are identified, these
        practices should be corrected by the responsible agency
        rather than by the creation of another layer of management
        oversight. Additionally, we believe that the report does not
        adequately recognize and assess thn complexity of establishing
        the single management concept for aircraft procurement and
     -- In view of the multiplicity of agency aircraft needs to carry
        out their responsibilities, the report is not convincing that
        the benefits of increasing standardization of such functions
        as aircraft acquisition, utilization, maintenance, storage,
        and operating standards would be substantial and in excess of
        the expense of standardization efforts. We would note that
        both the Office of Management and Budget and the appropriate
        congressional committees have subjected agency requests for
        aircraft acquisitions to thorough reviews. To assist in these
        reviews, we do believe that improvements are desirable in the
        area of more uniformity (e.g., the use of a standardized ac-
        counting system) for determining the past and projected costs
        of aircraft operations.
     -- There is, no doubt, room for iprovement in the area of in-
        creased inter--agency cooperation regarding aircraft operations.
        The draft report should be expanded to address the level of
        potential additional benefits r- he gained from such efforts.
     -- In the interests of minimizing the need for aircraft for the
        purpose of transporting governmient personnel, we believe that
        each agency and department should develop a written policy on
        the use of government aircraft for the transportation of personnel.
 In summary, we recognize that continued improvements can be made in the manner
 in which many civilian agencies use aircraft. It is our opinion, however,
 that many of the report's conclusions and recommendations are premature with-
 out a more rigorous review of the issue.
 Again thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on this report.

                                            James T. McIntyre, Jr.
                                            Deputy Director

APPENDIX   I                                                     APPENDIX       I

                               FOREST SERVICE

                              P. 0. Box 2417
                         Washington, D. C. 20013

                                                              August 18, 1977

    Mr. Henry Eschwege, Director
    Community and Economic Development Division
    U.S. General Accounting Office
    Washington, D. C. 20548

    Dear Mr. Eschwege:

    Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on the draft
    report, "Improvements Are Needed in Management of Aircraft Used
    by Federal Civilian Agencies" (LCD-77-430, July 3, 1977).

    The report's central thesis is that Federal civilian agencies operate
    aircraft independently of one another and that there is no Government-
    widc body of policy to guide aircraft operations. It concludes that
    this lack of centralization and uniformity is not efficient, and recom-
    mends that management of aircraft should be concentrated in one agency
    and that OMB develop uniform policies and procedures to provide guidance
    to agencies using aircraft.

     In view of the extremely wide range of missions performed by aircraft
    operated by a large number of civilian agencies, revealed only in part
    by the draft report, it is difficult to find support for the findings
    and recommendations either in the report itself or in the realities
    of the various agency situations. We can agree in part that individual
    agency direction in the formif written policies and direction needs
    strengthening, that aircraft cost accounting systems have shortcomings
    and that coordination of aircraft use among agencies in certain geograph-
    ical areas could and should be improved. However, we do not agree that
    the best route to improvement in these areas is to centralize the manage-
    ment of aircraft services under a single organization.

    Most of the differences in the management of aircraft by the different
    agencies arise from the profound differences in agency missions. There
    is a consequent variety of specialized aircraft needs and operating
    requirements, and the availability of commercial aircraft services capable
    of responding to these needs effectively and economically varies markedly.

APPENDIX I                                                        APPENDIX I


  If policies and procedures applicable to such
  aviation missions are to be responsive and     a variety of specialized
                                              ffective in implementing
 mission objectives, they must be formulated
 and experience in these different missions. on the basis of expertise
                                               The Fore;t Srvice has a
  fairly comprehensive grasp of the policies
                                             and procedures needed to
 make effective, efficient and economical use
                                               of contract air tankers
 cascading retardant chemicals on fires, for
                                              instance. Similar'y, the
 Treasury Department undoubtedly has the expertise
                                                     to for;zulate proper
 policies and procedures to control air-to-air
 gling operations across national borders.       interdiction of smug-
                                             These typical--but wholely
 different--missions by their very nature must
                                                 be guided vyspecific
 and different direction if they are to be conducted
 applies to such matters as choice of methods          effectively. This
                                               (contract vs. force account;
 ownership vs. lease), aircraft selection, nur.:bers
 nance support, pilot qualifications, operating      and locations, mainte-
                                                  procedures and other
 important policy issues.

Even where different agencies fly similar missions,
point personnel transport, opportunities to          such as point-to-
                                             standardize policies and
procedures can be quite limited. For example,
                                                the contention that pilot
qualifications for passenger hauling should
                                             be similar for all agencies
ignores the variety of conditions under which
                                               transportation of
occurs. Necessary pilot qualifications   for a charter or agency personnel
flying himself and/or one or two agency officials
                                                   from one small town to
another (there being no commercial airline
                                            service) in Visual Flight Rules
conditions during daylight in a single-engine
                                               Cessna are one thing. They
are another thing entirely where two pilots
                                             are flying forty to ninety
employees halfway across the country at night
Rules conditions in a highly sophisticated     under Instrument Flight
                                            Turboprop Electra.   ].e FAA,
as well as the gencies, recogi,.zes such differences
qualifications at different levels accordingly.       and sets pilot

A centralized aviation management agency would
                                                require a sizable staff
of aviation specialists expert in each of the
aviation missions and their requirements.      large  variety of agency
                                           This staff would presumably
be transferred to the central agency from the
                                               use agencies. While the
content of he policy and procedures laid down
would ;kely be as varied and specialized as     by the central manager
for te same variety of missions, a central    current  agency direction
                                            agency would likely tend
to be less responsive to the needs of user

APPENDIX   I                                                    APPENDIX I


   We believe       .F,rther evaluation of agency aviation operations is
   needed.  -   ,-.ncl.   1 criterion should be responsiveness to agency
   mission n. us tlel than the theoretical advantages of standardization,
   uniformity nd clntra      ontrol of these activities.


   Ct ci

APPENDIX I                                                           APPENDIX I

               United States Department of the Interior
                             OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
                              WASHINGTON, D.C. 20240

                                                               SEP :;1977

        Mr. Henry Eschvege
        Director, Community and
          Economic Development Division
        U.S. General Accounting Office
        Washington, D.C. 20548

        Dear Mr. Eschwege:

        Enclosed are our comments on the proposed report to the Congress

        entitled, "Improvements Are Needed in Management of Aircraft Used

        by Federal Civilian Agencies," LCD-77-430.


                                           Deputy Assistant Secretary
                                           Policy, Budget and Administration



                                                                   APPENDIX    I

                            Department of the Interior
                                  Comments on
                                GAO Draft Report
                     "Improvements Are Needed in Management
                  of Aircraft Used by Federal Civilian Agencies"

   We agree with many of the general concepts
                                              presented in the draft report,
   but we believe that the eport does not present
                                                   sufficiently definitive
   evidence to determine w ether to adopt the
                                              specific recommendations made.
   Neither does it provide an adequate basis for
                                                 analyzing other alternatives.
   A further study is needed to determine the
                                              costs and benefits of central-
   ized management versus the present arrangement.

  When undertaking the study, a distinction
  problems associated with centralized management be drawn between the
                                                   of (1) administrative
  aircraft and (2) mission aircraft. For instance,
  that it is feasible to centralize the management such a study may prove
  craft, but not mission aircraft. Additionally, of administrative air-
                                                  the study should consider
  not only direct aircraft operating costs,
                                            but also the extra costs to the
  users in arranging for aircraft, and potential
                                                 losses of effective work
  accomplishment because o the need to accommodate
                                                     schedules established
  by others.

  The DOI responses to the specific GAO recommendations
                                                        are as follows:
        1. GAO Recommendation: Someone must take
  aircraft operations throughout the Government. the lead in improving
                                                  Logically, it appears
  that OMB is in the best position to initiate
                                               the necessary action and
  direct the necessary agency cooperation to
                                             improve aircraft operations.

       Response 1. We believe a final decision on
  should be deferred pending completion            this recommendation
                                        of the study suggested above.

       2. GAO Recommendation: OMB designate a single
  wide aircraft operations who will have                 manager for Government-
                                         the necessary responsibility and
  authority to develop policies and procedures
  acquire necessary aircraft; consolidate aircraft aircraft operations;
                                                     use, maintenance, training,
  storage where appropriate; establish uniform
                                                aircraft  operating standards
  and pilot qualifications, and establish a
  trolling costs and making comparisons with satisfactory cost system for con-
                                              the commercial industry to
  determine how aircraft services should be
      Response 2. This recommendation would also
 ance until the aforementioned study is completed. have to be held in abey-
 however, that while our consolidation efforts       It should be noted,
                                                do not encompass all Depart-
 mental aircraft activities, existing centralization
 both efficiency and cost effectiveness. This         has proven to enhance
                                                process has been associated
 with the establishment of a single source of
                                               authority and responsibility


APPENDIX I                                                      APPENDIX     I

 for managing the aircraft operations while assuring the organizations who
 must deal with this central manager the operational latitudes to assure
 the maintenance of quality aircraft operations.

      3.   AO Recommendation: Develop within OMB overall policy guidance
 which can be provided to the agencies owning and operating aircraft for
 the specific purpose of increasing standardization of such functions as
 aircraft acquisition, utilization, maintenance and storage, operating
 standards, and accounting for aircraft op   tion ccsts.

     Response 3. We assume OMB will address your recommendation regard-
ing its function. However, if a lead agency is designated to develop
policy guidance and if the recommended study would povide for a desig-
nated manager, the overall policy guidance should be issued to the desig-
nated manager rather than directly to the agencies.

     4. GAO ReLomnendation: Initiate appropriate action to require
increased interagency cooperation regarding aircraft operations with
particular emphasis on greater utilization of each other's aircraft,
maintenance capabilities, storage facilities, and training activities;
identifying potential for consolidating contracts and agreements for com-
mercial aircraft services; and developing policies and procedures for
aircraft operations wich are more uniform throughout the Federal Governmen-.

     Response 4.   We agree with this recommendation.

     5. GAO Recommendation: OMB develop an adequate cost system and air-
craft information system hat would identify the type of aircraft avail-
able by agency and location, as well as their availability and cther serv-
ices that could be shared such as hangars, maintenance facilities, refueling,
and services, etc.

     Response 5. The above recommended study should address the cost
effectiveness of this recommendation. If this recommendation is accepted,
a single manager may be necessary for implementation. We have found in
Interior that our successes in developing and implementing an effective cost
system and a centralized information system have been where our Office of
Aircraft Services (OAS) has had financial responsibility to pay for all
costs associated with the operation and, therefore, has been able to assure
that all cost, as well as all utilization, information is being captured
and properly defined in the system.

                         (GAO note 2, p.66.)

     APPENDIX              I                                          APPENDIX   I

             k/"h54J            UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

                                          WASHINGTON, D.C.   205so

     Ad*m Rply . t,
      Diin  lu"ted                           SEP   3 1977
·. d Rds to Initlb and Number

             Mr. Victor L. Lowe
             General Government Division
             United States General Accounting Office
             Washington, D.C.  20548

             Dear Mr. Lowe:

                  This letter is in response to your request for comments
             on the draft report entitled  Improvements are Needed
             in Management of Aircraft Used by Federal Civilian Agencies."

                  We concur with the general recommendations that
             appropriate action be initiated for increasing interagency
             cooperation with particular emphasis on greater utilization
             of each other's aircraft, maintenance capacities, storage
             facilities and training activities; identifying the poten-
             tial for consolidating contracts and agreements for com-
             mercial aircraft; and developing policies and procedures
             which, to the extent possible, are more uniform throughout
             the Federal Government.

                   We also concur with the recommendation suggesting
              development of a uniform aircraft information system
              that will identify types of aircraft by agency and location,
              as well as indicate availability and types of services
              which could be shared.

                   We also believe, as the report suggests, that there
              is a need for increased standardization of such functions
              as aircraft acquisition, maintenance, safety, storage,
              and accounting for operating costs. Aircraft operating
              standards, on the other hand, depend to a large extent
              upon the particular mission assigned to the agency in
              question and do not lend themselves to strict standardi-
              zation.  As a consequence, we believe it would be difficult
              to achieve consolidation of uniform operating policies
              and procedures under a single, well-coordinated activity
              because of the wide spectrum and diversity of assigned
              missions among the agencies.  However, we do believe
              operating standards and pilot qualifications are areas
              in which minimum standards can be developed, and we believe

  .-        -,                                     52
APPENDIX I                                             APPENDIX I

   they should be, but each agency should also be free to
   employ additional standards it determines to be appropriate.

        The report discusses mission aircraft (aircraft
  with special equipment used to enhance the efforts of
  the agency to complete special programs) and administrative
  aircraft (aircraft used primarily as a mode of transporta-
  tion for people and things).   In the main, the report
  appears to be directed to the use of aircraft for routine
  transportation. The use of aircraft in the Department
  by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforce-
  ment Administration (DEA), and Immigration and Naturaliza-
  tion Service (INS) is devoted to criminal investigations
  and law enforcement missions, which only collaterally
  and occasionally involves transportation per se. The
  use of aircraft in enforcement operations involves many
  features that are not directly addressed in the report.

        Page 12 of the report states that "Detailed transporta-
  tion analyses should be performed to answer the question
  as o whether aircraft are the best mode. This is necessary,
  whether aircraft are needed to move people from one location
  to another or as a mobile platform for carrying out special
  functions s h as fire fighting, law enforcement, or
  scientific research." We do not believe all special
  functions should be consolidated under the single term
  of "transportation."   A distinction should be made between
  the varied types of missions. The use of aircraft by
  the Department in criminal matters and law enforcement
  missions involves such things as border patrol, aerial
  photography, surveillance, command and control, airborne
  radio relay, undercover operations and surveying remote
  mountain locations for clandestine landing strips and
  remotely grown poppy fields.   None of these activities
  is normally considered to be transportation, and, as
  stated previously, standardization of such diverse activ-
  ities would be difficult, if not impossible.

       The report also raises the issue as to the options
  available for obtaining aircraft, such as purchase, lease,
  lease-purchase, rental, charter, etc.  Many of the needs
  of the government for aircraft can possibly be fulfilled
  by the private sector if the needs fall withir the realm
  of the routine moving of persons or things from one place
  to another.  However, in law enforcement the private
  sector very often is unable or unwilling to provide special-
  ized aviation activities required. Many private operators

APPENDIX I                                             APPENDIX    I

   are unwilling to risk the exposure of personnel and equip-
   ment to the possible hostile acts of criminals, including
   gunfire. Many times contract pilots are unwilling to
   place themselves in a situation which could be considered
   dangerous, thus not fulfilling an aviation requirement
   in connection with a criminal or counterintelligence
   matter.  In such cases, a government-owned aircraft piloted
   by government law enforcement personnel would be the

        The report indicates a basic management problem
   as "the lack of and differences in policies and procedures
   among agencies to firmly manage aircraft operations."
   While we recognize the importance of government-wide
   policy guidance in some areas, the fact that there are
   differences in policies and procedures among agencies
   does not necessarily constitute inefficient or ineffective
   operation of aircraft assets, as the procedures being
   followed may be well suited to that agency and provide
   it with data necessary for sound management control.
   For example, the report indicates that agencies are not
   using uniform methods or systems to accumulate and report
   aircraft operating costs. The fact that different methods
   or systems are in use does not necessarily mean that
   these systems are not satisfactory for the particular
   agency involved.  In fact, the costs developed by the
   agency may be of more value than those developed through
   uniform standards because of the type of agency mission
   involved. Moreover, cost alone should not be the only
   overriding factor concerning the aircraft operations
   of an agency.  In other words, the cheapest way is not
   necessarily the best way. In an attempt to preserve the
   life of a kidnap victim, the FBI, for example, would
   rot necessarily choose an inexpensive piece of equipment,
   or operate it in the most economical way. The end result
   would be the overriding factor.  Cost is only one factor
   and must be weighed against the benefits derived.

        On page 14 the report states, "Withou. common standards
   for pilot qualifications, aircraft maintenance, or equipment
   not all persons are afforded the same level of safety."
   This is not necessarily true.  Some agencies may have
   extremely strict standards while others may be more lenie.it,
   but still within acceptable safety levels.  INS aircraft,
   for example, ar- used in border patrol activities every
   moment that it is possible to safely operate them. To


   make the operation of the aircraft as safe as possible,
   restrictions imposed by the Federal Aviatinn Administra-
   tion as well as INS standards are rigidly enforced.
   While we agree that strict air worthiness standards should
   be set as a minimum, we believe each aency desiring
   stricter standards should be allowed to set them. Simi-
   la-ly, we recognize that there are different standards
   set by the various agencies to establish pilot qualifica-
   tions. Again, agencies whose pilots transport other
   personnel in aircraft should have similar minimum qualifi-
   cations, but this requirement should not prevent a particu-
   lar agency from exercising stricter standards if it so
                      (See GAO note 2, p. 66.)

        We appreciate the opportunity to comment on the
   draft report. Should you have any further questions,
   please feel free to contact us.

                                Kevin D. Rooney
                            Assistant Attorney General
                                for Administration

 APPENDIX        I                                           APNDIX I

              National Aeror autics and
              Sp3ce Administration
              Washington. D C

relyvtf,A... W                                         August 10, 1977

            Mr. R. W. Gutmann
            Director, Procurement and
              Systems Acquisition Division
            U.S. General Accounting Office
            Washington, DC 20548

            Dear Mr. Gutmann:

            Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment
            on the draft report entitled "Improvements Are Needed
            In Management of Aircraft Used by Federal Civilian
            Agencies", which was prepared by GAO's Logistics and
            Communications Division.

            The enclosed comments emphasize the NASA view hat the
            draft report does not properly recognize (1) the vast
            differences in the respective agency civilian aircraft
            requirements, (2) the lack of commonality within the
            Government-wide aircraft inventory, and (3) the magnitude
            of the air worthiness requirements and other technical
            aspects of the single management concept, as tentatively
            proposed by GAO.  Our reasons for suggesting tat this
            mrtter should be studied more carefully are set forth
            in the enclosure.  Other comnents concerning clarification
            or corrections of the text are keyed to specific parts
            of the report.

            We will be pleased to discuss our comments with GAO
            representatives, if desired.


           Kenneth R. Chapma"t
           Assistant Adminfstrator for
             DOD and Interagency Affaire


APPENDIX I                                                  APPENDIX   I

                  COMETS ON THE       AO DAFT REPORT
                             CIVILIAN AGENCY"

    General Comments:

    NASA would interpose no objection to a workable plan
    wherein one Federal agency would be responsible for
    national policy guidelines that would improve efficiency
    and reduce Ceots, provided that such guidelines are
    developed with full awareness of the specialized require-
    ments for advanced aeronautical and space flight research,
    all weather air transportation, etc. NASA recognizes the
    possibility of Government-wide benefits from commonality
    and uniform control in certain areas, i.e., the trans-
    portation of passengers aboard government aircraft.
    However, NASA would strongly object to single management
    of the operational aspects, because of the various types
    of flight operations involved and the inherent needs for
    flexibility in this area. Within that context, NASA
    believes that the GAO has oversimplified today's overall
    federal civilian aircraft activity by failing to identify
    the vast differences in agency requirements, the lack of
    commonality within the federal aircraft inventory and
    underestimating the magnitude of the airworthiness
    requirements and other technical aspects of such a

    The airworthiness standards alone are so varied in complexity
    that only a very few general maintenance practices or
    procedures would apply across the federal aircraft inventory.

    The pilot qualifications and training requirements vary to
    the same degree as the specialized maintenance programs,
    e.g., advanced research test pilots must have background and
    experience in the various sciences, in addition to flight
    experience in many different types of aircraft.

   Aircrew personnel involved in the operation of transport
   type aircraft must have qualifications, experience, and
   specialized training similar to the commercial airlines if
   they are to operate effectively in the same environment.
   By the same token the aircrew qualifications for the safe
   operation of snall unsophisticated single-engine aircraft
   in good weather conditions need not be as high as for the
   more complex operations.

APPENDIX   I                                           APPENDIX I


   In summary, the aircraft operating requirements within the
   federal civilian agencies are vastly different and any plan
   to standardize thesd-activities or bring them under single-
   point management should be viewed in light of these
   differences and the general mix of the overall aircraft
   inventory. We feel that a more in-depth study and analysis
   is needed before any conclusion can be drawn or recommenda-
   tion made.

                [See GAO note   2,   p.   6.]

   Consideration oncerning Aircraft Maintenance - Ch. 4,
   page 37    The NASA QA-80 at JPL was previously owned and
   operated by FAA n Los Angeles. NASA is therefore aware
   of the local maintenance arrangements in the Los Angeles
   area. However, we elected to utilize available commercial
   facilities at Burbank, nea; JPL, and have continued to do
   so primarily because of operational considerations. Other
   factors considered were the avoidance of cost and nonproduc-
   tive time that would be involved in shuttling between Los
   Angeleis and Burbank for minor maintenance which is available
   at ttrank on a 24-hour/day basis.

                                                         APPENDIX I

     Pilot Qualificatiolls - Page 47,
                                      parN. i.    In view of the
      responsibilities of-aircraft commanders,
                                                NASA does not
     believe that our standards should be considered
     high or unnecessary.                               extremely
     Benefits of Uniform Information - Page
                                              49, pare. 1.
     A stated, NAS       -make
                            no allowance for depreciation on
     Administrative Aircraft Cost Reports (NASA
     Reason--these are internal rorts              Form 1085).
     operating costs. In the past, thesefor capturing annual
                                           reports included
     depreciation, but this input was subsequently
     because it could not be realistically            deleted
     various depreciation schedules used by compared   with the
                                             private industry.

                        (See GAO note 2, p. 66.)

                                                    8 AUG 1977
    G. ernan~az i i
    Assistant Associte Administrator for             Date
    Center Operations (Systems Management;

APPENDIX I                                                            APPENDIX I

                                 WASHINGTON, D.C.   20590

                                 September 9, 1977

     Mr. Henry Eschwege
     Community and ._nomic
        Development Division
     UI. S. General Accounting Office
     Washington, D.C.      20548

     Dear Mr. Eschwege-

     In respoise to your letter of July 8, 1977, there are enclosed

     two copies of the Department's comm.onts on your draft

     report entitled, "Improvements Are Needed in Management

     of Aircraft Used by Federal Civilian. Agencies".


                                            Edward W. Scott, Jr.


APPENDIX   I                                            APPENDIX   I

                     GAO DRAFT REPORT OF JULY 1977


  This GAO review was designed to identify the
                                                wide variations
  between aircraft operations in the different
                                                agencies and to
  determine if the variations were warranted or
                                                 greater efforts
  should be undertaken to coordinate aircraft activities
  between the agencies, or perhaps consolidate
                                                all aircraft
  operations under a single activity.  The review concentrated
  primarily on 11 civilian agencies, and included
                                                   FAA and
  Coast Guard.

 According to the report, civilian agencies in
 Government own in excess of 650 aircraft with the Federal
                                               a value of at
 least $340 million, and lease, charter, or rent
 thousand more each year.  Millions of dcliars are spent
 each year by agencies to acquire and operate the
 civilian government fleet of aircraft.

 GAO tound that:

 (1) Agencies acquire and operate their aircraft
 of each other and without the aid of any government-wide
 policy guidance.  Each agency has its own policies and
 procedures for all aspects of aircraft operations
                                                    and there
 are extensive variances among agencies.

 (2) There is no central data base or information
 existence for aircraft resources of the civil     system in
 (3) Agencies are not using uniform methods or
                                                 systems to
 accumulate and report aircraft operating costs,
                                                  and many
 cost systems are incomplete.
 (4)  Little effort has been made by agencies to coordinate
 with one another on aircraft operations.

APPENDIX I                                             APPENDIX I

   GAO concludes that the existing decentralized system has
   created a lack of overall management control and contributed
   to inefficient and uneconomical aircraft operations within
   the Federal Government.  In summary, the report recommends
   that the Office of Management and Budget consider the

   (1) Designate a single manager for government-wide aircraft

   (:') Develop within OMB overall policy guidance which can
   be provided to the agencies owning and operating aircraft.

   (3)  Initiate appropriate action to increase inter-agency
   cooperation regarding aircraft operations.

    (4)  Develop an adequate cost system and aircraft information


    It i the opinion of the Department of Transportation that
    the information presented in this draft report does not
    provide clear and convincing evidence that the actions
    contemplated by the recommendations are, in fact, needed.
    The report contains insufficient factual data to support
    GAO's contention that civil agency aircraft operations are
    inefficient and uneconomical to te extent that the establish-
    ment of centralized management control and direction are
    justified.  Thus, the report appears to rely basically on an
    assumption that centralization is inherently better than
    decenuralization, and that the problems attributed to
    decentralization will be corrected by centralization.
    Basing our judgment on the information made available to
    us in the report, we cannot agree with this assumption.

    In the draft report (Paje 2), GAO recognizes a distinction
    between mission aircraft an6 administrative aircraft.
    Beyond this point. however, GAO puts little emphasis on
    this essential distinction.   GAO discusses such aspects
    as consolidation of support services, inter-agency
    utilization, and use of cummercial sources.   In so doing,
    the impression is given that  these opportunities  extend
    across the entire fleet of  civil agency aircraft.

APPENDIX I                                            APPENDIX I

 While a statistical breakout is not given, GAO acknowledges
 (Page 2 of the report) that the majority of aircraft owned
 by the civilian agencies fall into te mission category.
 We believe that the opportunities for improvement which
 GAO discusses are extremely limited in the case of mission
 aircraft.   In this regard, we should point out that of the
 655 owned aircraft cited in the report, 241 are operated
 by this Department.   Of this 241, only 2 would fall under
 the administrative category.   We feel that GAO, in presenting
 its findings and in developing its recommendations, has not
 given proper consideration to the unique characteristics and
 operating requirements of mission aircraft.   For instance, the
 Coast GuarJ must have aircraft immediately available to handle
 search and rescue emergencies, fisheries patrols, and oil
 spills.   Also, the FAA must have specially equipped aircraft
 for testing air navigation and air traffic control devices.
 For these reasons, we   elieve that our mission aircraft are
 not amenable to centralized nanagement and control.

                          (See GAO note 2, p.66.)

                              ig'nod) Wlllm P. Davi

                     Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration

APPENDIX   I                                                   APPENDIX      I

                               WASHINGTON. D.C.   20220

                                                               AUG 23 1977
    Dear Mr. Lowe:

         The Department of the Treasury appreciates the oppor-
    tunity to comment on the GAO draft report, "Improvements
    are Needed in Management of Aircraft Used by Federal Civilian
    Agencies" - 947224-LCD-77-430 (MA-249).

         We support the recommendation for a single manager for
    directing governmentwide aircraft operations for all Admin-
    istrative type aircraft; however, the policies, procedures
    and standards for Mission type aircraft should be separately
    defined and directed specifically to the requirements of the
    particular mission.

          In regard to mutual assistance, the Customs Service has
    always worked closely with other Federal organizations in
    making its aircraft available for support of official missions
    and in coordinating operations whenever possible.   For opera-
    tions, storage and maintenance, it utilizes existing military
    bases. Regarding training, we support a requirement that all
    pilots be placed under the GS 2181 series, where adequate
    standards e:ist.

         Detailed comments on various aspects of aircraft program
    management follow:

    Policy, Procedures and Standards

         The report demonstrates there are widely divergent pol-
    icies and procedures in managing civilian aircraft operations.
    We agree that it would benefit all to have a central organiza-
    tion that defines policy and procedures. However, each cate-
    gory - Administrative and Mission type aircraft - should have
    a separate set of policies and procedures. Within the cate-
    gory of Mission aircraft, each type mission must be addressed,
    e.g., law enforcement. Provision should alpc be made for peri-
    odic reviews and controls. Assuming that adequate resources
    are available for establishment of a central management organi-
    zation, centralization of policies, procedures and standards
    should improve management of aircraft operations.

APPENDIX I                                             APPENDIX      I



       While we support central definition of policy
                                                     and pro-
  cedures for aircraft procurement, we are of
                                              the opinion that
  central procurement would not be beneficial
                                              to the Customs
  mission or to the U. S. Government. Evaluating
                                                  aircraft for
  performance of Customs' missions requires
                                            an intimate knowl-
  edge of the operating environment and tactical
       Customs requires aircraft for a specialized
                                                    purpose -
  the interception, tracking, surveillance and
                                                arresting of
  smugglers.   In this respect, Customs' requirements are
  akin to those of the armed services. This               more
                                              requires aircraft
  with performance tailored to the characteristics
                                                    of the "enemy"
  and equipped with sophisticated electronic
                                              and commun.cation

       Customs' experience indicates that the cost
                                                   for other
  agencies (GSA and DOD) to handle procurements
                                                might run to
  an additional 5% to 20% of the purchase/lease

      Presently, Customs uses both contract and
                                                 military main-
 tenance and materiel support for its aircraft.
                                                  When aircraft
 are based on military establishments, military
                                                 logistics sup-
 port is available, usually at least cost
                                          to the government.
 A centralized directed maintenance would have
                                                to consider such
 specialized arrangements.

APPENDIX   I                                             APPENDIX   I


       Establishing uniform training and pilot qualifications
  is fully supported by Treasury. Customs presently operates
  under the GS 2181 series for pilots and conforms to the
  requirements established for this series.


                             W'lliam F. Hausman
                            Office o Operations

  Mr. Victor I Lowe
  General Gove -ment Division
  U.S. General Accounting Office
  Washington, D. C.  20548

  GAO notes:   i. P.ge references in this appendix may not
                  correspond to page numbers in this final

               2. The deleted comments pertain to data
                  revised as per letter replies.

 APPENDIX II                                        APPENDIX II


                     OPERATING AIRCPAFT


     The Bureau of Reclamation, a bureau of the Department
of the Interior, is responsible for locating, constructing.
operating, and maintaining works for the storage, diversion,
and development of waters for the reclamation of arid and
semiarid lands in the 17 continental Western States. This
bureau is also responsible for the sale, interchange, or trans-
mission of electric power and energy generated at several
powerplants. They use aircraft to inspect dam projects and
transmission lines, and for personnel transportation.

     This bureau presently owns 10 aircraft based at 8 loca-
tions, and has the maintenance performed by both in-house
capabilities and commercial services.


     The Drug Enforcement Administration, a bureau of the
Departs .itof Justice, has a primary responsibility to enforce
the laws and statutes relating to narcotic drugs, marihuaea,
depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogenics.  They use aircraft
to conduct domestic and nternational investigations of major
drug traffickers. For the most part, this agency uses air-
craft for undercover operations, and intelligence gathering.

     The Drug Enforcement Administra+ion currently owns 22
aircraft, leases 7 with option to purchase, and has 17 on
loan from the military. Most of their owned aircraft were
obtained through seizure or from Customs Service. Drug En-
forcement Administration aircraft are stationed at more han
25 citi3s across the Nation. -'Icr  maintenance is performed
at Addison, Texas, by a commercial contractor and minor main-
tenance is contracted out   at the various aircraft I   ations.

     The ederal Aviation Administration, an agency of the
Department of Transportation, is charged with regulating air
commerce to foster aviation safety, promoting ci',il aviation
and a national system of airports, achieving efficient use
cf navigable airspace, and developing and operating a common
system o air traffic control and air navigation.    The Fed-
eral Aviation Administration uses aircraft to monitor the

APPENDIX II                                      APPENDIX II

accuracy o the air navigation facilities and systems for
research and development, for training flight personnel, for
evaluating new aircraft and equipment, for transportation,
and for many other functions.
     This agency currently owns 69 aircraft, leases 3 with
an option to purchase, and has 1 on loan from another agency.
The aircraft are located throughout the United States and a
few are stationed abroad. Aircraft maintenance is performed
primarily by in-house capabilities at facilities within the
domestic United States and overseas, but commercial contractors
are used to some extent.


     The Fish and Wildlife Service, a bureau of the Departr.nt
of the Interior, is responsible for wild birds, mammals, in-
land sport fisheries, and specific fishery research activities.
This bureau uses aircraft for wildlife surveys and research,
aerial photography: enforcement zr migration, bird laws, and
aerial hinting for predatonr' .lim.s.
     The Fish and ild-ife Service uses the Office of Aircraft
Service aircraft for Al1ka's needs, but owns and operates 23
aircraft in the 48 continental States. The aircraft are
located at 18 citi¢s arozs the country and are maintained
by commercial secvices at the locations where tilhe aircraft
are located.

      The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's ac-
tivities include research for the solution of flight problems
within and outside the Earth's atmosphere, and developing,
consttucting, testing, and operating aeronautical and space
veicles. This agency uses aircraft to support these pro-
gralis and others, and to transport personnel and equipment
to various locations.

     The~ presently own 81 aircraft and have 20 on loan from
the military services. Of the owned aircraft, only eight are
designated as administrative aircraft and used primarily for
transportation of passengers. The aircraft ae based at
nine locations in the United States. Their aircraft are
maintained through a combination of in-house capabilities
and commercial contracts.

APPENDIX II                                          APPENIDX II


     The National Park Service is another bureau of the De-
partment of the Interior.  They are responsible for all na-
tional parks, historic sites, and recreation areas.  This
bureau uses aircraft to transport personnel to various loca-
tions and for mission-oriented activities with personnel
transport being a secondary convenience.

     They own nine aircraft located in seven locations through-
out the country.  The National Park Service has most aircraft
maintenance performed by commercial contract at the aircraft's
location; however, Government services are used at one location.


     The Office of Aircraft Services is a unit within the
Office of the Secretary, Department of the Interior.  It was
established in 1973 to be responsible for all aircraft serv-
ices needed by the bureaus and offices within the Department
of the Interior including the

     -- Bureau of Reclamation,

     -- Fish   nd Wildlife Service,

     --U.S. Geological Survey,

     -- National   Park Service,

     -- Bureau of Land Management, and

     -- Bonneville Power   Administration.

      The Office of Aircraft Services began by assuming con-
trol of aircraft operations in Alaska.   The entire aircraft
fleet, related equipment and facilities. and personnel whose
duties were directly involved in managing, operating, and
main':aining bureau aircraft in Alaska ;er- transferred to
the Office of Aircraft Services.      All aspects of aircraft
services used by the Interior Department in AlasKa, except
chartering, are now controlled by the Office of Aircraft
Services.  The Alaska operation consists of 27 owned aircraft
and 1 aircraft on loan  rom the Navy.  Most maintenance is
performed in-house at a central point in Anchorage, Alaska.

     The Office of Aircraft Services has not assumed full
control of Intc:ior's aircraft services in the 48 continental
States.  Bureaus still own and operate aircraft independently.
However, this office does provide all aircraft contract services

 APPENDIX II                                       APPENDIX II

 to the bureaus as well as advice and assistance.
 presently 61 aircraft in the 48 continental States TheLe are
 Interior bureaus and offices, and 2 on loan from theowned by

     The U.S. Coast Guard, though an agency within the
ment of Transportation, is a branch of the Armed Forces.Depart-
agency has responsibilities including search and rescues    This
enforcement, and marine environmental protection on        law
                                                     the high
seas or on the navigable waters of the United States.
carry out their responsibilies, they use primarily      To
type aircraft unlike most of those of the other civilian

     The Coast Guard owns and operates 172 aircraft stationed
at 29 locations throughout the United States and Puerto
Major aircraft maintenance is performed at a central      Rico.
in North Carolina while minor maintenance              facility
Coast Guard stations where the aircraft areis based.
                                               performed at

     The U.S. Customs Service, a bureau of the Department
the Treasury, engages in activities for the collection
protection of revenue, the prevention of fraud and      and
the processing and regulation of carriers, cargo,   smuggling,
people into and out of the United States; and      mail, and
                                              performs a
variety of functions for other Governmenr agencies
guarding agriculture, business, health, security, in safe-
consumer interests. Aircraft are their major weaponand related
the smuggling of contraband by air.                   against

     Customs owns 56 aircraft, leases 6 with an optoon
purchase, and has 11 on loan from the military. The
are stationed along the Eastern, Southern, and Westernaircraft
of the United States.                                   borders
                       Customs maintains their aircraft through
a contract with a commercial coipany that stations
perscnnel at t . aircraft base,                    maintenance


     The U.S. Forest Ser ._ce, an agency of the Dpartment
Agriculture, manages the national forests and               of
They are responsible for protecting these lands from
epidemics of disease and insect pests, erosion, floods,
water and air pollution. They use aircraft extensively and
prevent, contain, and extinguish forest fires.           to

APPENDIX II                                      APPENDIX II

     They own 34 aircraft .'hich are stationed at 19 locations
and lease or contract for several hundred during the fire sea-
son each year. Aircraft maintenance is done primarily by con-
tract with commercial operators; however, one small Government
facility is maintained in California.


     The U.S. Geological Survey, a bureau of the Department
of the Interior, is responsible for classifying public lands,
and examining geologic structure, mineral resources, and
products of the national :*onairn. The U.S. Geological Survey
uses aircraft for such activities as topographic mapping, and
developing and applying electromagnetic methods in the explora-
tion for geotherm 1 fossil fuel, radioactive, and ore mineral

     They currently own and operate six aircraft, and have one
on loan fom the Air Force. They are located at Denver,
Colorado; Flagstaff, Arizona; and Menlo Park, California.
All aircraft maintenance is furnished by commercial contract.

APPENDIX          III                                                                                                                         APPENDIX              III

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APPENDIX     IV                                                    APPENDIX     IV

                             QUESTIONS IN QUESTONNAIRE

                                 TO SELECTED AGENCIES

   1.   IThien a rode of transportation is needed, i.lho decides heter air,
        automobile, hls, rail, or trTick ill be used, and how is the
        cictermination made? Our prinary conccrn is that a cncies ay be
        using aircraft services for r;Dvin 2 cargo or personnel even tllhoun
        less expensive means are available.

   2.   If formal %written policy and procedures have been established
        (based on qucstion 1 abovc), provide a copy. If no written po]icy
        or procedurcs ]lave been forr.mulated, hat assurance do ou have tile
        selecte(d anode of transportation is appropriate?

   3.   After a determination is made air transportation should be used,
        how do you select the tpe of aircraft to neet your needs?

   4.   If fortal written criteria have been established (based on question
        3 above), provide a copy.  If procedures ha-ve not been established,
        how do you kno the proper type of aircraft has been selected?

   5.   After the type f aircraft ~s selected, how: do ou detcrr:.inc the
        best nethod of obtaining the necessary service (i.e., outright
        purchase, lease, lease-purchase, rental, charter, contract, loan,
        intel-departmental transfer, confiscation, or thro?.h excess)?

   6.   Do you use he guidelines included in O Circular A-76 to identif)y
        the mnost appropriate method of providing the air services, or hias
        the al.enc) developed new guidelines?

   7.   If 0    Circular A-76 guidelines are not used to ascertain the best
        methlod of providlir{ air services, provide a copy) of the procedures
        used.   If nei tlir A-76 nor agency uidelines are used, ho.. does
        tilc agency know t;. best metho;l has bceen slected?

   8.   After aircraft ave been selected and acqiuired, ow are you assured
        that a continjuing need ciss to rct .In the ircraft?

   9.   If formal .,rittel criteria have been stablishcd      (based on question
        8 above), providc a copy.   If proce-clur.s have nt    befrn estlblished,
        how do you inow wilether aircraft soul¢d be:

            -- retained,
            -- proviled by a different source, or
            - -cl i ni n.ted ?

APPENDIX IV                                                              APPENDIX   IV

 10.   For    ach aircraft listed on Attachr.cnt II, p)revidc ans.;crs and
       documentation to the following questions         (a) through   (i).

       (a) Ion was the aircraft acquired by your agency?

       (b)    1lo:. as the aircraft acquired (outright purchase, lease,
              lcasc-purchase, rcnta.l, charter, contract, loan, inter-
              departm;:ntal transfer, confiscation, or throuh cxcess)?

       (c)    HIow many fliglht hours w:as the aircraft used in each of the
              fiscal ,cars 1974, 1975,- and 1976 (12 month periods only;
              do not include the transition quarter)?

       (d1)   Were the current official justification policy and criteria
              (as indicatccld in questions 2, 4, 6, and 7) in effect at tile
              time of aircraft acquisition?

       (e)    If the current policy and criteria were not in effect at the
              tilme of acqui.sitionl, what policy and criteria icre in effect?
              Provide a copy if applicable.

       (f)     1Prior to acquisition of the aircraft,     as an analysis maRle
              and recorded justifyi.ng:

                --why air tarsportation was needed,
                -- l:h) the type of aircraft w:as selected, and
                -- iWh) the nIethod of providing the service .wasselected?

              If analyses were prepared, provide copies.        If not, why not?

       (g)    IWere analysis prepared periodical]) reflecting te continued
              nced cf the aircraft? If so, please provide copics of all
              analyscs. If not, why not ?

       (h)    lf o v:ritten analysis to jtify)acquisition of the aircraft
               .:eremadc, how did oil determine at the time of acquisition
              th at:

                --a;ir scrvict: wa   nccssar),
                --the t)l)e of ;;ircraft w::ts apropriatc, aind
                -- t:ic method of rovidin? t:ce service .as the most

       (i)    IT no vwril.tcn ata)yscs for retcntion of the aicraft have ben
              prepcred, what are the re:!sons you continue to :eep the air-

                                                                 APPENDIX IV

11.   Uihat programs currently exist, or are plarned,
                                                       to reduce govern;mnt
      travel costs ihich will effect the use of govern.ent
       (including any plans in response to the July          owned aircraft
                                                     24, 1976, residential
      I.,cio) ?
12.   Iilat actions have been taken by your agency in
                                                      the past to or three
      years to rluce air travel costs to the government?

APPENDIX V                                                        APPENDIX V

                            SUVIARY OF AGENCY WRITTEN

                         RESPONSES TO GAO   UESTIONNAIRE

  Does the agency have written olicy and rocedures to determine
  the most appropriate ode of transoortstion?

                                                          No       Unclear
                                            Yes   No   response   response
  Bureau of Reclamation                                             X
  Drug Enforcement Administation                                    X
  Federal Aviation Administration           X
  Fish and Wildlife Service                                         X
  National Aeronautics and Space
    Administration                      a/X
  National Park Service                                             X
  Office of Aircraft Services                      X
  U.S. Customs Service                                     X

  U.S. Geological Survey                    X

  U.S. Forest Service                                               X

  a/Policy requires selection of most economical mode.

APPENDIX V                                                     APPENDIX V

   Does the aenc he     written policy and procedures to
   selection the most appronriate type of aircraft?

                                            Yes         No         esponse
   Bureau of Reclamation                          a/X
   Drug Enforcement Administration

   Federal Aviation Administration                                   X
   Fish and Wildlife Service
   National Aeronautics and Space
     Administration                        b/X
   National Park Service                          a/X
   Office of Aircraft Services                    a/X
   U.S. Customs Service                                              X
   U.S. Geological Survey                         a/X
   U.S; Forest Service                            a/X
   a/Response indicated     informal      policy and procedures.
   b/Policy requires selection of most economical mode.

APPENDIX V                                           APPENDIX V

  Does the agency comply with OMB Circular A-76 which rel
  ananalysis of Government-owned aircraft versus contract

                                         Yes   No    response
  Bureau of Reclamation                   X
  Drug Enforcement Administration              X
  Federal Aviation Administration         X

  Fish and   ildlife Service             X
 National Aeronautics and Space
   Administration                         X

 National Park Svice                      X

 Office of Aircraft Services              A

 U.S. Customs Service                          X
 U.S. Geological Survey                   X

 U.S. Forest Service                      X

APPENDIX V                                                    APPENDIX V

   Does the agency have written ool!c  and procedures to
   assure a continuing need exists .o retain aircraft?

                                                      No         Unclear
                                      Yes    No    response     response

 Bureau of Reclamation                 X

 Drug Enforcement Administration       X

 Federal Aviation Administration       X

 Fish and Wildlife Service             X

 Nation&. Aeronautics and Space
   Administration                      X

 National Park Service                      a/X

 Office of Aircraft Service            X

 U.S. Customs Service                                  X

 U.S. Geological Survey                     a/X

 U.S. Forest Service                          X

a/Response indicated informal policy and procedures.

     APPENDIX VI                                                                                                                                                                                              APPENDIX VI


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APPENDIX VIII                                               APPENDIX VIII

                           PRINCIPAL OFFICIALS

                            RESPONSIBLE FOR


                                                   Tenure of office
                                                   :From         To


    James T.    McIntyre   (acting)          C..     1977     Present
    Bert Lance                               Jan. 1977        Oct. 1977
    James T. Lynn                            Feb. 1975        Jan. 1977
    Roy L. Ash                               Feb. 1973        Feb. 1975
                     DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

    Bob Bergland                             Jan. .977        Present
    John A. Knebel                           Nov. 1976        Jan. 1977
    Earl L. Butz                             Dec. 1971        Oct. 1976
                    DEPARTMENT O        THE INTERIOR
    Cecil D. Andrus                          Jan.    1977     Present
    Thomas S. Kleppe                         Oct.    1975     Jan. 1977
    Stanley K. Hathaway                      June    1975     Oct. 1975
    Kent Frizzell                            May     1975     June 1975
    Rogers C. B. Morton                      Jan.    1971     Apr. 1975

                     DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

    Griffin B. Bell                 Jan. 1977                 Present
    Richard Thornburgh (acting)     Jan. 1977                 Jan. 1977
    Edward H. Levi                  Feb. 1975                 Jan. 1977
    William B. Saxbe                Jan. 1974                 Feb. 1975
    Robert H. Bork, Jr. (acting)    Oct. 1973                 Jan. 1974
    Elliot L. Richardson            May 1973                  Oct. 1973

APPENDIX VIII                                          APPENDIX VIII

                                           Tenu-e of office
                                           From          To
    Robert A. Frosch                    June 1977        Present
    Alan M. Lovelace (acting)           May 1977         June 1977
    James C. Fletcher                   Apr. 3971        May 1977
    Brock Adams                         Jan.   1977      Present
    William Coleman                     Mar.   1975      Jan. 1)77
    John W. Barnum (acting)             Feb.   19'75     Mar. 975
    Claude S. Brinegar                  Feb.   1973      Feb. 1975
    W Michael Blumenthal               Jan, 1977         Present
    William E. Simon                   May 1974          Jan. 1977
    George P. Shultz                   June 1972         May 1974