Defense Logistics: DOD can better manage demilitarization coding and layout decisions

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What the GAO found

Each year, the Department of Defense (DOD) disposes of thousands of property items, which include major end items, such as high-mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicles, other tactical vehicles, and certain types of freight and trailers, through defense equipment. elimination program. The DOD consistently applied the demilitarization codes for most, but not all, of the major end items that the GAO reviewed for fiscal years 2019-2021. Specifically, of the 437 national stock codes reviewed by GAO, 413 were consistent and 24 were not. Of the 24, 13 had no documentation explaining the reason for the coding differences between DOD databases, including those maintained by the military services. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is responsible for ensuring that demilitarization codes are consistent throughout DOD and for documenting any code changes. However, DLA officials did not know how the inconsistencies identified by the GAO occurred because they do not have a reconciliation process for the DLA to identify and reconcile codes in the various databases of the GAO. DOD. Without fully documenting changes, including pending changes, to demilitarization codes to ensure consistent use across the department, DOD risks major end items, including sensitive items, being inadvertently made public or items eligible for release are unnecessarily destroyed.

Air Force High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles

DOD guidelines state that each military service is responsible for determining how to dispose of items it no longer needs. However, military service officials said they lacked guidance on what factors to consider when making decisions about eliminating major end items, such as high-mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicles. Three military services turned over their useless high-mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicles to the DLA, where most were eventually destroyed. According to army officials, the army salvaged usable parts, such as engines, transmissions and tires, providing DLA with little more than a chassis. Military service officials said they chose to hand over the items due to lack of guidance on evaluating other disposal options. In the absence of such guidelines, there is a risk that the intended results of the DOD Materiel Disposal Program (preserving national security interests, minimizing destruction of government assets, and maximizing monetary return to the U.S. government ) are not reached.

Why GAO Did This Study

DLA manages, controls, and oversees the DOD Materiel Disposal Program for assets, including major end items, that are no longer required by the department. Based on an assigned code, many of these items must be demilitarized before they can be reused, transferred to other agencies, donated, sold, or destroyed.

Senate Report 116-236 (2020) included a provision for the GAO to review the DOD’s demilitarization process and how it informs the disposal of items no longer required by the military services. The GAO assessed the extent to which (1) the DOD consistently used the demilitarization coding process established for certain major end items and (2) the military services established an approach for determining how to dispose of major end items that they did not have. Not needed anymore. GAO analyzed DLA and military service demilitarization codes for fiscal year 2019-2021 and disposition information for major end items commonly sold to the public.

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