Saturday, March 10, 2007

RESET Program and Oil Consumption

Military operations in Iran and Afghanistan are repeatedly told to be taking a toll on military vehicles and equipments, due to harsh combat and environmental conditions (heat, sand, dust and road conditions) in the operation theater over extensive and sustained periods.

Repairing, replacing, and modernizing the affected vehicles and equipments are called in short RESET by the military.

In this post I will summarize two recent testimonies on RESET program:

1. William M. Solis, “Defense Logistics: Preliminary Observations on the Army’s Implementation of Its Equipment Reset Strategies, United States Government Accountability Office,” GAO-07-439T, Testimony before the House of Representatives Subcommittees on Readiness and Air and Land Forces, Committee on Armed Services, January 31, 2007. Note that his written testimony delivered to Committee is slightly different than GAO report.

Congress has provided the Army with more than $38 billion in supplemental appropriations since fiscal year 2002 for RESET. In FY 2007, the Army has received $17.1 billion,[1] and in FY 2006 only $8.6 billion.

“In addition, DOD is expected to request an additional $26 billion for reset in a subsequent fiscal year 2007 supplemental appropriation. Army officials estimate the Army will need about $12 billion to $13 billion per year for reset until operations cease in Iraq and Afghanistan and up to two years thereafter.”

“As of January 2007, the Army has about 25 percent of total on-hand wheeled and tracked vehicles and about 19 percent of rotary wing aircraft deployed” in Iraq and Afghanistan. This means about 28,000 wheeled vehicles (HMMWV mostly), over 1200 tracked vehicles (Bradley and Abrams tanks mostly) and over 500 helicopter.

Now the best part of the GAO report: “The Army, however, is unable to confirm that the $38 billion that Congress has appropriated to the Army since fiscal year 2002 for equipment reset has been obligated and expended for reset.”

Himm, veerryy worrying…

2. Joint Statement of Brig. Gen. Charles A. Anderson, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Army; Mag. Gen. Vincent E. Boles, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Army; Brig. Gen. Robert M. Radin, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics and Operations, U.S. Army Material Command; Thomas E. Mullins, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Plans, Programs and Resources, on Army Equipment Reset, before House Armed Services Committee, Subcommitees on Readiness and Air and Land Forces, January 31, 2007.

They define RESET as “a series of actions to restore units to a desired level of combat capability commensurate with future mission requirements. These actions include the repair of equipment, the replacement of equipment lost during operations, and the recapitalization of equipment where feasible and necessary.”

In Iraq, “Army helicopters are experiencing usage rates roughly two to three times the planned peacetime rates. Tank crews are driving tanks over 4,000 miles, a rate that is five times the expected annual usage of 800 miles per year. The Army’s truck fleet is experiencing an operational tempo that is five to six times the peacetime rate causing excessive wear that is further exacerbated by the addition of heavy armor kits required to enhance force protection. This increased operational tempo shortens the useful life of our equipment and demands a much earlier and larger investment in depot maintenance than programmed for peacetime operations.”

“Our cumulative effort on reset from the beginning of combat operations through the end of FY06 has been over 200,000 pieces of equipment, including 1,798 aircraft, 2,263 tracked vehicles, 11,312 HMMWVs (includes reset and recap), 3,899 trucks, 2,193 trailers, 128,531 small arms, and 8,284 generators as just a snapshot of this enormous effort performed by our depots and defense contractors.”

Now, compare this with the Army Chief of Staff General Peter J. Schoomaker’s statement in which he said that as of June 2006, the Army had reset over 1,920 aircraft, 14,160 tracked vehicles, 110,800 wheeled vehicles, and thousands of other items. The Army expected to have placed about 290,000 major items in reset by the end of FY2006.[2] Oh well, plus or minus 90,000 can happen!

In FY 2007, “the Army will reset approximately 117,000 major items of equipment including 557 aircraft, 1,700 tracked vehicles, 8,115 HMMWVs (includes reset and recap), more than 1,800 trucks, 1,200 trailers, 39,000 small arms, 7,400 generators, and hundreds of thousands more pieces of equipment in the field.”

Remarks

Congressional hearings provide lots of useful information but I still do not understand what those hearings serve for. I mean, witnesses come, make their statements, and answer some questions. Questions, by the way, are never difficult. Business as usual prevails.

What I would ask?

a) Gentlemen, knowing that current up armored HMWWVs will be replaced with new generation vehicles, mine resistant ambush protection vehicle MRAP (joint effort with Marines) and the long run solution the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle JLTV (jointly with industry), could you please explain me why you spend so much money on HMWWVs.

b) Gentlemen, you said that helicopters are experiencing usage rates roughly two to three times the planned peacetime rates. Tank crews are driving tanks at a rate that is five times the expected annual usage. The Army’s truck fleet is experiencing an operational tempo that is five to six times the peacetime rate. Could you please explain on which criteria you base your acquisition decisions? Based on peace time usage rates and conditions? If yes, which sounds so, what is the logic behind that?

c) Gentlemen, you say that armor kits are causing excessive wear of equipment. Could you please explain why the armor kits have not been taken into account on the life of the vehicle when they were acquired?

d) Gentlemen, we hear many stories that many equipment require RESET because of the environmental conditions they perform. If my newly bought car breaks because I drove it in hot weather, from the DC to California and if I am told “sorry sir, you were supposed to drive it in such and such conditions and only on the highway” I would crash the car on the seller’s head. Now, have you ever heard a term called insurance or guarantee?

And the Puzzle

Gentlemen, you said that “helicopters are experiencing usage rates roughly two to three times the planned peacetime rates. Tank crews are driving tanks at a rate that is five times the expected annual usage. The Army’s truck fleet is experiencing an operational tempo that is five to six times the peacetime rate.” You also said that 25% of your total inventory is in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is approximately the case also for the Air Force, Navy and Marines tactical vehicles and equipments deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And yet, U.S. military vehicle oil consumption has been decreasing since 2004, as reported in the Department of Defense Federal Energy Management Report.

Give me a break!


Notes:
[1] $8.5 billion in procurement and $8.6 billion in Operations and Maintenance.
[2] General Peter J. Schoomaker, Chief of Staff of the Army, Army’s Reset Strategy and Plan for Funding Reset Requirements, Statement before Committee on Armed Services, U.S. House of Representatives, June 27, 2006.


Tags: Military Oil Consumption, Department of Defense, US Army

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