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Research Questions

  1. What is the current state of facility sustainment at Army installations, including the challenges they face and best practices they have adopted?
  2. What facility sustainment strategies and best practices used by the other military Services and government agencies and private-sector organizations could be implemented by the Army?
  3. What metrics can be used to make the process of monitoring and managing facility sustainment more efficient?
  4. What steps should be taken in the future to improve the management of facility sustainment resources and maximize the benefits to Army installations?

In recent years, the Army has been willing to accept risk in installation facility sustainment to maintain warfighting readiness. However, underfunding of facility sustainment can result in higher life-cycle costs because it increases the likelihood that facility components will break down or fail prematurely. To identify strategies for improving the Army's allocation and execution of installation facility sustainment funding, the authors conducted interviews with installation Directorate of Public Works (DPW) staff and subject-matter experts in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and Army Corps of Engineers, along with a literature review of facility sustainment practices in the military Services, other public-sector organizations, and the private sector. The authors recommend that the Army allow installations more flexibility on DPW staffing within existing budgets, improve or supplement the real property and facility sustainment functions in the General Fund Enterprise Business System (GFEBS), fund the implementation of BUILDER – a DoD-mandated Sustainment Management System (SMS) – and use it to develop longer-range models that show the effects of deferred maintenance on life-cycle costs, and develop a Mission Dependency Index (MDI) to prioritize sustainment projects and create linkages with installation readiness. At the installation level, DPW staff should implement innovative practices that have been successful at other installations; increase efforts to identify alternative sources of funding for sustainment projects, such as tenant mission funding and by leveraging community partnerships; and identify opportunities for active and reserve component units to perform projects as part of their training.

Key Findings

Several consistent themes arose across various Army installations

  • Installations face DPW staff shortages; greater flexibility to hire additional staff would allow them to perform more projects within existing budgets.
  • Use of GFEBS for real property management functions has caused ongoing challenges because of difficulties entering required data and extracting usable management reports.
  • DPW staff have benefited from sharing best practices across installations and would like more opportunities to share information with colleagues.

Installations employ a variety of practices to improve the allocation of sustainment funding

  • Grouping smaller service orders in the same locations helps to reduce travel time and costs.
  • Assigning staff members as liaisons to major tenants can provide better understanding of missions and facilities and facilitate development of projects.
  • Installations also identify alternative funding sources for sustainment projects, such as tenant mission funding.
  • Establishing partnerships with state and local governments helps with leveraging resources and reducing costs.

Other Service branches and the private sector use varying approaches to funding and analysis

  • The Air Force develops an integrated priority list of major projects across installations based on mission impact and uses a centralized, data-based process to develop installation work plans.
  • The Navy uses a condition-based maintenance model to direct funding to targeted focus areas based on a MDI.
  • The Marine Corps funds major projects centrally and delegates about half of sustainment, restoration, and modernization (SRM) funding to installations and allows them to set their own priorities.
  • The private sector focuses on minimizing facility life-cycle costs and on integrating facility planning and construction, operations and maintenance, SRM, and eventual disposal.

Recommendations

  • Allow installations more flexibility on DPW staffing within existing budgets to perform facility sustainment at lower costs.
  • Increase Army-level command emphasis to ensure that unit leadership identifies and pursues corrective actions for non-fair-wear-and-tear damages caused by negligence or accidents.
  • Improve or supplement real property and facility sustainment functions in GFEBS, with input from U.S. Army Installation Management Command, other landholding commands, and other stakeholders.
  • Create more opportunities for installation DPW staff to network and share information about common challenges and best practices.
  • Develop policy guidance to help installations identify alternative sources of funding for sustainment projects, such as tenant mission funding and leveraging community partnerships.
  • Continue to fund the implementation of the BUILDER SMS and determine how to integrate information from Installation Status Report (ISR) and BUILDER.
  • Once BUILDER has been fully implemented, use it to develop longer-range models that show the effects of deferred maintenance on life-cycle costs, integrate preventive maintenance with condition assessments, develop long-range repair and replacement plans, and consolidate similar projects.
  • Develop an MDI to be used to prioritize SRM projects and create linkages with installation readiness.
  • Implement innovative practices that have been successful at other installations, such as grouping routine maintenance work orders by location to increase efficiency, training building tenants or unit representatives to perform minor repair or replacement tasks, and establishing long-term relationships with major tenants to help identify and prioritize sustainment projects.
  • Investigate opportunities for active and reserve component engineering units to perform projects as part of their training.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Insights from Installation Visits and Interviews

  • Chapter Three

    Insights from Installation Status Report Data Analysis

  • Chapter Four

    Insights from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Services

  • Chapter Five

    Insights from Facility Management Trends, Practices, and Research

  • Chapter Six

    Findings and Recommendations

  • Appendix

    Additional Installation Status Report Data Analysis

Research conducted by

This research was prepared for the United States Army conducted by the Forces and Logistics Program within the RAND Arroyo Center.

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