While the U.S. Defense Department invested $171 billion on logistics in 2011, a recent report by the Government Accountability Office
found the organization lacks a clear supply chain visibility strategy and fails to have a complete handle on food, fuel, spare parts and other equipment being sent to soldiers in the field.
The congressional watchdog agency recommended a Defense Department-wide strategy that will capture complete and accurate information about all goods in transit and contain a comprehensive strategic plan for its supply chain.
In its research, GAO found some Defense offices have worked on the visibility issue, but none are aware of department-wide progress. The different pieces of the department are working separately on 34 in-transit visibility efforts for which $701 million had been budgeted from 2009 to 2011. The cost will drop to $455.3 million for 2012 through 2015.
“Currently, DOD conducts some informal coordination and information sharing regarding its in-transit visibility efforts, but information is not consistently shared through a formal mechanism,” GAO said in its report.
The department has been drafting a strategy, which is due in June. Defense officials said this will improve the supply chain by having each office develop its own visibility plan to link together with the entire department. GAO commended this effort, but found it was either lacking in strategic-planning efforts or didn’t require complete information which GAO recommends for a strategic plan.
“Until DOD has finalized a department-wide strategy with all accompanying execution plans, it will not have the information it needs to make well-informed decisions about asset visibility and in-transit visibility, including setting budget priorities for its in-transit visibility efforts across the supply chain in an increasingly constrained fiscal environment,” GAO warned. - Jon Ross