NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 17, 2008

The Navy keeps an average of $7.5 billion worth of spare parts and other goods it doesn't need every year because of poor planning and management, congressional investigators say in a report to be released today.

The Government Accountability (GAO) found "incredible waste," says Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.), one of the lawmakers who commissioned the report.

"The idea we are spending many billions of dollars every single year for parts that are not needed or not used by the Navy is absolutely unacceptable," says Sanders, a member of the Senate Budget Committee.

Other findings:

  • On average, the Navy had about $18.7 billion worth of spare parts each year from 2004 through 2007, the report says; that exceeded the Navy's own requirements by about 40 percent, the GAO said.
  • Most of the surplus could be used in future years, but not always; for example, the Navy had no foreseeable need for about $1.9 billion of spare parts it had on hand in 2007, the report says.
  • In addition, there was about $3.7 billion worth of unusable spare parts that needed to be repaired before being put into service, the report says.

Some examples of mismanagement cited by the GAO include:

  • The Navy continues to store 19 copies of an electronics module for weapons systems purchased 20 years ago, including 15 of them worth a total of $48,000 that are not needed.
  • The Navy has 13,852 fan blades worth a total of $3.6 million for F-18 jet engines even though "demand for the blades disappeared" when it bought copies of a larger engine part that includes the fan blades.

Source: Matt Kelley, "Gov't report: Navy has billions in surplus," USA Today, December 17, 2008.

For text:


Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues