> our title:

USAF Can’t Back Up Need for 401 Reaper UAVs

> original title:

Air Force Did Not Justify the Need for MQ-9 Reaper Procurement Quantities

(Source: Department of Defense Inspector General; issued Sept 30, 2014)


We determined whether the Air Force effectively managed the MQ-9 acquisition program. For this audit, we determined whether the Air Force justified the overall procurement quantity of 401 MQ-9 aircraft.

Finding:

The Air Force did not justify the need for the planned procurement quantity of 401 MQ-9 aircraft, at an estimated cost of $76.8 billion. (Emphasis added—Ed.)

This occurred because Air Combat Command officials did not:
-- follow the Joint Capabilities Integration Development System requirement to obtain Joint Requirements Oversight Council approval for an increase in procurement quantity; and
-- conduct and maintain consistent, complete, and verifiable analyses for determining the necessary aircraft quantity.

As a result, the Air Force risks spending approximately $8.8 billion to purchase, operate, and maintain 46 MQ-9 aircraft it may not need. See Appendix B for details on how potential monetary benefits were calculated.

Recommendations

We recommend the Director of Plans, Programs, and Requirements, Headquarters Air Combat Command, perform comprehensive analyses to determine the necessary quantity of MQ-9 aircraft for mission, training, test, Air National Guard, backup, and attrition reserve; update and submit the MQ-9 production document to the Air Force Requirements Oversight Council and Joint Requirements Oversight Council for validation of the cost and quantity before making any FY 2015 procurement decisions; and review the actions of the Air Force’s Air Combat Command MQ-9 Requirements Branch officials, and initiate corrective measures and actions to ensure analysis is conducted and maintained.

In addition, we recommend the Chairman of the Air Force Requirements Oversight Council validate the necessary quantity and cost in the updated MQ-9 production document prior to providing the updated production document to the Joint Requirements Oversight Council for revalidation.

Management Comments and Our Response

We received comments from the Mobilization Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, Plans, and Requirements, Headquarters Air Force, and the Director of Plans, Programs, and Requirements, Headquarters Air Combat Command. The Mobilization Assistant agreed with all recommendations, and stated that the Air Combat Command initiated an MQ-9 quantity analysis in August 2014 and that the Air Force Requirements Oversight Council would validate necessary MQ-9 quantities. The comments did not state what actions the Air Combat Command and Air Force Requirements Oversight Council would take to implement the specifics of Recommendations 1.b, 1.c, and 2. Therefore we request additional comments.


(EDITOR’S NOTE: : The US Air Force “says info in this new FOUO IG report on MQ-9 Reaper buys is year old. It's buying 343 Reapers, not 401 as IG says,” Bloomberg News reporter Tony Capaccio tweeted this morning.)

-ends-