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Air Force Aircraft: Consolidating Fighter Squadrons Could Reduce Costs (Letter Report, 05/06/96, GAO/NSIAD-96-82).

GAO reviewed the cost-effectiveness of the Air Force's reconfiguration
of F-15 and F-16 fighters into smaller squadrons, focusing on the
consequences this might have on the Secretary of Defense's efforts to
reduce defense infrastructure costs.

GAO found that: (1) while smaller 18-aircraft squadrons provide more
deployment flexibility than 24-aircraft squadrons, the larger
configuration provides enough deployment flexibility to meet the Air
Force's needs; (2) the ability of squadron commanders to manage the
personnel and tasks of 24-aircraft squadrons has not proved to be a
problem; (3) the Air Force's decision to reduce squadron size from 24 to
18 aircraft was not based on organized analysis or documented studies;
(4) using 24-aircraft squadrons instead of 18-aircraft squadrons could
reduce costs; (5) by consolidating some existing F-15 and F-16 squadrons
with other squadrons to better maximize base utilization, the Air Force
could cost-effectively increase the number of 24-aircraft squadrons; (6)
all 18-aircraft squadrons could return to their original size of 24
aircraft with little or no effort and expense; (7) if the Air Force
consolidates its squadrons, it should keep aircraft with the similar
modernization, mission characteristics, and engine types together; and
(8) at least 4 alternatives exist to consolidate the Air Force's
squadrons that could save between $25 and $115 million annually.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

 REPORTNUM:  NSIAD-96-82
     TITLE:  Air Force Aircraft: Consolidating Fighter Squadrons Could 
             Reduce Costs
      DATE:  05/06/96
   SUBJECT:  Fighter aircraft
             Military aviation
             Military cost control
             Combat readiness
             Base realignments
             Defense capabilities
             Cost effectiveness analysis
             Defense contingency planning
             Air warfare
             Tactical air forces
IDENTIFIER:  F-15C Aircraft
             F-15D Aircraft
             F-16C/D Aircraft
             Eagle Aircraft
             Falcon Aircraft
             DOD Bottom-Up Review
             
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Cover
================================================================ COVER


Report to Congressional Committees

May 1996

AIR FORCE AIRCRAFT - CONSOLIDATING
FIGHTER SQUADRONS COULD REDUCE
COSTS

GAO/NSIAD-96-82

Air Force Aircraft

(701046)


Abbreviations
=============================================================== ABBREV

  ACC - Air Combat Command
  AFB - Air Force Base
  BRAC - base realignment and closure
  CINC - Commander in Chief
  CONUS - continental United States
  DOD - Department of Defense
  LCOM - Logistics Composite Model
  SABLE - Systematic Approach to Better Long Range Estimating

Letter
=============================================================== LETTER


B-271047

May 6, 1996

The Honorable John R.  Kasich
Chairman, Committee on the Budget
House of Representatives

The Honorable Herbert H.  Bateman
Chairman
The Honorable Norman Sisisky
Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on Military Readiness
Committee on National Security
House of Representatives

In 1992, the Air Force decided to reconfigure its fighter force into
smaller squadrons.  This decision occurred at a time when the
Secretary of Defense was attempting to reduce defense operating and
infrastructure costs.  We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of the Air
Force operating its fighter forces in smaller squadron sizes and the
implications this might have on the Secretary of Defense's efforts to
reduce defense infrastructure costs.  We focused on the C and D
models of the Air Force's active component F-15s and F-16s.  Because
of your interest in this subject, we are addressing this report to
you. 


   BACKGROUND
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :1

To achieve directed force structure reductions, the Air Force has
been reducing the number of F-15 and F-16 aircraft in its inventory. 
Between fiscal years 1991 and 1997, the Air Force plans to reduce its
F-15 aircraft from 342 to 252.  Over this same period, the Air Force
plans to reduce its F-16 aircraft from 570 to 444.  In 1991, F-15 and
F-16 aircraft were configured in 42 squadrons.  By fiscal year 1997,
these aircraft will be configured in 37 squadrons. 

Until 1992, the Air Force predominantly organized its active fighter
aircraft in wings of three squadrons, with 24 combat aircraft in each
squadron.  However, in 1992, the Air Force Chief of Staff directed
that the squadrons be reduced to 18 aircraft.  By 1997, most fighter
squadrons will have been reduced to this smaller size, leaving only
54 aircraft in most wings. 

The Secretary of Defense has encouraged the services to consolidate
forces wherever possible to reduce infrastructure and operating
costs.\1 However, the Air Force acknowledged in 1995 that while the
force structure has been reduced by 30 percent, the supporting
infrastructure has been reduced by only about 15 percent. 


--------------------
\1 "Operating costs" refer to elements contained in the operation and
maintenance, military personnel, and other procurement categories of
Defense appropriations for example, wing and squadron personnel
costs.  "Infrastructure costs" are for Defense activities such as,
intelligence, strategic defense, and applied research and development
for example, base police and hospital costs. 


   RESULTS IN BRIEF
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :2

The organizational structure of the Air Force's fighter force is not
cost-effective.  By operating F-15s and F-16s in smaller squadrons,
the Air Force increases the number of squadrons above the number that
would have been used in the traditional 24-aircraft configuration. 
The result is increased operating costs and slowed progress in
reducing infrastructure costs.  Although the Air Force considers
smaller fighter squadrons beneficial, it has not undertaken any
studies to justify its decision.  The Air Force's arguments for using
smaller squadrons do not justify the additional costs. 

We evaluated a range of options for consolidating squadrons that
could reduce operating costs by as much as $115 million annually or
by more than $745 million over the Defense planning period of fiscal
years 1997-2002.  In addition, consolidating squadrons could result
in base closures, reducing infrastructure costs by about $50 million
yearly per base closing. 


   BENEFITS OF SMALLER FIGHTER
   SQUADRONS NOT COMPELLING
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :3

The Air Force cited increased deployment flexibility and reduced span
of control as the primary benefits for having smaller fighter
squadrons.  However, the Air Force has not demonstrated that these
benefits are compelling.  Moreover, the Air Force has neither
documented instances of problems with deployment flexibility and span
of control nor conducted studies that support its decision to use
smaller squadrons. 


      DEPLOYMENT FLEXIBILITY
      EXISTS WITHOUT REDUCING THE
      SIZE OF SQUADRONS
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.1

Air Force officials said that the primary benefit of using
smaller-sized squadrons is increased operational deployment
flexibility.  With fewer fighters in the Air Force inventory,
reducing squadrons to 18 aircraft increases the number of squadrons
above the number there would have been had the aircraft been
organized in traditional squadrons of 24 aircraft.  Air Force
officials stated that these additional squadrons are needed to
respond to conflicts that reflect the new security environment.  This
new security environment is characterized by multiple contingency
operations and the possibility of two nearly simultaneous military
regional conflicts. 

On the basis of our analysis of Air Force fighter assistance in
recent contingency operations, it appears that the Air Force would
have considerable deployment flexibility even if the aircraft
remained in the former 24-aircraft configuration.  We examined the
three contingency operations that were ongoing during June 1995 that
required Air Force F-15 and F-16 assistance.  For two operations, the
Commander in Chief (CINC) for each theater operation required less
than one squadron's aircraft for each operation.  For these
operations, the Air Force rotated 18 squadrons of F-15s and F-16s (7
active and 11 reserve) to provide year-long coverage to support these
contingency operations.  We were told that for the third operation,
the CINC's requirement, which equated to one 18-aircraft squadron
each of F-15s and F-16s, was met by rotating 6 F-15 and 6 F-16
continental United States (CONUS) based 18-aircraft fighter
squadrons.  We were advised that this number of squadrons was used
because Air Combat Command (ACC) desired, for quality-of-life
reasons, to maintain an 18-month interval between rotations for each
squadron's 3- to 4-month deployment overseas.  However, using ACC's
stated goal of
8 to 9 months between overseas deployments, the CINC's requirements
for this latter operation could have been met with only three to four
fighter squadrons.  If the Air Force deployed squadrons in accordance
with ACC's stated goal, a larger number of squadrons would not be
needed, particularly since reserve squadrons are available to augment
the active force.\2

We also question whether DOD's current military strategy requires the
larger number of squadrons afforded by the 18-aircraft squadron
design.  The Bottom-Up Review specified that 10 fighter wing
equivalents
(72 aircraft each) would be needed for each of two anticipated major
regional conflicts.  The term "fighter wing equivalent," however,
underscores that fighter requirements are not stated in terms of
squadrons but rather in terms of the number of aircraft. 

The Secretary of Defense's fiscal year 1996-2001 Defense Planning
Guidance states Air Force requirements in terms of total aircraft,
not squadrons.  Further, Air Force officials at ACC and the 9th Air
Force headquarters (the U.S.  Central Command's air staff) said that
requirements for CINC missions are computed by the number of aircraft
needed to successfully execute the mission, not by the number of
squadrons.  Moreover, officials at the 9th Air Force headquarters
stated that the primary use of squadron organizations in a regional
conflict operation is to manage the daily flight shifts and that
squadron structures become almost invisible because all aircraft are
controlled by the theater's air component commander.  Thus, from the
CINC's perspective, the number of squadrons in which aircraft are
organized is largely immaterial. 


--------------------
\2 According to Air Force officials, because reserve component
squadrons rotate for shorter durations, about three reserve squadrons
are used for a 3-to-4 month deployment while only one active squadron
is needed for the same period. 


      SPAN OF CONTROL HAS NOT BEEN
      AN ISSUE
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.2

Air Force officials told us that another benefit of smaller squadrons
was "span of control"--the ability to manage personnel and the
collective tasks for which they are responsible.  Until recently,
flight line maintenance and associated personnel were controlled by
the wing.  When this function was shifted to the squadron in 1991-92,
a typical 24-aircraft squadron would have increased from about 85 to
over 300 people.\3 This fourfold growth, according to Air Force
officials, would have weakened the commander's ability to effectively
manage people and missions.  These officials believed that the
reduced number of squadron aircraft helps to offset this effect
because a smaller squadron reduces the number of squadron personnel. 
However, we found that reducing the squadron to 18 aircraft only
reduced personnel by about 10 percent (about 30 people). 

The Air Force's standard for span of control for maintenance
squadrons commanders is 700 people, about twice the number of
personnel being supervised by flight squadron commanders.  Although
span of control may have been a perceived problem early in the Air
Force's wing reorganization, ACC officials are not aware of any
instance where it has been raised as an issue.  Discussions with a
number of wing and squadron officials also indicated that the
squadron commander's span of control had not increased enough to be a
problem. 


--------------------
\3 The decentralization of flight line aircraft maintenance from the
wing to the squadron was part of an Air Force reorganization called
"Objective Wing." This change gave the squadron commander
responsibility for managing some maintenance assets for the first
time. 


      DECISION TO REDUCE SQUADRONS
      WAS NOT BASED ON ANALYSIS
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.3

The Air Force's reduction in squadron size was neither evaluated in a
systematic manner, nor supported by documented studies.  For example,
no assessment of benefits versus drawbacks of the appropriate
squadron size was conducted, and there were no studies to support
scenarios where more squadrons would be needed.  Some Air Force
officials said that the basic rationale for moving to smaller
squadrons was to minimize the reduction in wing and squadron commands
as the number of aircraft in the force declined.  We were told that
the Air Force considered it inappropriate to identify command
reductions during a period when the base realignment and closure
(BRAC) process was ongoing because it would constitute an action that
would prevent the BRAC process from proceeding as designed. 
According to Air Force officials, identifying changes that
significantly reduce base facilities was against Air Force policy and
the laws governing the BRAC proceedings.  Although it is true that
Department of Defense (DOD) entities were constrained from reducing
force structure and closing bases beyond specified limits outside the
BRAC process, the Air Force was not precluded from making
recommendations on these matters during the BRAC process.  In our
view, such identifications would have facilitated the development of
recommendations for base closures. 


   CONSOLIDATING FIGHTER SQUADRONS
   COULD REDUCE COSTS
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :4

Organizing the fighter force into 24-aircraft squadrons reduces the
total number of squadrons and results in more economical operations
than squadrons of 18 aircraft.  For example, annual operating costs
for 72 F-15s are about $12 million less if they are organized into
squadrons of
24 aircraft instead of squadrons of 18. 

We calculated the savings from staffing standards and cost estimates
provided by Air Force officials, using an Air Force's cost estimation
model (a more detailed description of our methodology is in app. 
III).  The annual savings are primarily due to reduced military
personnel requirements, in such areas as command, staff,
administrative, and maintenance.  The salary costs associated with
reduced military personnel requirements account for about 70 percent
of the total savings, of which over 90 percent is enlisted pay. 
Also, larger squadrons allow maintenance specialty shops to be used
more efficiently, requiring little or no change in staffing.  Other
savings occur due to reduced training, medical services, supplies,
and base operating support. 


   FEASIBLE ALTERNATIVES EXIST FOR
   INCREASING SQUADRON SIZE
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :5

The Air Force could modify its current configuration of fighter
aircraft in a more cost-effective manner to increase the number of
squadrons with
24 aircraft.  This modification would entail consolidating some
existing F-15 and F-16 squadrons with other squadrons to better
maximize base utilization.  Our four illustrative options (which are
presented in detail in app.  I) would have annual savings ranging
from $25 million to $115 million annually. 


      SQUADRON SIZE COULD BE
      EXPANDED WITHOUT MAJOR
      INVESTMENTS
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :5.1

ACC officials we contacted stated that bases that previously had 24
aircraft per squadron and 72 aircraft per wing should be able to
return to that level.  Our review of Air Force base closure capacity
analysis data indicated that most fighter wings on CONUS bases could
increase squadron size to previous levels with little or no
additional cost.  For example, a capacity analysis prepared by Moody
Air Force Base (AFB) officials stated that Moody will retain the
capacity to support 2 additional fighter squadrons and increase 2 of
its 18 sized F-16 fighter squadrons to 24 aircraft. 

Similarly, wing personnel at Shaw AFB and Langley AFB indicated that
their installations could absorb 6 more aircraft per squadron or 18
per wing with no additional costs.  These officials stated that
because their bases previously had 24 aircraft per squadron and
facilities were sized for
24 aircraft, returning to 24 would be little to no problem. 
Moreover, maintenance personnel stated that much of the support
equipment could handle six additional aircraft with little additional
investment.  Deployment personnel at the 20th fighter wing at Shaw
AFB stated that the supporting equipment for 24 aircraft would take
the same number of transport planes to move as a squadron of 18
aircraft. 


      FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED
      WHEN CONSOLIDATING
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :5.2

Air Force officials at different levels of command cited several
factors that should be considered when consolidating aircraft into
fewer squadrons and wings.  These factors include keeping aircraft
with the same state of modernization and mission characteristics
together.  In addition, they stated that aircraft engines should be
compatible at least in the squadron and preferably throughout the
wing.  Other factors officials said should be considered include the
availability of training areas, impact on the CONUS/overseas mix, and
the capacity of the receiving base to accept the additional aircraft
and related personnel and equipment. 

Air Force officials noted that different modernization upgrades and
specialized mission equipment can make the F-16 aircraft very
different.  For instance, newer F-16s have improved avionics that
require different logistical support than earlier versions of the
F-16.  In addition, some aircraft have specialized equipment, such as
the equipment needed to perform the night ground attack mission.  Air
Force officials stated that specialized training is required for
pilots to perform this mission and believe mixing aircraft that have
this capability with aircraft that do not will reduce unit readiness. 

Air Force officials also stated that having either F-15 and F-16
aircraft with different engines in the same wing complicates
maintenance.  For instance, different engines either from the same or
different manufacturer can generate unique maintenance requirements. 
Because different support equipment and maintenance skills may be
needed for various engines, maintaining different types of engines at
the same wing can strain maintenance resources and ultimately reduce
the availability of deployable aircraft. 

Additionally, Air Force officials said that any restructuring that
affects aircraft outside the United States must consider agreements
with foreign governments that govern the number of aircraft based in
these countries.  In general, the number of aircraft should not
change materially. 


      ALTERNATIVES EXIST FOR
      REORGANIZING FIGHTER FORCE
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :5.3

Considering the factors that Air Force officials believe are most
important when consolidating forces we developed four alternatives
for reorganizing the F-15 and F-16 fighter force.  Our alternatives
generally did not commingle aircraft with different type engines and
modernization and mission characteristics.  We also kept relatively
constant the U.S./overseas basing mix and the number of aircraft in
each theater, and we varied the number of aircraft in the Air Force's
composite wings.  These options ranged from restructuring only
fighter aircraft in the United States to restructuring all F-15s and
F-16s worldwide. 

The "CONUS Only" alternative we developed is projected to save the
Air Force about $25 million annually in operating costs.  This would
be achieved by increasing 6 existing fighter squadrons to 24 aircraft
and eliminating 2 squadrons.  The alternative of consolidating
fighter squadrons worldwide would consolidate the F-15 and F-16
aircraft into 7 fewer squadrons than the Air Force currently plans
and increase 17 squadrons to 24 aircraft and 2 squadrons to 30
aircraft.  This alternative could save the Air Force a projected $115
million annually.  Our other two alternatives would fall between
these savings. 

Consolidating aircraft at fewer bases would also help the Air Force
identify excess base infrastructure and candidate bases for closure. 
For example, three of the four alternatives would eliminate all
fighter aircraft from at least one base, suggesting the potential of
a base closure.  If a base closure could be executed with savings
similar to what DOD estimated for similar bases during the 1995 BRAC
process, annual savings would average about $15 million for the first
6 years and about $50 million in each ensuing year.\4

Air Force officials at headquarters and ACC expressed concerns about
the implementation of our alternatives without the support of DOD and
Congress.  They stated that efforts in the past to move aircraft from
a base without an equal substitution for the losing base have not
been achievable.  In their opinion, if the Air Force leadership
decided to implement options to increase squadron and wing size back
to 24 and 72, respectively, the Air Force would need the support of
both DOD and Congress. 


--------------------
\4 Savings represent DOD's estimate for fighter bases screened for
closure but not recommended by DOD during the 1995 BRAC process.  See
Military Bases:  Analysis of DOD's Process and Recommendations for
Closure and Realignment (GAO/NSIAD-95-133, Apr.14, 1995). 


   RECOMMENDATION
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :6

We recommend that the Secretary of Defense, in his efforts to reduce
the DOD's infrastructure costs, require the Secretary of the Air
Force to develop an implementation plan to operate the Air Force's
fighter force in larger, more cost-effective squadrons.  If the
Secretary of Defense believes that the plan could reduce costs, he
should seek congressional support for it. 


   AGENCY COMMENTS
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :7

DOD concurred with our findings and recommendation.  DOD's comments
are reproduced in appendix II.  A detailed explanation of our scope
and methodology appears in appendix III. 

We conducted this review from February 1995 to February 1996 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 


---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :7.1

We are sending copies of this report to the Secretaries of Defense
and Air Force and interested congressional committees.  We will also
make copies available to others upon request. 

Please contact me at (202) 512-3504 if you or your staff have any
questions about this report.  Major contributors to this report are
listed in appendix IV. 

Richard Davis
Director, National Security Analysis


CONSOLIDATION ALTERNATIVES
=========================================================== Appendix I

We developed and refined four alternatives that demonstrate that the
Air Force could organize its fighter aircraft more cost- effectively. 
Underpinning our analysis were principles that the Air Force cited as
important.  These factors included keeping the continental United
States (CONUS)/overseas basing mix relatively constant; avoiding
mixing aircraft with different modernization upgrades (blocks),
mission characteristics, and engines; balancing capability throughout
theaters; and assessing receiving base capacity.  While these
principles are plausible, our options vary the extent that these
principles were used to gain greater economies.  Moreover, the Air
Force has not rigidly adhered to these principles.  For example,
different engines are contained in the F-15 wing at Eglin Air Force
Base.  The Air Force also plans to mix F-16s with different blocks. 

The following tables compare the Air Forces's planned fiscal year
1997 mix of 18- and 24-aircraft squadrons at each base with the mix
of squadrons that would be achieved with each of our four
alternatives.\1 Preceding each table, we described the specific
factors we considered in developing each alternative. 


--------------------
\1 Our analysis was based on the Air Force's fiscal year 1997 planned
structure as of September 1995.  Subsequent to completion of our
analysis, the Air Force revised its 1997 basing plan.  This change
would not affect the feasibility of our alternatives or the magnitude
of our cost savings. 


   ALTERNATIVE ONE
--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:1

This alternative consolidates squadrons that are located in CONUS
only.  Under this alternative, fighter aircraft would remain at the
same number of bases as the Air Force currently plans.  The number of
aircraft of one composite wing would be changed.  Bases would be
restricted to having the same aircraft that were in the Air Force's
plan.  This alternative would result in annual operating costs
savings of $25 million.  Table I.1 compares the Air Force's planned
basing with alternative one. 



                                               Table I.1
                                
                                Comparison of Air Force's Planned Basing
                                          With Alternative One



                                                                                       Air
Ba                                                                                   Force  Alternativ
se    F-15    F-16    F-15    F-16    F-15    F-16    F-15    F-16    F-15    F-16    plan       e one
--  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ----------
1        0       3       0       0       0       2       0       0       0      -1      54          36
2        0       2       0       1       0       0       0       3       0       0      60          72
3        0       2       0       0       0       0       0       1       0      -1      36          24
4        1       1       0       0       1       1       0       0       0       0      36          36
5        0       1       0       0       0       1       0       0       0       0      18          18
6        0       2       0       1       0       3       0       1       0       1      60          78
7        3       0       0       0       0       0       3       0       0       0      54          72
8        3       0       0       0       2       0       0       0      -1       0      54          36
======================================================================================================
To       7      11       0       2       3       7       3       5      -1      -1     372         372
 t
 a
 l
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   ALTERNATIVE TWO
--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:2

This alternative consolidates squadrons and uses one fewer base than
currently planned by the Air Force.  In order to execute this
alternative, fewer than one squadron from CONUS would have to be
shifted outside of CONUS.  Two different aircraft blocks would be
mixed, which is comparable to the Air Force's plan.  The number of
aircraft at two composite wings would be changed.  Also, aircraft
other than F-15s and F-16s would have to be relocated to fully
execute this alternative.  This alternative would result in annual
operating costs savings of $59 million.  Table I.2 compares the Air
Force's planned basing with alternative two. 



                                               Table I.2
                                
                                Comparison of Air Force's Planned Basing
                                      With Basing Alternative Two



                                                                                       Air
Ba                                                                                   Force  Alternativ
se    F-15    F-16    F-15    F-16    F-15    F-16    F-15    F-16    F-15    F-16    plan       e two
--  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ----------
1        0       3       0       0       0       0       0       0       0      -3      54           0
2        0       2       0       1       0       0       0       3       0       0      60          72
3        0       2       0       0       0       1       0       1       0       0      36          42
4        1       1       0       0       1       1       0       0       0       0      36          36
5        0       1       0       0       0       0       0       0       0      -1      18           0
6        0       2       0       1       0       2       0       3       0      +2      60         108
7        3       0       0       0       0       0       3       0       0       0      54          72
8        3       0       0       0       2       0       0       0      -1       0      54          36
======================================================================================================
Su       7      11       0       2       3       4       3       7      -1      -2     372         366
 b
 t
 o
 t
 a
 l
9        0       1       0       0       0       1       0       0       0       0      18          18
10       2       0       0       0       2       0       0       0       0       0      36          36
11       0       2       0       0       0       1       0       1       0       0      36          42
12       3       0       0       0       0       0       2       0      -1       0      54          48
13       0       0       0       1       0       0       0       1       0       0      24          24
14       0       0       0       2       0       0       0       2       0       0      48          48
15       1       0       0       0       0       0       1       0       0       0      18          24
16       1       2       0       0       1       2       0       0       0       0      54          54
17       0       2       0       0       0       2       0       0       0       0      36          36
======================================================================================================
Su       7       7       0       3       3       6       3       4      -1       0     324         330
 b
 t
 o
 t
 a
 l
======================================================================================================
To      14      18       0       5       6      10       6      11      -2      -2     696         696
 t
 a
 l
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note:  U.S.  bases are 1-8; non-U.S.  bases are 9-17. 


   ALTERNATIVE THREE
--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:3

This alternative consolidates fighters at one fewer base than
currently planned by the Air Force.  The number of aircraft in three
composite wings would be changed.  One squadron at base 4 would have
30 aircraft.  One squadron substitution between the Air Force's
active and reserve components would be necessary.  Some aircraft
would be exchanged between theaters.  Two different aircraft blocks
were mixed at one wing, which is comparable to the Air Force's plan. 
This alternative would result in annual operating costs savings of
$101 million.  Table I.3 compares the Air Force's planned basing with
alternative three. 



                                               Table I.3
                                
                                Comparison of Air Force's Planned Basing
                                         With Alternative Three



                                                                                       Air
Ba                                                                                   Force  Alternativ
se    F-15    F-16    F-15    F-16    F-15    F-16    F-15    F-16    F-15    F-16    plan     e three
--  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ----------
1        0       3       0       0       0       0       0       0       0      -3      54           0
2        0       2       0       1       0       0       0       3       0       0      60          72
3        0       2       0       0       0       1       0       1       0       0      36          42
4        1       1       0       0       0       0       1       1       0       0      36          54
5        0       1       0       0       0       0       0       1       0       0      18          24
6        0       2       0       1       0       1       0       2       0       0      60          66
7        3       0       0       0       0       0       3       0       0       0      54          72
8        3       0       0       0       0       0       2       0      -1       0      54          48
======================================================================================================
Su       7      11       0       2       0       2       6       8      -1      -3     372         378
 b
 t
 o
 t
 a
 l
9        0       1       0       0       0       1       0       0       0       0      18          18
10       2       0       0       0       2       0       0       0       0       0      36          36
11       0       2       0       0       0       0       0       2       0       0      36          48
12       3       0       0       0       0       0       2       0      -1       0      54          48
13       0       0       0       1       0       0       0       1       0       0      24          24
14       0       0       0       2       0       0       0       2       0       0      48          48
15       1       0       0       0       0       0       1       0       0       0      18          24
16       1       2       0       0       0       2       0       0      -1       0      54          36
17       0       2       0       0       0       2       0       0       0       0      36          36
======================================================================================================
Su       7       7       0       3       2       5       3       5      -2       0     324         318
 b
 t
 o
 t
 a
 l
======================================================================================================
To      14      18       0       5       2       7       9      13      -3      -3     696         696
 t
 a
 l
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note:  U.S.  bases are 1-8; non-U.S.  bases are 9-17. 


   ALTERNATIVE FOUR
--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:4

This alternative consolidates fighters at one fewer base than
currently planned by the Air Force.  The number of aircraft at two
composite wings would be changed.  One squadron at base 4 and one
squadron at base 6 would have 30 aircraft each.  One squadron
substitution would be required between the Air Force's active and
reserve components.  Also aircraft would be exchanged between
theaters.  Two different aircraft blocks were mixed at one wing,
which is comparable to the Air Force's plan.  This alternative would
result in annual costs savings of $115 million.  Table I.4 compares
the Air Force's planned basing with alternative four. 



                                               Table I.4
                                
                                Comparison of Air Force's Planned Basing
                                         With Alternative Four



                                                                                       Air
Ba                                                                                   Force  Alternativ
se    F-15    F-16    F-15    F-16    F-15    F-16    F-15    F-16    F-15    F-16    plan      e four
--  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ----------
1        0       3       0       0       0       0       0       0       0      -3      54           0
2        0       2       0       1       0       0       0       3       0       0      60          72
3        0       2       0       0       0       0       0       1       0      -1      36          24
4        1       1       0       0       0       0       1       1       0       0      36          54
5        0       1       0       0       0       1       0       0       0       0      18          18
6        0       2       0       1       0       0       0       3       0       0      60          78
7        3       0       0       0       0       0       3       0       0       0      54          72
8        3       0       0       0       0       0       2       0      -1       0      54          48
======================================================================================================
Su       7      11       0       2       0       1       6       8      -1      -4     372         366
 b
 t
 o
 t
 a
 l
9        0       1       0       0       0       1       0       0       0       0      18          18
10       2       0       0       0       1       0       1       0       0       0      36          42
11       0       2       0       0       0       0       0       2       0       0      36          48
12       3       0       0       0       0       0       2       0      -1       0      54          48
13       0       0       0       1       0       0       0       1       0       0      24          24
14       0       0       0       2       0       0       0       2       0       0      48          48
15       1       0       0       0       1       0       0       0       0       0      18          18
16       1       2       0       0       0       0       0       2      -1       0      54          48
17       0       2       0       0       0       2       0       0       0       0      36          36
======================================================================================================
Su       7       7       0       3       2       3       3       7      -2       0     324         330
 b
 t
 o
 t
 a
 l
======================================================================================================
To      14      18       0       5       2       4       9      15      -3      -4     696         696
 t
 a
 l
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note:  U.S.  bases are 1-8; non-U.S.  bases are 9-17. 




(See figure in printed edition.)Appendix II
COMMENTS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF
DEFENSE
=========================================================== Appendix I



(See figure in printed edition.)


OBJECTIVES, SCOPE, AND METHODOLOGY
========================================================= Appendix III

The objective of this review was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness
of operating the fighter forces in smaller squadron sizes and the
implications this might have on the Secretary of Defense's efforts to
reduce defense infrastructure.  Our review focused on the Air Force's
active component fighter aircraft with a primary focus on the C and D
model of F-15s and F-16s. 

To evaluate the benefits resulting from reduced squadron sizes, we
interviewed officials in various Air Force Headquarters offices such
as the Force Programming Division; the Combat Forces Division of the
Directorate of Forces; the Combat Forces of the Directorate of
Programs and Evaluation; and the Air Operations Group.  We also
interviewed Air Combat Command (ACC) officials, including officials
from various staff functions, the 33rd Fighter Wing, 1st Fighter
Wing, and the 20th Fighter Wing.  Additionally, we interviewed
officials from the U.S.  Central Command Air Forces Headquarters.  We
examined a variety of Air Force documents, including peace-keeping
and Gulf War deployment records, staffing requirements and historical
levels, and various studies and analyses.  We also reviewed the
Secretary of Defense's Defense Planning Guidance and Joint Strategic
Capabilities Plan and the Air Force's War Implementation and
Mobilization Plan. 


   ESTIMATING COST IMPLICATIONS
------------------------------------------------------- Appendix III:1

To calculate the cost implications of operating smaller squadrons, we
obtained estimated annual operating costs for F-15 and F-16 fighters
from Air Force headquarters cost-modeling officials.  Separate
estimates were provided for squadrons of 18 and 24 aircraft in the
U.S., Pacific, and European theaters.  These are based on staffing
estimates that we developed using planning factors provided by the
Air Force.  The planning factors included the number of officer and
enlisted personnel in squadron overhead, flight crew, and maintenance
positions for independent and dependent squadrons.\1

To provide this data, the Air Force used its Systematic Approach to
Better Long Range Estimating (SABLE) model, an automated model that
uses various cost and planning factors to estimate the peacetime
operating and support costs of flying units.  Operating costs include
cost elements in the operation and maintenance, military personnel,
and other procurement appropriations.  Within these appropriations,
the major cost categories include military and civilian pay, aviation
fuel, depot level repairables, and consumable supplies.  These costs
are estimated for each type and model of aircraft within each major
command. 

The SABLE model only addresses variable costs but not any fixed
costs.  Similarly, it captures direct costs but few indirect costs
such as the costs of maintaining the base and runway.  The SABLE
produces general cost estimates to evaluate force structure options. 
The estimated savings do not include any military construction, base
closure, or other costs that may be associated with transferring
aircraft from one specific location to another. 

Since 70 percent of the estimated cost savings resulted from reduced
military personnel, our reliability assessment consisted of an
analysis of the reasonableness of the military personnel planning
factors provided by the Air Force.  In conducting this assessment, we
interviewed ACC manpower officials who developed the personnel
factors that were used for the squadron located at U.S.  bases. 
Since maintenance positions accounted for over 80 percent of the
military personnel savings, we also reviewed the Logistics Composite
Model (LCOM) that ACC officials used in developing their maintenance
personnel factors.  We also interviewed fighter wing and squadron
command and maintenance officials at Langley, Eglin, and Shaw Air
Force Bases and toured wing and squadron maintenance and flight line
areas.  We also reviewed historical staffing data that covered the
period when the wings at these two bases previously had squadrons of
24 aircraft. 


--------------------
\1 Independent squadrons have the personnel and equipment needed to
perform maintenance at the organizational and intermediate levels,
whereas dependent squadrons have only organizational level
maintenance capability.  "Intermediate" and "organizational" are the
two levels of maintenance below the depot level. 


   DEVELOPING ALTERNATIVES
------------------------------------------------------- Appendix III:2

To develop and evaluate alternatives for consolidating active F-15
and F-16 squadrons, we analyzed force structure organization at all
bases that had combat F-15 and F-16 squadrons from 1991 to present,
as well as the Air Force's plans through 2001.  We also reviewed and
analyzed the base capacity assessment completed by each fighter base
as part of the 1995 base realignment and closure (BRAC) process. 
Additionally, we met with various officials from Air Force
Headquarters and ACC to identify and understand factors that would
constrain the consolidation of these fighter aircraft.  We also
discussed squadron consolidation and constraining factors with
fighter wing officials such as the wing commander, squadron
commanders, maintenance officers, and facility and air space
managers. 

The baseline for our alternatives was the Air Force's planned fighter
force structure for fiscal year 1997.  Our alternatives ranged from
restructuring only fighter aircraft in the United States to including
all F-15 and F-16s worldwide.  These options were discussed in open
critiques with Air Force officials from both Air Force Headquarters
and ACC.  Our alternatives did not attempt to address political or
international policies impacting basing decisions. 


MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS REPORT
========================================================== Appendix IV

NATIONAL SECURITY AND
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS DIVISION,
WASHINGTON, D.C. 

Fred Dziadek, Assistant Director
Rodell B.  Anderson, Senior Evaluator
Craig A.  Hall, Senior Evaluator

NORFOLK FIELD OFFICE

Fred Harrison, Evaluator-in-Charge
Dan Omahen, Senior Evaluator


*** End of document. ***