A draft report of an audit by the Pentagon's inspector general found Friday that 92 percent of the spare parts sampled at one of the five Air Force supply centers do not meet military specifications.
"The Air Force did not receive the quality parts it paid for," Stephen Trodden, assistant inspector general for auditing, said. He concluded the Pentagon's quality control program "needed improvement."The inspector general's office, headed by June Gibbs Brown, looked specifically at a sample inventory of gun parts, bearings, hand tools, bolts and other fasteners at one facility to determine whether there might be serious quality-control problems at four other Air Force repair centers, located in California, Utah, Texas and Oklahoma.
The 103-page draft report was released by the Project on Military Procurement, a private group that specializes in exposing faults in military weapons purchasing. Pentagon spokesman Bill Caldwell declined to respond, saying the agency does not comment on draft reports.
However, Ken Perotte, a spokesman for the Air Force Logistics Command headquarters for the centers near Dayton, Ohio, said the draft report's findings are misleading. He said an item such as a bolt could be a hundredth of an inch longer than military specifications, but still useable.
He said only three of the 46 items tested were found to be non-serviceable. "So, there's a lot of room for discussion on how well you can project the findings in this report to the entire spare parts inventory."
The report said the Air Force should ask the contractors to repair the defective parts, or refund the purchase price, and show how defects could be prevented in the future.
The report said that of the $112.4 million in parts sampled on a random basis, $103.8 million, or 92 percent, failed to meet Air Force military specifications.
The center studied was the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center near Macon, Ga., which employs about 20,000 people and buys more than $2 billion annually in parts for aircraft guns and sophisticated communications and electronics equipment.