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DoD Updates Report on Annual Cost of Corrosion for Army Ground Vehicles

The DoD Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight has released a revised report on the cost of corrosion for army ground vehicles. The report ushers in phase two of a broad-based, landmark study on the cost of corrosion for all military equipment and infrastructure. The follow-on report looks at corrosion on army ground vehicles using more recent data from 2008-2009.

The Corrosion Prevention and Control Integrated Product Team completed The Annual Cost of Corrosion for Army Ground Vehicles in May of 2009. LMI Government Consulting prepared the recent report, under the aegis of the DoD Corrosion Prevention and Control IPT. Please click on the title above to learn more about the study results. The report is now available to the public.

Cost of Corrosion Highlights—Army Ground Vehicles

We know from earlier studies that the annual cost of corrosion for Department of Defense infrastructure and equipment is between $9 billion and $20 billion. Although the range encompassing this estimate is large, both figures confirm that corrosion costs are substantial. Congress, concerned with the high cost of corrosion and its negative effect on military equipment, facilities, and infrastructure, enacted legislation in December 2002 that endowed the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (USD [AT&L]) with the overall responsibility of preventing and mitigating the effects of corrosion on military equipment and infrastructure.

Under the leadership and sponsorship of the USD (AT&L), LMI measured the cost of corrosion for Army ground vehicles using data from fiscal years 2006 and 2007. Using a method approved by the Corrosion Prevention and Control Integrated Product Team (CPC IPT), we estimate the fiscal year 2007 corrosion cost for Army ground vehicles to be $2.4 billion.

This study is a repeat of a similar study LMI performed in 2005, which employed the same methodology and used fiscal year 2004 as a measurement baseline (see Table 1).

Table 1 - Army Ground Vehicle and Corrosion Cost

This recent study is part of a multi-year plan to provide detailed and current data to the military services concerning their corrosion costs. Previous study results and future studies are outlined in Table 2.

Table 2 - Cost of Corrosion Studies

The method we use to measure cost focuses on tangible direct material and labor costs, as well as indirect costs, like research and development (R&D) and training. The corrosion cost estimation is a combined top-down and bottom-up approach. The top-down portion uses summary-level cost and budget documentation to establish maintenance spending ceilings for depot maintenance and field-level maintenance for both organic and commercial maintenance activity. This establishes a maximum cost of corrosion in each area of maintenance. The bottom-up portion uses detailed work order records to aggregate actual occurrences of corrosion maintenance and activity. This establishes a minimum level of corrosion costs in each maintenance area. Where necessary, we use statistical methods to bridge any significant gaps between the top-down and bottom-up figures to derive a final estimation for the cost of corrosion in each area of maintenance.

Our cost estimation method also segregates costs by their source and nature, using the following three schemas:


Depot—corrosion costs incurred while performing depot maintenance
Field—corrosion costs incurred while performing organizational or intermediate maintenance
Outside normal reporting—corrosion-related costs not identified in traditional maintenance reporting systems


Corrective—costs incurred while addressing an existing corrosion problem
Preventive—costs incurred while addressing a potential future corrosion issue


Structure—direct corrosion costs incurred by the body frame of a system or end item
Parts—direct corrosion costs incurred by a removable part of a system or end item

Army Ground Vehicle Corrosion Costs

We estimate Army costs according to the three schemas for each of 653 different types of Army ground vehicles, which translates to more than 458,000 individual pieces of equipment (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 - Cost of Corrosion for Army Ground Vehicles (Fiscal Year 2007)

The highest corrosion-related costs are incurred during depot maintenance, which is more than 40 percent of the total corrosion cost for Army ground vehicles. Even more informative is the percentage of corrosion-related depot maintenance costs compared to the total depot maintenance costs for ground vehicles—nearly 27 percent—and the percentage of corrosion-related field-level maintenance costs to total field-level maintenance costs for ground vehicles—less than 10 percent. From a percentage-of-maintenance standpoint, corrosion costs incurred as part of ground vehicle depot maintenance are nearly triple those of field-level maintenance.

The high costs identified as being outside normal reporting are driven by the large population of vehicle operators and the corrosion maintenance they perform as operators or maintainers.

Corrosion Cost Focus Areas

The corrosion costs that can be attributed to removable parts only slightly exceed corrosion costs associated with the body frame or structure of Army ground vehicles. The proportion is drastically different when comparing those costs to overall maintenance costs. Costs to repair corrosion-related structure or body frame damage are 32 percent of all body frame–related maintenance costs, which is nearly double the corrosion-related percentage of maintenance costs attributable to removable parts. This is important to note because there are more opportunities to find common preventive and corrective solutions to corrosion that affects the body frame or structure of ground vehicles than there are common solutions for the hundreds of thousands of different removable vehicle parts.

We stratify the corrosion costs of Army ground vehicles by total annual cost and cost per vehicle. Seven Army ground vehicles are among the top 20 for both total corrosion cost and corrosion cost per vehicle, making them candidates for further focus. Those vehicles are listed in Table 3.

Table 3 - Army Ground Vehicles with the Highest Combined Average
Annual Corrosion Cost per Vehicle and Total Corrosion Cost

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