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Air Force cancels failed $1B logistics system

Nov. 8, 2012 - 06:39PM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 8, 2012 - 06:39PM  |  
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After a $1 billion investment that produced "negligible" value, the Air Force is formally scrapping a next-generation logistics management system, officials announced Thursday.

The Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS) program is "no longer a viable option" for meeting a fiscal 2017 deadline for having auditable books, Air Force spokesman Ed Gulick said in a statement. "Therefore, we are canceling the program and moving forward with other options." The cancellation will cost up to 115 contract employees their jobs and require the "realignment" of 55 military personnel and government civilian employees, he said.

The ECSS program, underway since 2005, was supposed to save the Air Force billions of dollars by streamlining supply chain management and providing an integrated approach for buying, moving and managing equipment. But the service fired the lead contractor, Computer Sciences Corp., in March. The next month, Air Force Controller Jamie Morin told a Senate subcommittee that he was "personally appalled" by how little the Air Force had gotten for its investment. In an interview afterward, Morin described the system's capability as "negligible."

Air Force managers repeatedly pushed back the due date for a new restructuring plan and it became apparent that the service "will be better served by developing an entirely new system versus revamping the ECSS system of record again," Gulick said. Continuing the program would have cost an estimated $1.1 billion for about one-quarter of the original scope, with fielding delayed until 2020, he said.

Instead, the Air Force will have to rely on its "existing and modified logistics systems" to meet the 2017 audibility goal, he added.

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