WASHINGTON – A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) showed that the U.S. Air Force has worked to right-size its fleet since 2005, reducing its total size by 7%. The report noted that the Air Force has a zero-growth policy in place that prohibits new vehicle purchases except when a change in the organization’s mission occurs, such as additional aircraft are assigned, a new weapon system is deployed, or new units are assigned to a base, for example.

Some of the right-sizing initiatives include guidance issued in 2007 that limits use of mid-size sedans, large sedans, and sport utility vehicles to four-star officers. Next, in January 2011, the Air Force audited its installations and commands and found that personnel used 379 vehicles 30% less than the agency’s vehicle utilization goals require.

In a major effort in August, 2011, the Air Force identified more than 6,000 underutilized vehicles. Out of those, the Air Force determined that 2,500 were special-purpose vehicles that couldn’t be eliminated. The agency then began removing those underutilized vehicles, which resulted in a one-time savings to the Air Force of about $1.8 million. Since August 2011, the agency has eliminated approximately 739 vehicles and is continuing the process of eliminating vehicles identified in the audit. The eliminated vehicles are a mix of GSA-leased and agency-owned vehicles, according to the GAO report.

The GAO report noted that senior fleet management staff closely monitors requests to add to the fleet and work to determine whether they can transfer existing vehicles to meet mission needs. The Air Force also conducts in-person visits to agency facilities to monitor requests for new vehicles, retain existing vehicles, and to identify and eliminate unnecessary vehicles.