U.S. Department of Defense

[Military photos]

Following the 2002 FHWA study, “Corrosion Costs and Preventive Strategies in the United States,” the U.S. DoD has been in the process of developing and implementing a comprehensive corrosion management program. The 2002 study estimated the cost of corrosion to DoD at approximately US$20 billion and this value has been validated through DoD’s cost of corrosion analyses. The question asked was: with a bureaucracy the size of DoD, what can be done? As with any new, groundbreaking initiative, it is important to have top-down support; the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics was a supporter from the start. This program is integrated into the DoD’s management systems ranging from setting policy to calculating the cost of corrosion of projects, assets, and components. The program is run by the Corrosion Policy and Oversight (CPO) Office and includes all critical components of a CMS.

The DoD mirrors other industries by having vehicles, airplanes, plants, and physical infrastructure. This section of the report discusses DoD’s corrosion management practices and its corrosion cost assessment model.


The U.S. DoD submitted the first version of its long-term corrosion strategy to Congress in December 2003. The DoD developed this long-term strategy in response to direction in the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2003 to 2013. In November 2004, the DoD revised its long-term corrosion strategy and issued the DoD Corrosion Prevention and Mitigation Strategic Plan. The purpose of this strategic plan was to articulate policies, strategies, objectives, and plans that will ensure an effective, standardized, affordable DoD-wide approach to prevent, detect, and treat corrosion and its effects on military equipment and infrastructure. The DoD strives to update its strategic plan periodically.

Specific objectives of this strategic plan included the following:

  • Establishment of a fully functioning DoD CPO organization reporting directly to the Undersecretary of Defense (Acquisition).
  • Initiation and communication of the DoD corrosion policy.
  • Formation of multiple-service Corrosion Prevention and Control Integrated Product Teams (CPCIPTs).
  • Institutionalization of corrosion prevention and mitigation as a key component of the DoD’s transformation process through the planning, programming, budgeting, and execution process.
  • Development of a project plan template that will be completed for each new DoD corrosion-related project. (Key elements include technology, schedule, budget, benefits, ROI, operational readiness, and management support.)
  • Creation of a DoD corrosion web site that enables the near-real-time exchange of corrosion related information and collaboration on corrosion projects, products, specifications, training, and prototype testing.
  • Establishment of communication links with various private-sector corrosion activities (such as NACE International) in order to strengthen data-sharing.
  • Development of a corrosion project “road map” that identifies specific projects that, if funded, would prevent or mitigate corrosion based upon mission requirements.

Within the DoD, corrosion has been recognized to have three major negative impacts – financial cost, asset/equipment availability, and safety. For example, corrosion has been found to have the following negative impacts on military aircraft:

  • Corrosion affects financial cost mainly in terms of labor hours for maintenance and materials needed to mitigate corrosion.
  • Corrosion can cause aircraft to be deemed unavailable to perform their mission or to have a degraded capability. DoD uses the term “readiness” to measure weapon system nonavailability and/or degraded capability.
  • Corrosion has also been the cause of aircraft failures in flight that have resulted in injury and death.

DoD Corrosion Management Structure

In order to manage corrosion across the services and meet the objectives of the 2003 Corrosion Strategic Plan, the DoD adopted the Integrated Product and Process Development (IPPD) approach. The IPPD approach is a management technique, widely used in industry, that simultaneously integrates all essential activities through the use of multidisciplinary teams in order to optimize the design, manufacturing, and support processes. The IPPD approach facilitates meeting both cost and performance objectives from product concept through production, including field support. One of the key IPPD advantages is multidisciplinary teamwork through IPTs.

Note: A&T = Acquisition and Technology; DUSD = Deputy Undersecretary of Defense; PDUSD = Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense; OSD = Office of the Secretary of Defense
Figure 5-9. DoD corrosion organization.

IPTs are composed of representatives from all appropriate functional disciplines working together with a team leader to build successful and balanced programs, identify and resolve issues, and make sound and timely decisions. Team members do not necessarily commit 100% of their time to an IPT, and a person may be a member of more than one IPT.

The purpose of IPTs is to make team decisions based on timely input from the entire team (e.g., program management, engineering, manufacturing, test, logistics, financial management, procurement, and contract administration) including customers and suppliers. IPTs are generally formed at the program manager level and may include members from both government and contractors. A typical IPT at the DoD program level may be composed of the following functional disciplines: design engineering, manufacturing, systems engineering, test and evaluation, subcontracting, safety and HAZMAT, quality assurance, training, finance, reliability, maintainability and supportability, procurement, and contract administration, suppliers, and customers.

Figure 5-9 shows the structure of the DoD corrosion management organization, including the CPCIPT.

The CPCIPT is responsible for providing strategic direction, policy, and guidance to prevent and mitigate corrosion of the military equipment and infrastructure of the department. The specific goals of the CPCIPT are:

  • Provide a strategic review and advice to deal with:
    • An expanded emphasis on corrosion prevention and mitigation.
    • A uniform application of requirements and criteria for testing and certification of new corrosion prevention technologies.
    • A coordinated approach to collect, review, validate, and distribute information on proven corrosion prevention methods and products.
    • A coordinated science and technology program that includes demonstration, validation, and transition of new corrosion technologies into operational systems.
  • Develop and recommend policy guidance on the prevention and mitigation of corrosion.
  • Provide overviews and summaries of the corrosion programs and funding levels proposed and executed by the military departments and defense agencies.
  • Develop a roadmap and monitor the progress of corrosion-related activities.
  • Develop strategies to investigate the feasibility of developing methodologies that efficiently track corrosion costs and the effects of corrosion on readiness and safety.
  • Provide guidance for improving maintenance and training plans.
  • Ensure that the use of corrosion control technologies and the application of corrosion treatments are considered throughout the life cycle of equipment and infrastructure.

The CPCIPTs have been established to focus on the following topics (see ‎Figure 5-9):

  • Policy and Requirements.
  • Facilities and Infrastructure.
    • An example of corrosion management facilities is given in Appendix B.
  • Outreach and Communication.
  • Science and Technology.
  • Standards, Specifications, and Qualifications.
    • MIL specs, NACE, etc.
  • Metrics, Impact, and Sustainability
    • Corrosion costing models – Appendix E presents DoD’s corrosion costing methodology.
  • Training and Certification.
    • NACE, SSPC, etc.

The various aspects of the IPPD/IPT concept are continuously refined and adjusted through actual practice. This concept has the potential to help DoD shift corrosion management from an environment of regulation and enforcement to one of incentivized performance, and to create a climate of risk-informed approaches.

In 2003 the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition and Technology) identified critical changes that had to take place in DoD in order to form successful IPTs:

"...move away from a pattern of hierarchical decision-making to a process where decisions are made across organizational structures by integrated product teams. It means we are breaking down institutional barriers. It also means that our senior acquisition staffs are in a receive mode - not just a transmit mode. The objective is to be receptive to ideas from the field to obtain buy-in and lasting change."

These changes in corrosion management approach highlight the two most important characteristics of IPTs:


Teams must have full and open discussions without secrets, where all facts need to be available to each team member to understand and assess. Each member brings a unique expertise to the team that needs to be recognized by all. Because of that expertise, each person’s views are important in developing a successful program, and these views need to be heard. Full and open discussion does not mean that each view must be acted on by the team. The team is not searching for lowest common denominator consensus. There can be disagreement on how to approach a particular issue, but that disagreement must be reasoned disagreement based on an alternative plan of action rather than unyielding opposition. Issues that cannot be resolved by the team must be identified early so that resolution can be achieved as quickly as possible at the appropriate level.


The functional representatives assigned to the IPTs at all levels must be empowered by their leadership to give good advice and counsel to the program manager. They must be able to speak for their superiors, the principals, in the decision-making process. IPT members cannot be expected to have the breadth of knowledge and experience of their leadership in all cases. However, they are expected to be in frequent communication with their leadership, and thus ensure that their advice to the program manager is sound and will not be overturned later, barring unforeseen circumstances or new information. One of the key responsibilities of leadership is to train and educate their people so they will have the required knowledge and skills to represent their organization’s leaders. IPT members are an extension of their organizations and their leadership; they must be able to speak for those organizations and leaders.

Government Accountability Office (GAO) Recommendations

In the United States, the GAO's work includes oversight of federal programs and providing insight into ways to make government more efficient, effective, ethical and equitable. It is known as the “investigative arm” of the United States Congress.

The GAO has audited the workings of the DoD corrosion program twice since its inception in order to encourage continuous improvement in the program. One of itsearlier recommendations was for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) to develop an action plan to exploit the data from the cost of corrosion studies (internal DoD) based on the costing methodology. The GAO concluded that the data provides the military services an opportunity to achieve long-term cost savings were it to be properly exploited. It is realized that corrosion is an issue with significant cost, readiness, and safety impacts, and DoD has developed the cost of corrosion assessment methodology that has been widely accepted among the DoD community, as well as within the GAO (see Appendix D).

In September 2013 the GAO published an audit of military departments, with the following major findings:

  • The GAO noted that the DoD has invested more than $63 million in 88 projects in fiscal years 2005 through 2010 to demonstrate new technology or methods addressing equipment-related corrosion.
  • DoD requires the military departments to collect and report to the Corrosion Office key information from equipment-related corrosion projects about new technologies or methods. However, the GAO reported that the DoD did not have complete information about the benefits of all projects. It was found that the military departments inconsistently reported measures of achievement other than the ROI, such as when outcomes prompted changes to military equipment specifications.
  • Further, the military departments did not always collect required information needed to recalculate the estimated ROI, and were unable to determine whether projects had achieved their estimated ROI. Following these findings, the Corrosion Office officials plan to revise guidance on how project managers should be reassessing the ROI.
  • The GAO noted that the DoD has taken steps to improve oversight of its equipment-related corrosion projects, such as revising its DoD Corrosion Prevention and Mitigation Strategic Plan to provide additional guidance on reporting requirements. However, it was found that the DoD does not have a comprehensive overview of the status of all equipment-related corrosion projects.
  • While the reports provide the status for each project, the GAO found that the Corrosion Office does not consolidate information to monitor the status of all these projects, such as if a project has not transitioned to service use or has been discontinued.
  • The DoD has identified and incorporated lessons learned from equipment-related corrosion projects and shared some lessons with the corrosion community; however, the GAO noted that the DoD has no centralized and secure database or other source to share lessons from all project reports, including those with sensitive information.
  • While the DoD has begun to develop a database that would contain lessons learned on all projects, development is in the early stages. The GAO noted that until a comprehensive, centralized, and secure database is developed that includes lessons learned from all completed projects, officials from DOD's corrosion community will not have full and complete information on lessons learned, including proven methods or products to prevent or mitigate corrosion of military equipment.