Cost-benefit analysis of Marine Corps Search and Rescue (SAR): a study of alternatives for Marine Corps Air Stations at Cherry Point and Yuma
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Local base Search and Rescue (SAR) units were established to provide support for military operations. Civilian communities have also benefited, often utilizing the Marine Corps SAR capabilities to support local requests. However, SAR is not a core competency of the Marine Corps or a function of Marine aviation. The current fiscal climate demands that the Marine Corps seek ways to achieve cost savings while maintaining its core competencies. The divestiture of functions that do not support the Corps execution of its Title 10 responsibilities is a possible solution. Local base SAR units bear significant operations and support costs. Moreover, the Marine Corps faces additional modernization costs due to the age of its SAR aircraft. At the same time the commercial helicopter industry has increased its ability to provide capable SAR services around the globe. Our research provides a current analysis of SAR costs to the Marine Corps and presents a cost projection for a 10-year time horizon. The research also conducts an analysis of outsourcing; the main findings of our analysis show that the Marine Corps can achieve annual savings of approximately $14 million (fiscal year 2014) through the use of commercially contracted SAR services at MCAS Cherry Point and MCAS Yuma.
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