The Mission of the DoD Corrosion Office

The Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight is responsible for addressing the needs and meeting the goals of the DoD's Corrosion Prevention and Mitigation Program. The Corrosion Office develops Corrosion Prevention and Control (CPC) strategies for the DoD, and oversees their implementation through the CPC Integrated Product Team (CPC IPT).

DoD established an overarching CPC IPT to implement strategies; determine objectives; and develop and execute plans, procedures, and roadmaps to reduce the overall impact of corrosion on DoD assets. The mission of the CPC IPT is to provide strategic direction to reduce the impacts of corrosion within the DoD. Among the major functions of the CPC IPT are:

  • Develop and recommend policy guidance on corrosion prevention and mitigation.
  • Coordinate CPC activities among the military services.
  • Administer a science and technology program to advance the state of the art in CPC areas.
  • Ensure that CPC is fully considered throughout the life cycle of DoD assets.
  • Provide guidance for improving maintenance and training in corrosion.
  • Serve as a resource for information on CPC methods and products.

Why DoD Must Protect its Assets

The Department of Defense acquires, operates, and maintains a vast array of physical assets, ranging from aircraft, ground vehicles, ships, and other materiel to buildings, airfields, ports, and other infrastructure. Furthermore, in order to perform its mission, DoD must train and fight in all environments, including some of the most corrosively aggressive on Earth. Consequently, DoD assets are subject to significant degradation due to corrosion, with specific effects in the following areas:

  • Safety—A number of weapon system mishaps have been attributed to the effects of corrosion. For example, corroded electrical contacts on F-16s caused “uncommanded” fuel valve closures (with subsequent loss of aircraft), and corrosion-related cracking of F/A-18 landing gears resulted in failures during carrier operations.
  • Readiness—Weapon systems are routinely out of commission due to corrosion deficiencies. For example, corrosion has been identified as the reason for more than 50 percent of the maintenance needed on KC-135 aircraft.
  • Financial—The cost of corrosion to the DoD alone is estimated to be between $10 billion and $20 billion annually.

For these reasons, DoD has a long history of corrosion prevention and control. The Department has been a leader in many areas of research (ranging from understanding the fundamentals of corrosion to applying advanced materials, coatings, inhibitors, and cathodic protection for corrosion control).

Corrosion – A Persistent Battle

Corrosion – the deterioration of a material or its properties due to a reaction of that material with its chemical environment – has been with us forever. People have recognized, accepted, coped with and, occasionally, battled corrosion for millennia. In the 19th century, we began taking steps to understand, prevent, and treat corrosion, and we have gradually expanded these efforts ever since. But recently, corrosion has become a major concern, partly because our demands for more complex and sophisticated systems and products have been satisfied by materials that are more susceptible to corrosion. The insidious and pervasive effects of corrosion have accelerated to the point that corrosion mitigation constitutes a major cost to our economy, and corrosion itself poses a significant detriment to our quality of life. In fact, recent studies estimate the direct cost of corrosion in the United States to be nearly $300 billion dollars per year.