The Air Force Weapons Laboratory Should Validate Its Computer Needs and Evaluate Alternatives Before Continuing Its Cray-l Computer Lease

AFMD-83-70: Published: Jul 22, 1983. Publicly Released: Aug 22, 1983.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Air Force Weapons Laboratory's (AFWL) use of a Cray-1 computer system to determine whether continued lease of the Cray-1 is justified.

GAO stated that, although AFWL research programs benefit from large-scale computer support, the extent to which the Cray-1 has been used may not justify its continued lease and operation. GAO found that: (1) the planned research workload of AFWL and other users has been less than expected; (2) AFWL research computer use has declined; and (3) AFWL has not validated its large-scale computer workload requirements or evaluated available alternatives since 1974. GAO noted that the Cray-1 was used less than anticipated because Defense Nuclear Agency data processing needs were satisfied by the Department of Energy computer facility, and research staff turnover and budget constraints caused cancellation or delay of research projects. GAO also found that AFWL does not fully recover the Cray-1 computer operating costs from the users it supports. GAO noted that the Department of Defense (DOD) plans to provide guidance during 1983 to implement full cost recovery.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should monitor development and publication of DOD guidance for implementing Office of Management and Budget Circular A-121 and expedite DOD-wide implementation.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Workload validation was completed in May 1984.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should evaluate and validate large-scale computer needs at AFWL and identify and evaluate any available alternatives that could provide economically effective computer support for AFWL validated needs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

 

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