Army Has the Opportunity To Recompete DAS3 Purchases and Improve Automated Battlefield Support

IMTEC-84-20: Published: Sep 28, 1984. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 1984.

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GAO reviewed the Army's acquisition of the decentralized automated service support system (DAS3), which provides automation to combat service support functions on the battlefield.

GAO found that, after deciding to standardize combat service support computers, the Army developed a transition plan to move to new standardized hardware and software. Before the concept was approved, the Army conducted a competitive procurement and acquired 125 DAS3 systems of two different types, the DAS3-A and the more capable DAS3-B. Before operational testing of the DAS3-A was completed, the Army recommended that it be designated as the standard hardware for combat service support. After initial deliveries of DAS3-A systems, the Army determined that the DAS3-A could not meet mission requirements and needed to be upgraded. Subsequently, the Army, citing an urgent need, contracted on a sole-source basis with the original DAS3-A supplier to provide 260 DAS3-B systems. After a bid protest, the Army agreed to conduct a competitive procurement for the DAS3-B systems, but it is continuing to acquire DAS3-B systems under the sole-source contract pending a competitive contract award. GAO also found that the Army: (1) erred in waiving the operational testing requirements for the DAS3-A and in prematurely declaring the DAS3-A standard; and (2) has experienced delivery delays in application's software to be supported by hardware acquired under the sole-source DAS3-B contract. In addition, GAO found that the Army's plans for conducting a competitive procurement for DAS3-B systems are inadequate because the Army has not: (1) determined how many DAS3-B systems it needs; (2) decided how many DAS3-B systems it will competitively procure; or (3) explored alternatives to the DAS3-B.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense concurs with this recommendation. The Army has taken action by reviewing its combat service support requirements and as a result, negated the requirement to procure years 3 through 5 of the DAS3-B system.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the Army achieves established combat service support goals cost effectively and complies with current hardware standardization policy, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to reassess the Army's current contracts and proposed acquisition strategy by identifying units in urgent need of DAS3-B systems and providing these systems under the existing contract, but ordering no more new units under that contract.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: As a result of a study of its combat service support requirements, the Army terminated its DAS3-B system contract. Combat service support requirements will be supported with the recent acquisition of new tactical computers called TACCS.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the Army achieves established combat service support goals cost effectively and complies with current hardware standardization policy, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to reassess the Army's current contracts and proposed acquisition strategy by developing and implementing a competitive acquisition strategy for combat administration support systems that: (1) considers a full range of technological alternatives; and (2) comprehensively addresses combat service support and other related mission requirements through 1987 and beyond.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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