Air Force Global Weather Central Initiates Positive Action To Assess Adequacy of Software Inventory

IMTEC-84-4: Published: Oct 21, 1983. Publicly Released: Oct 21, 1983.

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GAO reviewed the response to its recommendations in a previous report that the Air Force be required to assess the technical, economic, and operational value of application software over its remaining life cycle before upgrading its general-purpose computers.

The substance of the earlier report was that a bias in the cost-benefit studies for procuring new computers for the Air Force Global Weather Center (AFGWC) favored the incumbent vendor. This bias occurred when the Air Force decided to retain about 70 percent of the existing AFGWC software inventory during a major hardware upgrade, without adequately assessing the technical, economic, and operational value of the inventory over its remaining life cycle. The Air Force acknowledged the need for modernizing software at AFGWC but insisted that the sole-source procurement of computers provided the lowest cost, least risk, and most prudent approach to achieving that goal. As a result of the prior GAO report and a directive from the General Services Administration (GSA), AFGWC formulated a comprehensive software plan and has started to carry out a 5- to 8-year software improvement program. The program's primary objectives are to reduce software maintenance costs and dependence on the incumbent contractor and to ensure that AFGWC is in a position to take advantage of new automated data processing technology; these objectives are to be accomplished by inventorying, analyzing, and assessing all software and by developing a strategy for improving software. GAO believes that the Air Force has made a good start in improving AFGWC software and that the program objectives and the methods for achieving them are systematic, thorough, and consistent with earlier GAO recommendations.

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