Tactical Computers:

Army's Maneuver Control System Acquisition Plan Is Not Cost-Effective

IMTEC-86-26BR: Published: Sep 3, 1986. Publicly Released: Sep 3, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army Command and Control System (ACCS) program and analyzed its computer equipment procurement and distribution plan for the Maneuver Control System (MCS), specifically: (1) the status of the MCS program; and (2) the plan's compliance with congressional guidance and its cost-effectiveness.

GAO found that the Army's plan for the MCS program does not comply with congressional guidance because it: (1) provides for equipping 17 active divisions, rather than 11, with militarized equipment; (2) calls for completing acquisition of ruggedized equipment in fiscal year (FY) 1988 instead of FY 1987; and (3) does not establish an aggressive test and evaluation program. GAO also found that the Army: (1) overstates costs for interim MCS equipment; (2) plans to replace the interim equipment soon after its deployment, which is not cost-effective; (3) expects to field interim MCS equipment with its active forces during FY 1988 and 1989 and to replace it with new equipment from FY 1990 through FY 1995; and (4) has not developed a final schedule for replacing interim equipment.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Congress directed that FY 1987 appropriations not be used until the Army provides a report that rationalizes equipment procurements under MCS and ACCS programs. The Army provided a report acceptable to Congress on March 23, 1987. Program costs were reduced by $43 million.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army, before acquiring additional MCS equipment, should demonstrate to Congress that such interim acquisitions are cost-effective and consistent with the Army's objective to provide common computer equipment and software for primary tactical command and control systems in both reserve and active forces. The Army should address: (1) the cost-effectiveness of the $223.6 million expenditure on interim MCS equipment, particularly given the possibility that it can field ruggedized ACCS equipment for MCS shortly after fielding the interim equipment under planned or accelerated schedules; (2) its need for the interim equipment in view of the differences in processing and survivability capabilities between this equipment and the replacement ACCS equipment; and (3) the cost-effectiveness of fielding different versions of MCS and the inconsistency with the Army's objective to provide such equipment and software for primary tactical command and control systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Congress directed that FY 1987 appropriations not be used until the Army provides a report that rationalizes equipment procurements under MCS and ACCS programs. The Army provided a report acceptable to Congress. The Army proceeded, with congressional approval, to acquire all nondevelopmental equipment, as well as militarized equipment, thus losing the savings that would have resulted.

    Recommendation: If the Army's critical needs prove to be so urgent that the fielding of MCS cannot be delayed until ACCS equipment is available, the Secretary of the Army should acquire only interim militarized equipment in the quantities specified in its plan. On the basis of Army assessments, the equipment should be capable of supporting all critical maneuver control functions until ACCS equipment is available.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army completed the purchase of interim militarized equipment without performing an operational test of the production system.

    Recommendation: If acquisition of such interim equipment is warranted, the Secretary of the Army should successfully complete an operational test of the production system, both computer equipment and software, before making a full production commitment.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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