Battlefield Automation:

Better Justification and Testing Needed for Common Computer Acquisition

IMTEC-88-12: Published: Dec 31, 1987. Publicly Released: Feb 3, 1988.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army Command and Control System (ACCS) common hardware and software acquisition program to determine its cost-effectiveness for providing battlefield computer systems.

GAO found that the Army: (1) plans to use a consolidated acquisition strategy to procure computer hardware and software for four battlefield systems; (2) has not performed the required operational or cost-effectiveness analysis to justify its acquisition strategy; (3) assumes that readily available, off-the-shelf products will meet its needs; (4) plans to acquire its proposed common hardware and software system before fully testing it; and (5) has sufficient time to analyze its acquisition strategy and test the equipment before deploying it to the battlefield systems. GAO also found that several Army and independent studies questioned the operational and cost-effectiveness of the proposed acquisition strategy in terms of: (1) ability to meet individual battlefield systems requirements; and (2) potential consistency and coordination with current battlefield system development efforts.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army concurs with this recommendation and has taken action to comply with it.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should complete a full operational and cost-effectiveness analysis, demonstrating the best strategy for meeting battlefield system requirements, before awarding a contract for common hardware and software.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army concurs with this recommendation and has taken action to comply with it.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should, if the operational and cost-effectiveness analysis shows that the common acquisition approach is the best strategy, conduct preaward testing that determines the ability of each vendor's common hardware and software to meet critical processing and communication requirements of the four battlefield systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army concurs with this recommendation and has taken action to comply with it.

    Recommendation: If, as a result of successful preaward testing, the Army proceeds with the acquisition, the Secretary of the Army should initially procure only those quantities needed for development and testing and defer production quantity commitments for deployment until operational testing shows that the common hardware and software enables the battlefield systems to meet their required operational capabilities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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