Attack Warning:

Lack of System Architecture Contributes to Major Development Problems

IMTEC-92-52: Published: Jun 11, 1992. Publicly Released: Jun 11, 1992.


Samuel W. Bowlin
(202) 512-6240


Office of Public Affairs
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined Air Force activities under the Cheyenne Mountain Upgrade (CMU) program, which is intended to modernize computer systems that provide critical strategic surveillance, attack warning, and assessment information to U.S. and Canadian leaders.

GAO found that: (1) the Air Force is currently developing the CMU program as five individual subsystems without an overall system architecture to tie the five subsystems together so that they can function as an integrated unit; (2) until the Air Force defines an overall CMU system architecture, it will encounter serious development and integration problems and cost increases, and will have a system that cannot readily adapt to mission changes; and (3) because of its focus on cost and schedule, the Air Force is developing a system with less capability than it originally planned and has deferred some requirements until after the delivery date.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendation for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to perform the analyses needed to define an overall CMU system architecture. This architecture should be derived from the requirements of current and potential future CMU missions and should be used as a guide to develop a system that can effectively provide attack warning and attack assessment information into the 21st century.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A CMU acquisition strategy and baseline will be out by March 31, 1993. NSA is helping to develop an architectural security profile. The acquisition strategy will be submitted to the Office of the Secretary of Defense by March 31, 1993. Operational test and evaluation responsibilities were shifted from the Space Command to the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Command in June 1992.

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