The World Wide Military Command and Control System--Evaluation of Vendor and Department of Defense Comments

LCD-80-22A: Published: Jun 30, 1980. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 1980.

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A December 14, 1979, GAO report criticized the World Wide Military Command and Control System automated data processing (ADP) program for lacking effective management and being unresponsive to operational needs. The report recommended that Congress consider withholding current and future funding for the program. Comments are presented from the vendor and the Department of Defense (DOD), but were not received in time to be incorporated in that report along with the GAO evaluation.

The vendor generally agreed with the contents of the 1979 report and offered some suggestions for resolving computer and software problems through field modifications of the computers and revised versions of the vendor-supplied software. GAO objected to making field modifications as such action would have the effect of a sole-source procurement. As a result, alternative and perhaps more economical and efficient system designs by other vendors would not be considered. GAO does not agree that the original procurement specifications exceeded the state of the art. The Department of Defense (DOD) characterized the GAO report as being inaccurate and misleading, containing inappropriate conclusions, and presenting inapplicable recommendations. GAO found that DOD has still not clearly defined the functional requirements of the military commanders who must use and rely on the ADP program capabilities for their operational needs. It is time to begin designing a system that, when placed into operation, will provide needed support capabilities to military commanders, particularly during a time of crisis. DOD selected a computer configuration and related software that were not suited for the environment in which they were to operate. DOD seemed reluctant to recognize the need for change. The program management structure was so fragmented that no one individual or organization had any responsibilities. The current ADP program does not support the operational needs of military commanders.

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