Battlefield Automation:

Army's Restructured Land Warrior Program Needs More Oversight

NSIAD-00-28: Published: Dec 15, 1999. Publicly Released: Dec 15, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO assessed the Army's implementation of the Land Warrior system, focusing on: (1) the status of the system; (2) whether the level of monitoring and oversight is sufficient based on projected Land Warrior development costs; (3) how the Army is ensuring that Land Warrior will be able to operate with other digitized battlefield systems; and (4) whether technical and human factor problems still need resolution.

GAO noted that: (1) the Land Warrior system will not be fielded by September 2000 because Land Warrior technologies could not be developed in time; (2) the estimated cost of acquiring 34,000 units, including research, development, test, evaluation, and procurement, has increased from $1.4 billion to $2.1 billion; (3) although originally planning to use only mature technologies to permit expeditious fielding, the Army's design incorporated technologies that had to be developed specifically for Land Warrior, the effect of which has been to extend development and delay fielding until fiscal year 2004; (4) oversight of the Land Warrior program is not sufficient based on its projected development costs; (5) despite its claim that the Land Warrior is urgently needed, the Army grouped Land Warrior with less complex and less costly acquisitions, resulting in the program receiving routine Army attention; (6) oversight responsibility remained unchanged despite development problems that threatened to lengthen the acquisition schedule and the inability of system prototypes to pass certification tests; (7) at present, Land Warrior will not operate with a key digitized battlefield system - Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below - the Army's principal digital command and control system at and below brigade level; (8) Army officials obtained a waiver which allowed them to defer developing the necessary software to make Land Warrior able to interoperate with Battle Command Brigade and Below until after the Land Warrior equipment is fielded; (9) to be effective, Land Warrior must be able to transmit data to and receive data from higher command levels, thereby providing the soldier with a relevant common picture of the battlefield and ensuring an integrated communications link from soldier to higher command; (10) this link as not been established; (11) according to program officials, the waiver was needed because Land Warrior computer architecture is not compatible with Battle Command Brigade and Below software; (12) the Land Warrior program manager contends the most recent program revision will achieve the desired operability, without the need for a waiver, but concedes that considerable hardware and software development will be needed before this can be assured; (13) the Land Warrior Program has not resolved technical and human factor problems that may render the system ineffective; and (14) the Land Warrior system design has not been sufficiently field-tested to ensure that old problems have been resolved and new ones have been avoided.

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

    Matter for Congressional Consideration

    Matter: In view of the significant changes and revised design to the Land Warrior system, Congress may wish to consider withholding further funding until the Army determines what it plans to develop and provides a detailed approach, including revised cost, schedule, and performance estimates, to acquire and field the system.

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: No congressional action has been taken.

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: In order to ensure that Land Warrior development is completed before systems are fielded, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Army to be required to thoroughly field test prototypes and ensure that they pass water immersion, electromagnetic interference, and airborne certification tests before any systems are fielded.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Program Manager overseeing Land Warrior development stated that preliminary water immersion, EMI, and jump tests have been on-going and successful. Full and final independent testing of all three will begin in December in support of a Milestone C (production) decision.

    Recommendation: In order to ensure that Land Warrior development is completed before systems are fielded, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Army to be required to demonstrate operablity with Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below before any systems are fielded to minimize the risk of Land Warrior-equipped soldiers not having adequate battlefield situational awareness.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to the program manager, Land Warrior/FBCB2 interoperability is now a requirement (for Block II) in the Land Warrior operational requirements document. Additionally, Block I Land Warrior/FBCB2 interoperability is achieved via standard text messaging.

    Recommendation: In order to ensure that Land Warrior development is completed before systems are fielded, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Army to reclassify the Land Warrior as an Acquisition Category I system to ensure appropriate program monitoring and oversight.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to the Program Manager for Soldier Systems, Land Warrior is now classified as an acquisition category I program.

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