Defense Acquisitions:

Antiarmor Weapons Master Plan Does Not Identify Potential Excesses or Support Planned Procurements

NSIAD-00-67: Published: May 8, 2000. Publicly Released: May 8, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) Antiarmor Master plan, focusing on whether it provided the data and analyses necessary to: (1) identify excess antiarmor weapons currently in the inventory or under development; and (2) support current acquisition plans.

GAO noted that: (1) DOD's Antiarmor Master Plan did not identify any excess antiarmor weapons or provide the data and analyses needed to identify such excesses; (2) instead of identifying the types and quantities of antiarmor weapons needed to meet requirements under current planning scenarios, the plan only described the types of antiarmor weapons in the inventory and under development and identified the number and types of armored systems possessed by nine countries it considered potentially hostile to the United States; (3) the total capabilities and quantities of the armored systems possessed by these countries substantially exceeds those in the current two-regional conflict threat scenario; (4) the plan acknowledged that the tank threat from the countries identified in that scenario is low, but the plan did not identify potential excesses in antiarmor weapons resulting from major reductions in the armor threat since 1990; (5) further, the modeling practices the services used to identify individual antiarmor weapons quantity requirements routinely generated excessive requirements; (6) specifically, GAO found that: (a) the Air Force added more targets to the model than it is responsible for; (b) the services added large quantities of weapons to their models to allow for uncertainties; (c) the services projected the use of sophisticated and expensive antiarmor guided weapons against unarmored targets; and (d) the Marine Corps and the Army did not always accept their model's results and used manual calculations to support higher antiarmor weapon requirements; (7) the plan provided little data and analyses to support the services' plans to spend about $17.9 billion on 15 antiarmor weapon acquisition programs; (8) in support of acquiring the new systems, the plan described various types of improvements and technological advances in the designs of armored systems and noted the potential proliferation of armored systems with these advanced designs; (9) the plan also described the capabilities of individual antiarmor weapons that were being acquired by the services and noted that the new weapons would provide improved lethality and effectiveness; (10) however, the plan also indicated that the existing antiarmor weapon inventory is more than adequate to defeat the threat as defined in the Secretary of Defense's planning guidance; and (11) further, the plan did not assess the effects of combined joint service capabilities and changes in war-fighting strategies on the requirements for these weapons.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The staff of the Subcommittee on Defense, House Committee on Appropriations informed us that they are considering a variety of options, including funding restrictions, to convince DOD to establish more realistic priorities in its funding requests for antiarmor weapons.

    Matter: Should Congress not receive the data and analyses directed by the conference report on the fiscal year (FY) 2000 Defense appropriation bill, Congress may wish to consider restricting FY 2001 funding for antiarmor weapons until such information is provided. Alternatively, Congress may wish to consider imposing an annual funding cap on the procurement of antiarmor weapons to permit some modernization but requiring DOD to establish priorities and choose among the multitude of antiarmor options now available or being developed.

 

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