Increased Joint Avionics Standardization Could Result in Major Economies and Operational Benefits

NSIAD-84-127: Published: Jul 10, 1984. Publicly Released: Jul 10, 1984.

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GAO discussed the Department of Defense's efforts to standardize tactical avionics subsystems and provide support for these activities. Specifically, GAO reviewed progress toward standardization made by the Joint Services Review Committee (JSRC) for Avionics Components and Subsystems.

Standardization of avionics components could reduce life-cycle costs and enhance interchangeability, interoperability, and military force readiness. While most JSRC participants have expressed strong support for standardization, the JSRC program has been hindered by funding deficiencies and insufficient commitment to implement stated policies. Based on JSRC estimates, potential cost avoidance of $770 million could be realized by developing and procuring five subsystem candidates. Insufficient funding has been the result of conflicting priorities within the services. The military services anticipate that about 60 percent of the funds needed will be provided during the 1985-89 period. The projects' low visibility, ad hoc management, and their relatively small size have hampered their recognition by top management. In addition, organizations responsible for promoting equipment standards have neither the authority nor the resources to manage joint standard avionics programs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Secretary of Defense concurred with this recommendation and has directed that JSRC programs be elevated to the Joint Logistics Commanders, a four-star joint service management review group.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct each of the service Secretaries to establish a management structure for standardization that includes a high-level sponsor accountable for supporting the JSRC programs through the budget process.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Secretary of Defense concurred with this recommendation and has directed the services to provide adequate funding for JSRC projects. Funding for JSRC has since increased, and cost avoidance savings of about $240 million may be achieved in the next few years.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct each of the service Secretaries to determine whether funds for fiscal year 1984 and subsequent years should be reprogrammed to ensure that joint standard avionics systems sponsored by JSRC are developed and available when needed to meet candidate aircraft installation schedules.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur with this recommendation because it believes that the establishment of separate line items would reduce the services' flexibility in their fund allocation process. Considering that DOD has implemented the other two recommendations, GAO believes that the objectives were substantially fulfilled.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct each of the service Secretaries to establish a dedicated budget line item for joint standard avionics programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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