The Army Needs More Comprehensive Evaluations To Make Effective Use of Its Weapon System Testing

NSIAD-84-40: Published: Feb 24, 1984. Publicly Released: Feb 24, 1984.

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Evaluations of development and operational tests are used to assess the progress of new weapon systems as they proceed through development. As part of its continuing assessment of major weapon system acquisition management, GAO reviewed the Army evaluation process and discussed improvements that could better inform decisionmakers about a system's progress in development and operational effectiveness.

GAO found that Army evaluators have not been giving acquisition officials adequate technical and operational evaluations to fully assess weapons' development progress and potential combat usefulness. In most cases, the evaluations seldom went beyond reciting the test results and did not address critical issues, such as the consequences of fielding the system before resolving remaining technical problems. Evaluations need to be broadened and integrated to provide a more meaningful and coherent picture of system development progress and potential operational effectiveness. This will require greater participation by Army analysts in planning evaluations and in determining the technical and operational implications of test findings.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Army has decided to have the Operational Test and Evaluation Agency assume the role of spokesperson for the test evaluation and analysis organizations at the Army Systems Acquisition Review Council.

    Recommendation: One of the three main Army analysis organizations should assume the role of spokesman for the test evaluation and analysis organizations at the Army Systems Acquisition Review Council and before other decisionmaking bodies.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Army should prepare, for critical major acquisition decision points, a comprehensive evaluation of the weapon system under review by integrating the reports and analyses of the individual test evaluation and analysis organizations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Army should transmit these issues to the pertinent Army test evaluation and analysis organizations so that they can be addressed in the test reports and analyses which they will be providing for inclusion in the overall evaluation of new systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Army should seek the Army Systems Acquisition Review Council decisionmakers' concurrence on critical issues that are to be evaluated for each proposed weapon system.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Army should make the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity responsible for providing risk assessments to the decisionmakers.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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