Acquisition of Navy Land-Based Test Sites Can Be Better Managed

NSIAD-85-76: Published: May 21, 1985. Publicly Released: May 21, 1985.

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The Navy has many resources for providing research, development, test, evaluation, training, and operational support for weapons systems, part of which are land-based test sites. GAO discussed the improvements needed in the acquisition management of land-based test sites to ensure that: (1) maximum use is made of existing facilities; (2) duplication between existing and new sites is prevented; and (3) the establishment of new sites is cost-effective.

GAO found that: (1) the Navy does not adequately demonstrate the need for new facilities prior to purchase, which results in noncompliance with the requirements for approving and reviewing the acquisition of new sites; (2) neither the Navy nor the systems commands maintain complete inventories of available test sites, which results in duplication; (3) most of the acquisition programs have no documentation to show how the need for the site was identified or if there were alternatives; and (4) there is no requisite for making the establishment of new sites cost-effective. The Navy, therefore, is not ensured that the sites it purchases are the most cost-effective alternatives and are not duplicating existing facilities. While the Navy has taken steps to change regulations and recordkeeping activities, GAO believes that more could be done.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Instructions were issued that provide for considering alternatives in the site justification process.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should direct the program managers to consider alternatives in selecting sites and include their rationale in the planning documents.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A catalog showing test sites, codes, telephone numbers, and focal points was prepared. Instructions requiring and detailing the periodic updating of the catalog were also prepared.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should direct that the NAVMAT requirement that systems commands maintain complete and up-to-date inventories of in-house and contractor test sites be enforced to aid in making acquisition decisions, and that the Chief of Naval Operations establish a central Navy-wide inventory of test and evaluation facilities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The system commands are finalizing instructions implementing OPNAV Instruction 3960.10. The instruction stated that sites shall be approved by OP-098 prior to taking action to acquire such a capability. System Command instructions are consistent with this guidance.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should direct that the Naval Operations Instruction, or the NAVMAT Instruction, be revised so that the instructions agree on the responsibility for identifying the need for land-based test sites. Currently, the NAVMAT Instruction assigns this responsibility to the program manager, whereas the Naval Operations Instruction makes the Chief responsible.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OPNAV Instruction 3960.10C was issued on September 14, 1987. It defined land base test sites and stated that they must be based on cost-effectiveness and needed capability.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should direct that the Naval Material Command (NAVMAT) Instruction clearly state: (1) which programs and sites are subject to its requirements; and (2) that the sites selected be evaluated on the basis of cost-effectiveness and needed capability.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Instructions were issued that stress consideration of cost-effectiveness and availability of existing facilities in the review and approval process.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should direct that the Chief of Naval Operations and NAVMAT program review and approval process include evaluation techniques that consider the cost-effectiveness of sites selected, the availability of existing facilities, and the extent of duplication between existing and proposed sites.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

 

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