Defense Industrial Base:

DOD's Manufacturing Technology Program Needs Systematic Evaluation

NSIAD-92-74: Published: Mar 12, 1992. Publicly Released: Mar 12, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed whether the Department of Defense (DOD) systematically tracks benefits from its Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) Program, focusing on the Office of the Secretary of Defense's (OSD) efforts to ensure that the: (1) ManTech Program is effectively implemented; and (2) benefits from ManTech projects are appropriately compiled and reported.

GAO found that: (1) the ManTech Program provides research and development to help develop advanced manufacturing processes, techniques, and equipment; (2) OSD oversees the ManTech Program and requires the services to supply detailed project information to its central database and to prepare annual reports; (3) although OSD acknowledges that the central database is incomplete and not used, it has done little to resolve the deficiencies; (4) although the services' annual reports complied with OSD requirements to describe ManTech projects, the reports did not address the extent to which the services carried out program goals, priorities, and planned approaches because OSD did not require this information; (5) OSD does not have a methodology for assessing the ManTech Program's impact or producing reliable estimates of the cost savings or financial benefits from individual ManTech projects; and (6) in response to a legislative mandate, OSD indicated that it would take a stronger role in planning, but so far has not established guidance that will enable it to evaluate program effectiveness.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: During the course of the GAO evaluation, the ManTech program was under the auspices of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Production and Logistics. Recently, the ManTech program was transferred to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). DOD officials stated that the action plan that they had in process is no longer valid as a result of the reorganizational change.

    Recommendation: As an integral part of completing the legislatively required ManTech Plan, the Secretary of Defense should revise the system of controls designed to provide assurances that the ManTech Program is being effectively implemented. Such a revised system should include guidance to ensure that the military services routinely and uniformly report on: (1) the extent to which they have sound rationales to demonstrate they are funding projects that industry would not fund on a timely basis; (2) the results of the projects measured against standardized criteria; and (3) their progress in meeting established program goals, priorities, and planned approaches.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: During the course of the GAO evaluation, the ManTech program was under the auspices of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Production and Logistics. Recently, the ManTech program was transferred to DARPA. DOD officials stated that the action plan that they had in process is no longer valid as a result of the reorganization change. The ManTech program will likely become a different program.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should revise ManTech Program guidance to demonstrate how the military services' program data will be used to evaluate the ManTech Program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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