Antiarmor Weapons Acquisitions:

Assessments Needed to Support Continued Need and Long-Term Affordability

NSIAD-93-49: Published: Mar 4, 1993. Publicly Released: Mar 4, 1993.

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GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) process for justifying new antiarmor weapon systems acquisitions, focusing on whether the process adequately evaluates: (1) the minimum needs to defeat the threat; (2) if new procurements duplicate current capabilities; and (3) new system affordability.

GAO found that: (1) since the Soviet threat has diminished, DOD has failed to sufficiently analyze its antiarmor needs and the alternative capabilities to meet mission requirements; (2) DOD acquisition regulations require milestone reviews for continuing antiarmor system procurements, however, many systems have not had reviews since the changes in threat; (3) during annual budget reviews, the services consider changes in threat and address the continued need for new antiarmor acquisitions, but budget decisions are frequently undocumented and based upon less rigorous analyses than milestone reviews; (4) DOD analyses often failed to consider antiarmor deployability, alternative capabilities, and the possible duplication of other weapons systems; (5) the services have not assessed the long-term affordability of major acquisitions through the end of the procurement; and (6) DOD has not issued guidance or formal procedures to implement and enforce regulations requiring affordability assessments.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD is conducting a 2-year antiarmor mission area analysis. In describing the problem to be addressed by the study, DOD cited GAO's March 1993 report and the concern in the report that analyses supporting the need for antiarmor weapons had not been updated since changes in the threat. The stated purpose of the study is to examine antiarmor capabilities in order to determine priority among competing developmental antiarmor systems. This cross-service study will: (1) examine the effectiveness of selected mixes of weapon systems and munitions in light of the revised threat environment; and (2) develop recommendations on the disposition of antiarmor programs currently under consideration by DOD.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should assess the continued need for the antiarmor acquisitions currently planned in light of the significant changes in threat.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD is conducting a 2-year antiarmor mission area analysis. In describing the problem to be addressed by the study, DOD cited GAO's March 1993 report and the concern in the report that analyses are often limited to a single service or mission. The stated purpose of the study is to examine antiarmor capabilities in order to determine priority among competing developmental antiarmor systems. This cross-service study will: (1) examine the effectiveness of selected mixes of weapon systems and munitions in light of the revised threat environment; and (2) develop recommendations on the disposition of antiarmor programs currently under consideration by DOD.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the services are not acquiring antiarmor systems that unnecessarily duplicate existing capabilities because they did not adequately consider alternatives in other services.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD is currently conducting a 2-year antiarmor mission area analysis. In describing the problem to be addressed by the study, DOD cited GAO's March 1993 report and the concern in the report that long-term affordability is not fully considered. The stated purpose of the study is to examine antiarmor capabilities in order to determine priority among competing developmental antiarmor systems. This cross-service study will: (1) examine the effectiveness of selected mixes of weapon systems and munitions in light of the revised threat environment; and (2) develop recommendations on the disposition of antiarmor programs currently under consideration by DOD.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require that the services comply with the regulations to conduct assessments of the long-term affordability of antiarmor acquisitions as required by the DOD 5000 regulations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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