Military Training:

Cost-Effective Development of Simulations Presents Significant Challenges

NSIAD-96-44: Published: Nov 8, 1995. Publicly Released: Nov 8, 1995.

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GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) development of the Joint Simulation System (JSIMS), focusing on whether DOD: (1) is progressing with its development of JSIMS; and (2) decisions to improve the Aggregate Level Simulation Protocol (ALSP) Confederation are cost-effective.

GAO found that: (1) JSIMS has not progressed beyond the conceptual stage due to internal disagreements within DOD; (2) further JSIMS development is contingent on the availability of about $416 million in funding; (3) DOD plans to spend at least $40 million through 1999 to improve ALSP before replacing it with JSIMS, but it is unclear whether that approach is cost-effective; (4) funding availability depends on how the services prioritize their contributions to JSIMS and ALSP; (5) the cost of ALSP improvements could increase because the planned improvements are service-specific and there is also no ALSP Central Funding; and (6) management of ALSP improvements is fragmented because DOD is not ensuring that the services will complete them and that the improvements are cost-effective.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not agree that each agency needed to develop a separate funding line. As of September 8, 1997, DOD had not taken any action on this recommendation.

    Recommendation: To help ensure the total development of JSIMS, the Secretary of Defense should establish a joint funding line for the core development of JSIMS and direct the Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force to establish funding lines for their respective executive agency JSIMS responsibilities regarding warfare function development.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD agreed with the recommendation and indicated its intent to develop an action plan. However, as of September 8, 1997, no action had been initiated.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Under Secretary for Acquisition and Technology to assume a stronger management role to resolve simulation issues by defining JSIMS and developing a definitive plan of action.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD has not initiated action.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Under Secretary for Acquisition and Technology to assume a stronger management role to resolve simulation issues by developing a transition strategy to phase out the ALSP and phase in JSIMS. This strategy should be based upon cost estimates associated with modifying, expanding, and testing the ALSP Confederation to decide which improvements to the ALSP Confederation provide benefits that are cost-effective.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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