Defense Acquisitions:

Challenges Associated With Implementing the Joint Tactical Radio System

NSIAD-99-179: Published: Sep 9, 1999. Publicly Released: Sep 9, 1999.


Paul L. Francis
(202) 512-4841


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Defense's (DOD) Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) acquisition strategy and management plans, focusing on the: (1) status of the JTRS program, including DOD development plans; and (2) challenges program officials will face in implementing the JTRS acquisition strategy.

GAO noted that: (1) the JTRS program is in a start-up stage; (2) DOD has directed the services to stop development of new radio-based programs but has granted a limited number of waivers to meet near-term requirements because JTRS products are not yet available; (3) DOD is developing a JTRS architecture and detailed refinements to its preliminary acquisition strategy; (4) DOD is scheduled to reach a major decision point in October 2000, when it is expected to approve the architecture and major revisions to the acquisition strategy; (5) the revised acquisition strategy is expected to define JTRS products, provide cost estimates for them, and allow development of an estimated total program cost; (6) following this, the services are expected to finalize their plans to replace existing radios with JTRS products; (7) DOD then expects the services to begin procuring JTRS products with JTRS Joint Program Office support; (8) DOD must successfully address three key challenges to achieve its program objectives; and (9) these challenges are: (a) completing a plan to develop key technologies not available from commercial sources or other DOD radio programs and integrating these new technologies into JTRS products; (b) defining an architecture that will be acceptable to commercial industry, be valid across a wide range of operating scenarios, and be useful to the services in developing plans to replace existing radio systems; and (c) defining interoperability requirements and establishing a strategy to procure and test products that meet these requirements.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendation for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should develop a JTRS technology plan for approval at the October 2000 major decision point that: (a) addresses the specific limitations of commercial and DOD technology in satisfying current and future JTRS requirements; (b) establishes standards for assessing the maturity of JTRS technology; and (c) coordinates relevant DOD research and development programs to focus on JTRS; establish specific milestones for assessing the commercial and technical feasibility of the single architecture approach and develop alternative architectures if indicated by the results of these assessments; and identify, as a priority initiative, the precise requirements for interoperability among tactical radio communications systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD has incorporated GAO findings into its program.

    Jul 31, 2014

    Jul 30, 2014

    Jul 28, 2014

    Jul 17, 2014

    Jul 14, 2014

    Looking for more? Browse all our products here