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Evaluation of Navy's Anti-Submarine Warfare Assessment

NSIAD-99-85: Published: Jul 12, 1999. Publicly Released: Jul 12, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) the Navy's 1997 antisubmarine warfare (ASW) assessment; (2) the role and funding influence of the Navy's recently established Antisubmarine Warfare Requirements Division; and (3) whether the assessment is supported by rigorous analysis of ASW shortfalls and capabilities and establishes priorities among ASW programs, as directed by congressional conferees on the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act.

GAO noted that: (1) the ASW assessment concluded that proficiency had declined and that the programs and funding levels in the fiscal year (FY) 1999 budget, as proposed at the time of the assessment, provided for adequate equipment to respond to the most likely threats; (2) however, in providing its conclusions, the assessment notes concerns regarding the data available for its analysis; (3) the assessment noted that tools for quantitatively assessing ASW performance--particularly modeling and simulation tools--and available ASW studies and fleet exercise data are deficient; (4) much of the assessment's modeling data was based on open-ocean ASW rather than the more complex littoral environment where the Navy now believes the most likely threat exists; (5) in GAO's view, the assessment was not fully responsive to the conferees' direction because: (a) it was not supported by a rigorous analysis of ASW shortfalls and capabilities; (b) information to support the assessment's findings was not always complete; and (c) priorities among ASW programs were not established; (6) the Navy has subsequently provided Congress with an ASW Roadmap that places the ASW programs in one of three priority categories but does not identify program priorities within each category; (7) the absence of complete and reliable data--particularly on ASW operations in the littoral--and the absence of program priorities limit the assessment's value in making resource allocation decisions; (8) the ASW Requirements Division, which prepared the 1997 assessment, has sought to influence Navy ASW funding decisions in the FY 1999 and FY 2000 budget submissions through briefings and meetings with resource sponsors and senior Navy officials, including the Chief of Naval Operations; and (9) the division believes it has had some success in influencing decisions to fund early ASW-related research and development projects within the Office of Naval Research and to restore funding for a number of ASW programs whose funding had been reduced, deferred, or eliminated by platform divisions under the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Resources, Warfare Requirements, and Assessment.

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