Need for More Accurate Weapon System Test Results To Be Reported to the Congress

PSAD-79-46: Published: Mar 9, 1979. Publicly Released: Mar 9, 1979.

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The Department of Defense submits annual reports to Congress that include results of operational tests and evaluations on new major weapon systems for which procurement funds are requested. These reports, called Congressional Data Sheets, enable members of Congress to make procurement decisions. Operational testing aids in predicting how well new weapon systems will work and identifies ineffective or unreliable systems before they are produced.

The results of the tests and evaluations of 10 Navy and 5 Air Force weapon systems contained in the Data Sheets reviewed by GAO were found to be incomplete, misleading, and/or outdated. The three Army systems selected for review had deficiencies identified during recent operational testing; however, those test results were satisfactorily reported on the Data Sheets. The following factors have contributed to inaccurate reporting of test results to Congress: reviewers at higher levels often omit or change the Congressional Data Sheets prepared by independent test agencies; the reports are not updated between the annual reporting periods; and the Department of Defense has not provided sufficient instructions regarding the type of information required in Congressonal Data Sheets.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should improve the quality and timeliness of operational test results reported in Congressonal Data Sheets through the following procedures: (1) more thorough review of Congressional Data Sheets by the Office of the Director of Test and Evaluation before submission to Congress; (2) more definitive guidelines concerning the kind of test information that is required in Congressional Data Sheets; and (3) continual evaluation and identification of new results that become available after initial Congressional Data Sheets have been submitted in order to determine if updated information should be reported to Congress.

    Agency Affected:


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