Key Issues > Duplication & Cost Savings > GAO's Action Tracker > Tactical Wheeled Vehicles (2011-06)
defense icon, source: [West Covina, California] Progressive Management, 2008

Defense: Tactical Wheeled Vehicles (2011-06)

A department-wide acquisition strategy could reduce the Department of Defense's risk of unnecessary duplication in purchasing Tactical Wheeled Vehicles.


The Department of Defense (DOD) needs to complete its planned departmentwide tactical wheeled vehicle strategy to determine (1) what capabilities the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle will have, (2) the scope and cost of any recapitalization of other vehicles or production effort, and (3) the sustainment cost of placing the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected family of vehicles in its force structures. DOD should include in the strategy a cost-benefit analysis that could minimize the collective acquisition and support costs of the various tactical wheeled vehicle programs and reduce the risk of unplanned overlap or duplication.


As of December 2017, DOD had taken steps that meet the intent of the action that GAO suggested in March 2011. While DOD did not develop a comprehensive and unified strategy for making sound investment decisions for tactical wheeled vehicles, as an alternative the department decided to evaluate each investment opportunity in terms of future force structure, fleet composition, best value, affordability, joint capabilities, and survivability, according to an official at the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. To conduct the evaluation, DOD used the joint capabilities integration development system and DOD's acquisition management system framework.

GAO corresponded with DOD officials and reviewed DOD documents and found:

  • The department identified key capabilities for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program as part of its capabilities development document in advance of the program beginning system development in August 2012. The system began low-rate production in August 2015 and was scheduled to perform operational testing in spring 2018, in advance of entering full production at the end of 2018.
  • DOD updated its acquisition policy to incorporate provisions included in the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act. Major defense acquisition programs, such as tactical wheeled vehicle programs, must make appropriate cost, schedule, and performance tradeoffs to ensure program affordability. As part of these reforms, DOD is required to complete an analysis of alternatives, which is an analytical study that is intended to compare the operational effectiveness, costs, and risks of a number of potential alternatives to address validated needs. As an example, a study team considered alternatives, including the existing High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, the current light vehicle fleet with product improvements, commercially available vehicles, and the JLTV. The study team examined each of these alternatives within the context of operational effectiveness, ability to satisfy needed capabilities and performance parameters, life-cycle costs (which would include production and sustainment), cost-effectiveness, and affordability. The team concluded that the JLTV, when compared to the alternatives, provided significant improvements in force protection, mobility, and reliability; had the greatest room for growth; was the most capable for executing mission roles; and had potential for reduced operations and maintenance costs.
  • The military services outlined plans and requirements for incorporating Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles into their force structures. For example, the services identified the number of vehicles required to support training, pre-positioned stocks, and foreign sales, among other needs.

These actions are indicative of the measures GAO envisioned a department-wide tactical wheeled vehicle strategy would elicit, as they help ensure that the department has considered the capabilities, costs, and requirements for acquiring tactical wheeled vehicles. The actions also reduce the risk of unnecessary overlap and duplication.

Implementing Entity:

Department of Defense
  • portrait of
    • Marie Mak
    • Director, Contracting and National Security Acquisitions
    • (202) 512-4841