Army Automation:

Decisions Needed on SIDPERS-3 Before Further Development

IMTEC-90-66: Published: Sep 5, 1990. Publicly Released: Oct 2, 1990.

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Samuel W. Bowlin
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army's development of the Standard Installation/Division Personnel System III (SIDPERS-3), focusing on the: (1) Department of Defense's (DOD) Major Automated Information Systems Review Committee's (MAISRC) review of SIDPERS-3; (2) Army's actions to evaluate alternative personnel systems; and (3) Army's use of Ada computer language.

GAO found that: (1) MAISRC raised significant concerns about whether SIDPERS-3 was the Army's best program alternative during its September 1989 review of the system; (2) in spite of those concerns, MAISRC allowed the Army to continue SIDPERS-3 design and development; (3) the Army did not adequately address such MAISRC concerns as its use of alternative systems and Ada language; (4) in fiscal year 1990, the Army paid a contractor about $6 million to continue technical design and software development of SIDPERS-3 based on a development approach MAISRC questioned; (5) the Army did not consider alternative systems because it believed that SIDPERS-3 was an acceptable concept; (6) the Army's SIDPERS-3 cost estimate study did not include all of the necessary support costs and excluded certain hardware costs totalling about $102 million; and (7) an Army study lacked empirical data on Ada's costs and benefits, but still concluded that Ada was the most efficient, effective, and economical alternative.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: MAISRC review occurred on September 26, 1990, and directed the Army to: (1) proceed with limited near-term efforts, but precluded full system deployment; and (2) restructure the program. In the restructuring, the Army was directed to provide clearly defined and bounded requirements and sharply focused development and implementation activities. The Army is complying with the directive.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to stop funding SIDPERS-3 design and development until MAISRC has determined that the system's concept is valid.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD has yet to evaluate military personnel systems as a common management area.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should determine whether it is prudent for the Army to continue designing and developing a potentially unique military personnel system given the DOD intention to establish single automated systems for common management areas, and that the Army already has an automated system in use that could possibly be modernized to meet user needs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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