Defense Acquisition:

Air Force Prematurely Recommends ADP Acquisitions

IMTEC-90-7: Published: Mar 29, 1990. Publicly Released: Apr 13, 1990.

Additional Materials:


Samuel W. Bowlin
(202) 275-4649


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Air Force's requirements definition process for automatic data processing (ADP) system acquisitions.

GAO found that: (1) Air Force regulations require that it define system requirements and evaluate alternative solutions before recommending system acquisition, but it has repeatedly failed to do so; (2) independent commissions have stated for over a decade that such failures result in costly modifications, schedule delays, and performance problems; and (3) the Air Force's failure to resolve its ADP system acquisition indicates its lack of commitment to the requirements definition process, and a lack of appreciation for its criticality.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force has revised Regulation 57-1. DOD does not agree that programs competing for funding should be pulled back until requirements and alternative solutions have been defined and evaluated. DOD has taken actions to correct deficiencies, such as reviews by the Defense Acquisition Board.

    Recommendation: To help reduce the number of costly and lengthy ADP acquisition programs, the Secretary of the Air Force should quickly take action to implement its regulations established to ensure that system requirements are adequately defined and alternative solutions are evaluated before approving and recommending acquisitions. Those evaluations should consider technological advances and limitations; requirements achievability, reasonableness, and cost-effectiveness; and acquisition schedule and affordability, so that the Air Force can assess whether the proposed acquisition will meet its needs. As part of his effort, the Secretary should pull back those programs competing for funding within the Department of Defense (DOD) where requirements and alternative solutions have not been adequately defined and considered.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Oct 11, 2018

Oct 10, 2018

Oct 9, 2018

Sep 24, 2018

Sep 20, 2018

Sep 10, 2018

Sep 6, 2018

Sep 5, 2018

Sep 4, 2018

Looking for more? Browse all our products here