Defense ADP:

A Coordinated Strategy Is Needed to Implement the CALS Initiative

IMTEC-91-54: Published: Sep 13, 1991. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) Computer-Aided Acquisition and Logistics Support (CALS) initiative to reduce the cost of maintenance and support by automating the millions of pages of technical data needed to support weapons systems.

GAO found that: (1) the potential benefits of CALS could be significant, especially in the repair and maintenance of weapons and procurement of spare parts; (2) individual projects are not separately identified in an overall plan or budget, making it difficult to determine how much is being spent on CALS; (3) there are numerous projects ongoing or planned by the services, totalling more than $5.2 billion, but it is not clear how those projects relate to overall CALS goals or to each other; (4) the centralized CALS policy and decentralized implementation approach was intended to stimulate CALS development in as many areas as possible, but the lack of an overall plan resulted in the services' differing opinions on what CALS should be, what it should encompass, and how it should be implemented; (5) during the past 5 years, DOD made progress in developing standards for exchange of CALS-compliant data, which are essential if DOD is to receive and use technical data from different computer systems; and (6) clear goals and a DOD-wide plan would focus CALS efforts to eliminate redundancy and duplication, build standard systems where practical, and ensure that the funds available for CALS development and implementation are optimized.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD prepared a cursory plan for CALS implementation, but it did not contain sufficient detail to effectively manage the program. Responsibility for CALS implementation has been shifted to the DOD Joint Logistics Systems Center. GAO will address the intent of this recommendation as part of its ongoing work at the Center.

    Recommendation: Because of the tremendous potential benefits of CALS to almost every aspect of weapons systems support, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that ongoing actions to develop a coordinated, Defense-wide CALS implementation plan with clearly stated objectives and measurable milestones for completing those objectives are completed. Such an implementation plan should include: (1) specific target dates for completing CALS technical data exchange standards for DOD and a decision for determining when each standard is ready to be required in weapons systems contracts; (2) a clear description of the relationship between ongoing and planned CALS projects and CALS overall objectives; (3) clear areas of responsibility for each of the services and the Defense Logistics Agency with an emphasis on the development of common automated systems that conform to CALS standards; and (4) clear lines of responsibility and authority within the Office of the Secretary of Defense for central direction and budgetary control of the services' efforts to implement CALS.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD agreed to incorporate CALS under the CIM initiative, i.e., better coordinate CALS projects across DOD. As a first step, it cancelled an $800-million CALS project and rolled the requirements into an ongoing Army CALS project.

    Recommendation: To facilitate coordination, oversight, and control of CALS initiatives, DOD should follow through on the actions it has underway to manage CALS as part of the DOD Corporate Information Management (CIM) program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD has not specifically addressed this recommendation, nor has Congress directed that the information technology budgets separately designate CALS projects. GAO will continue to pursue the intent of this recommendation informally as it assists the pertinent committees in improving the information technology budget exhibits.

    Recommendation: To facilitate coordination, oversight, and control of CALS initiatives, the Secretary of Defense should clearly designate all CALS automation projects, including those associated with weapons systems development programs, in annual information technology budget exhibits.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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