Tactical Operations System Development Program Should Not Continue as Planned

LCD-80-17: Published: Nov 20, 1979. Publicly Released: Nov 20, 1979.

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For 20 years the Army has been trying to develop a system that would use automation to assist battlefield commanders in making tactical command and control decisions. The current development of the Tactical Operations System (TOS), begun as a test bed in 1971, has not been very successful, because the Army overlooked key aspects of sound system management.

The Army has had more than sufficient time to implement sound management and system development practices. It seems that the TOS program will be forever evolving if information requirements are not clearly defined before proceeding with development. Plans to continue development by fielding one system in Europe will require over $100 million in additional funding. At best, this interim system can be expected to be rendered inadequate by corps-level requirements and system development efforts. Because the corps-level system presents an opportunity to provide a full identification of requirements and state-of-the-art technology, little would be gained from a developmental point of view by continuing with the division-level development effort at this time. Although there is a need for automated assistance to support command and control, it is the opinion of GAO that the Army is not in a position to make major commitments to division TOS. Since the ongoing corps-level study is intended to provide the design needed, the Army should not make investments in hardware or software until these requirements are known and the system design is established.

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