Observations on Army's Plan To Buy an Electronic Video-Disc Delivery System

NSIAD-84-140: Published: Jul 11, 1984. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 1984.

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As part of its current review of the Army's program for developing soldier training materials, GAO inquired about Army plans to purchase about $140 million worth of electronic video-disc training systems. Over 80 percent of the equipment that the Army plans to buy is for use in the field.

According to Army officials, the new equipment will reduce the present volume of paper training materials and will provide: (1) a standard information delivery system with high density storage and rapid access capability to replace the paper and other existing audiovisual delivery systems; (2) the latest state-of-the-art in information delivery; and (3) interactive programmed instructions and simulation to the user. GAO is concerned that the decision to provide this large amount of training equipment was made even though the appropriate officials had not analyzed soldiers' past usage levels of training materials. The GAO review found data which indicated that soldiers do not use a large portion of available training extension course materials. GAO believes that the low usage levels may be more indicative of a lack of need for the training materials being furnished in the field than to a deficiency in the type of system used. Therefore, there may be little reason to believe that the acquisition of new video-disc equipment will result in increased training materials' usage.

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