DOD Manufacturing Technology Program--Management Is Improving But Benefits Hard To Measure

NSIAD-85-5: Published: Nov 30, 1984. Publicly Released: Nov 30, 1984.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the level of success of the Department of Defense's (DOD) Manufacturing Technology (MT) Program, which was established to improve defense productivity and reduce acquisition costs.

GAO found that DOD officials often differ in their opinions as to the results of the program. GAO believes that, to judge program effectiveness in a balanced way, the various views of the program's benefits should be considered together with the constant criterion of whether it is achieving its major objective. Current program planning and project selection processes and planned actions relative to those processes could significantly impact program effectiveness. However, the problem remains that evaluation approaches continue to be fragmented, inconsistent, and inconclusive because of the lack of guidance on how such efforts should be accomplished.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD does require, in an instruction issued May 24, 1985: (1) a plan for implementation before projects are approved; and (2) managers to maintain data on implemented projects. The implementation plan is not well-defined. If done well, DOD may go beyond the second part of this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should encourage greater use of the results of successful projects in defense production by: (1) establishing a DOD-wide system that requires acquisition managers and other appropriate parties, before projects are funded, to be aware of the anticipated benefits of proposed projects and to express a willingness to use the results; and (2) annually surveying selected DOD contractors for 5 years after completion of successful management technology projects to determine whether implementation in defense production actually occurs as intended.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The policy has been issued and monitoring requirements established. The accuracy of data submitted in the future and effectiveness of the monitoring is questionable.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should, to provide the basis for effective, consistent MT program evaluations, develop a policy specifying how and when projects should be evaluated, incorporate the policy into DOD program guidance, and monitor the services to ensure that the program evaluations are systematically made.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should establish specific target dates for attaining completion of the two DOD management initiatives aimed at improving Office of the Secretary of Defense leadership and oversight.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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