Electronic Warfare:

Multiple Developments of Costly Threat Simulators

NSIAD-88-93: Published: Feb 1, 1988. Publicly Released: Feb 1, 1988.

Additional Materials:


Louis J. Rodrigues
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GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) simulator program, specifically the: (1) need for the armed services to avoid paying for the development of duplicate simulators; and (2) acquisition of simulators which misrepresent Soviet threat systems.

GAO found that: (1) the armed services are paying for multiple development of simulators for emitter-receiver processors (ERP) and emitters; (2) total ERP development costs exceeded $560 million, while emitter program costs exceeded $600 million; (3) a perceived lack of authority within DOD for managing the services' simulator programs and the services' desire to control their separate programs contributed to multiple ERP development; and (4) the Joint Executive Committee on Air Defense Threat Simulators and its agent committee have attempted to develop cooperation among the services without much success. GAO also found that: (1) 35 of 46 simulators it examined deviated substantially from estimates of the threat characteristics and affected system range, accuracy, and resistance to countermeasures; and (2) the services were accepting deficient simulators without review by or approval from potential users.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: New charters were drawn up detailing the authority and responsibility of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) overview committees. It gives one committee a management role rather than just oversight. This committee will control all funds for threat simulator development in the future, eliminating separate service accounts.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should ensure that EXCOM and Crossbow-S, or other appropriate DOD elements, execute responsibility and authority for centrally managing simulator programs to provide for timely identification and consolidation of simulator requirements and for disapproval of programs representing unwarranted development.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The services are reviewing and revising internal simulator development, testing, and acceptance to comply with Office of the Secretary of Defense simulator validation procedures. The Air Force developed a standardized process that will be staffed with all services. Navy implementation was completed with publication of the Navy Air Defense Threat Simulator Validation Procedures Manual.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the services to strengthen internal controls over simulator acquisitions by segregating responsibilities for development, testing, and acceptance of simulators as valid representations of the threat.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The DOD EXCOM committee now has responsibility to provide management, policy, guidance, and program approval for all DOD threat simulator development and acquisition programs. Arm of EXCOM, Crossbow-S, will develop standard simulator validation criteria, review validation test results, and provide technical advice to EXCOM for rendering judgements on the adequacy of the simulators.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should assign to an appropriate DOD element the responsibility for monitoring the quality of simulators acquired and participating in the acquisition process as necessary to ensure the adequacy of simulators.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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