Actions Needed to Ensure Advanced High Frequency Radios Interoperate

NSIAD-89-84: Published: Mar 20, 1989. Publicly Released: Apr 7, 1989.

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Louis J. Rodrigues
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GAO reviewed the military services' efforts to develop and acquire new high-frequency radio systems and improvements necessary for the systems to meet Department of Defense (DOD) interoperability standards.

GAO found that: (1) DOD needed to improve testing and implementation of its interoperability standards, since the Air Force Automatic Communications Processor and the Army Short-Term Antijam (STAJ) System would begin production in 1989, but had no planned interoperability tests; (2) the contractor's informal testing revealed that the systems might not interoperate in the antijam mode; (3) the Army and the Air Force planned to procure large amounts of automatic link establishment (ALE) equipment to automate manual functions before incorporating the interoperability standard; (4) because the Air Force was developing an advanced modem without incorporating interoperability standards, the modem might not interoperate with other advanced modems developed for Army radios, even though the Army's advanced modems were interoperable; and (5) any changes required to make the systems interoperable would likely result in additional retrofit costs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army killed the STAJ program based on implementation costs and budget restrictions. DOD directed all current and future radio systems incorporate interoperability standards.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to: (1) delay procurement of STAJ until the antijam standard is incorporated and tested for interoperability with the Automatic Communications Processor; and (2) delay or limit production of STAJ to the minimum amount practical until the ALE standard is incorporated and tested.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense: (1) significantly reduced ACP procurement until standard is incorporated and tested; and (2) notified the Air Force to incorporate interoperability standards into its advanced modem effort.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to: (1) limit Automatic Communications Processor production to the minimum amount practicable until the ALE interoperability standard is incorporated and tested; and (2) ensure the Air Force advanced modem development effort incorporates interoperability requirements with other advanced modems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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