Communications Acquisition:

Army Needs to Ensure Economy in SINCGARS Radio Procurement

NSIAD-91-119: Published: Jun 21, 1991. Publicly Released: Jul 3, 1991.

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Louis J. Rodrigues
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the: (1) Army's dual-source acquisition strategy for the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS); and (2) potential impact of emerging technologies on SINCGARS quantity requirements.

GAO found that: (1) the Army plans to award a sole-source contract to prevent a break in production while another contractor completes its current contract; (2) limiting procurement of radios under the sole-source contract could provide the Army with the opportunity to later competitively buy more of the best radios at the lowest possible price; (3) the Army believes that the dual-source acquisition strategy still remains valid, because SINCGARS quantity requirements exceeded the manufacturing capabilities of one contractor, relying on one contractor for completion of SINCGARS would delay the short-term requirement, and SINCGARS start-up costs had already been spent; (4) the reduction of the threat in Europe resulted in a reduction in the size of SINCGARS war reserves, and reductions in the Army's quantity requirements for active forces and the continued easing of East-West tensions may lead to further reductions; (5) since the potential for cost savings from dual sourcing declines as quantities decrease, the Army may wish to reevaluate its dual-source acquisition strategy for SINCGARS; and (6) the Army believes that advances in communications and electronics technology in fiscal year 1990 could require the development of a new combat net radio.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD believes that such a limit would, in turn, limit its flexibility. Congress seems to agree with the DOD plan to field new radios as soon as possible.

    Recommendation: To obtain the benefits of increased competition between ITT and General Dynamics, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to limit the procurement of ITT radios under the sole-source contract to the current annual production rate of 12,000 radios.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The ongoing review has already reduced the requirement from 256,000 radios to 213,000 radios. An accomplishment report will be processed.

    Recommendation: Because of the many changes that could affect the requirements for SINCGARS, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to evaluate the impact of these changes on the requirements for the SINCGARS radio. This evaluation should address how further changes in the force structure, as well as the introduction of new technologies, could impact on the requirements of SINCGARS.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Reevaluation of dual source was completed and the Army will continue its strategy.

    Recommendation: If there are further reductions of SINCGARS, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to reevaluate its dual-source acquisition strategy.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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