Military Communications:

Joint Tactical Information Distribution System Issues

NSIAD-93-16: Published: Nov 12, 1992. Publicly Released: Nov 12, 1992.

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Louis J. Rodrigues
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GAO reviewed the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS), focusing on requirement fluctuations, the production decision, and test results.

GAO found that: (1) the JTIDS program has experienced fluctuations in the quantity of terminals required; (2) the Air Force reversed its plans to equip F-15 aircraft with JTIDS terminals; (3) the Army virtually eliminated its involvement in the JTIDS program by reducing planned procurements from 700 terminals to 23 terminals; (4) in 1989, the Department of Defense (DOD) decided to begin low-rate initial production of JTIDS, even though unsatisfactory test and assessment results indicated that the system was not ready for production and operational testing staff recommended that production be delayed; (5) a joint Navy and Air Force decision in 1991 to continue low-rate production for a second year was not based on adequate testing; (6) in 1992, Navy operational testing revealed several significant system deficiencies; and (7) JTIDS cost-effectiveness is questionable because of the uncertainty associated with DOD joint system needs and priorities, unsatisfactory test results, and plans for the smaller, lighter weight, and less costly Multifunctional Information Distribution System.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: According to program officials, the full production decision by the Defense Acquisition Board has been delayed from February 1994 to February 1995. Because of program changes, any additional work on JTIDS or its follow-on system will be done under a separate assignment code.

    Matter: Congress should prohibit DOD from awarding additional JTIDS terminal contracts by denying future procurement requests until: (1) operational testing and evaluation demonstrates that the system meets its performance requirements; and (2) DOD rejustifies the system through a cost and operational effectiveness analysis of alternatives.


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