Battlefield Automation:

Army Land Warrior Program Acquisition Strategy May Be Too Ambitious

NSIAD-96-190: Published: Sep 11, 1996. Publicly Released: Sep 11, 1996.

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Louis J. Rodrigues
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GAO reviewed the Army's Land Warrior System, focusing on: (1) various technology and human factor problems associated with system development; (2) the Army's acquisition strategy; and (3) the Army's plans to integrate the system with the digital battlefield.

GAO found that: (1) the Army has not adequately addressed several technical and human factor problems identified during system development, which include the Land Warrior's failure to perform as well as standard-equipped soldiers, cognitive and physical soldier overload, adverse psychological effects on soldiers, the equipment's electromagnetic signature emission and cumbersome configuration, other health and safety issues, the lack of prototypes for early operational experimentation tests, and overlaps in development and operational testing; (2) the Army estimates that program procurement costs could exceed $1.4 billion; (3) the Army has incorrectly classified the program and, therefore, it does not receive appropriate management oversight; (4) although the Army has accelerated production and deployment, it has not yet determined how many Land Warrior systems will be needed for each unit equipped, which soldiers should receive Land Warrior equipment, or what equipment each soldier should carry; (5) the Army has not demonstrated that the Land Warrior equipment can integrate into the digital battlefield because prototypes have not been available for testing; (6) the Army plans to field Land Warrior systems before other digital battlefield hardware and software components have been proven effective; and (7) the Army is working on synchronizing the fielding of Land Warrior applications with other digital battlefield elements.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army Acquisition Objective was finalized in March 1998. Beginning in fiscal year 2000, program officials have taken steps to address recommendations 2 through 4. The System MANPRINT Management Plan identified 15 issues that cannot be addressed until design configuration is final and Initial Operational Test and Evaluation is complete. Prior to development testing, Land Warrior must demonstrate integration into the digitized battlefield in the Digital Integration Laboratory at CECOM. The integration effort will then be verified during Land Warrior developmental testing and Initial Operational Test and Evaluation. To outperform the Soldier Integrated Protective Ensemble (SIPE)-equipped soldier, continuing system refinement will be needed before going into production.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should defer or restrict the purchase of Land Warrior systems until the Army: (1) determines the Army acquisition objective; (2) resolves critical technical and human factor problems; (3) demonstrates successful digital battlefield integration with prototype systems; and (4) ensures that Land Warrior-equipped soldiers will outperform standard-equipped soldiers in head-to-head testing.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On January 13, 1997, the Army Acquisition Executive designated the Land Warrior as an ACAT II program.

    Recommendation: Because the cost to equip the contingency corps could exceed $1.4 billion, the Secretary of the Army should ensure that Land Warrior receives the monitoring and oversight appropriate for an Acquisition Category II major weapons system.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army


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