Tactical Intelligence:

Accelerated Joint STARS Ground Station Acquisition Strategy Is Risky

NSIAD-96-71: Published: May 23, 1996. Publicly Released: May 23, 1996.

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Louis J. Rodrigues
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GAO reviewed the Department of the Army's test and acquisition plans for the Common Ground Station (CGS), the fifth version of the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) ground station modules (GSM).

GAO found that: (1) the Army planned to purchase 22 CGS in two years of low-rate initial production (LRIP) at a cost of $138 million, but it now plans to procure 34 CGS systems; (2) the Army has neither demonstrated an urgent need for CGS nor proved that the expected benefits from accelerated procurement outweigh its risks; (3) by 1998, the Army will need at least four CGS to complete operational test and evaluation; (4) since earlier versions of CGS have not tested well or completed an operational test and evaluation, the Army's acceleration of CGS LRIP increases the risk of procuring a costly and ineffective system; and (5) because the Army is only required to purchase one CGS in the second year of LRIP, it could significantly reduce system costs by procuring fewer systems in the early stages of the contract.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Congressional consideration occured.

    Matter: In light of DOD's unwillingness to have the Army revise its acquisition strategy for CGS, Congress may wish to take the actions necessary to limit the number of CGS systems to be procured under LRIP prior to the CGS successfully completing operational testing.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: In commenting on the report, DOD stated that, while the Army can save money on the acquisition of CGS by implementing the recommendation, it was never DOD's intention to go below funded requirements. It further stated that the CGS LRIP quantities are not excessive, and that they provide articles for testing, continue the production process, and serve the user's need to field the system. DOD does not plan to implement the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to limit the future system procurement to the minimum quantity necessary to maintain the CGS contract (i.e., one system in each contract option year) until CGS has successfully completed its OT&E.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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