Need for More Accurate Weapon System Test Results To Be Reported to the Congress

PSAD-79-46: Published: Mar 9, 1979. Publicly Released: Mar 9, 1979.

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The Department of Defense submits annual reports to Congress that include results of operational tests and evaluations on new major weapon systems for which procurement funds are requested. These reports, called Congressional Data Sheets, enable members of Congress to make procurement decisions. Operational testing aids in predicting how well new weapon systems will work and identifies ineffective or unreliable systems before they are produced.

The results of the tests and evaluations of 10 Navy and 5 Air Force weapon systems contained in the Data Sheets reviewed by GAO were found to be incomplete, misleading, and/or outdated. The three Army systems selected for review had deficiencies identified during recent operational testing; however, those test results were satisfactorily reported on the Data Sheets. The following factors have contributed to inaccurate reporting of test results to Congress: reviewers at higher levels often omit or change the Congressional Data Sheets prepared by independent test agencies; the reports are not updated between the annual reporting periods; and the Department of Defense has not provided sufficient instructions regarding the type of information required in Congressonal Data Sheets.

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