'SARs'--Defense Department Reports That Should Provide More Information to the Congress

PSAD-80-37: Published: May 9, 1980. Publicly Released: May 9, 1980.

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Selected acquisition reports (SAR's) have become the key recurring summary reports on the progress of the Department of Defense's (DOD) most costly acquisition programs. SAR's are usually prepared for about 50 major weapon systems and are used by both Congress and top-level DOD managers in making decisions affecting those systems. However, important information which would be useful to management and which is called for by DOD Instructions is not being reported. GAO has continually worked with DOD and with congressional committees to improve SAR's.

GAO believes that SAR's should provide a full and objective disclosure of the status of major systems. DOD must make the SAR's short enough to be usable by people who have little time to review them, and yet the SAR's should present data that is complete, accurate, and not misleading. Although DOD may not want to include some of the information being recommended for inclusion because it detracts from an optimistic presentation of system capabilities, it is the kind of data that Congress needs to have in reviewing and funding programs.

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