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Highlights

The services have billions of dollars worth of outdated and obsolete automatic test equipment (ATE) used to test components on military aircraft or weapon systems. Department of Defense (DOD) policy advocates the development and acquisition of test equipment that can be used on multiple types of weapon systems and aircraft and used interchangeably between the services. At the request of the Subcommittee's Chairman, GAO examined the problems that the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps are facing with this aging equipment and their efforts to comply with DOD policy.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense 1. The Secretary of Defense should reemphasize the policy that common ATE be developed to the maximum extent possible.
Closed - Implemented
On July 28, 2004, the Undersecretary of Defense (AT&L) issued a policy memo requiring Program Managers to use approved DOD ATS families as the preferred choice to satisfy automatic testing support requirements.
Department of Defense 2. The Secretary of Defense should reconsider whether placing its Executive Agent for ATE in the Navy--or any single service--is the most effective way to implement the policy.
Closed - Implemented
The Joint Service ATS EA Assessment Team completed it's review. The Navy will discontinue its role as the DOD Automatic Test Systems Executive Agent. The functions will continue under the Joint Services Automatic Test Systems Management Board (AMB). It was requested that NAVAIR PMA260, which served previously as the ATS Executive Agent's Office, be directed to continue the same functions as the Executive Directorate for the AMB
Department of Defense 3. Wherever the Executive Agent is placed organizationally, the Secretary of Defense should give it authority and resources to include representatives from all of the services, with a scope to include the oversight of ATE acquisition and modifications for all weapon systems.
Closed - Implemented
On February 2, 2004, the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Logistics Plans and Programs) stated that the actions of the Executive Agent will be implemented under a Joint Services Automatic Test Systems Management Board (AMB). In July 2004 a draft Joint Memorandum of Agreement among the Service Acquisition Executive was prepared and USD (AT&L) issued an over-arching AT&L policy memorandum on July 28, 2004. In November 2004, DOD reported that the joint Memorandum of Agreement among the Service Acquisition Executives was signed.
Department of Defense 4. Wherever the Executive Agent is placed organizationally, the Secretary of Defense should give it authority and resources to establish a mechanism to ensure that all ATE acquisitions and modernizations are identified in an early enough stage to be able to provide a comprehensive look at commonality and interoperability and to ensure a coordinated effort between service entities.
Closed - Implemented
On February 2, 2004, the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Logistics Plans and Programs) stated that the actions of the Executive Agent will be implemented under a Joint Services Automatic Test Systems Management Board (AMB). In July 2004 a draft Joint Memorandum of Agreement among the Service Acquisition Executive was prepared and USD (AT&L) issued an over-arching AT&L policy memorandum on July 28, 2004. In November 2004, DOD reported that the joint Memorandum of Agreement among the Service Acquisition Executives was signed.
Department of Defense 5. Wherever the Executive Agent is placed organizationally, the Secretary of Defense should give it authority and resources to direct the services to draw up modernization plans for its review so it can identify opportunities to maximize commonality and technology sharing between and within the services.
Closed - Implemented
On February 2, 2004, the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Logistics Plans and Programs) stated that the actions of the Executive Agent will be implemented under a Joint Services Automatic Test Systems Management Board (AMB). In July 2004 a draft Joint Memorandum of Agreement among the Service Acquisition Executive was prepared and USD (AT&L) issued an over-arching AT&L policy memorandum on July 28, 2004. In November 2004, DOD reported that the joint Memorandum of Agreement among the Service Acquisition Executives was signed.
Department of Defense 6. Wherever the Executive Agent is placed organizationally, the Secretary of Defense should give it authority and resources to continue efforts to research technical issues dealing with tester commonality such as the development of open system architecture and other joint service applications.
Closed - Implemented
On February 2, 2004, the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Logistics Plans and Programs) stated that the actions of the Executive Agent will be implemented under a Joint Services Automatic Test Systems Management Board (AMB). In July 2004 a draft Joint Memorandum of Agreement among the Service Acquisition Executive was prepared and USD (AT&L) issued an over-arching AT&L policy memorandum on July 28, 2004. In November 2004, DOD reported that the joint Memorandum of Agreement among the Service Acquisition Executives was signed.

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