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Highlights

Through 2011, the Department of Defense (DOD) plans to spend $20 billion on unmanned aircraft systems, including the Army's "Warrior." Because of congressional concerns that some systems have been more costly and taken more time to produce than predicted, GAO reviewed the Warrior program. This report (1) describes the Army's requirements underlying its decision to acquire Warrior instead of existing systems such as the Air Force's Predator, and (2) assesses whether the Army has established a sound acquisition strategy for the Warrior program.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of the Army 1. The Army should not approve long-lead items for Warrior low-rate initial production until it can clearly demonstrate that the program is proceeding based on accumulated knowledge and not a predetermined schedule. In particular, prior to approving the Warrior long-lead items for low-rate initial production, the Secretary of the Army should require that critical Warrior technologies are fully mature and demonstrated.
Closed - Not Implemented
The Department of Defense non-concurred with this recommendation and stated that it would use back-up technologies if the planned technologies were not ready for integration into the Warrior unmanned aircraft. The Department stated that, in accordance with DOD guidance, it believes technology readiness levels are adequate due to existence of a planned and funded program and availability of back-up technologies. In addition, the Army has already approved long-lead items for low-rate initial production; therefore the recommendation can no longer be implemented.
Department of the Army 2. The Army should not approve long-lead items for Warrior low-rate initial production until it can clearly demonstrate that the program is proceeding based on accumulated knowledge and not a predetermined schedule. In particular, prior to approving the Warrior long-lead items for low-rate initial production, the Secretary of the Army should require that Warrior design integration is complete and at least 90 percent of design drawings be completed and released to manufacturing.
Closed - Implemented
The Department of Defense concurred with this recommendation and said that it will seek to obtain at least 90 percent of engineering drawings completed and released to manufacturing before purchasing long-lead parts for Warrior. GAO will continue to track this program to determine if the Department proceeded accordingly.
Department of the Army 3. The Army should not approve long-lead items for Warrior low-rate initial production until it can clearly demonstrate that the program is proceeding based on accumulated knowledge and not a predetermined schedule. In particular, prior to approving the Warrior long-lead items for low-rate initial production, the Secretary of the Army should require that fully-integrated Warrior developmental aircraft are fabricated and involved in development testing.
Closed - Not Implemented
The Department of Defense non-concurred with this recommendation and stated that it believes other methods will mitigate design and performance risks. The Army is fabricating and will test Warrior prototypes, but they will not be fully integrated versions. In addition, the Army has already approved long-lead items for low-rate initial production; therefore the recommendation can no longer be implemented.

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