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    Subject Term: "Fighter aircraft"

    8 publications with a total of 24 open recommendations including 1 priority recommendation
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in coordination with the F-35 Program Executive Officer, should revise sustainment plans to ensure that they include the key requirements and decision points needed to fully implement the F-35 sustainment strategy and aligned funding plans to meet those requirements. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in coordination with the F-35 Program Executive Officer, should re-examine the metrics that it will use to hold the contractor accountable under the fixed-price, performance-based contracts to ensure that such metrics are objectively measurable, are fully reflective of processes over which the contractor has control, and drive desired behaviors by all stakeholders. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in coordination with the F-35 Program Executive Officer, should, prior to entering into multi-year, fixed-price, performance-based contracts, ensure that DOD has sufficient knowledge of the actual costs of sustainment and technical characteristics of the aircraft after baseline development is complete and the system reaches maturity. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in coordination with the F-35 Program Executive Officer, should take steps to improve communication with the services and provide more information about how the F-35 sustainment costs they are being charged relate to the capabilities received. (Recommendation 4)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Michael J. Sullivan
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD adequately prioritizes its resources to finish F-35 baseline development and delivers all of the promised warfighting capabilities and that Congress is fully informed when making fiscal year 2018 budget decisions, the Secretary of Defense should reassess the additional cost and time needed to complete developmental testing using historical program data.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency has not taken any action to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD adequately prioritizes its resources to finish F-35 baseline development and delivers all of the promised warfighting capabilities and that Congress is fully informed when making fiscal year 2018 budget decisions, the Secretary of Defense should delay the issuance of the Block 4 development request for proposals at least until developmental testing is complete and all associated capabilities have been verified to work as intended.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency has not taken any action to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD adequately prioritizes its resources to finish F-35 baseline development and delivers all of the promised warfighting capabilities and that Congress is fully informed when making fiscal year 2018 budget decisions, the Secretary of Defense should finalize the details of DOD and contractor investments associated with an economic order quantities (EOQ) purchase in fiscal year 2018, and submit a report to Congress with the fiscal year 2018 budget request that clearly identifies the details, including costs and benefits of the finalized EOQ approach.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency partially concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that annual training plans are aligned with the Air Force's stated goals to ensure that its forces can successfully achieve missions across a broad range of current and emerging threats, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to comprehensively reassess the assumptions underlying its annual training requirements--including, but not limited to, the total annual training requirements by aircraft, the criteria for designating aircrews as experienced or inexperienced, and the mix between live and simulator training--and make any appropriate adjustments in future training plans.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Air Force has taken steps to address this recommendation. As of August 2017, Air Force officials identified a recently completed study, as well as an ongoing study, intended to reassess the assumptions underlying its annual training requirements for fighter aircrews. For example, Air Force officials stated a study was completed in August 2017 reassessing the criteria for designating aircrews as experienced or inexperienced for 4th generation fighter aircraft. In addition, Air Force officials stated that there is an ongoing study to define the optimum mix of annual training requirements for fighter aircrews. These officials stated that an initial briefing of the study results will be provided to Air Force senior leaders in September 2017. Completion of these studies and the corresponding adjustments to annual training requirements should help the Air Force ensure that their training plans are aligned to achieve a range of missions for current and emerging threats as recommended by GAO in its September 2016 report.
    Recommendation: To improve the Air Force's ability to consistently monitor training results and better position it to allocate resources to address factors that limit the effectiveness of training, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to establish desired learning objectives and training support elements needed to accomplish the training expectations in its annual Ready Aircrew Program tasking memorandums, and develop a process to collect data to assess the effectiveness of annual training against these features.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, no executive action has been taken. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the Air Force's ability to develop the capabilities needed to meet its virtual training needs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to continue to refine its planning for virtual training to incorporate the desirable characteristics of a comprehensive strategy, including developing a risk-based investment strategy that identifies and prioritizes capability needs and includes a time line for addressing them.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Air Force has taken steps to address this recommendation. As of August 2017, Air Force officials stated that the service is in the process of updating its Air Force Operational Training Infrastructure 2035 Flight Plan. This plan will be accompanied by an infrastructure funding strategy and classified supplement. These officials stated that among these three documents the Air Force will incorporate all of the desirable characteristics of a comprehensive strategy. Air Force officials estimate that these documents will be finalized in the fall of 2017. Completion of these documents should help the Air Force incorporate the desirable characteristics of a comprehensive strategy and better enable the Air Force to acquire virtual training devices based on sound requirements and priorities, as recommended by GAO in its September 2016.
    Director: John H. Pendleton
    Phone: (202) 512-3489

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To make a well-informed decision about the future of its A-10 aircraft, before again recommending divestment of the A-10, the Secretary of the Air Force should: (1) Develop quality information that fully identifies gaps in capacity or capability that would result from A-10 divestment, including the timing and duration of any identified gaps, and the risks associated with those gaps; and (2) Use that information to develop strategies to mitigate any identified gaps.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To further inform decisions about the future of the A-10, the Secretary of the Air Force should, in considering divestment, develop a high-quality, reliable cost estimate utilizing best practices.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure that senior leaders have the quality information on which to base future force structure decisions, the Secretary of Defense should develop and promulgate department-wide guidance that establishes specific informational requirements to be met before proposing divestment of major weapon systems that have not reached the end of their expected service lives.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Michael J. Sullivan
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to ensure that proper statutory and regulatory oversight mechanisms are in place and to increase transparency into a major new investment in the F-35 program, the Secretary of Defense should hold a Milestone B review and manage F-35 Block 4 as a separate and distinct Major Defense Acquisition Program with its own acquisition program baseline and regular cost, schedule, and performance reports to the Congress.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD did not concur with GAO's recommendation and the agency has not taken any action to implement this recommendation. However, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 which mandated that the Secretary of Defense may not award any follow-on modernization development contracts for the F-35 until the Secretary has submitted a report that contains the basic elements of an acquisition program baseline for Block 4 modernization. This report should include elements such as cost estimates, schedule estimates, technical performance parameters and technology readiness levels that are typical of an acquisition program baseline. The Secretary is also required to update this report annually for the congressional defense committees. DOD currently plans to issue the Block 4 modernization report in late calendar year 2017.
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that risks associated with ALIS are addressed expediently and holistically, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer to improve the reliability of its cost estimates, conduct uncertainty and sensitivity analyses consistent with cost-estimating best practices identified in GAO's Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD officials, the F-35 Program regularly performs sensitivity analysis in its cost estimates. The F-35 Cost Team runs drills throughout the year on varying ground rules and assumptions for all elements of the sustainment Annual Cost Estimate (ACE), including ALIS cost elements. These drills are used to assess cost impacts of various proposed requirements changes from the F-35 Program Office and the Services. The cost models capture the sensitivity of those technical baseline changes and the F-35 Program Office and Services use those results to inform the final technical baseline definition that becomes the basis of the annual estimate update. Although these measures are regularly performed, they do not constitute a direct uncertainty or sensitivity analysis on ALIS itself. For that reason, as of September 2017, this recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To ensure that risks associated with ALIS are addressed expediently and holistically, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer to improve the reliability of its cost estimates, ensure that future estimates of ALIS costs use historical data as available and reflect significant program changes consistent with cost-estimating best practices identified in GAO's Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD officials, as part of the cost estimating processes in the F-35 Program Office, the sustainment Annual Cost Estimate does incorporate the latest available historical cost data and reflects the latest approved technical baseline. For example, the latest hardware procurement costs from the most recent annual contracts for the F-35 were incorporated into the 2016 Annual Cost Estimate update as were the manpower assembly installation costs based on final delivered item prices. Although these are positive measures for the program and the cost estimate, the program has not incorporated a range of potential future costs that may better reflect actual ALIS costs. Until this step is taken, the recommendation will remain open.
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    6 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help DOD develop an affordable sustainment strategy for the F-35, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics to direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer to establish affordability constraints linked to, and informed by, military service budgets that will help guide sustainment decisions, prioritize requirements, and identify additional areas for savings by March 2015, at which point the Future Support Construct decision will be approved.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation and stated in April 2017 that the F-35 Program Executive Officer and the F-35 enterprise have expanded their collaborative effort to reduce F-35 operating and support (O&S) costs to ensure that they deliver affordable readiness for the F-35 fleet. In an effort to reduce overall O&S costs, the department has undertaken several initiatives. For example, according to DOD, as of January 2017, a program office "cost war room" initiative had reduced the 2012 F-35 annual cost estimate by $60.7 billion. Additionally, according to DOD, a Reliability and Maintainability Improvement Program has resulted in a $1.7 billion O&S cost avoidance through the program's life cycle. Other efforts are also under way that aim to help reduce O&S costs by better informing sustainment decision-making. While the department is taking steps to try to reduce overall O&S costs, the program has yet to develop affordability constraints linked to the military services' budgets. Without affordability constraints that are linked to military service budgets, it remains unclear the extent to which the military services can afford to operate and sustain the F-35 throughout its life cycle as currently planned.
    Recommendation: To help DOD address key risks to F-35 affordability and operational readiness, and to improve the reliability of its O&S cost estimates for the life cycle of the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer, to enable DOD to better identify, address, and mitigate performance issues with the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) that could have an effect on affordability, as well as readiness, to establish a performance-measurement process for ALIS that includes, but is not limited to, performance metrics and targets that (1) are based on intended behavior of the system in actual operations and (2) tie system performance to user requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD officials, the ALIS Integrated Product Team (IPT) is continuing to work with the Joint Program Office's Performance Based Logistics (PBL) team to further develop and refine appropriate metrics for inclusion into future sustainment contracts. Although DOD has made progress in developing performance metrics for ALIS, as of September 2017, DOD has yet to develop metrics that are based on intended behavior of the system and tie system performance to user requirements. Until this progression is made, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To help DOD address key risks to F-35 affordability and operational readiness, and to improve the reliability of its O&S cost estimates for the life cycle of the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer, to develop a high level of confidence that the aircraft will achieve its R+M goals, to develop a software reliability and maintainability (R+M) assessment process, with metrics, by which the program can monitor and determine the effect that software issues may have on overall F-35 R+M issues.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has an R&M assessment process in place, but as of September 2017, had not developed a process that would focus directly on software reliability and maintainability. Until DOD develops a process more focused on software and its effects on overall R&M issues, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To help DOD address key risks to F-35 affordability and operational readiness, and to improve the reliability of its O&S cost estimates for the life cycle of the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer, to promote competition, address affordability, and inform its overarching sustainment strategy, to develop a long-term Intellectual Property (IP) Strategy to include, but not be limited to, the identification of (1) current levels of technical data rights ownership by the federal government and (2) all critical technical data needs and their associated costs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has still not developed an overall strategy that would identify data rights ownership, needs, and costs. As of September 2017, the program had taken some steps to develop an Intellectual Property Strategy, but has not identified all critical needs and their associated costs. Program office officials said that they are currently working with the prime contractor to develop a list of technical data requirements. Until this strategy is developed, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To help DOD address key risks to F-35 affordability and operational readiness, and to improve the reliability of its O&S cost estimates for the life cycle of the program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the F-35 Program Executive Officer, to understand the potential range of costs associated with the JPO F-35 O&S cost estimate, to conduct uncertainty analyses on future JPO estimates.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, DOD had not applied risk/uncertainty analyses to its cost estimates. Until it does so, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability of the CAPE F-35 O&S cost estimate, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of CAPE, for future F-35 O&S cost estimates, to conduct uncertainty analyses to understand the potential range of costs associated with its estimates to reflect the most likely costs associated with the program.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD officials, the Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) has not updated its F-35 estimate subsequent to the release of GAO-14-778. Pending a major program change, CAPE will update the F-35 O&S estimate for the full-rate production decision point in the second quarter of fiscal year 2019. Until CAPE updates its F-35 estimate, we will not be able to determine if they will perform any uncertainty analyses on its cost estimate; therefore, this recommendation will remain open as of September 1, 2017.
    Director: Thomas Melito
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the efficiency and accountability of the emergency food aid procurement process, the Secretary of Agriculture and Administrator of USAID should direct their staffs to work together to take steps to improve USDA's ability to account for U.S. government funds by ensuring that USAID provides USDA with accurate prepositioned commodity inventory data that USDA can independently verify.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2017, USAID provided us with a statement of work to develop a prepositioning tracking system to track commodity inventory data. As of November 2017, the new system has yet to be operational.
    Recommendation: To improve the efficiency and accountability of the emergency food aid procurement process, the Secretary of Agriculture and Administrator of USAID should direct their staffs to work together to take steps to improve USDA's ability to account for U.S. government funds by ensuring that USAID provides USDA with accurate prepositioned commodity inventory data that USDA can independently verify.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2017, USAID provided us with a statement of work to develop a prepositioning tracking system to track commodity inventory data. As of November 2017, the new system has yet to be operational.