Battlefield AutomationArmy's Restructured Land Warrior Program Needs More Oversight Gao ID: NSIAD-00-28 December 15, 1999
The Land Warrior Program is the Army's effort to equip soldiers on the battlefield with digitalized systems that will allow them to locate friendly and enemy soldiers and improve communication with higher commands. The system is comprised of a computer/radio, weapon, and helmet-mounted display eyepiece that are linked together for sending messages (voice and data) and imagery between soldiers and other battlefield systems. It also includes protective clothing, body armor, and a carrying harness to support the weight of the equipment. GAO found that the system will not be fielded by September 2000 because crucial technologies could not be developed in time. The estimated cost to acquire 34,000 units has risen from $1.4 billion to $2.1 billion. Oversight of the Land Warrior program has been lax. GAO found that oversight responsibility in the Army remained unchanged despite development problems that threatened to lengthen the acquisition schedule and the inability of system prototypes to pass certification tests. At present, Land Warrior will not operate with a key digitized battlefield system. Moreover, the Land Warrior Program has not solved technical and human factor problems that may render the system ineffective. These problems include overweight equipment, inadequate battery power, poor load-carrying design, and electromagnetic interference.
GAO noted that: (1) the Land Warrior system will not be fielded by September 2000 because Land Warrior technologies could not be developed in time; (2) the estimated cost of acquiring 34,000 units, including research, development, test, evaluation, and procurement, has increased from $1.4 billion to $2.1 billion; (3) although originally planning to use only mature technologies to permit expeditious fielding, the Army's design incorporated technologies that had to be developed specifically for Land Warrior, the effect of which has been to extend development and delay fielding until fiscal year 2004; (4) oversight of the Land Warrior program is not sufficient based on its projected development costs; (5) despite its claim that the Land Warrior is urgently needed, the Army grouped Land Warrior with less complex and less costly acquisitions, resulting in the program receiving routine Army attention; (6) oversight responsibility remained unchanged despite development problems that threatened to lengthen the acquisition schedule and the inability of system prototypes to pass certification tests; (7) at present, Land Warrior will not operate with a key digitized battlefield system - Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below - the Army's principal digital command and control system at and below brigade level; (8) Army officials obtained a waiver which allowed them to defer developing the necessary software to make Land Warrior able to interoperate with Battle Command Brigade and Below until after the Land Warrior equipment is fielded; (9) to be effective, Land Warrior must be able to transmit data to and receive data from higher command levels, thereby providing the soldier with a relevant common picture of the battlefield and ensuring an integrated communications link from soldier to higher command; (10) this link as not been established; (11) according to program officials, the waiver was needed because Land Warrior computer architecture is not compatible with Battle Command Brigade and Below software; (12) the Land Warrior program manager contends the most recent program revision will achieve the desired operability, without the need for a waiver, but concedes that considerable hardware and software development will be needed before this can be assured; (13) the Land Warrior Program has not resolved technical and human factor problems that may render the system ineffective; and (14) the Land Warrior system design has not been sufficiently field-tested to ensure that old problems have been resolved and new ones have been avoided.Recommendations
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