Defense Acquisitions

Evaluation of Navy's Anti-Submarine Warfare Assessment Gao ID: NSIAD-99-85 July 12, 1999

Congress directed the Defense Department (DOD) to conduct an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) assessment because of concerns that ASW funding was falling relative to other Navy programs, that the Navy lacked a clear plan for identifying ASW requirements and funding priorities, and that ASW requirements were not being adequately considered in establishing the Navy's overall funding priorities. Congress directed that an assessment be done of ASW shortfalls and capabilities supported by rigorous analysis and the establishment of priorities among ASW programs. The Navy agreed to perform such a quantitative analysis. This report reviews (1) DOD's 1997 ASW assessment and (2) the role and the funding influence of the Navy's new Antisubmarine Warfare Requirements Division.

GAO noted that: (1) the ASW assessment concluded that proficiency had declined and that the programs and funding levels in the fiscal year (FY) 1999 budget, as proposed at the time of the assessment, provided for adequate equipment to respond to the most likely threats; (2) however, in providing its conclusions, the assessment notes concerns regarding the data available for its analysis; (3) the assessment noted that tools for quantitatively assessing ASW performance--particularly modeling and simulation tools--and available ASW studies and fleet exercise data are deficient; (4) much of the assessment's modeling data was based on open-ocean ASW rather than the more complex littoral environment where the Navy now believes the most likely threat exists; (5) in GAO's view, the assessment was not fully responsive to the conferees' direction because: (a) it was not supported by a rigorous analysis of ASW shortfalls and capabilities; (b) information to support the assessment's findings was not always complete; and (c) priorities among ASW programs were not established; (6) the Navy has subsequently provided Congress with an ASW Roadmap that places the ASW programs in one of three priority categories but does not identify program priorities within each category; (7) the absence of complete and reliable data--particularly on ASW operations in the littoral--and the absence of program priorities limit the assessment's value in making resource allocation decisions; (8) the ASW Requirements Division, which prepared the 1997 assessment, has sought to influence Navy ASW funding decisions in the FY 1999 and FY 2000 budget submissions through briefings and meetings with resource sponsors and senior Navy officials, including the Chief of Naval Operations; and (9) the division believes it has had some success in influencing decisions to fund early ASW-related research and development projects within the Office of Naval Research and to restore funding for a number of ASW programs whose funding had been reduced, deferred, or eliminated by platform divisions under the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Resources, Warfare Requirements, and Assessment.

The Justia Government Accountability Office site republishes public reports retrieved from the U.S. GAO These reports should not be considered official, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Justia.