Battlefield AutomationArmy Needs to Update Fielding Plan for First Digitized Corps Gao ID: NSIAD-00-167 July 25, 2000
The Army plans to field new and improved battlefield systems through its digitization initiative, which involves the application of information technologies to acquire, exchange, and employ timely information on the battlefield. Use of digitization on the battlefield is expected to increase the Army's survivability, lethality, and tempo of operations. Analysis of the acquisition status of the 56 Category 2 systems, which generally involve the fielding of new or enhanced battle platforms, such as the Crusader howitzer, Abrams tank, and Bradley Fighting Vehicle, indicated that about 30 percent of the systems are already fielded or likely to be by the 2004 fielding milestone, about 50 percent may not be ready, and 20 percent will not be ready. Systems may not be ready because development schedules are not consistent with the 2004 milestone, operational testing has not been done, or interoperability demonstrations have not been completed. Funding shifts or development schedules that are not matched to the fielding milestone will cause some systems not be ready. However, organizational decisions are being made based on the assumption that these systems will be ready by 2004. GAO recommends that the Army prepare an annual acquisition status report that identifies when each Category 2 system is expected to be fielded and alternative fielding strategies focused on what is needed to successfully establish the first digitized corps by the end of 2004.
GAO noted that: (1) the analysis of the acquisition status of the 56 Category 2 systems indicates that about 30 percent of the systems are already fielded or likely to be ready by the 2004 fielding milestone, about 50 percent may not be ready, and about 20 percent will not be ready; (2) the systems that are likely to be ready include a small number of systems already fielded and others expected to be fielded by 2004; (3) other systems may not be ready because development schedules are not consistent with the year 2004 milestone, operational testing has not been performed, or interoperability demonstrations have not been completed; (4) also, there are systems that will not be ready because of funding shifts or development schedules that are not matched to the fielding milestone; (5) based on Army projections, the 56 Category 2 systems will require signigicant investment--total estimated development and procurement funding needs are $4 billion for fiscal year 2001 and $4.4 billion for fiscal year 2002; (6) because of the uncertain availability of most of the 56 Category 2 systems by 2004, GAO is concerned that organizational decisions are being made on the assumption that these systems will be ready by 2004; and (7) for example, GAO observed that the Army had already made decisions to reduce the number of soldiers needed to fulfill missions, based on the expected benefits of some of the 56 Category 2 systems, even though these systems are still only being developed or tested.Recommendations
Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.Director: Team: Phone: