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Systems Development and Production Issue Area Plan--Fiscal Years 1995-97

(Letter Report, 03/95, GAO/IAP-95-2)

GAO presented its Systems Development and Production issue area plan for
fiscal years 1995 through 1997, focusing on the: (1) justification for
new weapons systems; (2) development and acquisition of military weapons
systems; and (3) Department of Defense's (DOD) budgeting for its
procurement and research, development, test, and evaluation accounts.

GAO plans to: (1) determine whether the justifications for new and
modified weapons systems are reasonable and support the national
military strategy; (2) determine whether DOD and the services have
adequately considered meeting stated requirements through modifications
to current systems; (3) assess whether DOD has considered all cost
factors and reported these costs properly; (4) determine whether DOD and
the services have selected the lowest risk and least costly acquisition
strategies consistent with their need for the planned systems; (5)
determine whether selected acquisition strategies commit the government
to production before sufficient testing is completed; (6) ensure that
acquisition milestone decisions are timely and adequately supported; (7)
identify whether any technical problems affect system capability and
costs; (8) ensure the development of interrelated systems that provide
for ease of integration; (9) report any internal control weaknesses;
(10) identify items in the current budget requests that should be denied
or reduced; and (11) identify prior-year appropriations that should be

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

     TITLE:  Systems Development and Production Issue Area Plan--Fiscal 
             Years 1995-97
      DATE:  03/95
   SUBJECT:  Strategic planning
             Defense appropriations
             Defense procurement
             Research and development
             Research and development costs
             Ballistic missiles
             Mission budgeting
             Advanced weapons systems
             Internal controls
IDENTIFIER:  Trident C4 Missile
             DOD Ballistic Missile Defense Technology Applications 
             B-1B Aircraft
             Air Force Conventional Mission Upgrade Program
             F-22 Aircraft
             Chinook Helicopter
             Army Command and Control System
             Line-of-Sight Antitank Weapon
             DOD Theater Missile Defense Initiative
             C-17 Aircraft
             B-2 Aircraft
             Army Armored Gun System
             DOD Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Master Plan
             Airborne Warning and Control System
             Military Strategic and Tactical Relay Satellite 
             Communications System
             Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile
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================================================================ COVER

National Security and International Affairs Division

March 1995



=============================================================== ABBREV

  DOD -
  RDT&E -

============================================================ Chapter 0

The Systems Development and Production issue area is one of 35 issue
areas for which GAO periodically develops multiyear strategic plans. 
Relying heavily on input from congressional committees, as well as
industry, academia, and agency officials and other experts, GAO
develops issue area plans to ensure that our resources are focused on
the most important concerns of the Congress. 

For each issue area, GAO's strategic plan describes the significance
of the issues, our objectives, and the focus of our work.  GAO's goal
is to serve as a source of timely, accurate information and unbiased
analysis for decisionmakers in the Congress and executive agencies. 
Our work results in such products as reports, briefings, and

The Systems Development and Production issue area reviews programs of
the Department of Defense (DOD), the individual military services,
and other supporting defense agencies.  Its work focuses on (1) the
justification for new systems, (2) development and acquisition (or
major modification) of military weapon systems, and (3) DOD's
budgeting for its procurement and research, development, test and
evaluation (RDT&E) accounts.  The principal issues we cover are

  the adequacy of the justifications for systems selected for
     development or modification;

  the efficient, effective, and economical acquisition of systems;

  assurance that funds budgeted for procurement and for research,
     development, test, and evaluation can be and should be spent as

In the pages that follow, we describe our key planned work on these

Because events may significantly affect even the best of plans, our
planning process allows for updating the plan and responding quickly
to emerging issues.  If you have any questions or suggestions about
this plan, please call me at (202) 512-4841. 

Louis J.  Rodrigues
Systems Development and Production Issues

============================================================ Chapter 1

---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1:1


---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1:2


---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1:3


---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1:4


============================================================ Chapter 2

Issue                         Significance
----------------------------  --------------------------------------------------
Weapon systems                Many of the military systems that are in the
justification: Is DOD         planning stage or under development were designed
selecting for development     to counter a Soviet threat that no longer exists.
only those systems and
modifications that are
adequately justified?

The notion of an all-out
confrontation in Europe has
given way to concerns over
regional instabilities. DOD
is developing new concepts
and strategies.
Justifications for weapon
systems must be revisited to
determine whether the
systems will support new

Weapon systems acquisition    Despite the many attempts at acquisition reform,
process: Is DOD ensuring      significant problems continue to occur. Major
that systems are being        commitments to systems are still made before
acquired in an efficient,
effective, and economical

adequate testing ensures
that the system will meet
critical performance
requirements. Costs for
systems continue to
escalate. Schedules for the
delivery of systems continue
to slip.

Budget analysis: Do           Approximately $75 billion is requested each year
procurement and RDT&E         for acquiring military systems and support items.
budgets reflect current       Analyzing planned
needs and should prior-year
funds be rescinded?

budgetary expenditures
enables identification of
those that are unnecessary
and those that can be

Objectives                                Focus of Work
----------------------------------------  --------------------------------------
--Determine whether the justifications    --Reviews of the justifications and
for new and modified systems are          acquisition plans for selected
reasonable and support the national       systems--for example, B-1B
military strategy.                        modifications, F-22, F/A-18 E/F, JAST,
                                          Army helicopters (Comanche and Apache
--Determine whether DOD and the services  Longbow), space systems, and Multiple
have adequately considered meeting        Theater Missile Defense Systems.
stated requirements through alternative
uses of or modifications to current

--Assess whether estimates of the
current and future costs of planned
systems are reasonable, have considered
all cost factors, and have been
appropriately reported.

--Determine whether DOD and the services  --Reviews of cost, schedule, and
have selected the lowest risk and least   performance of selected major system
costly acquisition strategies consistent  acquisitions and modifications--for
with the need for the planned system or   example, B-2, C-17, F-22, space
modification.                             systems, precision-guided munitions,
                                          Tomahawk, Navy Lower Tier, various C4I
--Determine whether selected acquisition  systems, unmanned aerial vehicle
strategies commit the government to       programs, torpedoes, Armored Gun
production before sufficient testing is   System, advanced infrared
accomplished.                             countermeasures programs, and
                                          battlefield digitization.
--Ensure that key acquisition milestone
decisions are timely and adequately

--Identify whether technical problems
identified in testing affect system
capability and costs.

--Ensure that the services coordinate
the development of interrelated systems
in a manner that provides for ease of

--Identify and report internal control
weaknesses on individual systems that
result in fraudulent, wasteful, or
abusive practices.

--Identify items in current budget        --Reviews of the procurement and RDT&E
requests that should be considered for    budget accounts for aircraft, C4I,
denial or reduction.                      ships, ground and space systems,
                                          missiles, munitions, and ballistic
--Identify prior-year appropriations      missile defense.
that could be rescinded.


============================================================ Chapter 3

Issue                      Planned Major Job Starts
-------------------------  -----------------------------------------------------
Weapon system              \--B-1B conventional mission upgrade program
justification F-22\a
                           --Planned procurement of the my's new light utility
--Ar helicopter            Chinook (CH-47D) helicopter

--Army's water anti        --Shallow warfare\a
submarine for the Army's
tacti control vehicle      --Mine protection cal vehicles
prog system
                           --Army's command and ram
--Acquisitio (e.g.,
antiradiation missile      --Line-of-sight antitank n plans for selected U.S.
defense syst systems       missiles and Tomahawk)

                           --Sea-based ballistic em

                           --Multiple theater missile defense

Weapon system acquisition  --C-17 production improvements/affordability\a
process training system
by t for the new attack s  --B-2 acquisition cost
                           --Acquisition of joint primary aircraft he Air Force
--Unmanned programs        and Navy

--Army MIL air-to-air      --Combat system ubmarine
                           --Army's armored gun system aerial vehicle
improvement plans fo
                           --AWACS improvement STAR terminals

                           --Advanced medium range --Air Force, Navy, and Army r
                           precision-guided munitions

Budget analysis budget     --DOD's fiscal year 1996 RDT&E and procurement weapon
requests for programs\a    systems and intelligence

\a Ongoing assignment

============================================================ Chapter 4

-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 4:0.1

Louis J.  Rodrigues (202) 512-4841

-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 4:0.2

Brad Hathaway (202) 512-4841
Thomas J.  Schulz (202) 512-4841

-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 4:0.3

Thomas J.  Denomme
John J.  D'Esopo
Raymond Dunham
Jackie B.  Guin (Huntsville)
Steven F.  Kuhta
Howard R.  Manning
Robert D.  Murphy (Dayton)
James K.  Spencer
Robert J.  Stolba
Homer H.  Thomson
William L.  Wright, Jr.  (Ft.  Monmouth)