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Tactical Intelligence: Accelerated Joint STARS Ground Station Acquisition Strategy Is Risky (Letter Report, 05/23/96, GAO/NSIAD-96-71).


GAO reviewed the Department of the Army's test and acquisition plans for
the Common Ground Station (CGS), the fifth version of the Joint
Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) ground station
modules (GSM).

GAO found that: (1) the Army planned to purchase 22 CGS in two years of
low-rate initial production at a cost of $138 million, but it now plans
to procure 34 CGS systems; (2) the Army has neither demonstrated an
urgent need for CGS nor proved that the expected benefits from
accelerated procurement outweigh its risks; (3) by 1998, the Army will
need at least 4 CGS to complete operational test and evaluation; (4)
since earlier versions of CGS have not tested well or completed an
operational test and evaluation, the Army's acceleration of CGS low-rate
intial production increases the risk of procuring a costly and
ineffective system; and (5) because the Army is only required to
purchase one CGS in the second year of low-rate intial production, it
could significantly reduce system costs by procuring fewer systems in
the early stages of the contract.

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

 REPORTNUM:  NSIAD-96-71
     TITLE:  Tactical Intelligence: Accelerated Joint STARS Ground 
             Station Acquisition Strategy Is Risky
      DATE:  05/23/96
   SUBJECT:  Defense communications operations
             Advanced weapons systems
             Radar equipment
             Command/control/communications systems
             Military contracts
             Army procurement
             Testing
             Military systems analysis
             Ground warfare
IDENTIFIER:  Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System
             JSTARS
             JSTARS Common Ground Station
             JSTARS Light Ground Station Module
             E-8 Aircraft
             JSTARS Medium Ground Station Module
             
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Cover
================================================================ COVER


Report to Congressional Committees

May 1996

TACTICAL INTELLIGENCE -
ACCELERATED JOINT STARS GROUND
STATION ACQUISITION STRATEGY IS
RISKY

GAO/NSIAD-96-71

Tactical Intelligence

(707119)


Abbreviations
=============================================================== ABBREV

  CGS -
  DOD -
  STARS -
  FDT&E -
  GSM -
  LPU -
  LRIP -
  OT&E -

Letter
=============================================================== LETTER


B-270674

May 23, 1996

Congressional Committees

The Army and the Air Force are jointly developing the Joint
Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS).  The Army is
responsible for the development, test, production, and fielding of
Joint STARS ground station modules (GSM).  Because of the cost and
importance of the Joint STARS effort and concerns about the GSMs'
performance in prior tests, we reviewed the Army's test and
acquisition plans for the Common Ground Station (CGS), the next GSM
version.  We conducted this review under our basic legislative
responsibilities.  We are addressing this report to the committees of
jurisdiction because it identifies problems and calls for corrective
action that the Department of Defense (DOD) has indicated an
unwillingness to take.  We are suggesting that Congress may wish to
take the necessary action to ensure that DOD addresses the problems
we have identified. 


   RESULTS IN BRIEF
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :1

The Army's acquisition strategy to accelerate production of the CGS
system unnecessarily risks millions of dollars on an unproven system. 
The Army had anticipated procuring 22 CGS systems in 2 years of
low-rate initial production (LRIP) at an estimated cost of about $138
million.  However, the Army contracted for 18 systems in the first
LRIP year, 8 more than originally planned and 14 more than needed for
a planned fiscal year 1998 operational test and evaluation (OT&E)\1
of the CGS.  Furthermore, the Army's fiscal year 1997 budget request
reflects a plan to acquire 16 systems in the second LRIP year, 4 more
than originally planned.  Because earlier GSM versions have performed
poorly in developmental level tests and have yet to complete an OT&E,
and because OT&E can be a key internal control to ensure that
decisionmakers have objective information available on a weapon
system's performance, we believe that buying more systems than are
needed for OT&E significantly raises the risk of procuring a costly
and ineffective system. 

At the direction of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition,
the Army accelerated the program and moved the first fielding date
for the CGS from fiscal year 2002 to fiscal year 1998.  However, DOD
and the Army do not have analyses demonstrating an urgent need to
field the added capabilities of the CGS system 4 years earlier than
originally planned or showing that expected benefits of accelerated
procurement, prior to the successful completion of an OT&E, outweigh
the associated risks. 

DOD believes that (1) the Army's acquisition strategy espouses
prudent risk and (2) the CGS is not an immature system but rather it
has the same functional baseline as the Light GSM.  Our concern with
DOD's approach is that it relies heavily on the functional baseline
of the Light GSM when that system has experienced poor test results,
and that the Light GSM and other earlier GSMs have not successfully
completed an OT&E.  For example, the Light GSM passed only 1 of 12
performance-related criteria during tests in 1994 and 1995. 
Moreover, the OT&E for the CGS is not scheduled until fiscal year
1998.  The risks of systems starting production before operational
tests are conducted are numerous.  They include reliability that is
significantly less than expectations, systems that cannot meet
current specifications, systems that are never fielded and/or retired
after fielding because of poor performance, and systems that require
significant and expensive post-fielding repairs for faults identified
during OT&E.  Given these facts, we believe the Army's acquisition
strategy contains risks that could be easily mitigated. 


--------------------
\1 OT&E is the primary means of assessing weapon system performance
in a combat-representative environment.  It is defined as (1) the
field test, conducted under realistic conditions, to determine an
item's effectiveness and suitability for use in combat by typical
military users and (2) the evaluation of the results of such a test. 


   BACKGROUND
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :2

Joint STARS is a multiservice, multimode radar system that is to
provide the capability to locate, track, and classify wheeled and
track vehicles beyond ground line of sight, during day and night,
under most weather conditions.  It is to provide Army Corps and
Division commanders an "electronic high-ground" from which to observe
enemy forces across the forward line of their own troops into an
enemy's first and second echelons.  The Joint STARS radar is mounted
on an Air Force E-8 aircraft, a Boeing 707 variant.  It is to provide
real-time information simultaneously to operators in the aircraft and
operators in Army GSMs.  These GSMs are to have the ability to
supplement this radar data with unmanned aerial vehicle imagery and
electronic intelligence reports.  Through fiscal year 2001, the total
cost of the Army's Joint STARS development and acquisition is
estimated at $1.4 billion. 

Since the Joint STARS program inception, four versions of GSMs have
been developed prior to the CGS.  They are the Limited Procurement
Urgent, the Interim GSM, the Medium GSM, and the Light GSM. 
Descriptions of the various GSMs are provided in appendix I. 
Production quantities by fiscal year and GSM variant\2 are detailed
in table 1. 



                                Table 1
                
                GSM Production Quantities By Fiscal Year
                              And Variant

                                                                   CGS
                                 Limited                     (original
                              Procuremen  Medium   Light       planned
Fiscal Year                     t Urgent     GSM     GSM         buys)
----------------------------  ----------  ------  ------  ------------
1987                                   3
1988                                   6
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993                                           5
1994                                           7
1995                                                   8
1996                                                   2          10\a
1997                                                              12\b
1998                                                                12
1999                                                                10
2000                                                                10
2001                                                                 7
2002                                                                 6
2003                                                                 6
======================================================================
Total                                  9      12      10            73
----------------------------------------------------------------------
\a The Army actually ordered 18 systems in this year. 

\b The Army's fiscal year 1997 budget request reflects an intent to
acquire 16. 


--------------------
\2 The Interim GSM never entered production and no future production
is planned. 


      THE CGS ACQUISITION PLAN
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :2.1

The Army recently issued a solicitation for the CGS system and
selected a contractor to produce the system.  It awarded an 8-year
production contract\3 on December 14, 1995, and made a fiscal year
1996 commitment to the production of 18 systems,\4 the maximum
production allowed by the solicitation.  The CGS system is to provide
the same functionality as the Light GSM with an initial enhancement
of the integration of secondary imagery data, and planned additional
enhancements provided by post-award contract modifications. 

The CGS acquisition strategy provides for 2 years of LRIP, during
which the Army anticipated buying 22 CGS systems at an estimated cost
of about $138 million, though it received approval from DOD to
procure up to an additional 16 CGS systems to accommodate other
service and allied requirements.  The Army's first year commitment to
18 systems and current plan to acquire 16 systems in the second year
raises the estimated 2-year LRIP cost to over $153 million. 
Regarding program cost, DOD stated that the CGS LRIP quantity
includes not only the number needed for testing purposes, but
considers production rate efficiencies and cost factors.  It believes
that producing only four prior to test would require the stop and
restart of production, resulting in loss of skilled people,
inefficient use of contractor resources, and higher costs.  The CGS
LRIP quantity does not, however, reflect consideration of production
rate efficiencies and cost factors because under the CGS contract's
pricing structure, the planned second LRIP year acquisitions can be
purchased in later years at lower cost.  In sum, under the CGS
contract, the Army can save millions of dollars by lowering future
CGS LRIP acquisitions to the minimum quantity necessary to maintain
the contract\5 and then contracting for those systems in the
post-LRIP years. 

The Light GSM and the Medium GSM were scheduled to be operationally
tested during a Joint STARS multiservice OT&E.  That test was delayed
and then altered because of the deployment of Joint STARS assets to
the European theater to support Bosnian operations.  The Army now
plans to evaluate the Medium and Light GSMs during that deployment
and follow-on tests, if needed.  It also plans to conduct an initial
OT&E of the CGS system in the first quarter of fiscal year 1998.  The
degree and length of that initial OT&E will depend on how similar the
CGS system is to its predecessors, which will be a function of the
approach that the CGS contractor follows. 

The CGS solicitation provided functional specifications such that the
proposals received may or may not represent significant hardware and
software differences from already procured GSMs.  The degree of
technological difference between the CGS system and its predecessor
systems, the Light GSM and Medium GSM, depends on the approach taken
by the contractor.  That difference will, in turn, influence the
degree to which the Light and Medium GSM's performance during any
OT&E can and should be relied upon as an indicator of the CGS's
maturity to continue production.  Furthermore, the more similar the
CGS system is to its predecessors, the less extensive its initial
OT&E will need to be. 


--------------------
\3 The CGS contract contains one firm fiscal year's commitment to
production and options for production during the following 7 fiscal
years. 

\4 Under its approved acquisition strategy, the Army anticipated
buying 10 of 22 LRIP systems in the first LRIP year.  The Army's
actual commitment to 18 systems includes the 10 originally
anticipated, 2 for North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces
experimentation, and 6 for, as yet unrequested/undefined other
service or allied uses.  Any of the remaining six not otherwise
distributed are to be given to Army users. 

\5 A program official stated and our review of the contract indicates
that the Army needs to commit to only one system in each option year
of the contract to maintain it. 


   THE ARMY HAS NOT JUSTIFIED
   ACCELERATED PRODUCTION
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :3

The Army began procuring CGS systems prior to the completion of an
OT&E by any GSM.  However, the Army did not perform any risk analyses
demonstrating that there was (1) an urgent need for the added
capabilities of the CGS system or (2) any significant benefit to be
derived from its accelerated procurement.  According to DOD, the
revised CGS development and production schedule fields ground
stations in synch with E-8C aircraft deliveries.  Under the prior
development schedule, the Army planned to continue to buy pre-CGS
model ground stations--presumably also in synch with E-8C aircraft
deliveries.  Furthermore, an Army official in the program executive
office that has oversight of the Army's Joint STARS program stated
that the Air Force is behind in its E-8C delivery schedule and that,
as a result, GSM acquisition is currently scheduled ahead of aircraft
fieldings. 


      LRIP ACQUISITIONS PRIOR TO
      OT&E RAISE PROGRAM RISKS
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.1

Over the years, we have reported on numerous instances in which
production of both major and nonmajor systems were optimistically
permitted to begin under LRIP and continue based on factors other
than the systems' technical maturity.  In our November 1994 report on
the use of LRIP in the acquisition process,\6 we detailed a number of
examples of systems that entered LRIP before operational tests were
conducted and that later experienced significant problems.  For
example, a year into the LRIP of the Navy T-45A aircraft, OT&E
demonstrated that the T-45A was not effective in a carrier
environment and was not operationally suitable because of safety
deficiencies.  Subsequent major design changes included a new engine,
new wings, and a modified rudder. 

DOD believes that, unlike the Navy T-45A aircraft, the CGS is not a
new, immature system.  It has stated that the CGS system uses 100
percent of the Light GSM mechanical design, rack structure, power
distribution, lighting, ventilation, and air conditioning.  It has
also stated that the Light GSM software baseline is the CGS baseline
and that the CGS system represents the Light GSM functional baseline
with the addition of product improvements.  However, the CGS
contractor may make configuration changes that could represent
significant hardware and software differences from already procured
GSMs.\7 Furthermore, DOD's position is also contradicted by the
2-year delay of the GSM full-rate production decision to follow a CGS
OT&E and by the Joint STARS integrated product team's call for an
independent assessment of the CGS's testing risk, given the nature
and extent of the configuration changes that the selected contractor
may make. 

The risks of systems starting production before operational tests are
conducted are numerous.  They include reliability that is
significantly less than expectations, systems that cannot meet
current specifications, systems that are never fielded and/or retired
after fielding because of poor performance, and systems that require
significant and expensive post-fielding repairs for faults identified
during OT&E.  While there is an operational need for Joint STARS, and
despite the desire of operational commanders to have more capable
systems as soon as possible, the fact remains that the Army has not
adequately justified the urgency or benefits to be derived from
accelerated fielding of the CGS in 1998 versus the originally planned
fielding in fiscal year 2002. 


--------------------
\6 Weapons Acquisition:  Low-Rate Initial Production Used to Buy
Weapon Systems Prematurely (GAO/NSIAD-95-18, Nov.  21, 1994). 

\7 Although the contractor that produced the Medium and Light GSMs
was awarded the CGS contract, uncertainty remains as to how
technologically similar the CGS system will be to its predecessors. 


      PRIOR TEST RESULTS FURTHER
      INDICATE RISK
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.2

The Army's CGS acquisition strategy seems to ignore the fact that to
date the GSMs have undergone limited testing and demonstrated
disappointing results in those tests.  That acquisition strategy
allowed the Army to begin procuring CGS systems without demonstrating
resolution of issues raised as a result of prior tests and will allow
it to continue procuring systems without demonstrating resolution of
those issues. 

In December 1991, a decision was made that the Medium GSM would
undergo a limited user test rather than a traditional initial OT&E. 
The absence of important functionality, including an unmanned aerial
vehicle interface, a production representative data link, Defense
Mapping Agency electronic map databases, and trained military
operators, prompted this decision.  Based on the results of this
test, which occurred in early 1993, the Army Operational Test and
Evaluation Command provided an overall assessment of the Medium GSM's
performance.  It stated that the Medium GSM "consistently
demonstrated potential to be operationally effective" and that the
Medium GSM "demonstrated potential to be operationally suitable"
(emphasis added).  However, this was not a finding that the Medium
GSM was operationally effective or suitable.  The Command also noted
that the "current software lacks robustness and reliability, and
limits mission performance." One of the Command's recommendations was
that prior to LRIP fielding, the Medium GSM "must successfully
complete an independently evaluated operational demonstration
including simultaneous employment of all software, interface, and
tactics, techniques, and procedures corrections." The Medium GSM has
yet to successfully complete an independently evaluated operational
test.  Its initial OT&E was to be the multiservice OT&E. 

The Medium GSM follow-on system, the Light GSM, was also to
participate in the multiservice OT&E.  Like the Medium GSM, the Light
GSM has yet to complete an OT&E.  The Light GSM has, however,
undergone other tests, including a Force Development Test and
Evaluation (FDT&E) in September 1994; reliability confidence testing
from October through December 1994; and a follow-on demonstration at
Eglin Air Force Base in January 1995.  In May 1995, we reported to
the Secretary of Defense\8 that based on a preliminary review of
those test results, it was clear that the Light GSM had not met the
DOD-set LRIP exit criteria\9 and that our preliminary analysis
indicated that, at best, the Light GSM had only passed 2 of the 12
Light GSM performance-related LRIP exit criteria.  At the same time,
the DOD Director of OT&E concluded that the Light GSM had only passed
1 of the 12 Light GSM performance-related LRIP exit criteria.  The
Director recommended a formal review of the program to identify the
causes of problems, solutions, and appropriate tests to demonstrate
the solutions.  In a June 30, 1995, memorandum, the Director,
commenting on efforts to resolve 55 specific problems identified in
the Light GSM testing, stated that his goal "was to see that the Army
had identified the key problems and was working effective fixes for
those problems." He added that he wanted the Joint STARS multiservice
OT&E "to have a reasonable chance of success." According to an OT&E
official, the Director's assessment of the Light GSM's performance
during those tests has not changed.  The issue of the 55 specific
problems was resolved based on the Director's satisfaction "that the
Army has identified a process to fix the various problems that have
been
identified .  .  .  ."

In response to a draft of this report, DOD commented that

     In some instances, problems were attributed to shortfalls in
     operator training or another non-materiel cause.  The majority
     of deficiencies involved software fixes, not major hardware
     redesign.  The Army has also gained experience operating the
     GSMs assigned to the III Corps and XVIII Airborne Corps and in
     training and preparation for multi-service OT&E.  In November
     1995, the Program Executive Officer for Joint STARS certified
     the system ready for OT&E, which attests to the developer's
     confidence in system maturity. 

DOD believes that the GSMs' prior test results indicate only prudent
program risk.  It states that the series of tests used in development
of the GSMs, including a limited user test, FDT&E, reliability
confidence testing, and other demonstrations, have been a continuous
fix-test-fix process, which has identified shortfalls, determined
fixes, and verified or tested the results.  It also notes that during
the current deployment of Joint STARS to the European Theater
(Bosnia-Herzegovina), members of the Army and the Air Force test
commands will conduct an operational evaluation of Joint STARS
performance.  Although the Army and the Air Force plan to
operationally evaluate Joint STARS during that deployment, how well
the Army's process has worked remains to be demonstrated through the
Light GSM's performance during an OT&E. 


--------------------
\8 Production of Joint STARS Light GSM (GAO/NSIAD-95-172R, May 26,
1995). 

\9 Exit criteria define program achievements for a phase of the
acquisition program that are measures of progress (risk reduction). 
In the event exit criteria are not met, a program delay or review may
be triggered. 


      DELAYING COMMITMENTS WOULD
      LOWER COST
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.3

The Army's commitment to its currently planned second year LRIP buy
of 16 CGS systems prior to the completion of the CGS OT&E would raise
not only the program's risk but also its cost.  The CGS contract
provides decreasing unit costs over its 8-year life.  Furthermore, a
program official stated and our review of the contract indicates that
the Army needs to commit to only one CGS system in the second LRIP
year to maintain the contract.  If the Army buys one system in fiscal
year 1997 and 37 systems in the third and fourth years of the
contract, it could save over $5 million while obtaining the same
4-year buy of 56 systems currently anticipated given its fiscal year
1997 budget request and approved acquisition strategy.  These savings
can be seen in a comparison of tables 2 and 3.  Table 2 details the
first 4 years of the contract's variable CGS acquisition costs under
the Army's anticipated future buy schedule.  Table 3 details the
first 4 years of those costs under a plan that minimizes the size of
the second year LRIP commitment. 



                                Table 2
                
                Cost of Anticipated 4-Year Acquisitions

                        Fiscal    Fiscal
                          Year      Year    Fiscal    Fiscal
                          1996      1997      Year      Year
                        (LRIP)    (LRIP)      1998      1999     Total
--------------------  --------  --------  --------  --------  ========
Quantity                    18      16\a        12        10        56
Costs                 $34,907,  $24,834,  $18,825,  $14,931,  $93,499,
                           358       952       622       544       476
----------------------------------------------------------------------
\a In its acquisition strategy, the Army anticipated buying 12
systems but now plans to buy 16. 



                                Table 3
                
                    Cost of 4-Year Acquisitions With
                         Minimized Future LRIP

                        Fiscal    Fiscal
                          Year      Year    Fiscal    Fiscal
                          1996      1997      Year      Year
                        (LRIP)    (LRIP)      1998      1999     Total
--------------------  --------  --------  --------  --------  ========
Quantity                   18\         1        20        17        56
Costs                 $34,907,  $1,885,7  $28,479,  $22,975,  $88,248,
                           358        66       972       513       609
----------------------------------------------------------------------

   RECOMMENDATION
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :4

The Army lacks an analysis justifying a need to accelerate the
fielding of the CGS system and can save millions of dollars by
minimizing production in its second year of CGS production. 
Furthermore, there are inherent risks in procuring systems prior to
their successful completion of an OT&E and the benefits of the Army's
acquisition strategy do not clearly outweigh the associated risks. 
We therefore recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct the
Secretary of the Army to limit the future system procurement to the
minimum quantity necessary to maintain the CGS contract (i.e.  one
system in each contract option year) until the CGS has successfully
completed an OT&E. 


   AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR
   EVALUATION
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :5

In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD disagreed with our
conclusion that the Army's CGS acquisition strategy was unnecessarily
risky and our recommendation to reduce that risk.  DOD took the
position that the acquisition strategy espouses prudent risk in
balance with program cost, schedule, and technical requirements. 

DOD's comments are reprinted in their entirety in appendix II. 


   MATTERS FOR CONGRESSIONAL
   CONSIDERATION
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :6

In light of DOD's unwillingness to have the Army revise its
acquisition strategy for the CGS, Congress may wish to take the
actions necessary to limit the number of CGS systems to be procured
under LRIP prior to the CGS successfully completing operational
testing. 


   SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :7

During this review, we interviewed officials at and reviewed
documents from the offices of the Under Secretary of Defense for
Acquisition and Technology and the Director for Operational Test and
Evaluation in Washington, D.C.  We also visited officials and
reviewed documents from the U.S.  Army Materiel Systems Analysis
Activity, Aberdeen, Maryland, and the U.S.  Army Communications and
Electronics Command, Office of the Program Manager for Joint STARS,
Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. 

We conducted this review from August 1995 to April 1996 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards. 



---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :7.1

We are sending copies of this report to other appropriate
congressional committees; the Director, Office of Management and
Budget; and the Secretaries of Defense, the Army, and the Air Force. 
We will also make copies available to other interested parties upon
request. 

Please contact me at (202) 512-4841 if you or your staff have any
questions concerning this report.  Major contributors to this report
were Thomas J.  Schulz, Charles F.  Rey, Bruce H.  Thomas, and
Gregory K.  Harmon. 

Louis J.  Rodrigues
Director, Defense Acquisitions Issues

List of Congressional Committees

Chairman
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on Armed Services
United States Senate

Chairman
Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on Defense
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate

Chairman
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on National Security
House of Representatives

Chairman
Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on National Security
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives


GROUND STATION MODULE DESCRIPTIONS
=========================================================== Appendix I

Limited Procurement Urgent (LPU).  The LPU GSMs were produced and
deployed as replacements to the AN/UPD-7 Ground Station Terminal. 
They receive data from the Mohawk Side Looking Airborne Radar and do
not receive/process data from Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar
System (Joint STARS) E8 aircraft.  The Army acquired nine LPU GSMs. 
They are expected to be decommissioned no later than fiscal year
1997. 

Interim Ground Station Module (GSM).  The Interim GSM receives and
processes data from both the Joint STARS E8 aircraft and the Mohawk
Side Looking Airborne Radar.  Eight engineering and manufacturing
development Interim GSMs were developed and fielded to the XVIII
Airborne.  These systems represent the current GSM contingency force. 
The Interim GSM was deployed to Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield. 
No production is planned. 

Medium GSM.  This module provides enhancements to the Interim GSM
capability.  Its development stemmed from a Department of Defense
(DOD) decision that was made in fiscal year 1989 to restructure the
Army Joint STARS GSM program.  The Medium GSM enhancements include a
downsized electronic suite, an enhanced man/machine interface with
extensive Built In Test/Built In Test Equipment capabilities, and the
ability to simultaneously display and analyze data from multiple
sensors.  The Army acquired 12 Medium GSMs. 

Light GSM.  This module is housed in a light weight multipurpose
shelter, a standard integrated command post shelter variant, mounted
on a High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle.  It is to provide
the light/contingency forces a C130 Drive-on/Drive-off Joint STARS
capability.  The Light GSM has a prime and support vehicle, each with
a trailer/generator in tow.  It is supposed to be able to operate on
the move, receive unmanned aerial vehicle imagery and intelligence
reports, and incorporate electronic map backgrounds.  The Army plans
to acquire a total of 10 Light GSMs. 

Common Ground Station (CGS).  The CGS system is to provide Light GSM
functionality with the addition of the integration of secondary
imagery data.  Further enhancements are expected and are to be
achieved through post-award modifications to the contract.  Two
versions of this ground station are being contemplated (i.e., a light
and heavy CGS).  The Light CGS will be patterned on the Light GSM
two-vehicle configuration.  The heavy CGS is to be a track-mounted
system, intended to provide the heavy forces a high speed,
cross-country/off-road GSM.  It is to be integrated into a Bradley
Fighting Vehicle variant.  Integration of the CGS capability into a
tracked vehicle is part of the preplanned product improvement
initiatives and will not be included in the fiscal year 1996 CGS
contract award.  Initial CGS fielding is planned for fiscal year
1998.  The Army currently anticipates the acquisition of 73 CGS
systems. 




(See figure in printed edition.)Appendix II
COMMENTS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF
DEFENSE
=========================================================== Appendix I



(See figure in printed edition.)

and
pp.  5-6. 



(See figure in printed edition.)



(See figure in printed edition.)



(See figure in printed edition.)



(See figure in printed edition.)


The following are GAO's comments on DOD's letter dated January 24,
1996. 


   GAO COMMENTS
--------------------------------------------------------- Appendix I:1

1.  While the CGS contractor has prior experience developing and
producing ground stations, those ground stations have undergone
limited testing and demonstrated disappointing results.  Among its
previous work, the CGS contractor developed and produced the two
immediate predecessor GSMs to the CGS, the Medium and Light GSMs.  As
we stated in our report, based on the results of a limited user test
of the Medium GSM, the Army Operational Test and Evaluation Command
stated that the Medium GSM consistently demonstrated the potential to
be operationally effective and the potential to be operationally
suitable.  It noted that the "current software lacks robustness and
reliability, and limits mission performance." It recommended, among
other things, that prior to LRIP fielding the Medium GSM "must
successfully complete an independently evaluated operational
demonstration including simultaneous employment of all software,
interface, and tactics, techniques, and procedures corrections."
Furthermore, the Light GSM passed only 1 of 12 performance-related
criteria during developmental testing, and neither the Medium nor the
Light GSM has yet successfully completed an OT&E. 

2.  We continue to believe that the CGS acquisition strategy risks
millions of dollars on systems that have not yet been demonstrated
operationally effective and suitable.  We have, however, revised the
report to reflect the Army's apparent commitment to evaluate the
operation of the Joint STARS system during deployment to
Bosnia-Herzegovina. 

3.  We have revised our recommendation to allow the Army to maintain
its CGS contract in effect and thus avoid a break in production. 
Because the contract provides decreasing unit costs over its life,
and since the Army has already committed to 18 first-year LRIP
systems, we want to further limit LRIP pending successful completion
of an OT&E. 


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