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Battlefield Automation: Acquisition Issues Facing the Army Battle Command, Brigade and Below Program

(Letter Report, 06/30/98,
GAO/NSIAD-98-140).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army's acquisition
plans for the Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below (FBCB2)
program, focusing on the: (1) program's significance to the Army's
battlefield digitization goal; (2) Army's derivation of cost estimates;
and (3) feasibility of the Army's fielding schedule.

GAO noted that: (1) on the basis of the Army's estimate of FBCB2
research, development, test and evaluation costs, the program has been
classified as a category II acquisition--one that does not require
systematic oversight by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition
and Technology; (2) GAO believes that because of the FBCB2's
significance, cost, and schedule risk, the FBCB2 should be classified as
a category I acquisition and receive a higher level of oversight; (3)
although FBCB2 is critical to the Army's digitization plan--the system
ties the upper level command and control systems to the digital
battlefield--FBCB2 is the only major system in the Army's Battle Command
System that has not been designated category I; (4) the system's
potential to provide thousands of soldiers with the ability to send and
receive clear and consistent battlefield information in almost real time
demonstrates the system's significance as a linchpin of the digital
battlefield; (5) this significance is confirmed by the Army's own
designation of FBCB2 as one of the highest priority command and control
systems and the Army's plan to equip a division with a FBCB2 capability
by the end of fiscal year (FY) 2000; (6) GAO's analysis indicates that
there are additional research, development, test, and evaluation costs
that, when included, increase the dollar significance of this program to
a category I acquisition level; (7) the FBCB2 program faces a
significant schedule risk in meeting the FY 2000 mandate for fielding
the first digitized division; (8) however, despite this acknowledged
schedule risk, the Army is moving ahead with its highly compressed
schedule with no apparent risk management strategy specifically
addressing alternatives and the implications of not fielding an
adequately developed system by the end of FY 2000; (9) because the FBCB2
program has only recently entered engineering and manufacturing
development, no operational evaluations are yet available for analysis;
(10) however, the 1997 Task Force XXI Advanced Warfighting Experiment
employed a prototype FBCB2; (11) two independent organizations, the
Army's Operational Test and Evaluation Command and the Office of the
Secretary of Defense, Operational Test and Evaluation Office, assessed
FBCB2 results and found a number of problems; (12) these included poor
message completion, limitations related to the experimental hardware and
software, a lack of adequate digital connectivity, immaturity of the
Applique--the Army's name for FBCB2 computer--and the Tactical Internet,
and inadequate training; and (13) Army officials currently assess the
program's technical risk as medium.

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

 REPORTNUM:  NSIAD-98-140
     TITLE:  Battlefield Automation: Acquisition Issues Facing the Army 
             Battle Command, Brigade and Below Program
      DATE:  06/30/98
   SUBJECT:  ADP procurement
             Military systems analysis
             Army procurement
             Command/control/communications systems
             Military communication
             Computer equipment management
             Concurrency
IDENTIFIER:  DOD Global Command and Control System
             Army Battlefield Command Brigade and Below System
             Army Tactical Command and Control System
             Army Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below Program
             
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Cover
================================================================ COVER


Report to the Chairman
Subcommittee on National Security
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives

June 1998

BATTLEFIELD AUTOMATION -
ACQUISITION ISSUES FACING THE ARMY
BATTLE COMMAND, BRIGADE AND BELOW
PROGRAM

GAO/NSIAD-98-140

Battlefield Automation

(707284)


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

  DOD -
  EPLRS -
  FBCB2 -
  SINCGARS -

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


B-277967

June 30, 1998

The Honorable C.W.  Bill Young
Chairman
National Security Subcommittee
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives

Dear Mr.  Chairman: 

The Army plans to increase the exchange of information on the
battlefield through the Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below
(FBCB2) Program\\1 .  The goal is to "digitize" the forces--create an
automated information network at the brigade level and below by
installing computers on individual battlefield platforms and linking
those computers by radio.  The Army plans to equip a division with
this capability by the end of fiscal year 2000. 

As requested, we reviewed the Army's acquisition plans for FBCB2. 
Specifically, we evaluated the program's significance to the Army's
battlefield digitization goal, the Army's derivation of cost
estimates, and the feasibility of the Army's fielding schedule.  We
also collected information on experimental performance results to
date. 


--------------------
\1 Army pamphlet 10-1, Organization of the United States Army Jun. 
1994, describes "brigade and below" as follows:  the brigade
(3,000-5,000 soldiers), battalion (300-1,000 soldiers), company
(62-190 soldiers), platoon (16-44 soldiers), squad (9-10 soldiers),
and the individual soldier. 


   BACKGROUND
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :1

FBCB2 will be the principal digital command and control system for
the Army at the brigade level and below and will constitute the third
major component of the Army's Battle Command System.  Currently, the
Battle Command System comprises the (1) Global Command and Control
System-Army located at strategic and theater levels, which
interoperates with other theater, joint, and multinational command
and control systems, and with Army systems at the corps and levels
below and (2) Army Tactical Command and Control System, which meets
the command and control needs from corps to battalion. 

When fielded, FBCB2 is expected to provide enhanced situational
awareness to the lowest tactical level\2 --the individual
soldier--and a seamless flow of command and control information
across the battlespace.  To accomplish these objectives, FBCB2 will
be composed of: 

  -- a computer that can display a variety of information\3 ,
     including a common picture of the battlefield overlaid with
     graphical depictions (known as icons) of friendly and enemy
     forces;

  -- software that automatically integrates Global Positioning System
     data, military intelligence data, combat identification data,
     and platform data (such as the status of fuel and ammunition);
     and

  -- interfaces to communications systems. 

Battlefield data will be communicated to and received from users of
FBCB2 through a "Tactical Internet." This is a radio network
comprising the Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS)
and the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS). 
By connecting platforms through this Tactical Internet, data needed
for battlefield situational awareness and command and control
decisions can be made available to commanders at all levels of the
Army's Battle Command System. 

To explore the FBCB2 concept, the Army acquired and installed
sufficient quantities of equipment to field a brigade-size
experimental force in June 1996.  This experimental force then used
FBCB2 prototype equipment in an Advanced Warfighting Experiment,
which culminated in March 1997 during a 2 week deployment against an
opposing force at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin,
California.  Results from the Advanced Warfighting Experiment were
considered sufficiently positive that the Army conducted an FBCB2
Milestone I/II review in July 1997.\4 FBCB2 was conditionally
approved for entry into the engineering and manufacturing development
acquisition phase (acquisition milestone II) pending completion of
certain essential action items, including the final Operational
Requirements Document and the Test and Evaluation Master Plan.  The
program is expected to incur life cycle costs of about $3 billion (in
then year dollars) by fiscal year 2012. 

Department of Defense (DOD) Regulation 5000.2R offers a general model
for management of the acquisition process for programs such as FBCB2. 
This regulation states that managers shall structure a program to
ensure a logical progression through a series of phases designed to
reduce risk, ensure affordability, and provide adequate information
for decision-making.  At the start of a program, consideration is
given to program size, complexity, and risk and a determination is
made regarding acquisition category.  More costly, complex, and risky
systems are generally accorded more oversight.  The determination
made at program initiation is reexamined at each milestone in light
of then-current program conditions. 

The regulation describes the differences among acquisition categories
and places them in one of three categories:  I, II, or III.  In
general, the milestone decision authority for category I programs is
at a higher level than category II or III programs.  In addition,
category I programs generally require that more information--such as
an Analysis of Alternatives\5 and a Cost Analysis Improvement Group\6
review--be available for decision-making.  Category I programs are
defined as programs estimated by the Under Secretary of Defense for
Acquisition and Technology to require eventual expenditure for
research, development, test, and evaluation of more than $355 million
(fiscal year 1996 constant dollars) or procurement of more than $2.1
billion (fiscal year 1996 constant dollars).  Category II programs
have lower dollar classification thresholds than category I programs;
for example, the research, development, test, and evaluation dollar
threshold for an acquisition category II program is $140 million
(fiscal year 1996 constant dollars).  Category III programs are
defined as those which do not meet the criteria for category I or II
programs.  FBCB2 is currently classified as a category II acquisition
program. 


--------------------
\2 The Army describes "situational awareness" as near real time
information on current unit positions and their tactical/logistical
status.  Also, intelligence sources will enable a continuous flow of
information on enemy locations and intelligently derived and widely
disseminated analysis of probable enemy intent. 

\3 Platforms such as the M1A2 Abrams tank and the M2A3 Bradley
fighting vehicle, which already have an on-board data processing
capability, will not require another computer.  Instead, the FBCB2
"embedded battle command" software will be used to interface with
existing software.  Other platforms will require FBCB2 computers.  In
November 1997, the Army's acquisition objective was 2,604 embedded
FBCB2 systems and 59,522 systems requiring computer installations. 

\4 Department of Defense Regulation 5000.2R explains that the
acquisition process shall be structured in logical phases separated
by major decision points called milestones.  In general, an
acquisition program will progress through four milestones.  These
milestones are:  milestone 0, approval to conduct concept studies;
milestone I, approval to begin a new acquisition program; milestone
II, approval to enter engineering and manufacturing development; and,
milestone III, approval for production or fielding/deployment. 

\5 DOD regulation 5000.2R requires an analysis of alternatives for
all acquisition I programs.  These analyses are intended to (1) aid
and document decision-making by illuminating the relative advantages
and disadvantages of alternatives being considered, and (2) show the
sensitivity of each alternative to possible changes in key
assumptions (e.g., threat) or variables (e.g., selected performance
capabilities).  Discussion of interoperability and commonality of
components/systems that are similar in function to other DOD
component programs or Allied programs are sometimes included.  The
analysis shall aid decision-makers in judging whether any of the
proposed alternatives to an existing system offer sufficient military
and/or economic benefit to be worth the cost.  There shall be a clear
linkage between the analysis of alternatives, system requirements,
and system evaluation measures of effectiveness. 

\6 The Cost Analysis Improvement Group is part of the Office of the
Secretary of Defense, Program Analyses and Evaluation Office and
their reviews are used to ensure cost data of sufficient accuracy is
available to support reasonable judgements on affordability for
acquisition I programs. 


   RESULTS IN BRIEF
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :2

On the basis of the Army's estimate of FBCB2 research, development,
test and evaluation costs, the program has been classified as a
category II acquisition--one that does not require systematic
oversight by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and
Technology.  We believe that because of the FBCB2's significance,
cost, and schedule risk, the FBCB2 should be classified as a category
I acquisition and receive a higher level of oversight.  Specifically: 

  -- Although FBCB2 is critical to the Army's digitization plan--the
     system ties the upper level command and control systems to the
     digital battlefield--FBCB2 is the only major system in the
     Army's Battle Command System that has not been designated
     category I.  The system's potential to provide thousands of
     soldiers with the ability to send and receive clear and
     consistent battlefield information in almost real time
     demonstrates the system's significance as a linchpin of the
     digital battlefield.  This significance is confirmed by the
     Army's own designation of FBCB2 as one of the highest priority
     command and control systems and the Army's plan to equip a
     division with an FBCB2 capability by the end of fiscal year
     2000. 

  -- Our analysis indicates that there are additional research,
     development, test, and evaluation costs that, when included,
     increase the dollar significance of this program to a category I
     acquisition level. 

  -- The FBCB2 program faces significant schedule risk in meeting the
     fiscal year 2000 mandate for fielding the first digitized
     division.  The mandate was set by the Army Deputy Chief of Staff
     for Operations and Plans in August 1997.  To achieve this
     schedule, the FBCB2 program will, in a 18-month period, need to
     pass a series of tests, including two operational tests.  Each
     test requires different versions of software for each of the two
     hardware components--the computer and the communications
     interface unit.  Additionally, new versions of two weapon
     systems participating in the FBCB2 operational tests--the Abrams
     tank and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle--will be concluding their
     own operational tests just prior to the start of FBCB2
     operational testing.  The Army acknowledges that the program
     schedule is high risk.  However, despite this acknowledged
     schedule risk, the Army is moving ahead with its highly
     compressed schedule with no apparent risk management strategy
     specifically addressing alternatives and the implications of not
     fielding an adequately developed system by the end of fiscal
     year 2000. 

Because the FBCB2 program has only recently entered engineering and
manufacturing development, no operational evaluations are yet
available for analysis.  However, the 1997 Task Force XXI Advanced
Warfighting Experiment employed a prototype FBCB2.  Two independent
organizations, the Army's Operational Test and Evaluation Command and
the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Operational Test and
Evaluation Office, assessed FBCB2 results and found a number of
problems.  These included poor message completion, limitations
related to the experimental hardware and software, a lack of adequate
digital connectivity, immaturity of the Applique--the Army's name for
the FBCB2 computer--and the Tactical Internet, and inadequate
training.  These organizations offered recommendations for the
continued development, maturity, and oversight of upcoming FBCB2
operational tests.  Army officials currently assess the program's
technical risk as medium. 


   PROGRAM SIGNIFICANCE, ESTIMATED
   COST, AND SCHEDULE RISK
   INDICATE NEED FOR HIGHER LEVEL
   SYSTEMATIC OVERSIGHT
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :3

FBCB2 is currently designated a category II acquisition on the basis
of the Army's estimate of research, development, test, and evaluation
costs.  As a result, oversight is provided within the Army.  We
believe that the program should be a category I acquisition on the
basis of (a) significance of the program; (b) estimated research,
development, test, and evaluation costs; and (c) high schedule risk. 
The Army acknowledges that the program schedule involves high risk. 


      FBCB2 IS A PRIORITY ONE ARMY
      PROGRAM
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.1

Throughout the next decade and beyond, the Army plans to modernize
its forces through an overarching initiative called Force XXI. 
Components of the Force XXI initiative are Army XXI, which extends to
about the year 2010, and the Army After Next, which is looking beyond
the year 2010.  Included within the modernization objectives of Army
XXI is the integration of information technologies to acquire,
exchange, and employ timely information throughout the battlespace. 

In general, integrated situational awareness and command and control
information technologies available to Army commanders currently
extend through the Army Tactical Command and Control System to
tactical operations centers at the brigade and battalion levels.  By
extending the integration of information technologies to the
thousands of soldiers operating outside the tactical operations
centers, the Army expects to increase the lethality, survivability,
and operational tempo of its forces.  FBCB2 is the critical link
needed to extend the information to those soldiers. 

On August 1, 1997, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans
announced that the first digitized division would be the 4th Infantry
Division and that, at a minimum, fielded equipment would include the
Army Training and Doctrine Command's list of priority one systems and
associated equipment.  The Training and Doctrine Command has
identified 15 priority one systems.  They primarily consist of
command, control, and communications systems, including FBCB2.  It is
considered a critical element within the Army's digitization effort
because of the contribution it makes to achieving the required
capabilities for the digitized battlefield.  Approved by the Joint
Requirements Oversight Council of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in
January 1995, these capabilities are: 

  -- integrated battle command from platoon to corps,

  -- relevant common picture of the battlespace at each level,

  -- smaller units that are more lethal and survivable,

  -- more responsive logistics within and between theaters, and

  -- joint interoperability at appropriate levels. 

It is unlikely that all the required capabilities of the digitized
battlefield can be achieved without FBCB2.  However, despite this
critical role, the Army has not designated FBCB2 as a category I
acquisition--a designation it has given to the other major systems in
the Army's Battle Command System. 

The significance of this program has also been noted by the Office of
the Secretary of Defense Operational Test and Evaluation Office,
which in October 1997 recommended that FBCB2 be elevated to a
acquisition category I-D status on the basis of the program's
"significant and far-reaching impact\7 ." That office placed FBCB2 on
the same level as the Army's Maneuver Control System, which is also
an acquisition category I-D program.  The Maneuver Control System is
a key component of the Army's Tactical Command and Control System
that provides automated critical battlefield assistance to commanders
and their battle staff at the corps-to-battalion level. 


--------------------
\7 The "D" refers to the Defense Acquisition Board which advises the
milestone decision authority, the Under Secretary of Defense for
Acquisition and Technology.  Other category I programs are designated
I-C programs; the "C" refers to the Component Head or Component
Acquisition Executive as the milestone decision authority. 


      COST ESTIMATE DOES NOT
      INCLUDE ALL PROGRAM COSTS
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.2

The Army's cost estimate for research, development, test, and
evaluation activities, adjusted to fiscal year 1996 constant
dollars,\8 is $265.4 million.  This estimate covers the period from
fiscal year 1997 through fiscal year 2004.  However, we believe the
Army's estimate is understated in that other research, development,
test, and evaluation costs should be added.  As shown in table 1,
these costs raise the research, development, test, and evaluation
cost estimate above the category I threshold of $355 million. 



                                Table 1
                
                 Our Estimate of Total FBCB2 Research,
                Development, Test, and Evaluation Costs

                         (Dollars in millions)

                                                                Fiscal
                                                                  year
                                     Then year  Conversion        1996
Cost category                         estimate      factor    estimate
----------------------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------
Research, development, test, and        $283.4      1.0424      $271.9
 evaluation costs included in
 Army's life cycle cost estimate
 (1998 dollars)
Less: adjustment for fiscal year         (6.8)      1.0424       (6.5)
 1998 (1998 dollars)
======================================================================
Subtotal of Army estimated costs                                $265.4
Additional relevant costs
 identified
Sunk costs included in Army life          48.7      1.0424        46.7
 cycle cost estimate (1998
 dollars)
Adjustment for fiscal year 1999            5.5      1.0643         5.2
 (1999 dollars)
Warfighter Rapid Acquisition
 Program                                   4.3      1.0210         4.2
 Applique (1997 dollars) Applique          2.6      1.0424         2.5
 (1998 dollars)
Warfighter Rapid Acquisition
 Program                                   8.0      1.0210         7.8
 Tactical Internet (1997 dollars)          8.0      1.0424         7.7
 Tactical Internet (1998 dollars)
Expected transfer to Abrams               14.2      1.0643        13.3
 Program Manager (1999 dollars)
Expected transfer to Bradley               3.5      1.0643         3.3
 Program Manager (1999 dollars)
Estimated cost of FBCB2 limited            8.5      1.0424         8.2
 user test (1998 dollars)
Estimated cost of FBCB2 initial
 operational test and evaluation
 (1999 dollars)                           15.4      1.0643        14.5
 (2000 dollars)                            7.5      1.0867         6.9
======================================================================
Subtotal of Our additional costs                                $120.3
======================================================================
Total                                                           $385.7
----------------------------------------------------------------------
We discussed these figures with Army program officials, and they
agreed with $7.2 million of our additional costs, which included
partial amounts from the Warfighters Rapid Acquisition Program\9
related to the FBCB2 computer--$2.0 million of the fiscal year 1997
($1.4 million) and 1998 ($.6 million)--and a $5.2 million difference
between what was included in the life cycle cost estimate ($47
million) and the actual budget request ($52.5 million) converted to
1996 constant dollars. 

Army officials disagreed with the addition of remaining cost
categories amounting to $113.1 million on the basis that (1) Army
policies and procedures require them to include only those funds
obligated by the program office after the establishment of a formal
acquisition program; (2) FBCB2-related funds obligated by other
program managers, such as the Abrams and Bradley managers, should be
excluded; and (3) costs directly related to test and evaluation
activities for acquisition category II, like FBCB2, are identified in
the Army Operational Test and Evaluation Command's Support of
Operational Testing program element.  Our assessment of the Army's
arguments follows. 


--------------------
\8 To make the adjustments, we used the inflation indices published
by the Army Material Command on December 27, 1996. 

\9 The Warfighter Rapid Acquisition Program started with a $50
million fiscal year 1997 appropriation for Force XXI Initiatives. 
The fiscal year 1997 funding was followed by a fiscal year 1998
appropriation of nearly $100 million.  The Force XXI Initiatives
funding was intended to allow the Army to accelerate the fielding of
promising technologies. 


         FUNDS USED TO BUY
         PROTOTYPE HARDWARE AND
         SOFTWARE SHOULD BE
         INCLUDED
-------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.2.1

The Army Digitization Program provided $47.6 million for FBCB2
research, development, test, and evaluation activities through fiscal
year 1996.  The funds used were to buy FBCB2 prototype hardware and
software used in the Advanced Warfighting Experiment at the National
Training Center.  Army officials stated that these funds were
obligated prior to the establishment of the FBCB2 acquisition program
and thus should not be included in this cost estimate.  We found that
the Army had included these funds in its total life cycle cost
estimate and, while the source of the funds was the digitization
program element, the explanation to the Congress in appropriate
descriptive summaries shows the funds were needed for activities
related to the development of FBCB2 hardware and software. 
Therefore, we believe these funds should be included in the
derivation of the FBCB2 research, development, test, and evaluation
cost estimate. 


         FUNDS FOR INTEGRATION
         ACTIVITIES AND OBLIGATED
         BY ABRAMS AND BRADLEY
         PROGRAM MANAGERS SHOULD
         BE INCLUDED
-------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.2.2

Our analysis shows that $2.8 million in fiscal year 1997 funding and
$1.9 million in fiscal year 1998 funding were specified for FBCB2
platform (shown as Applique in figure 1)\10 integration activities
and obligated by Abrams and Bradley program managers.  Army officials
stated that a new Army regulation requires that all platform-related
costs be identified as part of the total platform cost and that these
funds were given to and obligated by the Abrams and Bradley program
offices.  However, the Army obtained these funds from the Warfighters
Rapid Acquisition Program on the basis that they would be used to
provide an improved design that was not part of the original FBCB2
budget.  Additionally, when requesting these funds, the Army stated
that, without this funding, FBCB2 would be at risk of not meeting its
fiscal year 2000 deadline.  In our opinion, since these funds were
specifically requested, used, and obligated for FBCB2, they should be
considered part of the total research, development, test, and
evaluation cost estimate. 

Our analysis also shows that $7.8 million in fiscal year 1997 and
$7.7 million in fiscal year 1998 were requested to complete system
engineering and integration work on the Tactical Internet.  According
to Army officials, these funds were obligated by program managers for
Tactical Radio Command Systems and Warfighter Information
Network-Terrestrial and, since they were not controlled or obligated
by the FBCB2 program manager, should not be included in the estimate. 
We believe these funds should be included as part of FBCB2 research,
development, test and evaluation cost because the Army justified its
need for these funds on the basis that they would be used to correct
known shortcomings and make the Tactical Internet compatible with the
evolution of the FBCB2 software development effort.  In describing
the critical nature of the funding, the Army concluded that without
the Tactical Internet there would be no FBCB2. 

We also found that interface funding is specifically characterized in
the fiscal year 1999 Army descriptive summary for the Digitization
program element as needed to complete integration, procure
prototypes, and initiate testing of FBCB2 in the M1A1 Abrams, M1A2
Abrams with system enhancements, and the M2A2 Bradley Operation
Desert Storm configurations.  Therefore, we believe these funds are
more appropriately categorized as FBCB2-related rather than research,
development, test, and evaluation activities unique to the Abrams or
Bradley platforms. 


--------------------
\10 The Applique funding provided to the Army by the Warfighters
Rapid Acquisition Program was accounted for in two ways.  For fiscal
year 1997 the adjusted amount of $4.2 million was apportioned as $1.6
million to the FBCB2 program element and $2.8 to the Abrams and
Bradley program managers.  In fiscal 1998, the adjusted amount of
$2.5 million was apportioned as $0.6 million to the FBCB2 program
element and $1.9 million to the Abrams and Bradley program managers. 


         TEST AND EVALUATION COSTS
         ARE ALREADY IDENTIFIED IN
         ANOTHER PROGRAM ELEMENT
-------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.2.3

According to Army policy, test and evaluation costs associated with a
category I program are included in the program element.  Since we
believe FBCB2 should be classified as a category I acquisition, we
included $8.5 million in fiscal year 1998 for the FBCB2 Limited User
Test, $15.4 million in fiscal year 1999 for the FBCB2 Initial
Operational Test and Evaluation, and $7.5 million in fiscal year 2000
for the FBCB2 Initial Operational Test and Evaluation.  We were
unable to determine the estimated cost for Force Development Test and
Evaluation.  Had we been able to do so, these costs would also be
included in our estimate. 

Our belief that FBCB2 is justifiably a category I acquisition on the
basis of cost is shared by an office in Under Secretary of Defense
for Acquisition and Technology.  In November 1997, the Director,
Test, System Engineering, and Evaluation, recommended that FBCB2 be
designated a category I-D program because of "significant integration
risks with other major systems and the potential dollar thresholds
involved." The Director noted that cost estimates do not include
communications and integration costs that potentially will drive the
program above category II thresholds.  We believe examples of these
type of costs discussed in this report are communication costs
associated with the Tactical Internet and integration costs
associated with the Abrams and Bradley platforms. 

Army program management officials expressed concern about a category
I-D designation for the FBCB2 program because it would require the
insertion of formal oversight review milestones, with their
consequent resource demands, into an already risky schedule. 
However, our recent discussions with these officials disclosed that
issues of cost estimates and acquisition category are still being
explored.  For example, a comprehensive Army cost estimate, currently
being developed with help of the Cost Analysis Improvement Group, is
expected to be available by September 1998.  According to these
officials, the FBCB2 Overarching Integrated Product Team is trying to
reach a consensus on a recommendation regarding the appropriate
amount of oversight required for the program.  That recommendation
may await the outcome of the Army cost estimate effort currently
being developed. 


      FBCB2 SCHEDULE IS HIGH RISK
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.3

To achieve the Army's end of fiscal year 2000 schedule, the FBCB2
program will need to pass a series of tests, including two
operational tests.  Additionally, new versions of two weapon systems
participating in the FBCB2 operational tests will be concluding their
own testing just prior to the start of FBCB2 operational testing. 
The Army acknowledges that the program schedule involves high risk. 
However, despite this acknowledged schedule risk, the Army is moving
ahead with its highly compressed schedule without specifically
addressing the implications of not fielding an adequately developed
system by the end of fiscal year 2000. 


         DELAYS IN DOCUMENTING
         REQUIREMENTS AND COMPLEX
         TESTING SCHEDULE
-------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.3.1

In its effort to move the program rapidly along to meet the year 2000
implementation deadline, the Army is making decisions that may prove
troublesome later in the acquisition.  In this regard, we found that
the development of critical acquisition documentation and plans are
experiencing significant delays.  For example, in July 1997 the Army
made the decision to move FBCB2 to acquisition milestone II
(Engineering and Manufacturing Development) contingent on completion
of the Operational Requirements Document and Test and Evaluation
Master Plan by November 1, 1997.  In November 1997, these actions had
not been completed and the new expected approval date for these
documents slipped to March 1998 .  Our discussions with Army
officials now indicate that these documents are not expected to be
complete and approved by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council
until July 1998.  This means that the Army is currently relying on a
December 1997 Training and Doctrine Command-approved Operational
Requirements Document as the basis for the program until it is
replaced by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council-approved
Operational Requirements Document.  Therefore, the requirements
process is expected to conclude only one month prior to the start of
the first FBCB2 operational test--Limited User Test--in August 1998. 

Further, to meet the Army's fiscal year 2000 schedule, the FBCB2
program will need to successfully complete a series of tests,
including two operational tests.  Each test requires different
versions of software for each of the two hardware components--the
computer and the communications interface unit.  The second
operational test also requires that FBCB2 software be successfully
integrated into the new digitized versions of the Abrams tank and the
Bradley Fighting vehicle.  The new versions of these platforms will
be concluding their own independent operational test and
evaluations--to demonstrate the capability of the platform as a
weapon system--just prior to the start of the FBCB2 initial
operational test and evaluation.  These scheduled activities are
shown in figure 1. 

   Figure 1:  FBCB2 Schedule and
   Related Information

   (See figure in printed
   edition.)

Legend:
ASIP SINCGARS Advanced System Improvement Program SINCGARS
FDT&E Force Development Test and Evaluation
FT Field Test
IOT&E Initial Operational Test and Evaluation
LUT Limited User Test
VHSIC EPLRS<mt:306<Very High Speed Integrated Circuit EPLRS
2.0 through 4.2 Versions of software for computer and iternet
controller

Source:  FBCB2 Program Office. 


         SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF
         CURRENT TEST SCHEDULE IS
         QUESTIONABLE
-------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.3.2

As shown in figure 1, between now and the planned fielding in fiscal
year 2000, FBCB2 will undergo two field tests, two operational tests,
and one force development test.  Throughout the test period, four
different versions of software for the computer and communications
interface unit will be used, with a fifth version actually fielded to
the first digitized division\11 .  In an effort to reduce risk, the
Army will be employing "spiral software builds"\12

throughout the test period.  According to program officials, spiral
software builds increasingly integrate the data from other systems,
such as the Army Tactical Command and Control System, into the FBCB2
system.  Each version is expected to add new functionality into the
previous versions, thus building upon the existing baseline. 

A field test is currently being conducted prior to the start of the
Limited User Test and another will be held in 1999 prior to the Force
Development Test and Evaluation.  The main objectives of these field
tests is to determine FBCB2 readiness for the Limited User Test and
the Force Development Test and Evaluation and to make necessary
modifications to the FBCB2 software. 

The first operational test will be the Limited User Test scheduled
for the last quarter of fiscal year 1998.  Its main objective is to
test new hardware and software developed since the conclusion of the
Task Force XXI Advanced Warfighting Experiment.  The new version of
the FBCB2 computer is called "Applique +."\13 One limitation of the
test is that only "appliqued platforms"--the Abrams M1A1D and the
Bradley M2A2 Operation Desert Storm configurations--will be used.  No
newer digitized platforms, such as the Abrams M1A2 or the Bradley
M2A3 configurations (which require FBCB2 embedded battle command
software only), will be used.\14

The Force Development Test and Evaluation is scheduled for the last
quarter of fiscal year 1999.  The purpose of the test is to evaluate
the tactics, techniques, and procedures established for two digitized
brigades of the 4th Infantry Division.  At this point, it is not
clear which configurations of weapon platforms will participate in
this test. 

The second operational test is the Initial Operational Test and
Evaluation for FBCB2 and is scheduled for the first quarter of fiscal
year 2000.  The testing is intended to demonstrate that the FBCB2
system is operationally effective, suitable, and survivable, and the
results will be used to support the FBCB2 production decision.  While
it is expected that some Abrams and Bradley configurations using the
FBCB2 embedded battle command software will be available for this
test, the latest draft version of the FBCB2 Test and Evaluation
Master Plan acknowledges that not all embedded FBCB2 platforms (for
example, Land Warrior, Paladin, Crusader, and selected aviation
platforms) are expected to be available to participate in the test. 
The majority of these platforms are still in development and cannot
be tested until follow-on operational test and evaluation events. 

In addition to the various software versions, the Army will be
introducing new versions of two radios into the test events--an
Advanced SINCGARS System Improvement Program radio and the EPLRS Very
High Speed Integrated Circuit radio.  Although the development of
these radios has been closely coordinated with the demands of the
Tactical Internet and FBCB2, they remain separately managed and
funded programs.  Synchronizing the radios' schedule with FBCB2's
aggressive schedule remains a challenge.  Overlaying the introduction
of new hardware, software, and radios will be new doctrine, tactics,
techniques, and procedures associated with using these new
capabilities. 

We believe that the introduction of so many new and diverse
elements--hardware, software, radios, doctrine, tactics, techniques,
and procedures--over the 18-month period of testing, coupled with the
Army's expectation that the first division will be equipped by the
end of fiscal year 2000, results in a highly complex and aggressive
FBCB2 schedule.  Both the Army Digitization Office and FBCB2 program
office officials acknowledge that the aggressive schedules to mature
and integrate multiple systems pose a high risk for successful
program completion.  In our opinion, risk is further heightened
because there is no apparent risk mitigation strategy addressing the
implications of the Army's not meeting the goal of having a
functional digitized division by the end of fiscal year 2000. 


--------------------
\11 The fifth software versions (4.0 for the computer and 4.2 for the
internet controller) are actually versions 3.1 for the computer and
4.1 for the internet controller upgraded as a result of the Force
Development Test and Evaluation and the Initial Operational Test and
Evaluation. 

\12 The spiral model of software development and enhancement was
introduced by Barry W.  Boehm in 1988.  It is intended to reduce
software development risks by recognizing the need to build
incremental systems. 

\13 During the Task Force XXI Advanced Warfighting Experiment, four
versions of prototype computers were used:  (1) a commercial version;
(2) a ruggedized version; (3) a militarized version; and, (4) a
version which could be used by dismounted soldiers.  Ruggedized
versions of the prototype computer will also be used during the
Limited User Test. 

\14 The older versions of the Abrams tank and Bradley fighting
vehicle do not have on-board computers that can be augmented by
adding FBCB2 software.  The older versions need to have a computer
installed or integrated into the platform.  The newer versions of the
Abrams tank and Bradley fighting vehicle do have on-board computers
that can be augmented by FBCB2 embedded battle command software. 


         ABRAMS AND BRADLEY
         PROGRAM MANAGERS ARE
         CONCERNED ABOUT FBCB2
         TESTING SCHEDULE
-------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.3.3

Compounding the FBCB2 schedule risk is the test schedule for the only
two weapon platforms scheduled to be involved in FBCB2 initial
operational testing.  The M1A2 Abrams with system enhancements and
the M2A3 Bradley will be undergoing their own independent operational
testing during the FBCB2 engineering and manufacturing development
phase.  Specifically: 

  -- The M1A2 Abrams tank with system enhancements is scheduled for a
     follow-on operational test and evaluation April-July 1999.  As a
     risk mitigation measure, an early version of the FBCB2 embedded
     battle command software, version 1.02b, will be used to evaluate
     the interface between FBCB2 and the platform software.  Command
     and control functionality will not be tested until the FBCB2
     initial operational test and evaluation in October 1999. 

  -- The M2A3 Bradley fighting vehicle is also scheduled for an
     initial operational test and evaluation April-July 1999.  The
     Bradley test will not use any FBCB2 software.  As with the
     Abrams, command and control functionality will not be tested
     until the FBCB2 initial operational test and evaluation in
     October 1999. 

For FBCB2 operational testing, both Abrams and Bradley platforms will
use embedded battle command software version 3.1. 

Officials from both the Abrams and Bradley offices highlighted the
development of the interface between their intravehicle digitized
systems and the FBCB2 software as a concern.  According to these
officials, the newer versions of the Abrams and Bradley are already
digitized in that they have an on-board data processing capability,
including mission-critical software.  These officials were uncertain
about the impact of introducing the FBCB2 software into the
platforms.  Training and fielding concerns were also expressed by
these officials.  Abrams officials further noted that their
experiences indicate that crews need about 12 months to practice with
new software versions before they become proficient.  Under the
current test schedule, crews would have only 3 months to become
proficient before the FBCB2 Initial Operational Test and Evaluation. 


   FBCB2 EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS
   REVEALED PROBLEMS AND POTENTIAL
   FOR IMPROVEMENT
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :4

Since the FBCB2 program has only recently entered engineering and
manufacturing development and is scheduled to undergo about 18 months
of testing, no operational evaluations are yet available for
analysis.  However, a prototype of the system participated in the
Task Force XXI Advanced Warfighting Experiment, which concluded in
March 1997.  The experimental results were analyzed by the Army's
Operational Test and Evaluation Command and the DOD's Director,
Operational Test and Evaluation. 

The Army Operational Test and Evaluation Command's comprehensive Live
Experiment Assessment Report offered various assessments of the FBCB2
prototype.  The report candidly discussed poor message completion
rates, difficulty with message formats, and the limitations of the
experimental hardware and software.  The report also acknowledged
that potential exists for future improvements.  The report offered
the following recommendations for the continued development and
maturity of the FBCB2 system:  (1) continuing to experiment with
Applique/FBCB2 using other interface devices, evolving to a voice
activated, hands-free system; (2) determining the most
critical/useful functions and eliminate non-critical functions; (3)
improving vehicle hardware integration; and (4) continuing to develop
and mature the Applique Combat Service Support functions. 

The Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, through the Institute
for Defense Analyses, assessed and evaluated the battlefield
digitization aspects of the Task Force XXI Advanced Warfighting
Experiment in order to achieve early operational insights before the
beginning of formal operational testing.  Specific systems observed
were the Applique and Tactical Internet.  The oversight effort was
conducted in partnership with the Army's Operational Test and
Evaluation Command, in recognition of the unique nature of the
experiment (as distinct from an operational test).  The Director's
report also identified a lack of (1) adequate digital connectivity;
(2) maturity of the Applique and Tactical Internet; (3) adequate
tactics, techniques, and procedures for operations with digital
equipment; and (4) tactical skills resulting from inadequate unit
collective training.  The report recommended continued oversight and
evaluation of the upcoming operational tests of FBCB2.  Army program
officials currently assess the program's technical risk as medium. 


   CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :5

Even though FBCB2 is one of the Army's top priorities and a key
component of the systems needed to field the first digitized
division, the Army has not designated the program as a category I
acquisition.  The Army believes that the program does not meet the
required dollar threshold for a category I acquisition on the basis
of total research, development, test and evaluation costs.  Program
management officials have also expressed concern that the additional
review and data collection requirements associated with a category I
designation would delay the program.  They contend that such a delay
would prevent them from achieving the goal of fielding the first
digitized division by the end of fiscal year 2000. 

In our opinion, the significance of the program; its estimated
research, development, test, and evaluation cost; and the high
schedule risk are compelling reasons for greater oversight. 
Accordingly, we believe elevating the program to a category I
designation would help ensure that adequate management information is
developed and provided to decision-makers to reduce risk, ensure
affordability, and better achieve the objectives of DOD regulation
5000.2R. 

Therefore, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct the
Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology to

  -- consider our analysis of the FBCB2 program and make a
     determination of whether it should be appropriately
     characterized as an acquisition category I-D on the basis of its
     significance to the Army's battlefield digitization goal, the
     costs we discuss in this report, schedule risk, the new Army
     cost estimate expected to be available by the end of this fiscal
     year, and the benefits of prudent oversight, and

  -- analyze, regardless of eventual category designation, the risks
     and likely immediate benefits associated with equipping a
     division with an FBCB2 capability by the end of fiscal year 2000
     and provide guidance to Army acquisition executives on managing
     those risks. 


   AGENCY COMMENTS
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :6

In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD did not concur or
nonconcur with our recommendations.  In its response, DOD made two
points.  First, DOD indicated that Overarching Integrated Product
Teams--chaired by high level DOD officials--are addressing the issues
discussed in our report and that a decision would be made on
acquisition level categorization by the fourth quarter of fiscal year
1998.  Second, DOD stated that risk management efforts and
digitization benefits are continuing to be discussed.  The department
described illustrative risk mitigation activities developed by Army
officials and reiterated its support of the Army's digitization
efforts. 

While it appears that the FBCB2 acquisition category issue will be
resolved by the end of this fiscal year, we remain concerned about
the cost, schedule, and performance risks associated with equipping a
division by the end of fiscal year 2000 and the implications of not
fielding an adequately developed system by that deadline.  We
continue to believe that this program should be designated an
acquisition category 1-D and that departmental guidance should be
provided to the Army on managing the risks of not meeting such a
short-term mandated deadline. 

DOD's comments are reprinted in their entirety in appendix I, along
with our evaluation.  In addition, DOD provided technical comments
which have been incorporated, as appropriate, in the report. 


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

To evaluate significance of the FBCB2, we reviewed the objectives of
the Army XXI and Army After Next initiatives, the priority of FBCB2
within the Army's digitization programs, system comparability with
other Army command and control programs, and an assessment of FBCB2's
significance prepared by the Office of the Secretary of Defense's
Operational Test and Evaluation office.  We also analyzed early Army
actions to maintain the system's schedule for equipping the first
digitized division. 

To evaluate program cost estimates, we reviewed the Army's life cycle
cost estimate; converted research, development, test, and evaluation
estimates to fiscal year 1996 dollars; compared the fiscal year 1999
FBCB2 budget request with amounts contained in the life cycle cost
estimate; analyzed the fiscal year 1997 and 1998 amounts appropriated
to the Army for FBCB2-related Force XXI Initiatives; and developed
estimates of costs incurred by Abrams and Bradley program managers
for FBCB2-related activities and of test and evaluation costs funded
outside the FBCB2 program element.  We also analyzed early program
cost experiences, particularly the reprogramming action requested for
the fiscal year 1998 FBCB2 unfunded requirement. 

To evaluate the feasibility of the Army's fielding schedule, we
analyzed the events within FBCB2 schedule; discussed the events with
appropriate officials, including representatives of the Abrams and
Bradley program offices; and obtained assessments of the risks
associated with fielding an FBCB2 capability to an Army division by
the end of fiscal year 2000. 

In reviewing experimental performance results of the FBCB2 prototype
at the Task Force XXI Advanced Warfighting Experiment, we considered
the Army Operational Test and Evaluation Command's Live Experiment
Assessment Report and the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation
briefing on early operational insights.  In addition, in March 1997,
prior to the request for this work, we attended the Force XXI
Advanced Warfighting Experiment at Fort Irwin and accompanied
representatives of the Operational Test and Evaluation Command to
observe and obtain first hand knowledge of the performance of FBCB2
and other initiatives being tested.  We also attended after action
sessions in which activities carried out during the exercise were
evaluated by top commanders. 

In the course of our work, we also interviewed program officials and
examined program management and budget documents, draft system
requirements, draft test plans, acquisition plans, and other program
documentation.  We performed work primarily at the Army Digitization
Office, Arlington, Virginia, and the Army Communications and
Electronics Command, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.  We also gathered
data from the Army Tank Automotive and Armaments Command, Warren,
Michigan; Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, Arlington,
Virginia; Director, Test, Systems Engineering, and Evaluation,
Arlington, Virginia; Army Operational Test and Evaluation Command,
Alexandria, Virginia; and the Division XXI Advanced Warfighting
Experiment, Fort Hood, Texas.  Because the FBCB2 Operational
Requirements Document is not yet final, we were unable to review an
approved version of program requirements. 

We performed our review from September 1997 to April 1998 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; the Secretaries of Defense, the Army, the Navy, and the Air
Force; and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.  Copies will also be
made available to others upon request. 

Please contact me at (202) 512-4841 if you or your staff have any
questions concerning this report.  The major contributors to this
report were Charles F.  Rey, Robert J.  Dziekiewicz, and Paul G. 
Williams. 

Sincerely yours,

Allen Li
Associate Director,
Defense Acquisitions Issues




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



(See figure in printed edition.)



(See figure in printed edition.)


The following are GAO's comments on the Department of Defense's (DOD)
letter dated June 5, 1998. 

GAO COMMENTS

1.  DOD commented that through Integrated Product Team meetings the
issues such as program significance, cost, and schedule
risk--discussed in our report--are being addressed.  Although DOD did
not elaborate on how the teams were addressing the issues of
significance or schedule risk, it did acknowledge that the Office of
the Secretary of Defense Cost Analysis Improvement Group is currently
working with the Army's Cost and Economic Analysis Center to validate
the FBCB2 program costs.  This effort is expected to be completed by
the fourth quarter of fiscal year 1998.  In our opinion, the results
of this analysis as well as the information we have presented on
program significance and schedule risk should be considered in
developing the actions taken in response to our recommendation. 

2.  DOD commented that the spiral software development, the series of
tests that have started or are scheduled to be conducted prior to the
October 1999 initial operational test and evaluation, and guidance
from the Overarching Integrated Product Team all provide some degree
of risk management.  We continue to believe these actions do not
constitute an adequate risk mitigation strategy for the reasons
discussed in the body of our report and summarized as follows

  -- Even with the guidance of the Overarching Integration Product
     Team, the fact that so many system development tests are being
     compressed to meet a 18-month schedule because of the mandated
     fiscal year 2000 deadline is, in our view, a high risk approach
     to successful system development. 

  -- The spiral software development model discussed by DOD will not
     guarantee success.  Even with users involved during the frequent
     tests, it is unlikely that there is enough time between tests
     for DOD to adequately correct discovered deficiencies and
     implement other desired changes.  Further, DOD states that a
     working group is planned to evolve this spiral development
     concept for software in the spirit of acquisition streamlining. 
     We believe that the time for evolving this concept, as it
     relates to FBCB2, is past and concentrated effort must be
     focused on successfully completing the scheduled tests and
     containing escalating costs. 

  -- DOD is proceeding with FBCB2 development on the basis of an
     Operational Requirements Document and a Test and Evaluation
     Master Plan, which is still in the process of being reviewed for
     approval by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council.  This, in
     our opinion, is another impediment to adequate risk mitigation
     because DOD is attempting to develop a system that may or may
     not be addressing appropriate requirements. 

We still believe that the discussion in our report on these issues
supports the need for DOD and the Army to follow the more formal
approach to risk mitigation planning as required by DOD Regulation
5000.2R for acquisition I programs. 


*** End of document. ***