The GAO report can be downloaded here: http://www.gao.gov/ assets/670/668783.pdf
Better Approach Needed to Account for Number, Cost, and Performance of Non-Major Programs
What GAO Found
The Department of Defense (DOD) could not provide sufficiently reliable data for GAO to determine the number, total cost, or performance of DOD’s current acquisition category (ACAT) II and III programs. These non-major programs range from a multibillion dollar aircraft radar modernization program to soldier clothing and protective equipment programs in the tens of millions of dollars. GAO found that the accuracy, completeness, and consistency of DOD’s data on these programs were undermined by widespread data entry issues, missing data, and inconsistent identification of current ACAT II and III programs. See the figure below for selected data reliability issues GAO identified.
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Why GAO Did This Study
DOD requested $168 billion in fiscal year 2014 to develop, test, and acquire weapon systems and other products and equipment. About 40 percent of that total is for major defense acquisition programs or ACAT I programs. DOD also invests in other, non-major ACAT II and III programs that are generally less costly at the individual program level. These programs typically have fewer reporting requirements and are overseen at lower organizational levels than ACAT I programs, although they may have annual funding needs that are just as significant.
GAO was asked to examine ACAT II and III programs. This report addresses, among other issues, (1) the extent to which information is available on the number, cost, and performance of ACAT II and III programs and (2) factors that affected the performance of selected ACAT II and III programs. GAO collected program and cost data on current ACAT II and III programs from five DOD components. GAO also selected a non-generalizable sample of 15 programs based on program cost and other criteria and reviewed documentation and interviewed officials about program performance.
What GAO Recommends
GAO recommends that DOD establish guidelines on what constitutes a current ACAT II and III program, take steps to improve data reliability, and determine how to measure cost and schedule performance. DOD partially concurred with the recommendations and described actions it plans to take. However, as discussed in the report, DOD’s planned actions may not fully address the issues that GAO identified.