GAO report: Benefits of Army digitization program uncertain

The Army has not produced conclusive evidence that its $20 billion plan to field dozens of advanced information systems to help soldiers exchange information will make its forces more effective on the battlefield, according to a General Accounting Office report released last week. The report, 'Batt

The Army has not produced conclusive evidence that its $20 billion plan to field dozens of advanced information systems to help soldiers exchange information will make its forces more effective on the battlefield, according to a General Accounting Office report released last week.

The report, "Battlefield Automation: Performance Uncertainties are Likely When the Army Fields its First Digitized Division," found that the results of past field evaluations of the Army's digitization effort "have been inconclusive" and showed "no significant increase" in the ability of soldiers armed with information systems to carry out battle operations.

More importantly, even if systems testing, scheduled for November 2001, proves successful, it may be two to three years before officials know if fielding the systems has had any benefit, the report stated.

The report also revealed that the Army plans to field the linchpin command and control system of its digitization effort, known as Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2), before it can fully test and evaluate the system's capabilities and interoperability. This will result in Army units receiving systems that have not been proven to work and that personnel have not been trained to use, the report stated.

"This means that if current procurement plans proceed, the Army will have obligated $128.5 million [through fiscal 2001] to purchase and install about two-thirds of the systems needed for the first digitized corps without conclusive determinations," according to the report.

The Army's plans call for equipping the first digitized division—the Fourth Infantry Division—by December 2000 and the first corps-sized unit by the end of fiscal 2004. Remaining divisions throughout the Army will be equipped between 2010 and 2012, according to GAO. However, changes and delays in the program have resulted in a "highly risky" acquisition strategy, the report stated.

Army officials did not respond to a request for comment on the report.

However, in the department's official written response to the report, Art Money, the senior civilian official serving as the assistant secretary of Defense for command, control, communications and intelligence, said DOD "is fully supportive of the Army's digitization effort."

In addition, Money said the Army's plan for low-rate fielding of FBCB2 prior to testing and evaluation "included a detailed justification," and testing of FBCB2 "is a major issue being addressed" at DOD integrated product team meetings.

Martin Libicki, a defense analyst with Rand Corp. specializing in information warfare and information operations, said there are many ways of looking at the Army's current digitization plans, but results of previous field experiments have been mediocre. "It could be that [digitization of the battlefield] is a much more profound [change] than the Army understands," Libicki said. "Or, we may be asking too much from command and control [technologies]," he said.

According to Libicki, although the Army's investment in digitization seems quite steep, given the findings of the GAO report, the uncertain nature of the military threat facing the Army in the future makes the investment a wise decision.

NEXT STORY: Market Trends -- ERP

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.