Army adds success assessments

The Army is now performing "probability of success" assessments on all of its programs, along with traditional risk assessments, according to two of the service's leaders.

The undersecretary of the Army, R. Les Brownlee, said he recently asked Claude Bolton Jr., assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, to include the success assessments as another dimension in reducing risks for the service's ongoing transformation.

"The point is, while we're pushing the envelope for transformation, we have to do everything we can to reduce risks," Brownlee said during his keynote presentation at the Association of the U.S. Army's 2002 Winter Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "Managing risks is critical for the goal, the vision of the Objective Force."

The Objective Force is envisioned as more deployable than the current armored forces and better able to survive an all-out fight than the current light forces.

The new assessments for all programs started about two weeks ago and was a natural progression "because we normally give subjective risk assessments — high, medium or low — and now we do the same thing with probability for success," Bolton told Federal Computer Week.

The program managers are responsible for providing the success assessments, and the Defense Systems Management College is working on producing a standard way of doing them, Bolton said.

One technological area that Bolton said he would be watching closely is quantum computing, which relies on principles of quantum mechanics to process enormous amounts of information.

"As I understand the technology and its capabilities, it could be wonderful for us, it could be a threat for us," Bolton said, adding that he asked the Army Science Board to examine it. "As they lay out their studies over the next 10 years, we'll decide at what point we should start taking a closer look at it."

Bolton made it clear that quantum computing is just one of many technologies that the board would be researching, but he is hopeful for that technology's future. "It could be another boon to the Information Age."

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