Senate committee calls for independent review of WIN-T

Senators are asking the Government Accountability Office to provide an independent assessment of the Army’s troubled Warfighter Information Network-Tactical program.

Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee included a provision to that effect in their report on the fiscal 2008 defense spending bill. The panel marked up the legislation Sept. 12. The full Senate is expected to debate the bill in the coming weeks.

Senators want GAO Comptroller General David Walker to deliver a report to the congressional defense committees by June 30, 2008.

Senators are concerned about what they call the program’s technological challenges and programmatic uncertainties, which could lead to additional costs and schedule slips, the report states.

GAO’s review should include an evaluation of the Army’s efforts to address those problems. It should also examine the service’s plans to integrate and synchronize WIN-T with the Future Combat Systems program, and it should assess the accuracy of the Army’s cost estimates for the effort.

WIN-T is a crucial program for the Army. It is supposed to link various elements of FCS, the flagship project in the service’s modernization plans.

Earlier this year, Defense Department officials reported cost increases of almost $2.2 billion in the last quarter of 2006. In June, Kenneth Krieg, who at the time was undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, provided the requisite documentation to Congress that the program should continue despite the cost increases. Officials also unveiled a restructured management plan for the program.

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