Army Battlefield Automation: Oversight Needed to Assure Integrated System

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-07-24.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

         ‘. L

                                      United   States   General   Accounting     Office

i?xAO                                 Report to Congressional Requesters

July            1990
                                      ARMY BATTLEFIELD
                                      Oversight Needed to
                                      Assure Integrated

                           EESTRICI’ED --Not      to be released outside   the
                           General Accounting   Of&e unless specifically
                           approved by the Office of Congressional
                       B              54w5                                       -.-..
                   United States
                   General Accounting Office
                   Washington, D.C. 20548

                   Information    Management   and
                   Technology    Division


                   July 24, 1990

                   The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye
                   Chairman, Subcommittee on Defense
                   Committee on Appropriations
                   United States Senate

                   The Honorable John P. Murtha
                   Chairman, Subcommittee on Defense
                   Committee on Appropriations
                   House of Representatives

                   The Army’s ability to marshal combat power in battle is increasingly
                   tied to its reliance on automated information and control systems. The
                   Army believes that battlefield systems such as maneuver control, air
                   defense, and intelligence must be effectively integrated into an inter-
                   operable network if they are to process and make available-in     a timely
                   manner-the large amount of data needed for critical battlefield deci-
                   sions This report responds to your May 30 and December 14,1989,
                   requests for the status of the technical and integration challenges that
                   will confront the Army as it begins to integrate five command and con-
                   trol systems into an overall system referred to as the Army Tactical
                   Command and Control System (ATCCS). A detailed explanation of our
                   objective, scope, and methodology is contained in appendix I.

                   The Army estimates that the acquisition cost for ATCCS' five battlefield
Results in Brief   command and control systems (component systems) and the three com-
                   munications systems that will link them together is over $20 billion.
                   Although these systems were conceived as independent and stand-alone,
                   and have value as individual systems, the Army now views their inte-
                   gration into an overall system as essential to meeting the battlefield
                   commander’s needs for timely information. Given this situation, it is
                   important that the Army reduce the risk that the systems may not be
                   able to be integrated without costly redesigns or retrofitting.

                   The Army is working to resolve the many technical problems it faces
                   integrating these various systems. Three problems-completing   system
                   specifications; ensuring adequate communications among the component
                   systems; and designing and implementing an automated communications
                   network management system-are critical. However, no independent
                   oversight of ATCCSexists; the Army therefore cannot be assured that

                   Page1                                GAO/lMTEG9078 Army Battlefield Automation

well. Third, the three major communications systems that ATCCSwill use
to link the battlefield areas are also in various stages of development or

The Army has taken steps to manage .VKXSas a system of systems.
These include: implementing ATCCS in phases by incorporating the com-
ponent systems into ATCCS as they complete development and are
deployed; consolidating the management of the five command and con-
trol systems under one manager;? using off-the-shelf common hardware
and software to develop the component systems; coordinating develop-
ment of software that is common to two or more component systems;
developing standard command post shelters” for all five systems; estab-
lishing an ATCCS test and evaluation master plan; and hiring a systems
engineering and integration contractor to help implement this approach.

All of these actions, many of which required considerable effort and
work to change the existing ways of doing things, are positive steps and
are expected to have benefits. For example, the emphasis on common
hardware, software, and command posts is intended to simplify the
Army’s logistics, maintenance, support, and training burden and lower
the cost of acquiring and fielding an integrated set of automated com-
mand and control systems. In June 1990, the Army estimated that using
these common items would save approximately $980 million.

Nonetheless, the challenge of integrating five command and control sys-
tems and three communications systems, all in various phases of devel-
opment or deployment, into a system of systems poses significant risk,
which the Army must minimize.

‘The Army establishedthe wition of programexecutweofficer in 1987to provide clear accounta-
bdity for programacquisition. A programexecutiveofficer is responsiblefor managmgthe five com-
mand and control systemsand integrating them into ATCCS;the programexecutiveofficer for
commwicatlom is responsiblefor developingthe three communicationssystemsATCCSwill beusmg.
“Thesesheltersprovide all of the componentsnecessaryto operatea commandpost,e.g..shelter,
power,and racks for mountmgcomputerand communicationssystems.

Page 3                                       GAO/JMTF2G9&73Army LIattletield Automation

Communications Systems’    The Army has not analyzed the communications work load to be gener-
                           ated by the five component systems and, therefore, does not know
Ability to Handle ATCCS’   whether the communications systems it plans to use for ATCCSare ade-
Traffic Volume Is          quately sized. This increases the risk that the battlefield commander
Unknown                    will not get information when it is needed.

                           A communications work load study would determine what capabilities
                           the communications systems must have to transmit information among
                           and between component systems. Typically, such a study would have
                           been done as part of defining the communications systems’ specifica-
                           tions for ARXS. Instead, the Army decided in 1986 to use communica-
                           tions systems which were being developed at that time. However, these
                           systems were sized without considering the work load A'RXS would

                           In January 1989, in response to congressional concerns about the
                           Army’s ability to handle its overall battlefield communications needs, an
                           Army study concluded that its post-1994 needs for data transmission
                           will exceed planned capabilities and that the needs are expected to keep
                           growing. In other words, without upgrades, the Army will not have the
                           communications capability to meet the needs of ATCCS,which is expected
                           to become operational after 1994. In addition, this study addressed only
                           some of the Army’s communications needs-it did not address all of
                           ATCCS' needs. For example, the communications needs for the combat
                           service support system, one of the ATCCScomponent systems, were not
                           addressed. In addition, the communications requirements for the
                           maneuver control system (another ATCCScomponent system) were not
                           validated, thus the needs that were used may not have represented
                           actual user requirements.

                           The Army recognizes the importance of performing an ATCCScommuni-
                           cations work load analysis. It has tasked its systems engineering and
                           integration contractor with determining ATCXS' communications work
                           load and assessing whether the communications systems AVIS plans to
                           use can handle it. The Army expects the study to be completed in April

                           This analysis must be completed to ensure that sufficient communica-
                           tions capability will be available when needed by ATCCS. If the study is
                           delayed or if needed changes cannot be expeditiously implemented, it
                           increases the risk that the ATCCScomponent systems will be ready to be
                           deployed before sufficient communications capability is available.

                            Page5                              GAO/IMTECS&7S Army Battlefield   Automation

                  Achieving the goals and benefits expected from ATCCSdepends upon suc-
                  cessfully integrating the five component systems and their supporting
                  communications systems. Delays or functional shortfalls in any system
                  can compromise ATCCS' goals and its schedule. For example, the fire sup-
                  port system cannot operate without the Army Data Distribution System.
                  Consequently, the resolution of individual systems’ problems and the
                  impact of their solutions must be addressed not only from the perspec-
                  tive of the individual system, but also from the perspective of ATCCS

                  In addition, independent oversight will help assure that ATCCSis viewed
                  as a system of systems. While ATCCSis composed of five command and
                  control systems linked by three communications systems, to be effective.
                  it must perform as a system. As one top Army official recently told the
                  Congress, it is important that .4TCCSbe viewed as a system of systems,
                  fully integrated, rather than as a loose collection of programs. Further,
                  independent oversight will help protect the significant investment being
                  made in the systems that comprise ATCCS.

                  The Army faces a significant challenge in integrating the five command
Conclusions and   and control systems and the three communications systems into a
Recommendations   system of systems. The Army has taken many appropriate actions to
                  integrate these systems and is working to resolve the technical problems
                  it faces. Until resolved, however, these problems increase the risk that
                  (1) component systems may have to be changed significantly and that
                  ATCCSwill not be able to provide all of the information the battlefield
                  commander needs, and (2) that the component systems will be deployed
                  and ready to operate together before the communications systems and
                  their automated network control capabilities are available. Independent
                  oversight from an ATCCSperspective would help bring about the timely
                  resolution of these technical problems.

                  In addition, independent oversight, focusing on delays and functional
                  shortfalls in any system, would reduce the risk that the eight systems
                  may not be able to be integrated as a total system without costly
                  redesigns and retrofitting. Further, the complexity of the challenge and
                  the size of the investment in the systems that will comprise ATCCS
                  demands independent oversight. Since ATCCSneeds to perform as a
                  system, it needs to be overseen as a system.

                  Therefore, both srccs-level and individual system-level problems and
                  solutions must be addressed from an ATCCSperspective to assure the

                   Page 7                             GAO/IMTEG90-78 Army Battlefield Automation
Page 9   GAO/lMTEG99.79 Army Battlefield Automation
Appendix II

Major Contributors to This Report

                       James R. Watts, Associate Director
Information            Robert P. Cavanaugh, Project Director
Management and         Barbara D. Kirsch, Project Manager
Technology Division,   Dr. Rona B. Stillman, Chief Scientist
                       Leonard J. Latham, Technical Adviser
Washington, D.C.       Ronald L. Hess, Staff Evaluator
                       Keith Landrum, Staff Evaluator
                       Michael P. Fruitman, Supervisory Reports Analyst

                       Paul A. Puchalik, Regional Management Representative
New York Regional      David J. Deivert, Staff Evaluator

(510448)               Page 11                           GAO/IMTJXG9078Amay Battlefield Automation

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Appendix I                                                                                -
Objective, Scope, and Methodology

               As requested by the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcom-
               mittee on Defense on May 30, 1989, and the Chairman of the House
               Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on December 14, 1989, the
               objective of our review was to provide information about the technical
               and integration challenges which will confront the Army as it begins to
               integrate the five command and control systems into ATCCS.

               To accomplish this objective we reviewed system development, plan-
               ning, technical, and contractor documents, and Department of Defense
               and Army standards and regulations, and interviewed Army officials at
               the Office of the Program Executive Officer, Command and Control Sys-
               tems, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey; individual ATCCSprogram managers
               at Fort Monmouth and at McLean, Virginia; the Office of the Program
               Executive Officer, Communications, Fort Monmouth; the Combined
               Arms Combat Development Activity, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; the
               Communications-Electronics Command, Fort Monmouth; the Army
               Operational Test and Evaluation Agency, Alexandria, Virginia; the
               Army Materiel System Analysis Activity, Aberdeen, Maryland; the
               Signal Corps, Fort Gordon, Georgia; TRW Defense Systems Group,
               Redondo Beach. California; and at the General Electric Corporation, Fort
               Washington, Pennsylvania.

                Our review was conducted from July 1989 through June 1990. We dis-
                cussed our findings with officials from the Offices of the Program Exec-
                utive Officer, Command and Control Systems and Communications, and
                the Office of the Secretary of Defense. We included their comments
                where appropriate. However, in accordance with the requesters’ wishes,
                we did not obtain official agency comments on a draft of this report. We
                performed our work in accordance with generally accepted government
                auditing standards.

                Page 10                            GAO/lMTEC!W-78 Amxy Battlefield Automation

timely resolution of these interdependent problems before any indi-
vidual system proceeds too far in development. To reduce the risks asso-
ciated with the complex, technically challenging, and expensive task of
integrating the five command and control systems and the three commu-
nications systems, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense require
the Defense Acquisition Board to oversee the overall ATCCSprogram.

Furthermore, it is critical that the Army complete the ATCCSspecifica-
tions and the communications work load study. The Army expects to
complete these two efforts in 1991; thus, 1991 will be a pivotal year in
determining the future success of ATCCS. Accordingly, we recommend
that the Secretary of Defense require that the Defense Acquisition
Board, as part of its oversight of ATCCS, assess the impact of (1) the
ATCCSspecifications on the design of the component systems and (2) the
estimated communications work load on the existing communications
systems, and submit the results to the Secretary to use in determining
the funding requests for the component and communications systems.

As requested by your offices, we did not obtain official agency com-
ments on a draft of this report. We did discuss the factual contents with
Department of Defense and Army officials and incorporated their com-
ments where appropriate. Our work was performed in accordance with
generally accepted government auditing standards.

As arranged with your offices, unless you publicly announce the con-
tents of this report earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report
until 30 days from the date of this letter. At that time, we will send
copies to the Chairmen, Senate and House Committees on Armed Ser-
vices; the Secretaries of Defense and the Army; the Director, Office of
Management and Budget; and other interested parties. This work was
performed under the direction of Samuel W. Bowlin, Director, Defense
and Security Information Systems, who can be reached at (202) 275-
4649. Other major contributors are listed in appendix II.

Ralph V.-Carlone
Assistant Comptroller    General


Automated Capability to   ATCCScomponent systems will rely on three Army communications sys-
Manage Communications     tems, for voice, data, and message service. Like the ATCCScomponent
                          systems, each communications system (Mobile Subscriber Equipment for
Systems Is Lacking        voice, facsimile, and data transfer in a direct user-to-user mode; Single
                          Channel Ground and Air Radio System for voice and data transmission;
                          and Army Data Distribution System for data transmission) was con-
                          ceived as an independent, stand-alone system. Only later did the Army
                          recognize that substantial operational benefits could be derived by man-
                          aging the separate communications systems as one composite system.
                          For example, greater communications robustness may be achieved in
                          battle if the status of the systems and the work load on the systems can
                          be quickly and accurately determined. By doing this, bottlenecks can be
                          identified and traffic rerouted to maximize communications capabilities.

                          The Army is now pursuing an automated communications planning and
                          management system called the Integrated System Control Facility
                          (IsISCON) to effectively integrate many individual Army communications
                          systems, including those supporting ATCCS. Although ISISCONwas not
                          funded in the past, the Army currently plans to establish the program in
                          October 1991. ISYSCONis expected to have an initial operating capability
                          by December 1994. Its capabilities must be available in 1996, when the
                          Army plans to have all five command and control systems in the field. If
                          it is not available when ATCCS is fielded, ATCCS’ overall usefulness and
                          benefits could be considerably lessened.

                           Defense policies and procedures for automated system development call
No Army- Or Defense-       for thorough and effective oversight commensurate with the anticipated
Level Oversight of         investment. “Major”” systems are normally developed through five dis-
ATCCS as a System of       tinct phases, with the results of each phase reviewed and approved
                           before permitting the system to progress to the next phase. Major sys-
Systems                    tems that are reviewed by the Defense Acquisition Board must be
                           approved for continued development by the Secretary of Defense.

                           Since the ATCZCScomponent systems were initiated as individual systems
                           they are overseen separately. Three of the component systems have
                           received independent oversight from the Defense Acquisition Board.
                           The other two are overseen by the Army System Acquisition Review
                           Council. However, there is no independent oversight of ATCCSas a whole.

                           ‘DefenseDirective 5000.1definesmajorsystemsas thosewth estimatedacquisltlon eats of mar?
                           than $1 billion, thosewith eventual total expendituresfor research,development,test. and evaluation
                           of morethan $200million. or thosedesignatedas specnl mtereStbecauseof urgencyof need.dcvcl-
                           opmentrisk. JOltIt fUnding,or congreslOntd  In&!reS.

                           Page 6                                          GAO/tMTECW-76 Army Battlefield Automation

                             The Army is working to resolve over 40 technical problems that it
Technical Issues Place       believes are important to developing and integrating ATCCS. While cor-
Successful Integration       recting all of these problems is necessary for a successful system, we
at Risk                      believe that three in particular-completing    system specifications,
                             ensuring adequate communications among the five command and con-
                             trol systems, and designing and implementing an automated communica-
                             tions network management system-are critical to integrating the
                             component systems into Xn.Xs.

System Specifications        The Army has not yet fully defined how the component systems will
Have Not Been Fully          operate as a system of systems. For example, the Army has not yet fin-
                             ished identifying what specific ATCCS data must be provided by and
Defined                      exchanged among each of the five component systems. Nor has it deter-
                             mined how the information will be stored or what formats will be used
                             to transmit and receive the data at each battlefield area. Until these
                             specifications are completed, the Army does not know what information
                             the five component systems must provide, how often, how current it
                             must be, and in what format. Once these specifications are completed,
                             an assessment of individual systems must be made to determine what
                             modifications, if any, must be made to integrate these systems into the
                             overall ATCCS system configuration. Any needed revisions may prove to
                             be costly.

                             The Army in 1989 tasked its systems engineering and integration con-
                             tractor with defining ATfX+kVel specifications; this task is expected to
                             be completed in early 1991. This effort will include

                         9 determining how the component systems will work together;
                         9 determining what functions each system must perform to meet ATCCS
                           requirements; and
                         l assessing the component systems to determine how they need to be
                           changed to meet ATUS requirements.

                             Before the specifications definition for ATCCS is completed, however,
                             writing of software will be underway for four component systems.
                             Writing software for component systems without knowing ATUS specifi-
                             cations may result in the Army later spending additional tune and
                             money to make the component systems’ software comply with Am
                             specifications. More important, the Army plans to make major produc-
                             tion decisions in August 1992 on two component systems, which gives
                             the Army very little time to design, test, and implement any changes
                             which may be needed to meet ATCCSspecifications.

                             Page4                               GAO/IMTEGWV3 Army Battlefield Autmnation

                         ATCCSintegration  problems are being resolved and that future ATCCScon-
                         cerns are considered in decisions being made on the component and com-
                         munications systems.

                         ATCCS is designed to rapidly collect, process, analyze, display, coordinate,
Background               and exchange timely battlefield information to enhance the decision-
                         making process. When completed, ATCCSwill have automated systems at
                         the five battlefield functional areas used to command and control a
                         battle: (1) planning, directing, and controlling artillery (fire support); (2)
                         status monitoring of troop movements and general battlefield conditions
                         (maneuver control); (3) controlling short-range air defense weapons (air
                         defense); (4) managing supply, maintenance, transportation, medical,
                         and personnel activities (combat service support); and (5) receiving,
                         analyzing, and distributing intelligence information (intelligence and
                         electronic warfare). The voice and data communications capabilities
                         that will link the battlefield areas and their component systems will be
                         provided by three communications systems.

                         The integration of the five component and three communications sys-
                         tems into a system of systems is expected to provide commanders from
                         corps to battalion with what the Army describes as a “force multiplier”;
                         i.e., producing greater fighting effectiveness through better use of the
                         same or fewer battlefield resources. Working together, these component
                         systems are intended to permit battlefield areas, using computers linked
                         by radio and wire, to communicate efficiently and to produce common
                         data bases of command information and pictures of the unfolding battle.
                         The estimated acquisition cost of the ATCCScomponent systems and the
                         communications systems that they will use, according to Army figures,
                         is more than $20 billion.’

                         While the Army has been automating its command and control systems
The Challenge:           for years, it was not until December 1986 that the Army decided to inte-
Integrating Systems in   grate them into a system of systems. Integrating the five component sys-
Different Phases of      terns is complicated by several factors. First, the five component
                         battlefield systems are in different phases of development, ranging from
Development              concept definition to full-scale development. Second, each component
                         system itself is very large and complex, and is supposed to satisfy both
                         its own functional requirements (e.g., fire support) and those of ATCCSas

                         'This estimate doe not mclude some mtelhgence and electronrc warfare     system costs, which are

                         Page 2                                          GAO/IMTEC9078          Army Battlefield   Automation