I’nited States General Accounting Office la GAO Report to the Chairman, Committee on - Armed Services, House of Representatives September 1990 DEFENSE ACQUISITION Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Offers w Lessons for Successful Programs IUBTIUCTED-- Not to be released outside the General Accounting OilIce unless specificaLly approved by the Office of Congressional Relations. GAO/NSIAD-90-160 National Security and International Affairs Division B-239137 September 6, 1990 The Honorable Les Aspin Chairman, Committee on Armed Services House of Representatives Dear Mr. Chairman: This report responds to your request concerning the management of the Navy’s Fleet Ballistic Missile program. Specifically, it discusses program management features that have been major contributors to the program’s success. We also found that successful programs in the other services tend to share similar features. As requested, we plan no further distribution of this report until 30 days after its issue date, unless you publicly announce its contents earlier. At that time, we will send copies to the Secretary of Defense; the Service Secretaries; appropriate congressional committees; and other interested parties. This report was prepared under the direction of Martin M Ferber, Director, Navy Issues, Appendix IV lists other major contributors to this report. Sincerely yours, Frank C. Conahan Assistant Comptroller General Executive Summq The Fleet Ballistic Missile system is the U.S. sea-based deterrent against Purpose the Soviet nuclear threat. Nuclear-powered submarines carrying nuclear-tipped Polaris A-l ballistic missiles began operational patrols in 1960. In March 1990, fourth-generation submarines began operation with sixth-generation Trident II (D-6) missiles. The Navy’s Fleet Ballistic Missile program is one of the few major weapon system acquisitions that, over the years, has consistently met or bettered its cost, schedule, and performance goals. The Chairman, House Committee on Armed Services, asked GAO to deter- mine (1) what features have contributed to the Fleet Ballistic Missile program’s success and (2) whether those features were present in other selected defense acquisition programs. GAO also determined to what extent the six features identified by the Packard Commission as typical of successful commercial programs could be found in the selected defense acquisition programs. The Department of Defense’s acquisition process has been the subject of Background a number of studies and management initiatives for more than 20 years. These studies suggested ways to address recurring problems in defense acquisition-cost growth, schedule slippage, and performance shortfalls-but these problems continue to exist. GAO used a comparative case study methodology to determine whether features that were identified as contributing to the Fleet Ballistic Missile program’s success were common in other major acquisition programs. The GAO study included one “successful” and one “less than successful” program each from the Navy, Army, and Air Force. GAO considered pro- grams that generally met their cost, schedule, and performance goals as successful. The other successful programs studied were the Army’s Mul- tiple Launch Rocket System and the Air Force’s F-16. For comparison purposes, GAO studied the Navy’s Submarine Advanced Combat System (a portion of which became AN/BSY-l), the Army’s Aquila Remotely Piloted Vehicle, and the Air Force’s Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile. The Packard Commission’s 1986 report on defense management included an “Acquisition Model To Emulate,” which identified six fea- tures that could be used as a model for defense acquisition programs. These features are (1) clear command channels, (2) stability, (3) limited reporting requirements, (4) small, high quality staffs, (5) communica- tions with users, and (6) prototyping and testing. Page 2 GAO/NSIA.D@O-16OFketBallisticMissileRogram Executive Summary identified five interrelated major features that contributed to the Results in Brief GAO Fleet Ballistic Missile program’s success. These features are (1) funding and program stability, (2) program responsibility over the system’s entire life cycle from development through operations support, (3) con- tinuity of key personnel, (4) program office technical expertise, and (5) good management practices, such as open communications, indepen- dent internal evaluation, and on-site management representation at con- tractor plants. GAO found no guaranteed “cookbook” approach to a successful weapon system acquisition. Each of the acquisition programs studied developed in a unique environment with its own particular opportunities and problems. In each case, GAO found that the program’s success or lack of success was the result of multiple causes. However, more of the Fleet Ballistic Missile program’s features were generally present in the suc- cessful programs than in the less than successful programs. For example, the successful programs generally had funding and program stability, continuity of key personnel, and program office technical expertise. Likewise, the successful programs shared more of the Packard Commis- sion model’s features than the less than successful programs. For example, the successful programs generally had stability, high quality staff, and good communications with users. Principal Findings Program Stability and Since the mid-1950s, the Fleet Ballistic Missile program office has had a Life-Cycle Responsibility well-defined mission of high national priority. The program also has had strong and continuous congressional and executive branch funding sup- port. Therefore, program managers have been able to concentrate on resolving technical problems rather than funding problems. The Fleet Ballistic Missile program office has been responsible for the design, development, procurement, and maintenance support of several generations of submarines and missiles. With this life-cycle responsi- bility for the system, the program’s management emphasized the long- term view, knowing that it would be responsible for supporting the system. For example, decisions made during the Trident I missile’s Page 3 GAO/NSIAD-90460 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Executive Summary acquisition phase are today’s logistics and maintenance realities for the same program office. Most of the Fleet Ballistic Missile program’s principal contractors have been with the program from the beginning and share this long-term responsibility. Many of the program’s developmental contracts provided for incentive payments based on long-term performance, including relia- bility and accuracy. For example, the Trident II navigation subsystem’s performance on the first 32 operational patrols will determine the final amount of the contractor’s incentive payment. The successful acquisition programs GAO studied had funding and pro- gram stability while the less than successful programs did not. Staff Continuity and Military personnel had an acquisition career path in the Fleet Ballistic Missile program office, which provided continuity. The average tenure Technical Expertise of the six program managers is 6 years, compared to 27 months for other defense program managers. Also, four of these program managers each served as the program’s Technical Director before becoming pro- gram manager. Civilian personnel in the Fleet Ballistic Missile program office also have long tenures and promotion opportunities within the program. For example, about 40 percent of the headquarters civilian personnel have more than 10 years of program experience. These senior personnel use their experience not only to resolve problems but also to avoid them. Fleet Ballistic Missile program personnel have the necessary technical expertise to direct and evaluate contractor performance. This is in con- trast to some program offices that use either contractors as weapon system managers or technical staff from functional organizations outside the program offices. The successful acquisition programs GAO studied had more continuity in senior staff than did the less than successful programs. Good Management Five good management practices have helped to ensure that the Fleet Practices Ballistic Missile system meets performance and design requirements. These practices are (1) open communications, (2) independent internal evaluation, (3) on-site management representation at contractor plants, (4) strict management of proven designs and manufacturing processes, Page 4 GAO/NSIAIMO-160 Fleet Ehllistic Missile Program Executive Summary and (5) contracting with multiple incentives for prime contractors and extensive competition at the subcontractor level. These practices are not unique to the Fleet Ballistic Missile program, but they were generally absent from the less than successful programs studied. For example, the communications practices used are not neces- sarily different in the type and number of meetings or reviews. How- ever, only the successful programs benefitted from open communications, which resulted in program and contractor personnel recognizing problems as they developed, openly discussing them, and working to resolve them. Packard Commission GAO’S review showed that the three successful programs shared more of the Packard Commission model’s features than the less than successful Model Comparisons programs, particularly stability, high quality staff, and communications with users. This corroborates the Packard Commission’s view that inclu- sion of these features can contribute to program success. GAO is not making recommendations in this report. Recommendations did not obtain official agency comments. However, GAO discussed Agency Comments GAO the report’s findings with Department of Defense officials and officials of the various acquisition program offices reviewed and included their comments where appropriate. Page 6 GAO/NSLU.bW16O Fleet BUntic Missile Program Contents Executive Summary 2 Chapter 1 8 Introduction Program History Objectives, Scope, and Methodology 9 10 Chapter 2 15 Features Contributing ~;~;l;~e~;~;l~ilit~ 15 17 IJo the FBM Program’s Coniinuity of Key Personnel 19 Successand Program Office Technical Expertise 22 Comparisons With Good Management Practices 23 Applicability to Other Defense Acquisitions 27 Other Acquisition Programs Chapter 3 29 Comparison of the Six Acquisition Programs and the Packard Commission’s Acquisition Model Appendixes Appendix I: Definitions of the Packard Commission 32 Model’s Features Appendix II: The Six Defense Acquisition Programs 34 Studied Appendix III: GAO Reports Used in Our Review 43 Appendix IV: Major Contributors to This Report 47 Tables Table 1.1: Acquisition Programs Selected for Our Review 13 Table 3.1: Comparison of the Features of the Acquisition 30 Programs Studied With the Commission’s Acquisition Model Features Table II. 1: FBM Submarine Comparison 35 Table 11.2:FBM Comparison 36 Page 6 GAO/NSIAD90-160 F’leet Balhtlc MSsdle Program Contents Figures Figure II. 1: FBM Submarine Class Comparison 34 Figure 11.2:Six Generations of FBMs 36 Figure 11.3:The MLRS 37 Figure 11.4:The F-16 38 Figure 11.5:AN/BSY-1 Combat Control and Acoustics 40 System Figure 11.6:Major Components of the Aquila System 41 Figure 11.7:The AMR.AAM 42 Abbreviations AMRAAM Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile DOD Department of Defense FBM Fleet Ballistic Missile GAO General Accounting Office MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket System PM program manager SSP Strategic Systems Programs SUBACS Submarine Advanced Combat System Page7 GAO/NSIADW)-160 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Chapter 1 Introduction The weapon system acquisition process has been the subject of studies and Department of Defense (DOD) management initiatives for more than 20 years. For example, the Blue Ribbon Defense Panel Report in 1970, the Report of the Commission on Government Procurement in 1972, the DOD’S Assessment of Its Weapons Acquisition System (the Carlucci Ini- tiatives) in 1981, the President’s Private Sector Survey on Cost Control (the Grace Commission report) in 1983, and the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management (the Packard Commission) in 1986 were five major studies made by various organizations that examined ways to improve the weapon system acquisition process. As a rule, these studies suggested ways to address recurring problems in defense acqui- sition-cost growth, schedule slippage, and performance shortfalls- but the existence of continuing studies and initiatives indicates that the problems still exist. We also have examined and reported on acquisition problems of indi- vidual major weapon system programs since the 1960s. In 1988 we reported’ that the continuing problems associated with defense weapon system acquisition is indicative of the high level of difficulty in devel- oping lasting solutions to the seemingly intractable problems of affordability and stability. One exception to these acquisition problems has been the Navy’s Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) program. This program is one of the few major weapon system acquisitions that, over the years, has consistently met or bettered its cost, schedule, and performance goals. Both the Congress and the defense community generally recognize this program as one that has avoided many of the problems associated with defense weapon system acquisition, such as cost growth, schedule slippage, and perform- ance shortfalls. The FBM weapon system, operational since November 15,1960, consists of nuclear-powered submarines carrying nuclear-tipped ballistic mis- siles. (See app. II.) In addition to missiles and submarines, the FBM pro- gram includes research and development, production, training, facility construction, and maintenance and operational support. However, FBM submarine reactors are provided by the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Pro- gram, and the nuclear warheads are provided by the Department of Energy. ‘Major Acquisitions: Summary of Recurring Problems and Systemic Issues: 1960-1987 (GAO/ mm1m, Sept. 13, 1988). Page 8 GAO/NSLUHJO-160 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Chapter 1 Introduction The FRM Program Manager (PM) is the Navy’s Director of Strategic Sys- tems Programs (SSP), which is the FBM program office. As a direct- reporting PM, the PM reports to the Assistant Secretary of the IKavy for Research, Development and Acquisition-the Navy’s Service Acquisi- tion Executive-on acquisition matters. The PM also reports to the Chief of Naval Operations for all operational requirements. In addition, the PM acts as the liaison for the FBM program with all other government agen- cies and leads an organization of about 500 military and civilian head- quarters personnel and 2,600 field personnel at government and contractor facilities. In the mid-1950s the defense establishment realized the need to respond Program History to a growing Soviet nuclear threat that largely nullified the elaborate network of facilities that provided early warning of possible air attacks against the United States. The Soviets had already demonstrated a bal- listic missile capability, and the country was impressed with a serious urgent need to acquire a defense arsenal of ballistic missiles to counter the Soviet threat. One former PM described the political and psycholog- ical atmosphere at the time as a state of national emergency dramatized by the launch of the first earth-circling satellite (Sputnik) in October 1957. As part of the U.S. response, the services began to study and develop intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Navy was responsible for designing the sea-based ballistic missile system. Because of the urgent need, the Navy believed that unusual methods were needed to cut through the normal acquisition review and approval processes if a weapon system was to be developed quickly. In November 1955, the Secretary of the Navy created the Special Projects Office, now called SSP. This new organization was given full responsibility for the FBM program and was provided the funding and the authority to use any Navy resources needed to develop a military capability in the shortest time possible. The Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations gave the PM complete authority to design, develop, produce, and support the FBM system. In December 1956, the Navy began development of a submarine- launched ballistic missile that came to be known as the Polaris missile. This weapon system incorporated new technologies and charted unknown technical paths. In particular, three major components-a solid propellant fuel, a small high yield nuclear warhead, and an accu- rate guidance/fire control/navigation system-needed major technical Page 9 GAO/NSIAIMO-160 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Chapter 1 Introduction breakthroughs at the time that the Polaris project was authorized. A nuclear attack submarine also had to be modified to carry and launch the missiles while submerged. SSP’S first Plans and Programs Director made the analogy that building and fielding Polaris was similar to building the entire automobile industry. That is, not only did the first automobile have to be developed but also the internal combustion engine, tires, the oil industry, gas stations, and driver training before the automobile’s feasibility was known. However, technical problems were solved, and the Polaris program went from concept development to deployment in 3-l/2 years -3 years ahead of the original schedule. Because of the sense of urgency of the program, funds were made avail- able. Thus, the challenge to SSP during the Polaris development was one of how to use money wisely rather than how to obtain it. Between fiscal years 1956 and 1990, about $74 billion (in then-year dollars) was appro- priated for FBM program acquisition.’ This total does not include the cost of nuclear submarine reactors or nuclear warheads, The total includes about 46 percent of the Trident II missile funding and about 70 percent of Trident II-capable submarine funding; the remaining Trident II acqui- sition costs have not been appropriated. The sixth-generation Trident II (D-5) missile began full-scale develop- ment in October 1983. At that time, dates were set for the first sea- launched missile flight test and the missile’s initial deployment. The land-based missile flight test series was completed in January 1989, and the sea-launched test series began in March 1989, as planned. The mis- sile’s initial deployment, however, was delayed 3 months, to March 1990, to allow design corrections to be incorporated after the first and third sea-launched missiles failed and recovery of one contractor’s mis- sile motor casting capability, which was destroyed in a fire. Flight tests resumed in December 1989; the six remaining sea-launched development flight tests and demonstration and shakedown operation tests for the USS Tennessee and the USS Pennsylvania-the first two Trident II capable submarines-were successful. The Chairman, House Committee on Armed Services, asked us to deter- Objectives, Scope,and mine (1) what features have contributed to the FBM program’s success Methodology and (2) whether those features were present in other selected defense ‘This represents the then-year dollar amounts for the Navy’s Shipbuilding and Conversion, Weapons Procurement, Research, Development, Test and Evaluation, Other Procurement, and Military Con- struction accounts for foal years 1966 through 1990. It excludes all operations and maintenance and crew costs. Page 10 GAO/NSJAD9O-160 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Chapter 1 Introduction acquisition programs. We also determined to what extent the six fea- tures identified by the Packard Commission as typical of successful commercial programs could be found in the selected defense acquisition programs. This report responds to the Chairman’s request for a management study of SSP, which was the second part of a two-part request. The first part addressed the acquisition status of the Trident II program and resulted in our November 1988 report.” As we reported, the Trident II program was proceeding on schedule and was slightly under the initial estimated acquisition cost. However, we cautioned that many key milestones remained, including the entire sea-based test program, before the system’s initial deployment. To address the second part of the Chairman’s request, we selected the following approach. We first delineated the features that led to the FBM program’s success and compared these features to those in other defense acquisition programs. We then compared the features of these acquisi- tion programs to those described in the Packard Commission’s “Acquisi- tion Model to Emulate.” This second analysis corroborated our first analysis. To determine the features that have contributed to the FBM program’s success, we developed a list of areas considered important. Because our earlier report had provided information on some successful aspects of the Trident II program, we reviewed reports and documents on the FBM program, such as guidance, and information that had been collected. For example, SSP’S Orientation Manual cited nine principles that were estab- lished in the FBM program’s first year and have been adhered to throughout the program’s existence. We also reviewed studies of the defense acquisition process, such as the Packard Commission’s 1986 report.’ We reviewed the Commission’s report because it was the most recent study of the defense acquisition system. Also, some of the Com- mission’s recommendations had been implemented by DOD or required by the Congress enacting legislation such as the Goldwater-Nichols Depart- ment of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-433). We also inter- viewed experts in the field of management and defense acquisition. The experts and literature recognized that there is no consensus of definitive criteria that leads to program management success. However, using our “Navy Strategic Forces: Trident II proceeding Toward Deployment (GAO/NSIAD-89-40, Nov. 21, 19SS). .‘A Quest for Excellence: Final Report to the President (June 19%). Page 11 GAO/NSIAD9O-160 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Chapter 1 Introduction list, we were able to structure a framework of descriptive questions to obtain additional information on the features contributing to the FBM program’s success. These questions were used in interviewing (1) offi- cials at SSP'S offices in Arlington, Virginia, major FBM contractors, and selected FEiM subcontractors, (2) former SSP and contractor officials, and (3) current and former high-level DOD and Navy officials. We then analyzed our list of features, looking for those that were men- tioned most often. Through this process, we identified five major fea- tures of the FBM acquisition program that experts considered to have contributed to its success. These features are (1) funding and program stability, (2) life-cycle responsibility, (3) continuity of key personnel, (4) program office technical expertise, and (5) good management prac- tices. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather to represent those features that appeared to be significant contributors to program success (see ch. 2). To determine if these five features were present in other defense acqui- sition programs, we used a comparative case study methodology in which the FBM program was compared with other acquisition programs. To select the acquisition programs, we developed case-selection criteria, including (1) representation from the Navy, Army, and Air Force, (2) DOD designated major acquisitions (generally those requiring more than $200 million in research and development or $1 billion in produc- tion), and (3) “successful” and “less than successful” acquisition pro- grams, based on a judgmental assessment of how well they met their cost, schedule, and performance goals, using our prior reports as a pri- mary source of information. Because a program must have been assessed as being successful in all three categories of cost, schedule, and performance or less than suc- cessful in all three categories, various candidate programs were elimi- nated. Also, these assessments were made based on a program’s initial deployment goals, and a later assessment may have resulted in different programs being selected. We recognize that most weapon system acquisi- tions tended to fall somewhere between successful and less than suc- cessful as defined, with a mixed performance in the three categories. Therefore, we believe that the acquisition programs selected represent the extremes in defense acquisition at the time they were selected. (See table 1.1 for the acquisition programs reviewed.) Page 12 GAO/NSIAD9O-160 Pleet Ballbtic Missile Program Chapter 1 Introduction Table 1.1: Acquisition Programs Selected for Our Review Outcome Lead service Less than Program Navy Army Air Force Successful successful Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) X X Multlple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) X X F-16 tactical fighter X X Submanne Advanced Combat System (SUBACS)a X X Aquila Remotely Plloted Vehicle X X Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) X X aAs noted in app. II, the SUBACS program was restructured and a portlon was renamed AN/&Y-l We designed the case studies to illustrate the types of features, both internal and external to a program, that may influence a program’s out- come. We realized that we could not make judgments as to cause-and- effect relationships with respect to a specific feature’s effect on the out- come of a program. Thus, we highlighted those features of the other five programs where we found comparisons to those in the FBM program. We obtained information for the case study comparisons from our prior reports (see app. III) and ongoing efforts and from defense literature. We also interviewed past and present program officials at the service commands where the program offices were located. These included the Naval Sea Systems Command, Arlington, Virginia; the Army Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama; the Army Aviation Systems Command, St. Louis, Missouri; and the Air Force System Com- mand’s Aeronautical Systems Division, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and Munitions Systems Division, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. We discussed our observations from the case study programs with Navy, Army, and Air Force officials to verify the accuracy and completeness of the information obtained and incorporated their views where appropriate. We then compared the features of these case study programs to those in the Packard Commission’s model. The Commission report included “An Acquisition Model to Emulate,” which contained six features that typi- fied successful commercial acquisition programs and could be used as a model for defense acquisitions (see app. I). Some of these features, such as those dealing with stability and quality staff, overlapped with the Page 13 GAO/NSIA.D~ltlO Fleet 3M.llstic Missfle Program Chapter 1 introduction features we had identified through the review of the FBM program. The model’s features were organized differently and included additional dimensions, such as prototyping and testing, but they provided an addi- tional framework for comparing acquisition programs. Our methodology for identifying features of success and comparing the features among major defense acquisition programs was limited in the following areas. . Definitive criteria for determining a successful acquisition program did not exist. Thus, we used experts to identify areas they considered important, from which we developed a framework for asking questions, descriptive in nature, to identify the contributors to success. . We were not able to define definitive measures; definitions of these fea- tures, including those in the Commission’s model, were subject to dif- ferent interpretations. For example, officials of the defense acquisition programs studied could not agree on a definition of “small, high quality staff,” especially given that the Commission chose not to put a numer- ical value on “small.” l The features, such as prototyping and testing or open communication, were implemented to different degrees in the various acquisition programs. . The acquisition programs were different, if not unique, in many aspects, making it difficult to collect identical information for each. For example, the FBM program began as an urgently needed response to a national emergency, and the F-16 and MLRS programs operate under multinational memorandums of understanding. This review was conducted in accordance with generally accepted gov- ernment auditing standards. We did not obtain official agency com- ments. However, we discussed our findings with DOD officials, and officials of the acquisition programs reviewed and included their com- ments where appropriate. P8ge 14 GAO/NSIAD@O-160 Fleet Ballistic Mimile Program FeaturesContributing to the FBM Program’s Successand ComparisonsWith Other Acquisition Programs Five interrelated features were consistently mentioned as major reasons for the FBM program’s success. These features are (1) funding and pro- gram stability, (2) life-cycle responsibility, (3) continuity of key per- sonnel, (4) program office technical expertise, and (5) good management practices. We found no guaranteed “cookbook” approach to a successful defense acquisition. Each of the acquisition programs studied developed in its own unique atmosphere with its own particular opportunities and problems. However, the successful programs studied shared more of the features associated with the FBM program than the less than successful programs. The Defense Systems Management College defines program instability as Funding and Program “the condition imposed on a program due to problems in requirements, Stability technology, and funding.” Our 1988 report on recurring problems and systemic major weapon system acquisition issues concluded that insta- bility within the acquisition process has been a continuing problem since the 1960s. As a rule, weapon system acquisition studies for the last 20 years have stressed that a major weapon program encounters problems of cost growth, schedule slippage, and performance shortfalls when the program becomes unstable. Conversely, we have reported that stable programs generally proceed through the acquisition process on schedule and within cost targets and meet performance requirements. For example, our 1985 report1 on the production problems of six weapon systems stated that weapon systems that avoided major problems in production had a development phase in which design, planned procure- ment quantities, and funding were relatively stable. However, systems that had problems in early production went through development phases that were characterized by design, funding, and quantity instability. FBM Program One of the most important features in this program’s success has been funding and program stability. For this program, we defined program stability in two dimensions. First, SSP has had a single, well-defined mis- sion, allowing it to focus attention on one job over almost 35 years. Second, technological advances in the program have been evolutionary rather than revolutionary. ‘Why Some Weapon Systems Encounter Production Problems While Others Do Not: Six Case Studies (GAO/NSIA~85-34, May 24, 1985). Page 15 GAO/NSIABQO-160 Fleet Ballistic Missile program Chapter 2 Feahves Contributing to the PBM Program’s Success and Comparisons With Other Acquisition Programs Since its inception, the program has had strong and continuous congres- sional and executive branch funding support. The Congress has regu- larly appropriated the funds requested for the FBM program. This commitment enabled those responsible for managing the program to con- centrate on resolving technical problems instead of funding problems. From its inception, SSP has had a single mission and unchanging require- ments. Although each variant of the missile, from the Polaris A-l to the Trident II D-5, has been an improvement, the system and the job it per- forms have essentially stayed the same. The FBM mission involves a bal- listic missile launched from a submerged submarine to travel great distances to deliver one or more nuclear warheads on targets. This is in contrast to, for example, the Navy’s attack submarine acquisition pro- grams, where the changing threat environment requires corresponding mission and requirement changes with which the PM must contend. Each improvement to the FBM system has been evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary. A stable design provides confidence that development problems have been overcome and that a system will meet technical and operational performance requirements. Once the technology and design were proven in the first Polaris missile, each new generation of the FBM system was based upon a proven prior version: an evolution of the prior version, not a radical, technological jump. SSP'S third PM said that pro- gram office personnel disciplined themselves to make only the required technological jump to meet the need and did not undertake a develop- ment until they understood the technology. This approach enabled SSP to build upon past successes, analyze past failures, and apply the lessons learned to each succeeding variant. In addition, SSP made maximum use of existing facilities and relied heavily on prior variants’ materials, processes, and databases in its evolutionary approach. Other Programs In the other acquisition programs, we found that the two successful pro- grams were stable, and the less than successful programs generally were not. MLRS The successful MLRS program has had a stable and well-defined mission since early development, and the system’s requirements and the defined threat have not changed during the program. In addition, the program’s technical risk was low because the design did not require major tech- nology advances. According to program officials, the program also has had strong congressional support and adequate funding. Funding and Page 16 GAO/NSIAIHO-16OFleet BaUisticMissileProgram Chapter 2 Featurea Contributing to the PBM Program’s Success and Comparisons With Other Acquisition Programs program stability was enhanced by multiyear contracting and gave the contractors and the program office clear and unchanging goals to meet. F-16 The successful F-16 fighter program’s production began in 1977. According to program officials, early and adequate funding was a signif- icant feature in the program’s success, They noted that early program funding provided stability and that the program’s multinational produc- tion and multiyear contracts reinforced the stability. Also, the prede- cessor Lightweight Fighter Prototype Program reduced the technical risk during the F-16’s full-scale development phase. SUBACS The less than successful SUBACS program experienced schedule delays, increased costs, and a reduction in performance capabilities. According to program officials, the SUBACS Basic program (the first phase of the SUBACS program) underwent drastic mission and requirements changes. As a result, the program design was changed three times through 1985. However, since SUBAcS Basic was renamed the AN/B=-1 and a new pro- gram office was formed in October 1985, the program has stabilized. Aquila The less than successful Aquila remotely piloted vehicle program was canceled in late 1987 after 13 years of development. Army officials stated that a major problem with the program was that funding levels were never stable from year to year, which led to program restructuring when funding changes occurred. The Army’s decision to delete fiscal year 1982 funding and thus begin program termination, followed by a congressional decision to restore full funding, is an example of the pro- gram’s funding instability. The less than successful AMRUM program has had an unstable design throughout its development, and although the missile is now in limited production, it still does not have a stable design. This instability was a contributing factor to congressional funding cuts and a delayed full-pro- duction decision. A major acquisition program normally proceeds through five basic Life-Cycle phases during a system’s life cycle. These phases are (1) concept explo- Responsibility ration/definition, (2) concept demonstration/validation, (3) full-scale development and low-rate initial production, (4) full-rate production and initial deployment, and (5) operations support. In addition to being responsible for developing and producing the system, the PM is normally responsible for maintenance and logistics planning, which is performed by assigned program office personnel. For most Navy weapon systems Page 17 GAO/NSIAD-BO46O Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Chapter 2 Features Contributing to the FBM Program’s Success and Comparisons With Other Acquisition P~~~grams (the main exceptions being those for the FBM and Naval Nuclear Propul- sion programs), the performance of maintenance and logistics is trans- ferred from the program office to a service or logistics command after production. For Army systems, logistics planning occurs within the pro- gram office, but operations support comes from other support organiza- tions within the program office’s host command. The Air Force divides responsibilities between the Air Force Systems Command for system development and production and the Air Force Logistics Command for support. FBM Program Unlike most Navy weapon system program offices, SSP, its subsystem contractors, and selected subcontractors have life-cycle responsibility for the FBM program. This means that SSP has management control over all program phases (initial research, design, development, test, evalua- tion, production, maintenance, training, and fleet support) and all pro- gram aspects, including technical data, quality control, and reliability. Having total life-cycle responsibility bonds research and development decisions with implementation of those decisions later in the program and helps to focus attention on the long-term effects of each decision before implementation. It also provides a continuation of program poli- cies, concepts, techniques, and control. At SSP, the people responsible for the design of each piece of equipment are ultimately responsible for the consequences of that design, whether in terms of producibility, maintainability, or reliability. For example, SSP’S decisions on the Trident I program in the early acquisition phases are today’s logistics and maintenance realities. Thus, SSP has, in effect, a “cradle-to-grave” responsibility for program maintenance and material reliability because its maintenance and logistics responsibilities are not transferred to a service or logistics command after production, as is the case with most Navy weapon systems or with Air Force systems. Contractors also are included in SSP’S life-cycle responsibility. Their responsibility begins when they receive the requirements; continues through development, into production, and onto operational support; and ends when the system is retired or is replaced by an advanced system. Also, incentives expressing long-term life-cycle values are included in many of the developmental contracts as a means of rein- forcing long-term performance considerations during the system design phases. For example, the Trident II missile subsystem contracts include reliability, accuracy, and other performance incentives. Incentive pay- ments are based on results of test missiles flown over a 3-year period, Page 18 GAO/NSIAlMO-160 Fleet Balktic Missile Program Chapter 2 Features Contributing to the FBM Program’s Success and Comparisons With Other Acquisition Programs including both development test missiles and production missiles flown by Navy crews during demonstration and shakedown operations and in evaluation tests after the missile’s deployment. Similarly, the Trident II navigation subsystem’s performance on the first 32 operational patrols, extending up to 4 years past the missile’s deployment, will determine the final amount of the contractor’s incentive payment. Other Programs None of the other acquisition programs studied had total life-cycle responsibility. Continuity of Key PM level indirectly hindered program stability and that defense PMS’ ten- Personnel ures averaged about 27 months while deputies averaged 30 months. These periods of experience are relatively short, considering that the typical weapon system acquisition cycle spans 10 to 15 years. However, responding to PM turnover, the Congress provided, in Public Law 98-525, dated October 19, 1984, that a military PM’S tour of duty “shall be (1) not less than four years, or (2) until completion of a major program milestone...” FBM Program In contrast to our 1986 report findings, we found that many officials said that the continuity of the FBM program’s key personnel helped SSP keep the philosophy of the program and the infrastructure of the gov- ernment/contractor relationship intact. This program’s continuity has two major components. The first of these deals with SSP’S PMS. In almost 35 years, the program has had six PMS with an average tenure of almost 6 years. (Only the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program exceeds this average, with only three PMS over about 38 years.) The second is the key civilian personnel that have been with the program for many years. From the outset, tours of duty at SSP were extended; SSP personnel have had long tenures and promotion opportunities within the program. Thus, newcomers to SSP are able to learn about the program and its oper- ation from veteran personnel. Lessons learned from previous system variants by these personnel help to decrease the chances of repeating the same mistakes in current projects and enhance problem resolution when problems occur. “Acquisition: DOD’s Defense Acquisition Improvement program: A Status Report (GAO/ 48, July 23, 1986). Page 19 GAO/NSIADgO-160 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Chapter 2 Features Contributing to the FBM Program’s Success and cOmparisons With Other Acquisition Programs Military Personnel Continuity SSPhas developed a military acquisition career path within its own headquarters and field organization. Four of SSP’Ssix PMS“grew up” through a military career path in SSP,each serving as the Technical Director before being promoted to the PMwith the rank of rear admiral. In addition, 30 percent of all military officers assigned to SSPhave more than 10 years of FBM experience. This experience means that SSPman- agement can explain the technical aspects of the program to all levels: the Congress, DOD,Navy, and contractors. Civilian Personnel Continuity A large number of key civilian personnel at SSPhave been with and pro- moted within the program office for many years. For example, about 40 percent of SSP’Sheadquarters civilian personnel have more than 10 years of experience in the FBMprogram. The average tenure of Senior Executive Service civilians at SSP headquarters is about 21 years. At SSP field organizations, many personnel have 20 or more years of FE!Mexpe- rience. By having worked on the earlier FBMvariants, SSP’Spersonnel are able to use this experience to resolve problems in the newer variants. This same kind of experience occurs with FBMcontractor personnel. For the most part, the same team of contractors that started with the pro- gram in the 1950s is still with the program. During one of our visits, contractor officials noted that they were the “new kids” in the FBMpro- gram, having only been in the program for about 21 years. Other con- tractors have many personnel that have worked with the FBMprogram 20 to 30 years. The effect of having experienced Navy and contractor personnel interacting with each other on a system that each has helped to develop facilitates the exchange of information and the resolution of problems. Other Programs Frequent turnover of personnel, especially at the PM level, may have affected two of the less than successful programs. The high PMturnover resulted in a loss of program expertise and corporate memory for both the Aquila and AMRAAMprograms. However, the MLRSprogram’s con- tinuity of civilian personnel helped alleviate the negative effects of PM turnover. Also, the F-16 program benefitted from having PMSwith longer tenure and prior experience in the program and from having civilian personnel continuity. MIX3 The MLRSprogram benefitted from having several key officials that remained with the program for a decade or more. In particular, the civilian deputy PMstayed with the program for 11 years, from system Page 20 GA0/NSIA.D90430 Fleet Fkllistic Missile Program Chapter 2 Features Contributing to the FBM Program’s Success and Comparisons With Other Acquisition Programs development through deployment, and provided strong continuity in leadership. F-16 The first five PMS served an average of over 3 years in that position. Also, five of the six PMS had background dealing with the program either internally as Deputy PM or externally, having served on the Air Staff or the Air Force Inspector General’s staff. Civilian personnel continuity also benefitted the F-16 program. The assistant PM, who has served in that position for 9 years, and two senior program control and financial management officials have each worked on the F-16 program for 13 or more years. Aquila From August 1978 through its termination in 1987, the Aquila program had six PMS with an average tenure of 19 months. This PM turnover may not have been conducive to the most effective Aquila development and acquisition effort. Army officials said that, except for PMS, continuity of key personnel was fairly good within the Aviation Systems Command in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Missile Command in Huntsville, Alabama. However, the transfer of program management to Missile Command almost completely disrupted staffing continuity, as only two individuals moved to Huntsville and a new PM was assigned. A similar lack of personnel continuity occurred in the prime contractor’s staff, where project manager turnover was also high. According to an Army program official, the contractor had four project managers over 7 years, three in the program’s first 4 years. In addition, when the con- tractor moved its Aquila operations to Austin, Texas, many personnel, including some key officials, did not move with the program. Thus, the contractor lost much of its expertise and corporate memory on the program. AMRAAM Our 1987 AMRAAM report3 stated that frequent turnover at the PM level may have adversely affected the AMRAAMprogram. From 1980 to 1984, five PMS were in charge of the program for various lengths of time. This resulted in the loss of corporate knowledge and historical perspective. It may also have caused cost and schedule problems to go unresolved longer than necessary. “Missile Procurement: AMRAAM Cost Growth and Schedule Delays (GAO/NSIAD-87-78, Mar. 10, 1987). Page 21 GAO/NSL4D90-160 Fleet Ballistic Missile program Chapter 2 Features Contributing to the FBM Program’s Success and Comparisons With Other Acquisition Programs In programs located within the services’ major system commands, many Program Office of the technical staff are assigned from functional organizations outside Technical Expertise the program office. For example, one fighter aircraft program office may have a staff of only 15 to 20 people, while another 90 or more people supporting the program office are part of the functional organi- zations within the Naval Air Systems Command. Unlike those in self- contained program offices, such as SSP,these support people may work on different programs concurrently. One recent study of defense acquisition management4 noted the following: “Most defense officials and contractors agree that the most appropriate type of management for a development or production program depends on several program characteristics. The greater the technical complexity, budget, concurrency, and importance of a program, the greater the need for a self-contained [program man- agement office] with its more direct control of functional activities.” We believe the FBM program is one that fits this assessment. FBM Program To assist SSP in setting up its organization, the Navy allowed SSP’S top management to hand pick those people with the appropriate technical expertise that would best help SSPachieve its goals. Thus, SSP is gener- ally not dependent upon other Navy organizations for technical support because its personnel have the necessary in-house technical expertise to direct and evaluate contractor performance. For example, its Technical Division has primary responsibility for the development, test, produc- tion, installation, repair, maintenance, and fleet support of the FBMS; that is, the division is responsible for the entire weapon system’s coordi- nation, integration, and management. This is in contrast to many other program offices that use contractors as weapon system managers or technical staff from functional organizations outside the offices. This technical capability within the program office sets the FESMprogram apart from most other weapon system programs, with the major excep- tion being the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. SSP places a strong emphasis on evaluating the technical program man- agement of its contractors. For example, SSPconducts contractor tech- nical program management evaluations, which began early in the FBM program, to help it assess the effectiveness with which management ‘Fox, J. Ronald, and James.L Field. The Defense Management Challenge: Weapons Acquisition. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School press, 1988, pp. 158-159. Page 22 GAO/NSIAD9@160 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program chapter 2 Features Contributing to the FBM F'!w@'MI's Success and Comparisons With Other Acquisition Programs actions and technical disciplines are being implemented. Carrying out these evaluations effectively requires a high level of technical expertise within SSP. Other Programs The MLRS program was the only one studied in which in-house expertise played a significant role in its outcome. For most of its existence, this program had strong in-house technical expertise because the deputy PM hand selected a project office staff based on technical expertise in mis- sile system acquisitions. However, beginning in 1988, Missile Command directed a transition to a new arrangement in which most of the staff working for this program belong to the Command’s functional direc- torate rather than the project office. Since the Polaris program, SSPhas used various management practices. Good Management While not inclusive of all the practices used, five that have significantly Practices contributed to the FBM program’s success are open communication, independent internal evaluation, on-site management representation at contractor plants, strict configuration management for approved designs and manufac- turing processes, and . incentive contracting at the prime level and extensive competition at the subcontract level. FBM Program The openness for communication in the FBM program has led to recog- nizing problems as they develop, openly discussing them, and working to resolve them. This practice, as well as others, has enabled SSPto ensure that the weapon system meets performance and design requirements and has contributed to the program’s success. According to the third PM, much of the credit of the FBM program’s success belongs to the first PM, who established various management practices that were critical to the program’s success. He added that these practices encouraged an open- ness for communication between SSPand the contractors, which he believes is one of the program’s hallmarks. Open Communication SSPofficials characterized their communications as “open” with all FBM program participants. They define this open communication in the fol- lowing way: If there is a problem, bring it forward and start to solve it, Page 23 GAO/NSL4D4O-16O Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Chapter 2 Features Contributing to the Pi3M Program’s Success and Comparisons With Other Acquisition Programs because hiding problems only makes them get worse-in other words, “don’t kill the messenger.” In addition to emphasizing solutions versus punishment, SSP encourages early problem recognition by having a team approach that fosters open- ness between contractor and government personnel and that, according to SSP and contractor officials, promotes an open discussion of problems in seeking resolution. Problems and possible solutions may be discussed during weekly staff meetings5 quarterly Steering Task Group meetings,” and Technical Director’s reviews. Also, FBM submarine crews provide feedback on problems encountered during patrols, either by reports or post-patrol reviews. Since the program’s inception, SP’S philosophy has been to inform the Congress and DOD of the program’s progress. This type of communica- tion has built a sense of credibility outside the program office that has benefitted SSP. Independent Internal Evaluation SSP’S internal evaluation branch, known as SP-12, monitors program pro- gress on a continuous basis at all levels of management by reviewing contractor progress reports, internal SSP progress reports, and evalua- tions of contractor efforts independent of SSP’S Technical Division. SP-12’s forum for communicating to the PM is the weekly staff meeting. On-Site Representation SSPhas an extensive network of on-site management representatives in field offices at its contractors that report monthly to the PM. Some field offices have over 100 SSPpersonnel on site at contractor and govern- ment facilities that act as SSP'Stechnical representatives and administra- tive contracting officers. In addition, SP-12 personnel visit field offices and contractor plants to collect information for their independent evaluations. Strict Cort@uration Management SSPhas a strict configuration management policy regarding changes to successfully tested and approved designs and manufacturing processes. This so-called “no-change policy” recognizes that the various compo- nents that constitute the weapon system have many subtle interactions. Experience has shown SSP that seemingly trivial changes in a design or “SSP branch management and selected contractors report to SSP’stop management on significant changes, short- and long-range milestones, contract milestones, and funding. SSP field offices also report in a similar manner each month. “This group is comprised of senior representatives from subsystem prime contractors, officials from government agencies directly involved in the program (including the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons laboratories), military customers ,who use the system, and SSPTechnical.Division staff. Page 24 GAO/NSIAD90-160 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Chapter 2 Features Contributing to the FBM Program’s Success and Comparisons With Other Acquisition Programs in the manner in which it is produced can cause unpredictable and, sometimes, serious consequences to the program. Therefore, once a design and a method of production have been evaluated and proven through testing (in the case of the missile, flight testing), the design and the manufacturing processes and procedures are fully documented, and SSPenforces a strict control system thereafter. This system ensures that components are manufactured using the same design and manufacturing processes and procedures, thereby assuring that production units will be as acceptable as those proven successful through testing. Contracting Philosophy SP has used most of the same contractors for more than 30 years without significant competition at the prime level for most subsystems, but extensive competition is pursued at the subcontract level. SSP believes that the absence of competition at the prime level has helped it to foster a good working relationship with its contractors. The guidance subsystem- the only subsystem with ongoing competition at the prime level-has been cited as a model for competition, due to its being the best example of a cost and technical competition working together to support the program’s goals. Prime contractors compete for each year’s production of the Trident II guidance subsystem’s compo- nents. The fiscal year 1988-the 15th-Trident submarine contract was competed and won by the builder of the previous 14 Trident subma- rines. However, the other five subsystem prime contracts were not competed. With respect to subcontractor competition, as of January 1990, the Tri- dent II (D-5) program had met or exceeded goals set for five of six sub- systems. In most cases, the subsystem goals were set equal to or higher than the Trident I (C-4) program’s achievements. Starting with the Poseidon program, SSPhas used incrementally funded, multiple year contracts covering full-scale development and initial pro- duction. SSPhas refined this technique in the Trident missile programs. Because most fixed-price incentive contracts can only put an incentive on price, SSPuses cost-plus-incentive fee contracts through which it can include reliability, accuracy, and other performance incentives. SSP found that the considerable time and effort spent in negotiating the incentive structure for these contracts have served the program well. The negotiating process forces SSPto sort out and quantify program objectives and priorities. Consequently, contractors can make the needed trade-offs during their development and design work to achieve performance or production incentives during later stages of work. Page 26 GAO/NSIAD-!KJ-160 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Chapter 2 Feat- Contributing to the FBM Program’s Success and Comparisons With Other Acquisition Programs Former senior Navy acquisition officials said that performance incen- tives had been successful in some Navy aircraft contracts but not in some torpedo and antiair missile contracts. One official noted that these incentives (1) do not cost a lot of money, (2) involve a lot of pride on the part of a contractor to make the product work, and (3) require a pro- gram office that understands the product. Other Programs In the other programs studied, various methods of communication, such as regular meetings and reviews, were used that appeared to be similar to those used in the FBM program. However, only the successful program offices focused on early problem recognition and resolution. For example, the MLRS PM said that weekly and daily meetings between lower level engineers in the program office and the prime contractor were used to bring issues to management’s attention. Formal quarterly reviews between upper level management also were oriented to resolving problems. Similarly, F-16 program officials said that communication within the program office and outside with other Air Force officials, the contractors, and the participating foreign governments was a key to the program’s success. None of the other programs studied had an independent internal evalua- tion group. In addition, on-site defense contract administrative services personnel or their program office personnel were usually used in the other successful programs to collect information on contractor progress. On-site representatives were used in a manner similar to that used by SSPin the successful MLRS program and the less than successful AMRAAM and SUBACSprograms. However, the number of program representatives ranged from one to eight, significantly less than the number used by SSP. Only the F-16 program office emphasized configuration management to the extent that it was similar to SSP'Sno-change policy. Cost control con- siderations and the need to maintain commonality between the various aircraft configurations were the basis for the F-16 program’s policy restricting the amount of changes by setting a $100,000 per unit limit on configuration changes. The other program offices generally made design changes and modified production articles that were built to earlier designs. For example, the AMRAAM design still has not stabilized, although the missile is in limited production. Page 26 GAO/NSIAD9@160 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Chapter 2 Features Contributing to the FBM Program’s Success and Comparisons With Other Acquisition Programs In the acquisition programs studied, we found that each program’s suc- Applicability to Other cess or lack of success was the result of multiple causes. The successful Defense Acquisitions programs shared more of the FBM program’s significant features than the less than successful programs. However, the features contributing to the FBM program’s success are not necessarily the only features that are required for a program to be successful. The other successful programs had features that were either not present or not significant in the FBM program. Also, in contrast, the less than successful programs had some of the FBM program’s features. In other words, similar features in dif- ferent acquisition programs can have different outcomes. For example, although PM turnover had little or no effect on the successful MLRS pro- gram, it proved to be a significant problem in the less than successful Aquila program. We found no guaranteed cookbook approach to a successful defense acquisition. Each of the acquisition programs studied developed in a unique environment with its own particular opportunities and problems. Many conditions and situations contributing to the FBM program’s suc- cess are unique to that program and may not be repeated for other defense acquisitions. For example, the United States was operating under a great sense of urgency to develop the FBM system as soon as possible. Thus, since its beginning, the program has held the highest defense acquisition priority, and the Congress has regularly appropri- ated the funds requested for the program. However, while stable and sufficient early funding lend stability to a program, officials told us that availability of funds is not necessarily sufficient for success. The FBM program is the only program studied that had life-cycle respon- sibility. As such, ssp is involved not only in the development and produc- tion of a new missile but also in the effects of earlier year decisions on logistics and maintenance for the earlier missiles in operation. ssp also emphasizes the long-term view in its decision-making and in contracting by structuring contracts to include long-term performance incentives and cost incentives, which is unlike most programs. Also, most program offices developing systems incorporate logistics support, but they do not have to live with the effects of their decisions because the support responsibility is transferred to another organization. As noted in earlier reports, high PM turnover is common in weapon system acquisitions and is not conducive to effective program manage- ment and program stability. The FESMprogram shows the benefits of PM continuity, and the MLRS program shows that continuity at the civilian deputy PM level can alleviate the negative effects of PM turnover. Page 27 GAO/NSIAB9&160 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Chapter 2 Features Contributing to the FBM Program’s Success and Comparisons With Other Acquisition Programs Civilian personnel continuity and program office technical expertise give ssp experience and program knowledge for negotiations with con- tractors and for effective oversight of contractors. However, most pro- gram offices do not have continuity and expertise similar to those in SSP. The others have not built and fielded six generations of their weapon system like ssp. Only the MLRS program shared the benefit of having the project office staff hand selected based on their prior expertise. The good management practices used in the FBM program are not neces- sarily unique to that program. For example, ssp's communication prac- tices are not necessarily different in the type and number of meetings or reviews, but ssp uses a team approach and encourages openness in order to surface, address, and resolve problems. This approach, which is made possible by the continuity and technical expertise of ssp's staff and its contractors’ managers and staff, has contributed to the program’s success. Page 28 GAO/NSIAB!IO-16OFleetBallisticMissileProgram Chapter 3 Comparison of the Six Acquisition Programs and the Packard Commission’s Acquisition Model tended not to share as many of the model’s features. This corroborates the Commission’s view that these features are more likely to contribute to a program’s being successful than if they are not in place. (Table 3.1 shows which acquisition programs studied had features similar to those in the model.) Table 3.1: Comparison of the Features of the Acquisition Programs Studied With Acquisition program the Commission’s Acquisition Model Successful Less than successful Features Management feature FBM MLRS F-16 SUMACS’ Aquila AMRAAM Clear command channels X X X X X X Stability X X X Limited reporting requirements X High quality staff X X b b b b Communications with users X X X X Prototyping and testing X X X X X X aAs noted in app. II, the SUBACS program was restructured and a portlon was renamed AN/BSY-1 bSlgnlfies “insufficient information to compare.” Although many of the programs contained elements of the model’s fea- tures, program office definitions of specific features did not match the model’s definitions. For example, command channels were uniformly described as being “clear” within the service’s traditional service struc- ture. However, each service implemented the Commission’s recommen- dations concerning clear command channels differently, which, except for the direct-reporting ssP PM, negated having limited reporting requirements.2 While all of these management features may not be incorporated in a particular defense acquisition program, these features may improve an acquisition program’s chances for success. However, the presence of these features does not guarantee success. For example, two of the pro- grams we studied, the F-16 and the MLRS, did not possess all of the model’s management features but were still considered successes. Also, as all six programs had prototyping and testing, the type and extent of prototyping and testing-the quality, quantity, adequacy, and use of test results, not just their existence -apparently made a difference in the programs’ successes; for example, the F-16 program benefitted from the successful Lightweight Fighter Prototype Program. ‘Acquisition Reform: DOD’s Efforts to Streamline Its Acquisition System and Reduce Personnel (GAO/-90-21, Nov. 1,1989). Page 30 GAO/NSLUWO-160 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Page 31 GAO/NSIAJMO-160 Fleet BaUistic Missile Program Appendix I Definitions of the Packard Commission Model’sFeatures The following are the six underlying features that typified the most suc- cessful commercial programs, as defined in the Packard Commission’s “Acquisition Model to Emulate.“’ “1. Clear Command Channels. A commercial program manager has clear responsi- bility for his program, and a short, unambiguous chain of command to his CEO [chief executive officer], group general manager, or some comparable decision-maker. Cor- porate interest groups, wishing to influence program actions, must persuade the responsible program manager, who may accept or reject their proposals. Major unresolved issues are referred to the CEO, who has the clear authority to resolve any conflicts. “2. Stability. At the outset of a commercial program, a program manager enters into a fundamental agreement or ‘contract’ with his CEO on specifics of performance, schedule, and cost. So long as a program manager lives by this contract, his CEO provides strong management support throughout the life of the program. This gives a program manager maximum incentive to make realistic estimates, and maximum support in achieving them. In turn, a CEO does not authorize full-scale development for a program until his board of directors is solidly behind it, prepared to fund the program fully and let the CEO run it within the agreed-to funding. “3. Limited Reporting Requirements. A commercial program manager reports only to his CEO. Typically, he does so on a ‘management-by-exception’ basis, focusing on deviations from plan. “4. Small, High-Quality Staffs. Generally, commercial program management staffs are much smaller than in typical defense programs, but personnel are hand-selected by the program manager and are of very high quality. Program staff spend their time managing the program, not selling it or defending it. “6. Communications with Users. A commercial program manager establishes a dia- logue with the customer, or user, at the conception of the program when the initial trade-offs are made, and maintains that communication throughout the program. Generally, when developmental problems arise, performance trade-offs are made- with the user’s concurrence-in order to protect cost and schedule. As a result, a program manager is motivated to seek out and address problems, rather than hide them. “6. Prototyping and Testing. In commercial programs, a system (or critical sub- system) involving unproven technology is realized in prototype hardware and tested under simulated operational conditions before final design approval or authoriza- tion for production. In many cases, a program manager establishes a ‘red team,’ or devil’s advocate, within the program office to seek out pitfalls-particularly those that might arise from operational problems, or from an unexpected response by a ‘A Quest for Excellence: Final Report to the President by the President’s Blue Ribbon Cmunission on Defense Management,June 1986,pp. 49-61. Page 22 GAO/NSIAD@O-160 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Appendix I Definitions of the Packard Commission Model’s Features competitor. Prototyping, early operational testing, and red teaming are used in con- cert for the timely identification and correction of problems unforeseen at a pro- gram’s start.” Page 33 GAO/NSIAD-90-160 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program I Appendix II The Six DefenseAcquisition ProgramsStudied The FBM weapon system, operational since November 15, 1960, consists Fleet Ballistic Missile of nuclear-powered submarines carrying nuclear-tipped ballistic mis- Program siles. (Figure II. 1 shows the relative size of each generation of FBM sub- marine, and table II. 1 provides information on FBM submarines.) Figure 11.1:FBM Submarine Class Comparison Polaris Poseidon Trident Page 34 GAO/NSIAD-!80-160 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Appendix II The Six Defense Acquisition Programa studied Table 11.1:FBM Submarine Comparison Polaris 598 Polaris 808 Poseidon 818/827/840 Trident 728 class class class class Length (feet) 382 410 425 560 Beam (feet) 33 33 33 42 Submerged displacement (tons) 6,700 7,900 8,250 18,700 Number in class 5 5 31 21a Misslles Number 16 16 16 24 We Polans Polans Poseidon Tndent I or or Trident I Tndent II aThe Selected Acquisltlon Report contains a total of 13 Tndent submarines, additionally, the eight Trident I submarines will be modified to Trident II capabillty The latest missile-the Trident II (D-5)-began full-scale development in October 1983 and was initially deployed in March 1990. This missile will be deployed on the ninth and subsequent Trident submarines. The first eight Trident submarines are currently deployed with the Trident I (C-4) missile, but the Navy plans to modify these submarines for Trident II missile capability. (Figure II.2 shows the relative size of each genera- tion of FBM, and table II.2 provides information on FBM characteristics.) Page 36 GAO/NSIADBO-160 Fleet Balbtic Missile Program 4wn~ n The Six Defense Acquisition Programs Studied Figure 11.2:Six Generations of FBMs A-l A-2 A-3 c-3 c-4 D-5 Polaris Polarlr Polafis Posetdon Trident Tridant Table 11.2:FBM Comparison Polaris Polaris Polaris Poseidon Trident I Trident IIa A-l A-2 A-3 c-3 c-4 D-5 Length (feet) 28.5 31 32 34 34 44 Diameter (inches) 54 54 54 74 74 83 Weight (pounds) 28,800 32,500 35,700 64,000 73,000 130,000 Range (nautical miles) 1,200 1,500 2,500 2,500 4,000 4,000 Year deployed 1960 1962 1964 1971 1979 1990 Year retired 1965 1974 1982 Number of missiles (includes test missiles) 205 374 699 640 !i!x RW %ipecrficatioos are approxrmate; quantities are based on Selected Acqursrtion Report estimates. The Army’s MLRS is an unguided, surface-to-surface artillery rocket Multiple Launch system (see fig. 11.3) that can provide a high volume of fire in a short Rocket System period of time. It began development in 1976 and achieved initial opera- Program tional capability in 1983, and the Army entered its second multiyear production contract in fiscal year 1989. Page 36 GAO/NSIADftO-MO Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Appendix II The Six Defense Acquisition Programs Studied Figure 11.3:The MLRS . :- , .‘Tc- . -&. - . i-_ _- . . I \’ *- a.’ _- ; _ -_.. _” ,’ -’ _, - - - Source. DOD The MLRS program is considered a success in terms of meeting its cost, schedule, and performance goals. Because of a successful accelerated development program, the system was fielded in less than 7 years. Some program features that stand out as important contributors to the pro- gram’s success include (1) low-risk technology, (2) stable requirements, (3) adequate funding and strong support from the Army, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Congress, (4) strong leadership and Page 37 GAO/NSIAD!M-100 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Appendix II The Six Defense Acquisition Programs Studied good continuity in key personnel, and (5) an innovative acquisition strategy. The F-16 is a single engine, lightweight, highly maneuverable fighter F-16 Program (see fig. 11.4) that is currently coproduced by the Air Force and four North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations. The F-16 performs in both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. Figure 11.4:The F-16 Source: DOD The F-16 began full-scale development in 1975 and reached initial opera- tional capability in October 1980. As of April 1990, 1,637 F-16 aircraft had been delivered to the Air Force. F-lGC/D aircraft, currently being built, are operational at 13 U.S. Air Force bases, and F-16 aircraft are deployed by 12 nations. The F-16 program office continues to manage sales of several F-16 configurations to foreign countries. Page 38 GAO/NSIAD-90-160 Fleet Ballistic Miaaile Program Appendix II The Six Defense Acquisition Program!3 shldied F-16 officials cited program stability as a key to the success of the pro- gram. Several characteristics combined to create program stability. These characteristics are (1) adequate funding throughout the program, (2) reduced technical risk resulting from the Lightweight Fighter Proto- type Program, (3) lack of initial performance requirements, (4) emphasis on cost containment since the program’s inception, and (5) multinational coproduction, which provided strong incentives to minimize design changes and cost increases. In 1980, the Navy began to develop an advanced combat system for Submarine Advanced improved SSN-688 class submarines authorized in fiscal years 1989 and Combat System beyond. The SUBACS began as a single-phased program to meet the Soviet Program antisubmarine warfare threat through the 1990s. However, in October 1983, the Secretary of Defense approved a Navy plan to accelerate, by 6 years, SUBACS development and to introduce it in three phases-SuBAcs Basic, SUBACS A, and SUBACS B-for improved SSN-688s authorized in fiscal years 1983 and beyond. The three-phased approach was under- taken so that additional capabilities could be introduced earlier than planned and to spread program risks and costs over time. The SUBACS program, considered less than successful, encountered tech- nical, schedule, and cost problems during full-scale development, which led to several program restructures. The last restructure redesigned the SUBACS Basic effort and resulted in renaming the program the AN/BSY-1 . The AN/M-l will provide improved capabilities in acoustics and weapon launch areas but will not provide the SUBACS Basic’s planned growth potential and reliability improvements. Deliveries of the 24 required AN/BSY-1 systems began in 1987. The AN/BSY-1 Combat Con- trol and Acoustics System is shown in figure 11.5.In addition, the Navy combined the SUBXS A and SUBACS B performance requirements and renamed the effort AN/BSY-2, which is to be installed on SSN-2 1 attack submarines. Page 39 GAO/NSIABW169 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Appendix II The Six Defense Acquisition Programs Studied Figure 11.5:AN/BSY-1 Combat Control and Acoustics System r Spherical Array ... ..... ... o\, Tower' I” r.rQu,s Arrznn Array Post Processor a - Processors - I Key Characteristics 100 general purpose 50 special purpose Cooling Water 150 gallons/minute The Army’s Aquila remotely piloted vehicle was a small, unmanned air- Aquila Program craft that was designed to conduct battlefield surveillance and target acquisition over enemy territory. The Army began developing the Aquila in 1974 and canceled the program in December 1987. The Aquila system’s major components are shown in figure 11.6. Page 40 GAO/NSIAKHO-160 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Appendix II The Six Defense Acquisition ProgrIune studied Fiaure 11.6:Maior Components of the Aquila System Remote Ground Terminal Ground Control Statlon Recovery Sensors Launcher The Aquila program is considered less than successful because it did not meet its cost, schedule, and performance goals. After more than 13 years of development and costs of about $800 million, the system never entered production. Several factors stand out as significant features of the Aquila’s develop- ment history, which in combination may have contributed to the pro- gram’s demise. These factors are (1) unstable funding, (2) unstable program management, (3) changing requirements, (4) limited support from the Army, and (5) the system’s poor performance during field operational testing. Page 41 GAO/NSIABW-160 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Appendix II The Six Defense Acquisition Fvogmme studied The primary objective of the AMRAAM program is to produce an all- Advanced Medium weather, medium-range missile that will enable a pilot to simultaneously Range Air-To-Air engage multiple aircraft in combat. The missile (see fig. 11.7) is to Missile Program destroy targets both within and beyond the pilot’s visual range and is to be compatible with the Air Force and Navy’s latest fighter aircraft. Since 1976, the Air Force and the Navy have been jointly developing AMRAAMto meet their future air-to-air missile requirements. Figure 11.7:The AMRAAM Inertial Target Antenna Rocket Motor Data L Since its inception, the AMRAAMprogram has experienced significant cost growth and schedule delays, and the missile’s present operational capa- bility is uncertain. A number of factors may have contributed to these problems, including (1) unrealistic cost and schedule estimates during the program’s early phases, (2) an unstable design throughout develop ment, and (3) a high degree of turnover at the PM level. Page 42 GAO/NSIADgQMO Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Appendix III GAOFteportsUsedinOurReview Defense Acquisition: Perspectives on Key Elements for Effective Man- Defense Acquisition agement (GAO/NSLAD9c-90, May 14, 1996) Defense Acquisition Programs: Status of Selected Systems (GAO/ ~~1~~90-30, Dec. 14, 1989) Acquisition Reform: DOD'S Efforts to Streamline Its Acquisition System and Reduce Personnel (GAO/N&~-90-21, Nov. 1, 1989) Defense Management: Status of Recommendations by Blue Ribbon Com- mission on Defense Management (GAO/NSIAD-89-19FS, Nov. 4, 1988) Major Acquisitions: Summary of Recurring Problems and Systemic Issues: 1960-1987 (GAO/NSIAD-88-136BR, Sept. 13, 1988) Procurement: Assessment of DOD'S Multiyear Contract Candidates (GAO/ NSIAD-88-233BR,Sept. 1, 1988) DOD AcquisitionPrOgrams: &&US Of SelectedSystemS (GAO/NSIAD-88-160, June 30,1988) DOD Acquisition Programs: Status of Selected Systems (GAO/NSLAD87-128, Apr. 2,1987) Acquisition: DOD'S Defense Acquisition Improvement Program: A Status Report (GAO/NSLW%-148, July 23,1986) DOD Acquisition: Strengthening Capabilities of Key Personnel in Systems Acquisition (GAO/NSLAD~~-~S, May 12,1986) Why Some Weapon Systems Encounter Production Problems While Others Do Not: Six Case Studies (GAO/NSLMM&~~, May 24, 1985) Impediments To Reducing The Costs Of Weapon Systems (PSAD-80-6, Nov. 8, 1979) Navy Strategic Forces: Trident II Proceeding Toward Deployment (GAO/ Fleet Ballistic Missile NSIAD-8t3-40,Nov. 21,1988) Observations on the Defense Enterprise Program (GAO/T-NSw8%26, Apr. 2,1987) Page43 GAO/NSI.AIMO-1tlOFleetBall&ticMisaileFrogram Appendix Ill GAO Reports Used in Our Review Trident II System: Status and Reporting (GAO/NSIAD-84-86, May 15, 1984) Information Regarding Trident II (D-5) Missile Configured Trident Sub- marine Costs and Schedule (GAO/MASAD82-47, Sept. 3, 1982) Defense Budget: Potential Reductions to the Army and the Navy Missile MLRS Budgets (GAO/NSIm90-29, Nov. 13, 1989) Defense Budget: Potential Reductions to Missile Procurement Budgets (GAO/NSIAD89-17,Nov. 18, 1988) Defense Budget: Potential Reductions to Missile Procurement Budgets (GAO/NSIAD-87-206BR, Sept. 10, 1987) Defense Budget: Potential Reductions to Army and Marine Corps Missile Budgets (GAO/NSIAD-86-158BR, Aug. 6, 1986) An Assessment Of The Army’s Multiple Launch Rocket System Multi- year Contract (GAO/NSIAD-86-6, Oct. 28, 1985) GAO Analysis of Projects Proposed by the Department of Defense for Multiyear Contracting in its Fiscal Year 1983 Budget Request (~~~~-82-72, Apr. 29,1982) The Army’s Multiple Launch Rocket System Is Progressing Well And Merits Continued Support ( MASAD-~~-13,Feb. 5, 1982) Budgetary Pressures Created By The Army’s Plans To Procure New Major Weapon Systems Are Just Beginning (MASAD-82-5, Oct. 20, 1981) Procurement: An Assessment of the Air Force’s F-16 Aircraft Multiyear F-16 Contract (G~o/~sI~~86-38, Feb. 20, 1986) F-16 Integrated Logistics Support: Still Time To Consider Economical Alternatives (LCD-80-89, Aug. 20, 1980) Status Of The Air Force’s F-16 Aircraft Program (PSAD-78-36, Apr. 24, 1978) Contract for the Development and Production of F-16 Aircraft (PSAD-78-3, Oct. 21, 1977) Page 44 GAO/NSIADNO-160Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Appendix LII GAO Reports Used in Our Review Operating And Support Costs Of New Weapon Systems Compared With Their Predecessors (LCD-77-429, Oct. 17, 1977) Sharing The Defense Burden: The Multinational F- 16 Aircraft Program (PSAD-77-40, Aug. 15, 1977) Status Of The F-16 Aircraft Program (~~~~-77-41, Apr. 1, 1977) Navy Acquisition: Cost, Schedule, and Performance of New Submarine SUBACSand Combat Systems (GAO/NSIAD-90-72, Jan. 3 1, 1990) AN/BSY-1 Kavy Contracting: Fiscal Year 1986 Contract Award for Construction of SSN 688 Submarines (GAO/NSMW-120, May 4, 1987) Navy Acquisition: SUBACSProblems May Adversely Affect Navy Attack Submarine Programs (GAO/N&D-86-12, Nov. 4,1985) Aquila Remotely Piloted Vehicle: Its Potential Battlefield Contribution Aquila Still in Doubt (GAopmw-88-19, Oct. 26, 1987) Aquila Remotely Piloted Vehicle: Recent Developments and Alternatives (GAO/NSLAD-~~~~BR, Jan. 4, 1986) Results Of Forthcoming Critical Tests Are Needed To Confirm Army Remotely Piloted Vehicle’s Readiness for Production (GAO/NSIAD-84-72, Apr. 4,1984) DOD'S Use Of Remotely Piloted Vehicle Technology Offers Opportunities For Saving Lives and Dollars (MASAD-81-20, Apr. 3, 1981) Status Of The Remotely Piloted Aircraft Programs (~~~~77-30, Feb. 18, 1977) Missile Procurement: Further Production of AMRAAMShould Not Be AMRAAM Approved Until Questions Are Resolved (GAO/NSIAD-90-146, May 4, 1990) Weapon Acquisition: Improving DOD'S Weapon Systems Acquisition Reporting (GAO/NSLo90-20, Nov. 14, 1989) Page 45 GAO/NSIAIMO-150 Fleet RdIistic Missile Program AppendixIII GAOReporteUsedinOurReview Missile Procurement: AMFWIMNot Ready for Full-Rate Production (GAO/ NSIAD-89-201, Sept. 7, 1989) DOD Acquisition Programs: Status of Joint Major Programs (GAO/ NSIAD-89-158, July 17, 1989) Missile Development: AMFWAM’S Combat Effectiveness at Production Not Fully Tested (GAO/N&m-88-186, July 7, 1988) Missile Development: Development Status of the Advanced Medium Range Air-To-Air Missile (GAO/NSIAD87-168, Aug. 14, 1987) Missile Procurement: Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile Preproduction Test Results (GAO/NSIAD-87-165~3, June 2, 1987) Missile Procurement: AMRAAMCost Growth and Schedule Delays (GAO/ ~~~~-87-78, Mar. 10, 1987) Missile Development: Advanced Medium Range Air-To-Air Missile (AMRAAM)Certification Issues (GAO/NSIADX-124BR, July 9, 1986) Missile Development: Advanced Medium Range Air-To-Air Missile Legal Views and Program Status (GAO/NSLWX-88~~, Mar. 28, 1986) Missile Development: Status of Advanced Medium Range Air-To-Air Mis- sile (AMRAAM)Certification (GAO/NSIAD-86-66BR, Feb. 18, 1986) The Advanced Medium Range Air-To-Air Missile: Resolve Uncertainties Before Production (GAO/NSIAD-~~-~~, May 7, 1984) Page46 Appe.tdix IV Major Contributors to This Report Brad Hathaway, Associate Director National Security and Bernard Easton, Assistant Director International Affairs Fred Fenstermaker, Project Manager Division, Washington, Timothy Morrison, Deputy Project Manager Sarah Brady, Evaluator D.C. Toni Townes, Evaluator Ann Baker, Evaluator Karen Creller, Evaluator Beth Hoffman, Evaluator (894285) Page 47 GAO/NSIADBO-160 Fleet Ballistic Missile Program . Ordering Information The first five copies of each GAO report are free. Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the following address, accom- panied by a check or money order made out to the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary. Orders for 100 or more copies to be mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. U.S. General Accounting Office P.O. Box 6015 Gaithersburg, MD 20877 Orders may also be placed by calling (202) 275-6241. I’nited Stat.es General Accounting Office Washington, D.<‘. 20548 Official Business I Permit No. GlOO Penalty for Private Use $300
Defense Acquisition: Fleet Ballistic Missile Program Offers Lessons for Successful Programs
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-09-06.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)