United States General Accounting Office GAO Report to Congressional Requesters July 1997 ELECTRONIC COMBAT Consolidation Master Plan Does Not Appear to Be Cost-Effective GAO/NSIAD-97-10 United States GAO General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 National Security and International Affairs Division B-272629 July 10, 1997 The Honorable Connie Mack The Honorable Bob Graham United States Senate The Honorable Joe Scarborough House of Representatives In response to your request, we have reviewed the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Electronic Combat Consolidation Master Plan. As agreed with your office, our objective was to assess the costs and benefits of DOD’s consolidation plans for open air ranges, hardware-in-the-loop facilities, and installed system test facilities used in electronic combat testing. In its report on the Fiscal Year 1996 National Defense Authorization Act, Background the Senate Armed Services Committee criticized DOD for not having a clear approach to consolidating test infrastructure and recommended reductions in DOD’s Test and Evaluation support accounts. The Senate Appropriations Committee agreed with the authorizing committee, recommended reductions to the fiscal year 1996 Test and Evaluation support accounts, and acknowledged the need to constrain spending in this area. Subsequently, in the Fiscal Year 1996 National Defense Appropriations Act, the Congress limited the obligation of specified funds until DOD provided the defense authorizing and appropriating committees with an Electronic Combat Consolidation Master Plan to establish a DOD-wide infrastructure for electronic combat testing. In March 1996, DOD published its Master Plan. In transmitting the Master Plan to the Congress, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology stated that DOD would revisit the Plan in the broader context of section 277 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996, and adjust the Plan as appropriate. Section 277 directs DOD to develop a consolidation and restructure plan for its laboratories and test and evaluation centers for the 21st century. This effort is not yet complete. According to the Master Plan, DOD considered 17 of the services’ electronic combat test facilities for consolidation. The Army controls 4 of the 17 facilities, the Navy controls 6, and the Air Force controls 7. The Page 1 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation B-272629 conclusion of the Master Plan is that the assets of three of the seven facilities managed by the Air Force will be moved to other Air Force locations. No interservice consolidations and no intraservice consolidation of the four Army or six Navy facilities are proposed in the Plan. The three facilities to be relocated are • the Air Force Electronic Warfare Evaluation Simulator (AFEWES) in Fort Worth, Texas; • the Real-time Electronic Digitally Controlled Analyzer Processor (REDCAP) in Buffalo, New York; and • the Electro-Magnetic Test Environment (EMTE) at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. AFEWES is a specialized hardware-in-the-loop facility that simulates individual radar and missile threats to aircraft and electronic combat hardware. REDCAP is a specialized hardware-in-the-loop facility that simulates an integrated air defense system with command, control, and communications networks. EMTE is an open air range providing radar and simulated missile threats to aircraft in flight; it is collocated at Eglin Air Force Base with the Air Force’s development and test and evaluation activities for armaments. Installed system test facility consolidation was not proposed in the Master Plan. For purposes of this review, we focused on three open air ranges, two hardware-in-the-loop facilities, and two installed system test facilities. The remaining 10 are other kinds of electronic combat test facilities, such as research laboratories or radar cross-section measurement facilities or are service unique capabilities. DOD’s electronic combat test process and the role the various kinds of facilities play in that process are explained briefly in appendix I. Implementation of the Electronic Combat Consolidation Master Plan will Results in Brief result in less effective electronic combat testing capabilities. • The planned relocation of EMTE will eliminate DOD’s current capability to test electronic combat systems in conditions that typify many potential threat locations. DOD will be left with two open air ranges with very similar environmental characteristics and will no longer have the ability to test in diverse conditions needed to understand environmental effects on electronic combat systems. • The planned REDCAP relocation will mean replacing existing hardware simulation capability with digital computer models, thus reducing DOD’s Page 2 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation B-272629 current capability to simulate realistic aircraft strike scenarios with high confidence and fidelity. The Master Plan did not contain any cost analysis and did not identify any savings expected from the consolidations. Estimates used to support 1995 Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) deliberations, as well as data provided by users indicate that the consolidation may increase DOD’s electronic combat testing costs. In addition, the Master Plan does not contain any analysis or recommendations regarding consolidation of installed system test facility workloads across the services although the Navy and the Air Force are spending $512 million for construction of another anechoic chamber to provide a controlled electromagnetic environment at Patuxent River, Maryland, and other upgrades to their current primary installed system test facilities at Patuxent River and Edwards Air Force Base, California. Consequently, the Master Plan, if implemented, may not achieve the most cost-effective DOD-wide infrastructure. The root cause of this was DOD officials’ inability to overcome service parochialism during the Master Plan’s development. This parochialism resulted in a “gentlemen’s agreement” between the Air Force and the Navy to focus on intraservice rather than interservice consolidations. Prior joint service studies performed on an interservice basis had identified alternatives for more cost-effective consolidations. However, the recommendations of these studies were never implemented. If this continues, service rivalry could adversely affect DOD’s ongoing, congressionally mandated section 277/vision 21 consolidation effort, which is considering the broader issue of DOD’s testing and laboratory facilities. Principal Findings Planned Consolidation of The proposal in the Master Plan to relocate EMTE would eliminate a test Open Air Ranges Will facility that provides unique advantages and keep two testing facilities Reduce Effectiveness with overlapping capabilities. DOD’s acquisition regulations require systems to be evaluated in operationally realistic environments, including the expected range of natural environmental conditions. Currently, its electronic combat open air ranges replicate diverse threat environments where the services must be prepared to conduct operations. Page 3 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation B-272629 Testing Equipment in DOD’s 5000.2R acquisition regulations require testing in natural Diverse Environments Is environmental conditions representative of intended areas of operations Critical (e.g. temperature, pressure, humidity, fog, precipitation, clouds, blowing dust and sand, steep terrain, storm surge and tides, etc.). Testing in diverse conditions provides performance data needed to understand environmental effects on electronic combat systems. This information is critical to making informed acquisition and mission planning decisions, thereby reducing the risk of buying ineffective equipment and the potential for casualties during wartime. DOD studies also document the importance of testing electronic combat equipment in diverse environments. For example, a 1994 joint service study of electronic combat open air ranges expressed the need for electronic combat testing in the correct natural environment. Test results for electronic combat systems demonstrate that performance can differ significantly in differing environments. Testing in diverse environments is also important for collecting data to support development of realistic computer models. DOD believes modeling and simulation can be used to reduce the cost of live tests, but to improve levels of confidence in models they must be built on high fidelity data collected from diverse environments. Plan Would Eliminate DOD’s proposed open air range consolidation as described in the Master Diversity Found in Current Plan would eliminate diversity by keeping only desert ranges and thereby Open Air Ranges reduce electronic combat open air range testing effectiveness. The Air Force and the Navy control three primary open air ranges for testing electronic combat systems. These include two western ranges, one at China Lake, California, and one managed by Edwards Air Force Base, California. Both feature dry, desert climates with steep, rocky terrain. The third range, EMTE, at Eglin Air Force Base on the Florida panhandle, features a land/sea interface, high humidity, and a subtropical, forested environment, and an over water test range. The Master Plan states that preservation of militarily unique electronic combat test facilities was an important criterion for deciding which facilities to close. However, EMTE is unique among DOD’s open air ranges, and the 1994 joint service study noted that one of the primary disadvantages of closing EMTE would be the loss of terrain and geographical diversity, since both remaining ranges would be located in the desert. Page 4 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation B-272629 Current Open Air Ranges Both western ranges provide a capability for conducting essential Represent Potential Threat electronic combat testing over terrain representative of projected middle Environments eastern threat environments. Conversely, EMTE provides DOD with an environment more typical of most of the other projected U.S. threat locations, including North Korea and the Balkans. Table 1 identifies the terrain of countries that are representative of possible locations for future conflicts that are of concern to the United States. In comparison, table 2 demonstrates that the unique environmental characteristics of EMTE—over water, land/sea interface, and foliage—are prevalent in most of the potential threat locations identified in table 1. Table 1: Potential Threat Locations and Terrain Correlation Sea/land Location Over water interface Desert Foliage Mountain Iraq X X Iran X X X X X N. Korea X X X X China X X X X X Libya X X X X Cuba X X X X Balkans X X X X Table 2: Open Air Ranges and Terrain Correlation Sea/land Location Over water interface Desert Foliage Mountain EMTE X X X China Lake X X Air Force X X Western Test Range The Master Plan proposal to move the REDCAP facility from Buffalo and REDCAP at New colocate it with the Air Force’s installed system test facility at Edwards Air Location Will Be Less Force Base will reduce electronic combat testing effectiveness. The intent Capable is to reestablish what the Air Force calls a “core” REDCAP capability at the new location by developing a computer model to simulate REDCAP hardware. However, the model will not simulate all of the current REDCAP testing features. Establishing a core REDCAP capability means not utilizing much of the REDCAP hardware, and its associated functions, even though the Air Force Page 5 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation B-272629 completed upgrading this hardware in 1996 at a cost of $75 million over the past 8 years. The core REDCAP at the proposed new location will be less capable than the complete REDCAP at its current location. Some of the REDCAP hardware functions that the Air Force does not plan to make available in core REDCAP do not exist anywhere else in DOD. According to DOD and Air Force officials, the REDCAP facility in Buffalo is unique. For instance, REDCAP can currently simulate a realistic scenario of a strike package of multiple aircraft approaching targets protected by multiple threat radars and threat aircraft incorporated into an integrated air defense system. The proposed core REDCAP will not be able to simulate this scenario. Simulating many aircraft versus many threat systems is important because integrated air defense systems exist in a number of potential threat locations and integrated defenses are projected by DOD to be a growth area among potential threat nations. The Master Plan did not contain any cost analysis or identify the savings Planned expected from the consolidations. Our analysis of prior estimates used to Consolidations May support the 1995 BRAC deliberations and other data provided by users Increase Costs indicates the consolidations may increase DOD’s testing costs. More specifically (1) BRAC-related data indicates that a complete EMTE relocation would not be cost-effective, (2) cost estimates provided to BRAC regarding the relocation of REDCAP and AFEWES were understated, and (3) increased costs that will be incurred by user organizations were not considered in Air Force cost estimates. Master Plan Includes No Senior Air Force test officials told us that the Air Force selected EMTE, Evidence of Savings REDCAP, and AFEWES for consolidation because they believed they would ultimately save money by relocating them. The Electronic Combat Consolidation Master Plan, however, includes no evidence that any savings will result and, in fact, contains no cost data at all. The Secretary of Defense recommended the relocation of REDCAP and AFEWES and the partial relocation of EMTE to the 1995 BRAC. BRAC approved the REDCAP relocation, rejected the AFEWES proposal, and significantly scaled back the partial relocation of EMTE. The Master Plan, however, incorrectly states that selecting EMTE for relocation reflects decisions of the 1995 BRAC. Page 6 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation B-272629 BRAC Found No Savings in The 1995 BRAC scaled back the Secretary’s recommendation to realign the Relocating EMTE in Total EMTE open air range at Eglin Air Force Base. DOD proposed transferring 17 systems designed to simulate various threat radars and missiles, but BRAC determined that was too costly and would “never net a return on investment.” Ultimately, however, BRAC did approve the movement of 10 systems (for which the BRAC account was eventually charged $6.1 million), but required DOD to leave limited capability systems at Eglin to support the Air Force’s Special Operations Forces, Armaments Division, and Air Warfare Center, which are also at Eglin. Nevertheless, the 1996 Master Plan says the Air Force plans to “relocate” EMTE, not move just 10 systems. According to Air Force officials, “relocate” means 17 systems will be moved. Ten will be operated at the new location and 7 will be cannibalized for parts. Air Force test officials maintain that the Special Operations Forces, Air Warfare Center and Armaments Division do not need these 17 systems at Eglin, and they will leave behind some systems to meet the customers’ needs. EMTE users, such as the Special Operations Forces and the 53rd Test Wing and the Army Aviation Test Directorate, told us that the systems the Air Force plans to leave will not meet their needs for accomplishing realistic testing because they do not have the capability to receive and process testing data for subsequent analysis. Air Force test officials told us users can travel to the Air Force’s western test range to meet their test requirements. REDCAP Relocation Costs To mitigate the impact of the reduction in REDCAP effectiveness described Not Fully Disclosed earlier in this report, the Air Force has awarded a $6.2-million contract to design and build a digital computer model of REDCAP that it intends to use instead of the REDCAP hardware that will be stored. This additional cost, however, was not included in the Air Force cost estimate that BRAC used in deciding to relocate REDCAP. The Air Force had recommended to the 1995 BRAC that the REDCAP facility be relocated to Edwards Air Force Base. The 1995 BRAC found that Air Force cost estimates to relocate were understated, but decided to accept the recommendation as they believed it would still result in overall savings. As a result, the BRAC account makes available to the Air Force $3.7 million to relocate REDCAP. Using Air Force cost figures, BRAC projected the operating cost to the government of REDCAP at the new location will be $100,000 compared to $1 million annually at the current Page 7 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation B-272629 location, BRAC anticipated a 4-year return on investment (4 x $0.9 million). (The remainder of REDCAP’s operations are funded by customer receipts.) Since the cost of the new computer model was not taken into account, the Air Force will not achieve a relatively quick return on investment. The additional $6.2 million means it will take an additional 7 years to recoup costs based on Air Force projected savings of $0.9 million per year. This 11-year (4 + 7) return is well beyond the 1995 BRAC norm of seeking a 6-year or less return on investment. AFEWES Move Delayed The Air Force recommended to the 1995 BRAC that the AFEWES facility in Fort Worth be relocated to Edwards Air Force Base. The Air Force had estimated a cost of $8.9 million to close AFEWES and move it. BRAC did not accept the recommendation though because BRAC estimated it would cost $34.9 million to close the facility and would be over 100 years before a return on investment was realized. Nevertheless, the Air Force included the AFEWES relocation in the 1996 Master Plan. Air Force officials told us they are now attempting to modify their outyear budgets so they can move the AFEWES facility sometime in the year 2000 time frame. User Costs Will Increase Special Operations Forces based at Hurlburt Field, Florida, adjacent to With EMTE Closure Eglin Air Force Base, are users of EMTE. After the EMTE relocation, however, Special Operations Forces’ electronic combat testing will be conducted at the Air Force’s western test range. As a result, Special Operations Forces officials estimate that their electronic combat testing will cost $23 million over the next 5 years, whereas they have spent only $4 million for electronic combat testing over the last 4 years. We reviewed the analysis supporting this estimate and found it to be realistic. The $19 million in additional cost results from sending aircraft, their crews, and support personnel temporarily to the western test range more often than in the past. In contrast, there are no temporary duty costs associated with testing Special Operations Forces aircraft at EMTE. In addition to the Special Operations Forces, another user organization based at Eglin, the 53rd Test Wing, estimates that the proposed EMTE relocation may cost them as much as an additional $1 million per year. This additional cost would provide for an estimated 20 additional trips to the Air Force’s western test range to perform electronic combat testing that in the past has been performed at Eglin Air Force Base. Page 8 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation B-272629 DOD’s Master Plan does not contain any analysis or recommendations Installed System Test regarding consolidation of installed system test facility workloads across Facility Consolidation the services. The Navy and the Air Force are spending $512 million for Not Practical construction of a new anechoic chamber to provide a controlled electromagnetic environment at Patuxent River, Maryland, and other upgrades to their current primary installed system test facilities at Patuxent River and Edwards Air Force Base, California. These projects have progressed too far to make any interservice consolidation practical at this time, however. The Navy has a fighter-sized anechoic chamber, has already spent $227 million, and has plans to spend an additional $101 million, to (1) add a new, medium-sized anechoic chamber and (2) upgrade the electronic combat test laboratory shared by both the fighter and medium-sized chambers. The Navy is planning to have the medium-sized chamber completed in fiscal year 1999. Completion of this work is timed to conduct testing on the Navy’s E-6 and P-3 aircraft. (These specialized aircraft are too large to fit into the fighter sized facility.) Meanwhile, the Air Force has plans to spend over $184 million through fiscal year 2002 to make the same electronic combat test upgrades to its Edwards Air Force Base installed system test facility as the Navy is making at Patuxent River. The Edwards Air Force Base facility is large enough to accommodate any military aircraft except a C-5 transport. Navy officials agreed that the Edwards facility is large enough to accommodate their medium-sized E-6 and P-3 aircraft; however, they maintain that the Edwards facility is not advanced enough right now to conduct the testing on these aircraft. Navy officials also insist they cannot postpone their testing until fiscal year 2002 when the Edwards facility upgrade is scheduled to be completed. Furthermore, they say, the Air Force has blocked out most of the available test time at the Edwards facility for its future F-22 fighter, an aircraft that would fit in the Patuxent River chamber. Page 9 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation B-272629 In the past 3 years, DOD has conducted two joint service studies of possible More Cost-Effective consolidation of electronic combat test facilities. One study done in 1994 is Alternatives to referred to as the Board of Directors study and is cited as justification for Planned Relocations the conclusions in the Master Plan.1 The other study is known as the 1995 Joint Cross Service Group study, which was done in support of the 1995 Ignored BRAC process.2 These studies identified a more cost-effective interservice electronic combat consolidation as compared to the intraservice approach reflected in the Master Plan. However, the lack of interservice cooperation undermined the more cost-effective efforts. Open Air Range To reduce excess capacity, the Master Plan recommends relocating test Consolidation Does Not assets from EMTE to the western test range managed by Edwards Air Force Reflect a More Effective Base and cites the 1994 Board of Directors Study as justification. According to the study, DOD’s open air range workload capacity is 6,000 Alternative test hours per year, while actual workload in fiscal year 1993 was 4,867 test hours, and actual workload is projected to decline to 4,000 hours per year. Based on this workload data, DOD determined it will only need two of the three current open air range facilities in the future. However, that 1994 study, as well as the 1995 Joint Cross Service Group study done in support of the BRAC process, ranked EMTE as a more valuable electronic combat test capability than the Navy’s China Lake open air range. The 1994 study also projected that relocating test assets from China Lake to EMTE and the Air Force’s western test range would produce about $47 million more in savings over 5 years than relocating EMTE. DOD and Air Force officials with knowledge of the studies told us that the Navy participated fully in both studies, but once it became apparent that EMTE would rank higher than China Lake, the Navy would not cooperate in implementing the study’s conclusions. Electronic Linking of In addition to comparing the EMTE and China Lake open air ranges, the REDCAP and AFEWES a 1994 Board of Directors Study considered the possibility of achieving More Cost-Effective “synergy” between hardware-in-the-loop facilities, like AFEWES or REDCAP, by colocating them with installed system test facilities, like those Alternative 1 The Board of Directors is made up of the Service Vice Chiefs in their role as the Test and Evaluation Executive Agent. Board of Directors study team members were drawn from each of the services. 2 The Joint Cross Service Group was led by representatives of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and included team members from each of the services. The group examined potential consolidations for airframe and armaments testing, as well as electronic combat testing. Page 10 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation B-272629 maintained by the Air Force at Edwards, or the Navy at Patuxent River, Maryland. However, the Board of Directors study concluded that relocation would require 200 years to net a return on investment. Instead, according to a 1995 study conducted for the Air Force, electronic linking of REDCAP and AFEWES to an installed system test facility was far more cost-effective than relocating them. Despite the findings of these studies, the Air Force plans to relocate AFEWES and REDCAP. At the same time, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Navy are undertaking the High Level Architecture Project to electronically link REDCAP and AFEWES’ hardware with the Navy’s installed system test facility at Patuxent River. This link will allow DOD to test electronic combat systems on an aircraft in an installed system test facility and do hardware-in-the-loop testing without having to physically move the systems to REDCAP or AFEWES. This approach is consistent with the 1995 study commissioned by the Air Force. The failure of the Master Plan effort to achieve any DOD-wide electronic Master Plan Process combat testing consolidations despite direction from the Congress to do Stifled by Intraservice so is due to service parochialism. This resulted in focusing on intraservice Focus rather than interservice consolidations. “Gentlemen’s Agreement” According to officials involved in the development of the Master Plan, Prevented Interservice because no DOD-wide consolidations could be agreed upon, Air Force and Open Air Range Navy representatives responsible for writing the Master Plan reached a “gentlemen’s agreement.” The agreement was that there would be no Consolidation Effort interservice consolidation until all intraservice consolidations were complete. The impact of this agreement was that the Master Plan consolidation effort for open air ranges focused only on whether to relocate EMTE or the western test range since they are both Air Force facilities, instead of focusing on all three open air ranges to ensure that the two kept would represent what was in the best interest of all of DOD. In a memorandum transmitting the Master Plan to the Congress in Intraservice Focus March 1996, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Could Interfere With Technology stated that DOD would revisit the Master Plan in the broader Broader context of section 277 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996, and adjust the Plan as appropriate. Section 277 directs DOD to Consolidation Effort develop a consolidation and restructure plan for its laboratories and test and evaluation centers for the 21st century. Page 11 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation B-272629 This plan, which DOD calls vision 21, will be based on the requirements to support the test and evaluation of future weapon systems and identify the critical test facilities needed to support them. DOD maintains that vision 21 will include both intraservice and interservice restructuring. However, based on the inability of DOD to implement proposed interservice consolidations originating from its prior studies of electronic combat test consolidation, we are concerned that the intraservice focus that interfered with development of a DOD-wide Electronic Combat Master Plan will undermine the vision 21 effort. Because (1) the loss of electronic combat effectiveness was not given Recommendation adequate consideration in the development of DOD’s Electronic Combat Consolidation Master Plan, (2) the Master Plan contained no costs or evidence of savings, and (3) service parochialism was allowed to interfere with development of the Master Plan, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense take steps to make sure that the methodology for the ongoing section 277/vision 21 effort include the following criteria: (1) accurate, comparable, and reliable data on the true cost of operating the services’ test and evaluation infrastructure; (2) the needs of and costs to test facility customers; (3) the maintenance of geographical and topographical diversity in the test facility base; (4) the requirement that proposed consolidations be cost-effective for DOD as a whole; and (5) measures to ensure that implementation of cost-effective decisions cannot be constrained or avoided. Because DOD’s Electronic Combat Consolidation Master Plan may not Matter for provide for the most cost-effective DOD-wide infrastructure for electronic Congressional combat testing as directed by the Congress, the Congress may wish to Consideration consider directing the Secretary of Defense to defer the transferring of electronic combat test assets until DOD completes its vision 21 plan for restructuring its laboratories and test and evaluation centers. In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD indicated that it did not agree Agency Comments with our findings, recommendation, or matter for congressional and Our Evaluation consideration. According to DOD’s response, the consolidations proposed in the Electronic Combat Consolidation Master Plan and addressed in our report are in keeping with the intent of the Congress to reduce the test infrastructure. We disagree. The Congress directed DOD to develop a DOD-wide infrastructure for electronic combat testing. DOD’s Master Plan Page 12 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation B-272629 did not consider any of the Army and the Navy electronic combat test facilities as possibilities for consolidation and merely transfers Air Force test functions to other Air Force locations. DOD’s response indicated that the services made decisions to consolidate in areas that would have the least impact on DOD’s ability to perform effective test and evaluation. This response is not supported by the facts. For instance, the plan to close the EMTE electronic combat open air range at Eglin Air Force Base will leave DOD with no non-desert electronic combat test range for tactical fighters and two desert test ranges—one each for the Navy and the Air Force. This is not consistent with DOD’s testing policy that calls for testing to be conducted in a range of natural environments. DOD commented that its planned consolidations reflect the 1995 BRAC legislation and the services’ plans to implement congressional direction. Our review showed that the planned actions will go beyond, not “reflect,” the 1995 BRAC legislation as the Air Force intends to relocate the entire EMTE function from Eglin Air Force Base, not limit itself to the BRAC-directed realignment of 10 systems (8 threat and 2 podded systems.) The Air Force intends to move AFEWES, as well. This planned move is inconsistent with direction from the 1995 BRAC. DOD believes diversity in the testing environments is desirable, but inconsequential, so long as DOD maintains the capability to replicate geographical and topographical characteristics through modeling and simulation and other work arounds. Our review indicated that DOD does not need to rely in large measure on computer models and work arounds. Instead, DOD could have considered keeping its non-desert range at Eglin, and could have considered consolidating the Air Force’s and the Navy’s desert ranges into one to keep the diverse test environments required by its regulations and still reduce from three ranges to two. We have modified the language from our draft report concerning our matter for congressional consideration to ensure that it is not misconstrued and to help focus attention on the desirability of considering a more cost-effective alternative. DOD’s comments are reprinted as appendix II, along with our detailed evaluation of them. To accomplish our objective, we examined DOD’s March 1996 Electronic Scope and Combat Consolidation Master Plan and DOD studies of potential electronic Methodology combat test facility consolidations. Because the Electronic Combat Page 13 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation B-272629 Consolidation Master Plan did not include any cost data, we gathered cost data from affected sites, as well as the Air Force Materiel Command, and other DOD studies of electronic combat test consolidation. We interviewed officials from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force responsible for or involved in the electronic combat test process. We also interviewed contractor personnel involved in the electronic combat test process. We visited open air ranges, hardware-in-the-loop facilities, installed system test facilities, and observed electronic combat tests in progress. We reviewed DOD policy and guidance on testing and evaluation, as well. We performed our work at the Offices of the Secretaries of Defense, the Navy, and the Air Force; the Offices of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Air Force Chief of Staff; the Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; Edwards Air Force Base, California; Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada; Eglin Air Force Base, Florida; Hurlburt Field, Florida; Army Aviation and Technical Test Center, Fort Rucker, Alabama; Army Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama; Naval Air Warfare Centers at Patuxent River, Maryland, China Lake, California, and Point Mugu, California; and REDCAP at Buffalo, New York. We performed our review from March 1996 to March 1997 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. We are sending copies of this report to interested congressional committees; the Secretaries of Defense, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force; the Director, Office of Management and Budget; and other interested parties. We will make copies available to others upon request. If you have any questions about this report, I may be reached at (202) 512-4841. Major contributors to this report are listed in appendix III Louis J. Rodrigues Director, Defense Acquisitions Issues Page 14 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Page 15 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Contents Letter 1 Appendix I 18 Predict-Test-Compare Replaces Fly-Fix-Fly 18 The Department of Hardware-in-the-Loop Facilities Provide Controlled Conditions 19 Defense’s Electronic for Test Effects of Electronic Combat System on Platform Determined in 20 Combat Test Process Installed System Test Facility Open Air Range Provides Real-World Test Scenarios 20 Appendix II 22 Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense Appendix III 48 Major Contributors to This Report Tables Table 1: Potential Threat Locations and Terrain Correlation 5 Table 2: Open Air Ranges and Terrain Correlation 5 Abbreviations AFEWES Air Force Electronic Warfare Evaluation Simulator BRAC Base Closure and Realignment Commission DOD Department of Defense EMTE Electro-Magnetic Test Environment REDCAP Real-time Electronic Digitally Controlled Analyzer Processor Page 16 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Page 17 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix I The Department of Defense’s Electronic Combat Test Process Electronic combat systems, such as radar jammers and warning receivers, Predict-Test-Compare are most often associated with tactical fighter aircraft because of the Replaces Fly-Fix-Fly threat posed to them by modern surface-to-air missiles. However, electronic combat systems are found today on all types of platforms. These include ground vehicles, surface and subsurface naval vessels, missiles, helicopters, and other fixed-wing aircraft besides tactical fighters. Hence, wherever the services and their contractors develop or test platforms and major subsystems for those platforms, electronic combat test facilities have been established as necessary support functions. In the past 10 years, the Department of Defense (DOD) has spent more than $300 million to build and upgrade electronic combat test capabilities. The vast majority of this new investment has gone into hardware-in-the-loop and installed system test facilities, which are highly scientific, laboratory type facilities, and open air ranges that try to replicate real world environments. These new and upgraded facilities were designed and built to accommodate DOD’s revised electronic combat test process. DOD’s revised electronic combat test process utilizing hardware-in-the-loop, installed system test facilities, and finally, open air ranges fits into a broader test philosophy referred to as “Predict-Test-Compare.” According to a former test official, Predict-Test-Compare was implemented to ensure more rigorous testing was done before fielding because of a general belief in DOD that its electronic combat systems did not work very well. According to the Air Force, past electronic warfare programs have displayed a pattern of latent deficiencies manifesting themselves in operational test and evalution, necessitating expensive fixes and retesting. Predict-Test-Compare replaced DOD’s “fly-fix-fly” model that emphasized open air range testing as the primary test method. Fly-fix-fly relied too much on trial and error at open air ranges to find and correct problems. Often the systems were concurrently built and tested and already fielded before successful fixes were identified. Typical outcomes of a fly-fix-fly philosophy are the costly, repeated, and continuing attempts to fix the ALQ-161 electronic warfare suite on the Air Force’s B-1 Bombers, and the SLQ-32 electronic warfare suite on the Navy’s surface combatants. In contrast to trial and error, Predict-Test-Compare is based on the scientific method of interplay between inductive and deductive reasoning. Page 18 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix I The Department of Defense’s Electronic Combat Test Process After subjecting systems to testing on the ground under tightly controlled conditions, testers compare the test outcomes to their predictions to induce hypotheses that explain the outcomes. The inductive hypotheses, in turn, are analyzed by developers and testers to deduce what hypothetical fixes are necessary to produce more desirable outcomes in subsequent tests. Thus, Predict-Test-Compare is an iterative process in which understanding why a system behaves as it does is essential to successfully predicting how the system will behave when it is modified. Controlling for the conditions of a test is the number one requirement for Hardware-in-the-Loop ensuring that test outcomes are explainable. Hardware-in-the-loop Facilities Provide facilities provide this capability in the electronic combat test process. In Controlled Conditions their laboratory type environments, testers can control for external variables found in realistic environments such as terrain effects and for Test background noise that might influence test outcomes. Hardware-in-the-loop testing provides the capability to provide repeatable measurements and verification of protection techniques and system effectiveness. The hardware-in-the-loop facility is the first place a new or modified piece of electronic combat equipment faces an actual or simulated threat radar. Prior to hardware-in-the-loop testing, a developer begins with a concept for electronic combat equipment to fill a requirement, say an ability to deceive a new threat radar. The developer typically will design a computer model representative of the concept. The electronic combat tester will then subject the conceptual model to an increasingly rigorous test against validated computer models of threat radars. Once a computer model that works against the threat models is developed, real electronic combat hardware that tries to replicate the model’s behaviour is built. The electronic combat hardware is then subjected to the hardware-in-the-loop testing, that is, it is tested against actual or simulated threat radar hardware. If testers cannot demonstrate that the hardware will work as predicted within the controlled conditions of the hardware-in-the-loop facility, a system should not proceed to the next phases of the test process. Success at installed system test facilities or open air ranges after failure in the hardware-in-the-loop facility might be evidence of a positive effect from environmental influences, for example, electronic signals bouncing uncontrollably off of terrain features to confuse a threat radar, a factor that will not always be present in every wartime environment. Page 19 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix I The Department of Defense’s Electronic Combat Test Process In addition, systems that have failed in the real world can be brought back to the hardware-in-the-loop facility to evaluate and improve their performance. According to test officials, serious problems with the ALQ-99 system used on the EA-6B and EF-111 stand-off jamming aircraft were unraveled and solutions identified in the Real-time Electronic Digitally Controlled Analyzer Processor (REDCAP) hardware-in-the-loop facility before the ALQ-99 went on to successful testing at the open air range. In a more recent example, the Air Force Electronic Warfare Evaluation Simulator (AFEWES) hardware-in-the-loop facility was able to recreate and simulate the conditions that led to the shootdown of Captain Scott O’Grady’s F-16 over Bosnia in 1995. The AFEWES results were subsequently proven in real aircraft testing at the Electro-Magnetic Test Environment (EMTE) Open Air Range at Eglin Air Force Base. After the hardware is tested in the hardware-in-the-loop facility, it is then Effects of Electronic placed on the platform intended to eventually carry the hardware for Combat System on installed system testing. Installed system test facilities consist of anechoic Platform Determined chambers in which simultaneous operation of electronic warfare systems and host platform avionics and munitions can be conducted. It is in the in Installed System installed system test facility that systems and subsystems are tested Test Facility together for electromagnetic interference and electromagnetic compatibility, both of which have been major problems in the past. For instance, a number of U.S. aircraft have had radar jammers, radars, and radar warning receivers in the past that conflicted with each other. By identifying the conflicts before flying at the open air range, testers can more quickly isolate and solve problems. Once the Air Force and the Navy complete their ongoing upgrades to their installed system test facilities, they will be able to test systems for effectiveness under a wide range of realistic threat and operational conditions while still on the ground. Finally, when the hardware has been proven successful in each of the Open Air Range earlier steps, the electronic combat test process ends with open air testing Provides Real-World against actual or simulated threat radars in real-world environments. Test Scenarios Real-world phenomena encountered during open air testing can include terrain effects, multi-path propagation, electromagnetic interference from commercial systems, and other conditions that affect the atmospheric propagation of electronic signals. While often thought of as the place for a “final exam,” probably because of the association open air ranges have with operational testing, open air ranges also can have a developmental role. According to DOD officials, a properly managed and operated open air Page 20 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix I The Department of Defense’s Electronic Combat Test Process range can provide the proper mix of scientific accuracy and real-world effects to allow electronic combat system developers to know if what they have observed in the hardware-in-the-loop facility and installed system test facility will hold true in the real world. The example cited above, in which the AFEWES hardware-in-the-loop and EMTE open air range facilities together unraveled, recreated, and demonstrated how the F-16 was shot down in 1995 over Bosnia provides evidence of this. Page 21 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense See comment 1. See comment 2. See comment 3. See comment 4. Page 22 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense See comment 5. See comment 6. See comment 7. Page 23 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense See comments 1, 2, 3, and 4. See comment 8. See comment 9. See comment 10. Page 24 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense See comment 11. See comment 12. See comment 13. Page 25 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense See comment 14. See comment 15. See comment 16. See comment 17. Page 26 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense See comment 18. See comment 19. Page 27 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense See comment 19. See comment 20. See comment 21. See comment 22. Page 28 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense See comment 23. See comment 24. See comment 25. Page 29 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense See comment 26. See comment 27. See comment 28. Page 30 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense See comment 29. See comment 31. Page 31 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense See comment 30. See comment 31. See comment 32. See comment 33. Page 32 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense See comment 34. See comment 35. See comment 36. Page 33 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense See comment 37. Page 34 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense See comment 38. See comment 3. See comment 39. Page 35 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense See comment 39. Page 36 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense The following are GAO’s comments on DOD’s letter dated March 10, 1997. 1. The Congress directed DOD to develop a plan “to establish a DOD-wide GAO Comments infrastructure for electronic combat testing.” DOD’s proposed plan fails to establish a DOD-wide infrastructure. Instead, DOD’s plan did not consider any of the 10 Army and Navy electronic combat test facilities as possibilities for consolidation or the results of DOD studies that identified consolidations that would result in a more cost-effective DOD-wide infrastructure. Our report does not conflict with the report entitled Defense Infrastructure (GAO/HR-97-7, Feb. 1997). In fact, this report substantiates its conclusions. The prior report stated that: “. . . breaking down cultural resistance to change, overcoming service parochialism, and setting forth a clear framework for a reduced defense infrastructure are key to avoiding waste and inefficiency. To do this, the Secretary of Defense and the Service Secretaries need to give greater structure to their efforts by developing an overall strategic plan.” In this report, we point out that the process used by the services in developing the Electronic Combat Consolidation Master Plan did not overcome parochialism, as evidenced by the lack of effort to consolidate across service lines. The Master Plan does not reflect a DOD-wide strategic plan, but rather merely an Air Force plan to move Air Force functions to other Air Force locations. DOD’s comment that “. . . the Services made decisions to consolidate in areas where they would have the least impact on the Department to perform effective T&E” is not supported by the facts. For instance, the plan to close the EMTE electronic combat open air range at Eglin Air Force Base will leave DOD with no non-desert electronic combat test range for tactical fighters, and two desert test ranges—one for the Navy and one for the Air Force. This is contrary to DOD’s testing policy that requires testing to be conducted in a range of natural environments. As an alternative, DOD could have considered, but decided to forego, the option of consolidating the test assets of the two desert ranges into one, and keep its only non-desert electronic combat open air range. As our report shows, the Air Force intends to “relocate” the EMTE function from Eglin Air Force Base, not limit itself to the Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) directed realignment. If the Air Force Page 37 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense transfers more than eight threat systems and two podded threat systems out of Eglin, its actions will go beyond, not “reflect,” the 1995 BRAC recommendation. The 1995 BRAC recommendation involves the movement of only 8 threat systems and 2 podded threat systems, but DOD’s Master Plan states that EMTE consists of 65 highly instrumented threat systems and high fidelity validated simulators. 2. How funding for upgrades was authorized and appropriated is not relevant to the issue of whether a facility should have been considered for consolidation or whether more cost-effective consolidation alternatives exist. 3. According to Air Force test policy, modeling and simulation is not an adequate replacement for actual hardware testing because it cannot predict absolute performance and effectiveness with high confidence or achieve the same degree of fidelity for complex functions as testing of the hardware itself. The ongoing vision 21 consolidation effort gives DOD the opportunity to consider how it will maintain geographical and topographical diversity, among other things, and still achieve “as few [facilities] as is practicable and possible.” For instance, DOD could consider keeping its non-desert range at Eglin, and consolidate the Air Force’s and the Navy’s desert ranges into one to keep the diverse test environments required by its regulations and still reduce from three ranges to two. 4. There may be no significant loss of capabilities if the Air Force limits the movement from EMTE to the eight systems and two pods that are described in the BRAC decision and keeps the other residual test assets available for testing at Eglin. However, if the Air Force carries out the Master Plan proposal to “relocate” the EMTE function to accomplish a reduction from three to two electronic combat ranges, there will be a loss in DOD’s current ability to test with high fidelity and confidence. Testing only in dry, desert air over rocky, mountainous terrain will limit DOD’s real-world testing to one environment and one set of operating conditions. Moreover, the desert ranges are not representative of most places in which DOD must be prepared to fight. 5. Although the Air Force maintains there is no question of affordability in the proposed move of AFEWES, the 1995 BRAC found that such a move would cost $34.9 million and take over 100 years to achieve a return on that investment. The Air Force’s refusal to consider electronic linking, despite Page 38 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense an independent Air Force contractor’s conclusion that linking would be far more cost-effective, demonstrates that the Air Force is not in step with the rest of DOD, which is demonstrating electronic linking of AFEWES, REDCAP, and the Navy’s anechoic facilities at Patuxent River, Maryland. 6. We agree that the Air Force should keep REDCAP and AFEWES test capabilities for which there are test requirements. These test requirements are outlined in Air Force Manual 99-112, Electronic Warfare Test and Evaluation Process—Direction and Methodology for EW Testing. According to the manual, hardware-in-the-loop facilities (such as AFEWES and REDCAP) are an important test category because they represent the first opportunity to test components against simulations of hostile weapon system hardware or actual hostile weapon system hardware. That is why we question the Air Force’s plan to put REDCAP hardware in storage in favor of an unproven digital computer model. 7. We continue to believe that the transfer of test assets should be deferred until the ongoing vision 21 consolidation effort is complete because this would provide DOD with an opportunity to create a plan for a future DOD-wide infrastructure for its testing, instead of an infrastructure that preserves each service’s ability to maintain its own set of separate facilities across the test spectrum. The 1995 BRAC decisions have a 6-year implementation period. The planned transfers do not have to be made immediately to satisfy BRAC. We have modified the words in the matter for congressional consideration to more clearly articulate our position. Also see comments 1, 2, and 3. 8. Open air ranges are used to evaluate electronic combat systems in background, clutter, noise, and dynamic environments. Dynamic environments contain numerous important variables besides those mentioned in DOD’s comments. According to the Air Force’s electronic combat test manual, an operationally realistic open air test environment includes real-world phenomena such as terrain effects, multi-path propagation, electromagnetic interference from commercial sources, and effects caused by atmospheric propagation factors (i.e., the tendency of atmospheric conditions to enhance or inhibit signal transmission). Providing realistic and diverse representations of threat radar systems in the numbers (“density”) and dispersion (“laydown”) that the system under test would be expected to defeat in actual electronic combat does not negate the requirement to test in operationally realistic environments. Also see comment 3. Page 39 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense 9. The disadvantage of climatic predictability at the desert test ranges is that the effects of various meteorological conditions cannot be observed. 10. The cost of testing at the western test range, the specifics of which the Air Force has classified, far exceed those at EMTE at Eglin. In fact, eliminating EMTE eliminates the Air Force’s lower cost range. In addition, allowing foreign customers to utilize the Eglin range generates revenue, but for classified reasons most foreign customers are precluded from using the western range. 11. While it seems clear that moving EMTE’s threat systems to the Air Force’s western test range could improve the western test range’s technical capability, it does not automatically follow that this is the most cost-effective solution for DOD as a whole to pursue. 12. If environmental effects were as well understood and accounted for in electronic combat testing as DOD’s response claims, real-world testing at open air ranges would not be required; testing indoors at hardware-in-the-loop and installed system test facilities would be an adequate substitute. Environmental effects on electronic combat system performance can be more accurately determined on open air ranges where the system is exposed to the complexities of different real-world environments. Furthermore, without the ability to test in at least two distinct representative environments (e.g. wet and flat versus dry and mountainous), DOD will be unable to predict with significant assurance how an electronic combat system will perform in any environment other than the one in which it was tested. Hence, because the electronic combat test environment provided by the Eglin range provides DOD with its only alternative to the desert test environment, DOD’s response that “the specific electronic combat environment offered at EMTE is not critical to RF [radio frequency] testing . . .” is not supportable. In addition, DOD regulations and the Air Force electronic combat test process require testing under real-world representative environment and operating conditions whether or not DOD believes that a given specific test environment is not critical for a given type of testing. 13. We did not assert that testing conducted in the environment at EMTE is scientifically “of a higher value” than testing done in a desert environment. What we stated was that DOD must prepare to fight in diverse Page 40 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense environments; testing conducted in diverse environments is of a higher value than testing limited to a single environment. An operationally realistic test environment allows testers to gain insight into understanding how a system will perform in that environment. Testers cannot assume that the system will perform the same way in different environments. If DOD reduces its testing capability to only a desert environment, it will not be able to prove its systems work in anything other than a desert environment. This is contrary to DOD testing policy that requires testing to be conducted in a range of natural environments. In addition, testing indoors in a contractor’s laboratory is not considered an acceptable substitute for real-world testing on the aircraft according to the Air Force’s electronic combat test process guide. Neither Point Mugu nor Vandenberg Air Force Base have the necessary threat system test assets to create realistic threat environments for electronic combat testing for tactical aircraft systems. To utilize Point Mugu or Vandenburg for this purpose, DOD would essentially be recreating EMTE on the west coast. Moreover, no naval battle group currently has the capability to create a realistic open air threat density and laydown of hostile land-based surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery systems. Also see comments 2 and 10. 14. If these sites mentioned by DOD “easily support” electronic combat testing of tactical aircraft, they should have been considered for consolidation along with EMTE in the Master Plan process. However, the reality is that none of the places mentioned by DOD has the test assets to create the realistic threat densities and laydowns that DOD earlier in its response said were the most important factors in developing “operational realism and diversity.” DOD’s statement that once an electronic combat system is operating at airspeeds and altitudes normal for tactical aircraft the environmental conditions at the surface have little or no effect on performance unrealistically assumes no aircraft will ever be called upon to fly at low altitudes (such as flying low to avoid radar detection). Moreover, DOD’s statement is counter to its policy statement on the need to operationally test in different environments. 15. In addition to electronic combat testing, Eglin conducts other kinds of testing, including bombing and live missile firings. Moreover, the main civilian air corridor between Los Angeles and destinations further east, Page 41 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense including Las Vegas, one of the nation’s fastest growing cities, buttresses against the restricted air space available to the Air Force and the Navy at their desert test ranges. Also see comment 1. 16. DOD’s comment seems to assume that keeping EMTE would mean that the strengths of the Air Force’s western test range, which it delineates here, would have to be sacrificed. We do not suggest that the western test range be closed instead of EMTE. Also see comment 1. 17. Operational testers have been using and continue to use operationally relevant scenarios at EMTE. Test aircraft at EMTE can also fly with live ordnance through simulated hostile airspace and live ordnance can be delivered on a real target. Also see comment 2. 18. Our point is that the body of potential hostile nations contains a variety of environments, not just desert. Testing at EMTE and in the desert allows the operational tester to gain insight into electronic combat system performance in multiple environments. The threat dispersion at EMTE can be changed if necessary, as it has been in the past. In fact, the threat dispersion at all of the ranges should be changed regularly to ensure that testing includes operationally relevant scenarios since many modern threat systems are designed to be mobile. China Lake is a facility with naval surface-to-air missiles located deep in a desert ringed by mountains. Placing naval surface-to-air missiles at EMTE with its flat terrain, humid environment and littoral location could provide a more realistic and operationally relevant scenario for naval aircraft. Despite DOD’s assertion that severe operational limitations exist at EMTE, EMTE’s annual workload historically has been significantly greater than the two desert test ranges. The Air Force and the Navy both use EMTE for testing despite the presence of the desert ranges. Thus, it appears their past testing behavior indicates they believe the benefits of EMTE outweigh any such limitations. 19. REDCAP at Edwards will be less capable as a hardware-in-the-loop facility because the Air Force intends to put the hardware in storage, replacing it with a digital computer model to simulate actual hardware testing. Page 42 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense According to Air Force Manual 99-112, Electronic Warfare Test and Evaluation Process—Direction and Methodology for EW Testing, the Air Force’s electronic combat testing policy requires hardware-in-the-loop testing. Also, REDCAP currently has paying customers who do want to use it. Furthermore, hardware-in-the-loop facilities such as REDCAP and AFEWES use “real equipment.” It is in digital modeling, such as DOD’s comment proposes as a substitute for REDCAP, where actual electronic combat systems are replaced by software representations instead of real equipment. The software-based computer model of REDCAP being developed may cost less to operate than the actual REDCAP hardware-in-the-loop facility, just as flight simulators cost less to operate than actual aircraft. However, modeling and simulation is not hardware-in-the-loop testing. Because they are different kinds of testing with different purposes, they are not directly comparable for purposes of determining which is more cost-effective. DOD’s statement that “Currently, REDCAP goes practically unused” is not supported by recent usage data. Reimbursable costs from test customers are up significantly over the past 3 years. Recent customers include a major U.S. Air Force aircraft program that used the REDCAP Mission Level Assessment Tool for several months, as well as a foreign customer having some of its electronic combat hardware tested. See also comment 5. 20. DOD’s Master Plan included no cost estimates. We reported (1) the cost estimates that were independently arrived at by BRAC, which do not support relocating AFEWES or all of EMTE; (2) known additional costs that the Air Force will incur by replacing REDCAP with a digital model, which will in turn allow the Air Force to keep down the cost-estimate for the REDCAP move; and (3) additional costs that current EMTE customers report they will incur as a result of the EMTE closing. DOD’s comments provide no evidence to suggest that these are wrong. 21. According to the BRAC language, some EMTE assets were specifically directed to be left at Eglin “to support” several customers, including the Special Operations Forces, as well as the Air Force Materiel Command Armaments/Weapons Test and Evaluation activities, and other users. DOD’s position that the BRAC legislation prohibits testing and limits customer support to providing training capability is not adressed in the BRAC direction. Page 43 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense 22. We agree the cost analysis to support any test facility closure should include additional costs to users associated with the relocation. 23. According to the BRAC recommendation regarding Eglin, BRAC expected DOD to use the Master Plan process to come up with the “optimal” consolidation plan. Closing EMTE (not just relocating those 10 test assets recommended to be moved by BRAC), relocating AFEWES despite BRAC’s determination that this would not be cost-effective, and ignoring Army and Navy test facilities completely as possibilities for consolidation, does not support DOD’s claim that the Master Plan is “the result of BRAC decisions.” Moreover, previous DOD cost-effectiveness studies concluded that the three relocations planned to be relocated by the Air Force will not be cost-effective. 24. The Navy and the Air Force authors of the Master Plan told us they did not consider costs in the Master Plan because there was no requirement to do so. 25. It is not clear why DOD raises the issue of the REDCAP contractor’s estimate of the cost of moving REDCAP. We do not use that figure in our report. Our report shows that the Air Force intends to replace REDCAP hardware being moved from its current location with a digital computer model that will simulate REDCAP. The Air Force’s contracted cost for the model is $6.2 million. If the Air Force was not replacing the REDCAP hardware with the digital model, it would have to reestablish the REDCAP hardware at some unknown additional cost. Hence, the cost to make REDCAP operational at the new location is either (1) the cost of the move plus the digital model (with current hardware going into storage) or (2) the cost of the move plus set-up costs for the current hardware (with no digital model). Since DOD has selected option number (1), $6.2 million should be added to the cost of the REDCAP move. See also comments 2 and 5. 26. REDCAP does have some outdated systems. But as our report shows, REDCAP also just completed a $75 million upgrade. Also, customer usage and receipts over the past 3 years have increased. 27. We have changed the title of this finding. 28. According to Special Operations Forces test officials, EMTE provides a more cost-effective test capability to meet their needs compared to traveling to the western test range. Also see comment 21. Page 44 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense 29. Air Force officials reported to BRAC that they anticipated saving $3.7 million per year after spending $6.1 million to move the threat systems out of EMTE. Even if this savings materializes, it will not offset the additional costs anticipated by the current users of EMTE. Special Operations Forces officials told us they must use operational aircraft from Hurlburt Field, Florida, adjacent to Eglin, to accomplish their testing because they have no dedicated test aircraft at either Edwards or Eglin Air Force Base. 30. DOD has no studies to show that the relocations delineated in the Master Plan are cost-effective, and now claims that its 1994 and 1995 joint studies, which do not support the Master Plan moves, were incomplete and flawed. We spoke with Air Force, Army, and DOD Inspector General officials involved in preparation or oversight of the 1994 and 1995 studies and they do not agree the studies were flawed. They told us what made the recommendations of these studies “unrealistic” was not the content, but the refusal of the Navy to consider closing China Lake while the Air Force retained two open air ranges. Navy officials associated with China Lake do maintain the studies were incomplete and flawed. The specific examples provided to us on 15 August 1996 represent the dissenting position that China Lake’s open air range was not given adequate consideration in studies that compared it to the Eglin open air range. This data does not support the alternative position that the Master Plan proposal to relocate EMTE is cost-effective. 31. We agree that the Air Force’s cuts in funding for investment at EMTE over the past several years, coupled with the Navy’s increased investment funding at the China Lake range, could affect the outcome of a comparison of the two if the 1994 study was redone today. DOD, however, has not done such a study to demonstrate that the outcome would be different. 32. The claim that Eglin has a capacity disadvantage does not appear to be accurate. During the run up to the 1990-91 Gulf War, the Eglin Range conducted the largest share of electronic combat testing of the three open air ranges. During fiscal year 1993, 2,133 hours of testing were conducted at EMTE, while China Lake and the western test range conducted 1,649 and 1,085 hours, respectively. 33. The referenced DOD Inspector General’s report compared EMTE with the western test range. We do not assert that EMTE should be kept in lieu of the Page 45 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense western test range. The Inspector General’s report did not consider the Navy’s open air range at China Lake compared to EMTE. 34. The 1995 study conducted for the Air Force by Georgia Tech Research Institute concluded that electronic linking would be far more cost-effective than relocating AFEWES and REDCAP. In addition, a 1994 Board of Directors synergy study concluded that moving the hardware-in-the-loop facilities would not be cost-effective. We know of no study that concludes it is less expensive to relocate and reassemble AFEWES or REDCAP hardware at a new location. DOD’s position that successful electronic linking will be impossible due to the laws of physics has not yet materialized. DOD’s project to link REDCAP and AFEWES with Patuxent is well underway, and as DOD states, the REDCAP link “shows potential.” Additional support for the linking project comes from the Georgia Tech study concluding that linking will be more cost-effective, and the 1994 DOD synergy study concluding that moving the hardware-in-the-loop facilities is less cost-effective. Hence, DOD could have advocated pursuing electronic linking instead of relocation of REDCAP and AFEWES in the Master Plan. 35. The 1994 synergy study conducted for DOD’s Test and Evaluation Board of Directors concluded that it would take 200 years to recover the investment to relocate and reassemble the hardware-in-the-loop facilities at the Edwards Air Force Base installed system test facility for “one stop shopping.” As a result, the Navy shows no inclination to relocate its hardware-in-the-loop facility from Point Mugu, California, to its installed system test facility at Patuxent River, Maryland. 36. Even taking into account the continued operations and maintenance costs at AFEWES and REDCAP, the 1994 DOD synergy study and the 1995 Georgia Tech Research Institute study concluded that these moves would not be cost-effective. 37. The memoranda cited by DOD were all written in 1992 and referred to another study that concluded that keeping China Lake’s open air range was less cost-effective than EMTE. The DOD joint service studies cited in our report were conducted in 1994 and 1995. Although DOD asserts that it is not service parochialism that prevents interservice consolidation from occurring, we note that DOD has now produced three studies with a conclusion that China Lake is less cost-effective to keep, yet the Master Plan calls for assets to be relocated from one Air Force location to another Page 46 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix II Comments From the Office of the Secretary of Defense Air Force location. The Director of Air Force Test and Evaluation told us that this is because the Navy would not consider relocating China Lake’s test assets. 38. As with the Electronic Combat Consolidation Master Plan, we believe that service parochialism may interfere with the ongoing vision 21 effort. There have been no DOD-wide electronic combat test consolidations in the Major Range Test Facility Base despite a number of studies that have recommended such consolidations. 39. We have modified the language from our draft matter for congressional consideration to ensure that our focus is not misconstrued by others. Page 47 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Appendix III Major Contributors to This Report Delores Cohen National Security and Charles Ward International Affairs Division, Washington, D.C. Mark Lambert Atlanta Regional Office Don Springman Chicago Regional Office (707149) Page 48 GAO/NSIAD-97-10 Electronic Combat Test Consolidation Ordering Information The first copy of each GAO report and testimony is free. Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the following address, accompanied by a check or money order made out to the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary. VISA and MasterCard credit cards are accepted, also. Orders for 100 or more copies to be mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. Orders by mail: U.S. General Accounting Office P.O. 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Electronic Combat: Consolidation Master Plan Does Not Appear to Be Cost-Effective
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-07-10.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)