oversight

Battlefield Automation: Performance Uncertainties Are Likely When Army Fields Its First Digitized Division

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-07-27.

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

                   United States General Accounting Office

GAO                Report to the Chairman,
                   Subcommittee on Defense,
                   Committee on Appropriations
                   House of Representatives

July 1999
                   BATTLEFIELD
                   AUTOMATION

                   Performance
                   Uncertainties Are
                   Likely When Army
                   Fields Its First
                   Digitized Division




GAO/NSIAD-99-150
United States General Accounting Office                                                                National Security and
Washington, D.C. 20548                                                                          International Affairs Division



                                    B-282617                                                                                       Letter

                                    July 27, 1999

                                    The Honorable Jerry Lewis
                                    Chairman, Subcommittee on Defense
                                    Committee on Appropriations
                                    House of Representatives

                                    Dear Mr. Chairman:

                                    Over the next decade, the Army plans to field dozens of new and improved
                                    battlefield systems through its “digitization” initiative. Digitization involves
                                    the application of information technologies to acquire, exchange, and
                                    employ timely information throughout the battlespace. Use of digitization
                                    on the battlefield is expected to increase the Army’s survivability, lethality,
                                    and tempo of operations.1 The Army plans to equip its first digitized
                                    division with high-priority equipment by December 2000 and its first
                                    digitized corps by the end of fiscal year 2004.

                                    This report responds to the former Subcommittee Chairman’s request that
                                    we review the Army’s progress toward its goal of fielding a digitized
                                    division by the end of 2000. Specifically, the Chairman asked us to
                                    (1) identify the high-priority systems needed to accomplish the digitization
                                    fielding goal, (2) determine the acquisition status of these high-priority
                                    systems, and (3) identify any performance uncertainties that could
                                    confront the Army after its first digitized division is fielded.



Results in Brief                    The Army’s first digitized division will be the 4th Infantry Division. While
                                    the Army’s overall digitization initiative involves over 100 systems, its
                                    December 2000 digitization goal is to field 16 high-priority systems to 3 of
                                    the division’s 4 brigades. In general, these 16 systems can be described as
                                    command, control, and communications systems, the majority of which
                                    will support decision-making by commanders located in tactical




                                    1
                                     Tempo of operations generally refers to a commander’s ability to conduct operations at a time and
                                    place of the commander’s choosing.




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        operations centers2 at battalion, brigade, division, and corps levels.
        Examples include the Maneuver Control System (MCS), upgrades to
        Mobile Subscriber Equipment, and satellite communication systems. One
        system, however, represents an entirely new capability that is intended to
        accomplish an important digitization objective of sharing battlefield
        information with the thousands of soldiers operating outside tactical
        operations centers. This system is the Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade
        and Below (FBCB2) system and is the critical component of the digitization
        initiative.

        The acquisition status of each of the 16 high-priority systems varies. For
        example, fielding of the Forward Area Air Defense Command, Control, and
        Intelligence (FAADC2I) system, with the first digitized division objective
        software and upgraded hardware, was completed in fiscal year 1998. On
        the other hand, the delivery of the Global Broadcast Service (GBS)
        Transportable Ground Receive Suite terminals was delayed because the
        contractor’s initial design required too many terminal transit cases. While
        there will be a delay in the delivery of the terminals, the Army expects
        fielding to the first digitized division to be completed during 2000.
        Although the high-priority systems are being acquired independently of
        each other, the Army is coordinating and synchronizing individual fielding
        schedules to enable it to meet its goal of fielding the first digitized division
        by December 2000.

        There are four key performance uncertainties that the Army will confront
        when the division is fielded at the end of 2000. First, and most importantly,
        the operational effectiveness and suitability of FBCB2 will be unknown.
        Because the Army has recently restructured the system’s test and
        evaluation program, a determination of the operational effectiveness and
        suitability of the FBCB2 system has been postponed until at least fiscal
        year 2002. Second, the operational performance of other fielded systems
        may be unknown because the results of scheduled operational tests will
        not be complete by December 2000. For example, these tests include the
        follow-on operational test and evaluation of the MCS and the follow-on
        operational test and evaluation of the Milstar satellite system’s tactical
        communications. Third, the capability of automated sharing of Army
        Tactical Command and Control System data within tactical operations



        2
         Tactical operations centers generally refer to fixed and relocatable command posts throughout the
        battlespace where commanders and their staffs prepare, monitor, and alter the execution of battle
        plans.




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             centers will not have been conclusively demonstrated. Insight into the
             resolution of this issue is not likely to occur before April 2001 when a
             digitized brigade participates in an exercise at the National Training Center,
             Fort Irwin, California. Fourth, it will be uncertain whether digitization,
             with the expected interoperability of related information systems, has
             achieved the expected increases in lethality, survivability, and tempo of
             operations. This uncertainty is not likely to be resolved any earlier than
             fiscal year 2002—after the FBCB2 initial operational test and evaluation.

             This report contains recommendations to the Secretary of Defense to
             minimize the risks associated with fielding FBCB2 without the benefits of
             operational testing and to develop a plan for determining that digitization
             objectives have been achieved before fielding high-priority systems to units
             beyond the first digitized division.



Background   Throughout the next decade and beyond, the Army plans to modernize its
             forces through an overarching initiative called Force XXI. The components
             of this initiative are Army XXI, which extends to about the year 2010, and
             the Army After Next, which is looking beyond the year 2010. Included
             within the modernization objectives of Army XXI is the integration of
             information technologies to acquire, exchange, and employ timely
             information throughout the battlespace. The integration of information
             technologies objective of Army XXI is called digitization and will be
             implemented throughout the Army by the development, production, and
             fielding of over 100 individual systems. The Army’s digitization effort
             includes a mix of high-priority systems, lower-priority systems, and other
             modernization systems. For example, FBCB2 is a high-priority system,
             whereas the Battlefield Combat Identification System is a lower-priority
             system. The Javelin anti-tank weapon system and the Gun Laying
             Positioning System are examples of modernization systems not designated
             as priority systems. According to the President’s fiscal year 2000 budget
             request, the Army plans to invest $20.8 billion for digitization for the period
             of fiscal year 2000 through fiscal year 2005.

             In general, integrated situational awareness and command and control
             information technologies available to Army commanders currently extend
             to tactical operations centers at the brigade and battalion levels. By
             extending information technologies to the thousands of soldiers operating
             outside the tactical operations centers, the Army expects to increase the




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                           lethality, survivability, and operational tempo of its forces.3

                           The Army plans to digitize its first division by December 2000 and field its
                           first digitized corps by September 2004. The first digitized corps will be
                           III Corps, consisting of the 4th Infantry Division, the 1st Cavalry Division,
                           and the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. The Army intends to digitize its
                           remaining divisions by the 2010-2012 time frame.



First Digitized Division   In August 1997, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans
                           announced that the 4th Infantry Division would be the first digitized division
Requires Fielding of 16    and that, at a minimum, fielded equipment would include the Army Training
High-Priority Systems      and Doctrine Command’s list of priority one systems and associated
                           equipment. The Training and Doctrine Command has identified 16 priority
                           one systems. They consist of command, control, and communications
                           systems. Each is considered a critical element within the Army’s
                           digitization effort because of the expected contribution it makes to achieve
                           the required capabilities for the digitized battlefield. Approved by the Joint
                           Requirements Oversight Council of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in January
                           1995, these capabilities are

                           •   integrated battle command from platoon to corps,
                           •   relevant common picture of the battlespace at each level,
                           •   smaller units that are more lethal and survivable,
                           •   more responsive logistics within and between theaters, and
                           •   joint interoperability at appropriate levels.

                           Fielding of the high-priority systems will contribute to improving the Army
                           Battle Command System, which currently includes the (1) Global
                           Command and Control System-Army located at strategic and theater levels,
                           which interoperates with other theater, joint, and multinational command
                           and control systems, and with Army systems at the corps and levels below
                           and (2) Army Tactical Command and Control System, which meets the
                           command and control needs from corps to battalion. FBCB2 will be the
                           principal digital command and control system for the Army at the brigade
                           level and below and will constitute the third major component of the Army
                           Battle Command System. While FBCB2 is only 1 of the 16 high-priority


                           3
                            The Army has framed its digitization expectations in the form of a hypothesis: if within a digitized force
                           different technologies and doctrine are properly integrated across the force, then increases in lethality,
                           survivability, and tempo will be gained across the force.




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                              systems, it is the centerpiece of digitization because of its potential to
                              contribute significantly to achieving the capabilities articulated by the Joint
                              Chiefs of Staff in 1995.4 Nearly all of the other high-priority systems are
                              dedicated to enhancing the Army Tactical Command and Control System.

                              Collectively, the 16 high-priority systems represent a mix of systems that
                              have been in development or production for many years as well as systems
                              that began development more recently. Each of these systems is in one of
                              three general categories: a component system of the Army Tactical
                              Command and Control System, a communications or support system for
                              the Army Tactical Command and Control System, or FBCB2 and its
                              supporting communications system.



Army Tactical Command         Components of the Army Tactical Command and Control System are found
and Control System            in tactical operations centers and are expected to provide commanders
                              from corps through battalion with an automated capability to perform
Includes Five High-Priority   maneuver, intelligence, fire support, air defense, and logistics functions
Systems                       across the battlefield. The specific component subsystems are MCS, All
                              Source Analysis System (ASAS), Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data
                              System (AFATDS), FAADC2I, and Combat Service Support Control System
                              (CSSCS). Each of these component systems is considered a high-priority
                              system for the first digitized division and corps. Each component system
                              uses computers, software, and communications interfaces to support the
                              commander’s decision-making. The functionality of each system is
                              expected to increase as new software is developed.

                              When the first digitized division is fielded, there will be 27 tactical
                              operations centers with varying configurations of the Army Tactical
                              Command and Control System components. There are also plans to add
                              other component systems to some tactical operations centers in the future.
                              For example, the Digital Topographic Support System, when fielded at the
                              corps and division tactical operations centers, is expected to allow
                              commanders to perform terrain analysis and produce topographic products
                              in support of the mobility/survivability battlefield function area.




                              4
                               For background information on the FBCB2 program, please see Battlefield Automation: Acquisition
                              Issues Facing the Army Battle Command, Brigade and Below Program (GAO/NSIAD-98-140, June 30,
                              1998).




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Eight High-Priority Systems   Tactical operations centers require communication and support systems to
Are Intended to Improve       acquire, exchange, and employ timely information throughout the
                              battlespace. The first digitized division requires the fielding of six
Communications and            communication systems and two support systems for its tactical operations
Management of Tactical        centers.
Operations Centers
                              The main communication system between tactical operations centers is the
                              Army’s Mobile Subscriber Equipment. This line-of-sight radio
                              communication system provides secure voice, data, and facsimile
                              communications services, as well as a packet switch network5 for rapid
                              data communications. Two high-priority programs are expected to
                              enhance the Mobile Subscriber Equipment: (1) the Asynchronous Transfer
                              Mode (ATM), a new, commercial switch that will replace the packet switch
                              and improve the rates of data communications and (2) the High-Capacity
                              Line-of-Sight (HCLOS) radio, which will replace the existing radios and
                              provide increased transmission capacity between switches. The first
                              digitized division requires 21 ATM switches and 72 HCLOS radios.

                              The Army will also enhance its land-based communication system by
                              fielding a Near-Term Data Radio (NTDR). This radio will operate at tactical
                              operations centers and will also provide a data communications capability
                              while tactical operations centers are moving and Mobile Subscriber
                              Equipment is being put in place. The first digitized division requires the
                              fielding of 94 NTDRs. Since this radio is viewed as an interim radio, no
                              additional procurement is planned beyond the first digitized division. It is
                              expected that data radios needed after the first digitized division will be
                              provided through the Department of Defense’s Joint Tactical Radio System
                              program. However, the Joint Tactical Radio System architecture
                              development and validation is not expected until late this year and a
                              decision on whether that program will proceed as a major defense
                              acquisition program is not expected until fiscal year 2001.

                              To overcome the inherent limitations of land-based, line-of-sight
                              communication systems, the Army will be fielding three satellite
                              communication systems to the first digitized division. The first system is
                              the GBS. It is a joint Air Force-Army program intended to provide all


                              5
                               Packet switching is distinguished from message switching. Message switching involves the
                              transmission of entire lengthy messages through the nodes of a network; packet switching involves the
                              transmission of smaller message parts through the network. Packet switching has become the
                              dominant technique for transmitting messages through a network. Please see Gary Dickson and Alan
                              Lloyd, Open Systems Interconnection, Prentice Hall, 1992.




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service users with a one-way, high-speed information flow of high-volume
multi-media information such as imagery, maps, weather data, logistics, air
tasking orders, and operational orders. The Air Force is the executive
service for this program and has designated the Army responsible for the
terminal portion of the program. The first digitized division requires one
transmit terminal, called a Theater Injection Point terminal, and 27
Transportable Ground Receive Suite terminals.

The second satellite communication system is the Secure, Mobile, Antijam,
Reliable Tactical Terminal (SMART-T). This system uses the evolving
Milstar satellite constellation. Thus far, the system has achieved a low data
rate capability. The next step is to achieve a medium data rate capability.6
This medium data rate capability is considered critical for tactical users
like the Army. The first medium data rate satellite is scheduled to be tested
with an on-position satellite in March 2000. The Army requires 12
SMART-Ts for the first digitized division.

The third satellite communication system scheduled for fielding is an
enhanced manpack terminal called Spitfire. These terminals provide
communications through ultra-high frequency satellites and are also
capable of line-of-sight terrestrial communications. While Spitfire is a
mature system, enhancements are currently being made to make it more
efficient. The first digitized division will require 67 Spitfire terminals.

The two systems that will support the management of tactical operations
centers are the Integrated Systems Control (ISYSCON) and the Tactical
Operations Center (TOC) systems. ISYSCON is a new system that is
expected to provide signal operators an automated capability to manage
the communications network. The first digitized division requires the
fielding of one system with 8 to 10 remote terminals or workstations. The
TOC program is intended to provide common operational and system
architectures that can be tailored to meet the specific needs of
commanders at different levels. The first digitized division requires 27 of
the new “digitized” TOCs.




6
 Milstar’s low data rate transmissions are at speeds of 75 to 2,400 bits per second. Milstar’s medium
data rate transmissions are at speeds ranging from 4,800 to 1,544,000 bits per second, thus significantly
increasing the volume of data processed through the satellites.




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FBCB2 and Its Two            When fielded, FBCB2 is expected to provide enhanced situational
Supporting                   awareness to the lowest tactical level—the individual soldier—and a
                             seamless flow of command and control information across the battlespace.
Communications Systems       As the principal command and control system for the Army at the brigade
Extend Information           level and below, it is the linchpin of the future digital battlefield. FBCB2
Technology Beyond Tactical   will be composed of:
Operations Centers
                             • a computer that can display a variety of information,7 including a
                               common picture of the battlefield overlaid with graphical depictions
                               (icons) of friendly and enemy forces;
                             • software that automatically integrates Global Positioning System data,
                               military intelligence data, combat identification data, and platform data
                               (such as the status of fuel and ammunition); and
                             • interfaces to communications systems.

                             Battlefield data will be communicated to and received from users of FBCB2
                             through a “Tactical Internet.” This is a radio network comprising the
                             Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS) and the Single
                             Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS). By connecting
                             platforms through this Tactical Internet, data needed for battlefield
                             situational awareness and command and control decisions can be made
                             available to commanders at all levels of the Army Battle Command System.

                             Both EPLRS and SINCGARS have undergone recent improvements in
                             support of the first digitized division. EPLRS has incorporated very
                             high-speed integrated circuitry and an engineering change that has
                             increased its data transmission rate. The SINCGARS system improvement
                             program radio has provided enhanced data and voice communications, and
                             allows SINCGARS to interface with EPLRS. An advanced SINCGARS
                             system improvement radio enhances the synchronization capability in a
                             package that is one-half the size and weight of the current SINCGARS
                             system improvement radio. The first digitized division will require an
                             estimated 1,300-1,400 EPLRS radios, an estimated 5,000 SINCGARS radios,
                             and about 2,000 FBCB2 systems.




                             7
                              Platforms such as the M1A2 Abrams tank with system enhancements and the M2A3 Bradley fighting
                             vehicle, which already have an on-board data processing capability, will not require another computer.
                             Instead, the FBCB2 “embedded battle command” software will be used to interface with existing
                             software. Other platforms will require FBCB2 computers. In November 1997, the Army’s acquisition
                             objective was 2,604 embedded FBCB2 systems and 59,522 systems requiring computer installations.




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Acquisition Status of   Each of the high-priority systems is being acquired independently of each
                        other. As a result, the acquisition status of each system varies. For
High-Priority Systems   example:
Vary
                        • The Army fielded MCS to III Corps test units in fiscal year 1996 with an
                          earlier version of the software than will be used by the first digitized
                          division. However, based on a recent initial operational test and
                          evaluation, the Department of Defense (DOD) Director of Operational
                          Test and Evaluation characterized the earlier software version as not
                          being operationally effective or operationally suitable. As a result, a
                          full-rate production decision was not authorized and limited production
                          of MCS, sufficient to field the first digitized division and corps, is now
                          being sought.
                        • Fielding of the FAADC2I with its first digitized division objective
                          software and upgraded hardware was completed in fiscal year 1998.
                        • The contract for the first digitized division ATM switches was awarded
                          in June 1998. Fielding is scheduled for March through June of 2000.

                        Although the high-priority systems are being acquired independently of
                        each other, the Army is coordinating and synchronizing individual fielding
                        schedules to enable it to meet its goal of fielding the first digitized division
                        by December 2000. Appendix I describes the acquisition status of all 16
                        high-priority systems.



Performance             There are four key performance uncertainties that the Army will confront
                        when the first digitized division is fielded at the end of 2000. First, the
Uncertainties Will      operational effectiveness and suitability of FBCB2 will be unknown. This
Exist on Planned        uncertainty will persist until the system’s initial operational test and
                        evaluation in November 2001. Second, between now and November 2001,
Fielding Date           nearly every other high-priority digitization system will be undergoing
                        some type of operational evaluation. Since fielding of the first digitized
                        division is scheduled to be completed by December 2000, individual system
                        performance uncertainties will exist when the first digitized division is
                        fielded. Third, the capability of automated sharing of Army Tactical
                        Command and Control System data within tactical operations centers will
                        not be conclusively demonstrated. Insight into the resolution of this issue
                        is not likely to occur before April 2001 when a digitized brigade participates
                        in an exercise at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California.
                        Fourth, it will be uncertain whether digitization has achieved the expected




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                             increases in lethality, survivability, and tempo of operations. This
                             uncertainty is not likely to be resolved any earlier than fiscal year 2002.


Operational Test and         Given its importance to achieving the objectives of digitization, the initial
Evaluation of FBCB2 Is the   operational test and evaluation of FBCB2 in November 2001 is the most
                             critical operational event scheduled. This test will occur nearly a year after
Most Critical Individual     the first digitized division is fielded because of the Army’s goal to equip the
System Performance Event     first digitized division by December 2000. The FBCB2 test event is also
Scheduled                    significant because the previous initial operational test and evaluation date
                             of October 1999 was to have been the first opportunity to evaluate the
                             performance of the NTDR, TOCs, and new versions of the EPLRS and
                             SINCGARS radios. There may now be opportunities to evaluate the
                             performance of these other systems during the FBCB2 force development
                             test and evaluation in April 2000 as well as FBCB2 limited user tests and the
                             division capstone exercises8 conducted prior to November 2001. However,
                             we believe these systems will not be exposed to the full rigor of operational
                             testing until the FBCB2 initial operational test and evaluation itself. We
                             believe the acquisition strategy of fielding FBCB2 before completing
                             operational testing exposes the overall digitization initiative to greater risk.
                             If the risk materializes into performance problems, costly fixes to FBCB2
                             may be required.9 In addition, FBCB2 performance problems could result
                             in continued uncertainties about expected increases in the lethality,
                             survivability, and operational tempo of a digitized force.

                             The Army’s digitization initiative has been driven by the expectation that
                             information dominance and enhanced battle command capabilities will
                             result in increases in lethality, survivability, and operational tempo across
                             the force. The Army has tried to evaluate force effectiveness at several
                             different times; however, the results have been inconclusive. The FBCB2
                             system evaluation plan acknowledged the need to evaluate force
                             effectiveness, but proposed employing force-on-force modeling and
                             simulation as a primary tool for the force effectiveness evaluation. After
                             reviewing the FBCB2 system evaluation plan, the Director, Operational
                             Test and Evaluation, expressed concerns about this approach as well as


                             8
                              Division capstone exercises are training events for maneuver units. Under the restructured FBCB2
                             test program, there will be two division capstone exercises: the first at the National Training Center in
                             April 2001 and the second at Fort Hood in October 2001.
                             9
                             For examples of such systems, please see Weapons Acquisition: Low-Rate Initial Production Used to
                             Buy Weapon Systems Prematurely (GAO/NSIAD-95-18, Nov. 21, 1994).




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                             other aspects of the plan. His concerns were sufficiently serious to cause
                             the Army to reevaluate its FBCB2 test and evaluation strategy, resulting in
                             the revised strategy that postpones the initial operational test and
                             evaluation event for 2 years.

                             The Army considers increasing the functionality of its units as
                             expeditiously as possible a top priority. However, as illustrated by its
                             FBCB2 acquisition strategy, this high priority has translated into significant
                             quantities of equipment being acquired and fielded before conclusive
                             testing has been completed. The fiscal year 2000 budget submission
                             requests $66.4 million to procure 1,640 FBCB2 units. The budget
                             justification documentation also projects a request in fiscal year 2001 of
                             $62.1 million to procure an additional 1,458 units. The total of the fiscal
                             year 2000 budget request and the projected fiscal year 2001 budget request
                             is $128.5 million for 3,098 units. While the 3,098 units account for only
                             about 5 percent of the projected total Army buy of about 60,000 units, the
                             justification10 for the low-rate initial production is unclear at this time.
                             Conditional approval for FBCB2 engineering and manufacturing occurred
                             in July 1997 and included an approval for 3,000 low-rate initial production
                             units, then identified as 10 percent of the total production quantity.
                             However, the acquisition decision memorandum did not state the
                             justification for the low-rate initial production approval. The justification
                             should be clarified later this summer when an Army or Defense System
                             Acquisition Review Council makes a decision on the revised FBCB2
                             acquisition strategy.


Other Individual             In addition to the FBCB2 initial operational test and evaluation, other
High-Priority Systems Will   critical operational evaluations include the follow-on operational test and
                             evaluation of MCS, the multi-service operational test and evaluation of
Undergo Operational          GBS, the follow-on operational test and evaluation of the SMART-T, and the
Testing During or After      follow-on operational test and evaluation of ISYSCON. Figure 1 shows the
Fiscal Year 2000             planned evaluations of each of the 16 high-priority systems, as well as
                             evaluations of Army Tactical Command and Control System
                             interoperability and digitization force effectiveness.


                             10
                               DOD Regulation 5000.2R states that low-rate initial production quantities shall be minimized. The
                             regulation states that the objective of this activity is to produce the minimum quantity necessary to
                             (1) provide production configured or representative articles for operational tests, (2) establish an initial
                             production base for the system, and (3) permit an orderly increase in the production rate for the
                             system. The regulation also notes that the low-rate initial production quantity shall be determined as
                             part of the program’s engineering and manufacturing development approval.




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Figure 1: Testing Schedules of High Priority Systems
         System acronym                   Fiscal year 1999              Fiscal year 2000                                                    Fiscal year 2001                Fiscal year 2002
                                      O N D J F M A M J J A S     O N D   J FM A M J J A S     O N D                                          J F M A M J J A S     O N D     J FM A M J J A S
1. MCS                                                                                                                                                FOT&E

2. AFATDS                                                                 OA/T
3. FAADC2I                                                                OA/T
4. ASAS                                       OA/T
5. CSSCS
6. ATM                                                                                    CT
7. HCLOS                                                                                  CT
8. NTDR                                                                                                                                               DCX 1         DCX 2

                                                                                                                                                                       FBCB2
                                                                                                                                                                       IOT&E

9. GBS                                                                    MOT&E
                                                                                                 Target date for fielding First Digitized Division
10. SMART-T                                                                   IOT&E

11. Spitfire
12. ISYSCON                                                                       FOT&E

13. TOC                                                                                                                                               DCX 1         DCX 2

                                                                                                                                                                       FBCB2
                                                                                                                                                                       IOT&E

14. FBCB2                                                                         FDTE                                                                DCX 1         DCX 2

                                                                                                                                                      LUT 3
                                                                                  LUT 2                                                                                IOT&E
   Force Effectiveness Analysis                                                   FDTE                                                                DCX 1         DCX 2

     (Lethality, Survivability,                                                   LUT 2
                                                                                                                                                      LUT 3
                                                                                                                                                                       IOT&E
    and Tempo of Operation)                                                                                                                                                  Modeling and Simulation

15. EPLRS                                                                                                                                             DCX 1         DCX 2

(Very high speed integrated circuit                                                                                                                                    FBCB2

value engineering change proposal)                                                                                                                                     IOT&E

16. SINCGARS                                                                                                                                          DCX 1         DCX 2

(Advanced system                                                                                                                                                       FBCB2

improvement program)                                                                                                                                                   IOT&E
  Army Tactical Command and
Control Systems Interoperability                                                                                                                      DCX 1         DCX 2

             Test
     (Army Battle Command                                                                                                                                              FBCB2
         System Software)                                                                                                                                              IOT&E


                                      IOT&E          Initial Operational Test and Evaluation                                                         CT       Customer Test
                                      FOT&E          Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation                                                       LUT      Limited User Test
                                      MOT&E          Multi-service Operational Test and Evaluation                                                   DCX      Division Capstone Exercise
                                      OA/T           Operational Assessment/Test
                                      FDT&E          Force Development Test and Evaluation




                                                         Page 12                                                                                              GAO/NSIAD-99-150 Battlefield Automation
                             B-282617




                             In addition to the operational testing that will conclude after December
                             2000, the complete fielding of priority equipment to the 4th Infantry Division
                             as well as new equipment training will remain unfinished in December
                             2000. Even if the FBCB2 low-rate initial production acquisition strategy is
                             approved, not all 4 th Infantry Division units will be fielded with high-priority
                             systems by December 2000. The 4th infantry Division has three maneuver
                             brigades and an aviation brigade; the 1st and 2nd maneuver brigades are
                             located at Fort Hood, Texas, and the 3rd brigade is located at Fort Carson,
                             Colorado. The digitization schedule calls for the 1st and 2nd brigades and
                             the aviation brigade to be fielded by December 2000; the 3rd maneuver
                             brigade will not be fielded until 2003 when the III Corps’ 3rd Armored
                             Cavalry Regiment, also located at Fort Carson, is fielded.

                             Officials from the 4th Infantry Division told us that the 1st and 2nd brigades
                             would probably be “equipped” rather than “fielded” by December 2000, the
                             distinction being that fielding includes new equipment training. Although it
                             is not certain when FBCB2 new equipment training will be completed for
                             the 1st and 2nd brigades, it will probably be some time after December 2000.



Army Tactical Command        Thus far, even with the introduction of new software versions for individual
and Control System           systems, the Army has been unable to exploit the full potential of the Army
                             Tactical Command and Control System because component systems
Interoperability Test Has    cannot be automatically updated when a change is made to an individual
Been Rescheduled to Fiscal   component system’s database. The component systems have achieved
Year 2001                    some degree of success by sharing the same functional data “vertically” at
                             different command levels, but the long sought-after capability to share data
                             “horizontally” across functional areas within the same command level has
                             not yet been achieved. The updates are accomplished either through
                             manual inputs to other related databases or through an electronic message
                             to those databases. For example, if the MCS database is changed to show
                             a new position location of friendly forces, that change would have to be
                             manually entered or changed through a message to the AFATDS or
                             FAADC2I databases. In addition, it presently takes 12 to 15 weeks and
                             requires the assistance of civilian engineers to establish each component
                             system’s original database. The Army intends to resolve these database
                             issues with the development and fielding of a software package called
                             Army Battle Command System software.

                             The Army planned to test the Army Battle Command System software at
                             the FBCB2 initial operational test and evaluation event. The ability of
                             FBCB2 data to be integrated into the Army Tactical Command and Control



                             Page 13                                    GAO/NSIAD-99-150 Battlefield Automation
                           B-282617




                           System component systems was also to have been tested. As a result of the
                           restructuring of the FBCB2 testing program, version 6.2 of the Army Battle
                           Command System software will undergo an operational evaluation during
                           the division capstone exercise scheduled for April 2001 at the National
                           Training Center. Additional operational evaluations will probably be
                           conducted during another division capstone exercise scheduled for Fort
                           Hood, Texas, in October 2001 and the rescheduled FBCB2 initial
                           operational test and evaluation, also scheduled for Fort Hood, in November
                           2001.


Force Effectiveness        After the Task Force XXI Advanced Warfighting Experiment in March 1997,
Determination May Not Be   which culminated in a brigade-size experimental force engaging an
                           opposing force at the National Training Center,11 officials at the Army
Known Before Fiscal Year   Operational Test and Evaluation Command concluded that they could not
2002                       identify any significant increase in force effectiveness over baseline units
                           that had also engaged the opposing force at the National Training Center.
                           The Training and Doctrine Command’s Analysis Center at White Sands
                           Missile Range, New Mexico, used the data collected during the Advanced
                           Warfighting Experiment to model the performance of the experimental
                           force assuming that the experimental force had relied more heavily on the
                           data and information available to it through digitized systems. The Training
                           and Doctrine Command analysts concluded that the modeling showed
                           increased force effectiveness. The Training and Doctrine Command’s
                           Analysis Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, analyzed the results of a
                           Division Advance Warfighting Experiment in November 1997 and
                           concluded that the experimental force was more lethal, survivable,
                           sustainable, and able to better control tempo than a non-digitized force.
                           However, the experiment was a simulation-driven command post exercise
                           without maneuver units in the field. In our opinion, the efforts thus far
                           designed to measure force effectiveness have produced inconclusive
                           results with maneuver units in the field showing no significant increase in
                           lethality, survivability, and operational tempo while modeling and
                           simulation do show increases.

                           The 4th Infantry Division’s brigade-size exercise at the National Training
                           Center during the third quarter of fiscal year 2001 is described as a division


                           11
                             To explore the FBCB2 concept, the Army acquired and installed sufficient quantities of equipment to
                           field a brigade-size experimental force in June 1996. The experimental force then used FBCB2
                           prototype equipment in an Advanced Warfighting Experiment, which culminated in March 1997 during a
                           2-week deployment to the National Training Center.




                           Page 14                                               GAO/NSIAD-99-150 Battlefield Automation
              B-282617




              capstone exercise and is expected to be a rich source of data for
              determining force effectiveness. The Army expects that the data derived
              from a maneuver brigade engaging an opposing force coupled with
              modeling and simulations will provide insight into digitization’s expected
              increases in lethality, survivability, and tempo of operations. While some
              early analysis can be expected within 120 days after the conclusion of the
              exercise, we believe the length of time needed to analyze all the exercise
              data and complete the required modeling and simulations will likely result
              in conclusive force effectiveness determinations no sooner than fiscal year
              2002. This means that if current procurement plans proceed, the Army will
              have obligated $128.5 million in fiscal year 2000 and 2001 FBCB2
              appropriations to buy and install about two-thirds of the systems needed
              for the first digitized corps without such conclusive determinations.



Conclusions   Based on the acquisition status of the designated high-priority systems, the
              Army will consider the 4th Infantry Division as digitized by December 2000.
              However, there will be limitations to this first digitized division.
              Specifically, (a) not all 4th Infantry Division units will be equipped or trained
              by December 2000 and (b) the performance of many individual systems,
              particularly FBCB2, delivered to 4th Infantry Division units will be uncertain
              until the completion of their respective operational tests and evaluations.
              Therefore, while the Army will have outfitted a digitized division, its
              operational capability will not have been demonstrated. Furthermore, even
              if all individual system operational testing is successful, uncertainty about
              system interoperability and the overarching force effectiveness issues of
              increased lethality, survivability, and operational tempo will persist.
              Resolution of these issues will require time, perhaps as much as 2 or
              3 years. Between now and then, the Army will be seeking funding to
              continue acquisition and fielding to its second digitized division and
              eventually its first digitized corps.

              Balancing the competing demands of multiple acquisitions based on
              operational test results and the objective of increasing the functionality of
              Army units as expeditiously as possible poses a significant challenge for
              Army acquisition executives. Because of the high priority the Army places
              on digitization, significant quantities of individual systems such as FBCB2
              are being procured prior to conclusive testing. We believe that such an
              acquisition strategy is highly risky. Furthermore, in our view, the resolution
              of performance uncertainties should be a key determinant in the pace of
              fielding throughout III Corps and the Army. Unless it develops a plan
              defining when and how the first digitized division will validate that



              Page 15                                    GAO/NSIAD-99-150 Battlefield Automation
                  B-282617




                  digitization has enabled the high-priority systems to interoperate
                  effectively and enable increases in lethality, survivability, and tempo of
                  operations, the Army runs the risk of fielding unproven systems beyond the
                  three brigades of the 4th Infantry Division.



Recommendations   To optimize the multi-billion dollar investment needed to digitize all Army
                  units, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct the Army to:

                  • Establish schedules and procurement quantities that minimize the risks
                    associated with fielding FBCB2 without the benefits of operational
                    testing by seizing on the opportunity provided by the current
                    reassessment of the FBCB2 acquisition strategy.
                  • Develop a plan defining when and how the first digitized division will
                    validate that digitization has enabled the high-priority systems to
                    interoperate effectively so that expected increases in lethality,
                    survivability, and tempo of operations have been achieved. The plan
                    should provide for validation to be completed before digitization is
                    extended to units beyond the first digitized division.



Agency Comments   In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD did not agree nor disagree
                  with our recommendations. In its response, DOD made two points. First,
                  DOD indicated that Overarching Integrated Product Teams—chaired by
                  high-level DOD officials—are addressing the issues discussed in our report
                  and that a Defense Acquisition Executive review of the FBCB2 program
                  should be conducted during August 1999. The review, DOD stated, will
                  include the acquisition strategy, cost, testing approach, spiral requirements
                  and acquisition approaches, low-rate initial production approval request,
                  and a determination of the appropriate acquisition category. Second, DOD
                  stated that the Army’s master schedule of tests and exercises will provide
                  intermediate confirmation of interoperability and performance and that the
                  FBCB2 initial operational test and evaluation is the culmination of the test
                  and exercise process that includes the high-priority systems addressed in
                  our report. DOD also stated that the Office of the Secretary of Defense will
                  continue to perform its oversight function of Army digitization by
                  maintaining test oversight and improved reporting on the progress of
                  digitization.

                  While it appears that many critical FBCB2 issues will be addressed at the
                  Defense Acquisition Executive review, we remain concerned about the



                  Page 16                                  GAO/NSIAD-99-150 Battlefield Automation
              B-282617




              number of FBCB2 units that will be acquired before a determination is
              made in fiscal year 2002 of the system’s operational effectiveness and
              suitability. We remain equally concerned about the quantities of other
              high-priority systems that will be acquired through fiscal year 2002, before
              the completion of the digitization test and exercise process. We continue
              to believe that until the Army validates that digitization has achieved
              increases in lethality, survivability, and tempo of operations, there is a high
              risk of fielding unproven systems beyond the first digitized division.

              DOD’s comments are reprinted in their entirety in appendix II, along with
              our evaluation. In addition, DOD provided technical comments that have
              been incorporated, as appropriate, in the report.



Scope and     To identify the high-priority systems being acquired to accomplish the
              digitization fielding goal and determine the acquisition status of each
Methodology   system, we reviewed the objectives of the Army XXI and Army After Next
              initiatives, the fielding plans for the 4th Infantry Division, and individual
              system cost, schedule, and performance data. We obtained briefings from
              program managers, testers, and users. We also analyzed the acquisition
              strategy of each high-priority program, critical program milestones, and the
              relationship between critical program milestones and fielding plans for the
              first digitized division. Our designation of high-priority systems was
              established in the following manner. During the course of our review
              different Army organizations identified 15 to 19 systems as high-priority
              systems. For example, when we met with Training and Doctrine Command
              officials in November 1998, they identified 17 priority one systems. One of
              those systems, Digital Topographic Support System, was not identified as a
              priority one system by other Army organizations. The 16 systems
              presented in this report represent a consensus of what systems were
              characterized as high-priority as of November 1998.

              To identify any performance uncertainties that could confront the Army
              when its first digitized division is fielded, we reviewed the test and
              evaluation schedules of each high-priority system. We then compared
              these schedules with the fielding schedule for the first digitized division.
              We also analyzed the revised FBCB2 schedule, including test events and
              production decisions, regulatory criteria for low-rate initial production
              decisions, and 4th Infantry Division personnel and organizational changes
              that could impact test and fielding plans. We also reviewed the overall
              objectives of the FBCB2 initial operational test and evaluation event,
              including Army Tactical Command and Control System interoperability



              Page 17                                   GAO/NSIAD-99-150 Battlefield Automation
B-282617




objectives, and plans to use new and upgraded versions of communication
equipment, weapons platforms, including Abrams tanks and Bradley
Fighting Vehicles with FBCB2 embedded battle command software, and
tactical operations centers during the test. We reviewed Army evaluations
that have studied digitized force increases in lethality, survivability, and
operational tempo, and plans to conduct future evaluations, including
those contained in the final draft of the FBCB2 system evaluation plan.

In the course of our work, we interviewed program officials and examined
program management and budget documents, system requirements, test
plans, acquisition plans, and other program documentation. We performed
our work primarily at the Army Digitization Office, Arlington, Virginia, and
the Army Communications and Electronics Command, Fort Monmouth,
New Jersey. We also gathered data from the Director, Operational Test and
Evaluation, Arlington, Virginia; Army Training and Doctrine Command,
Norfolk, Virginia; Army Operational Test and Evaluation Command,
Alexandria, Virginia; the 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; and the
Army Signal Center, Fort Gordon, Georgia.

We performed our review from September 1998 to July 1999 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards.


We are sending copies of this report to Representative John P. Murtha,
Ranking Minority Member of the Subcommittee; Representative C.W. Bill
Young, Chairman, and Representative David R. Obey, Ranking Minority
Member, House Committee on Appropriations; and other interested
congressional committees. We are also sending copies of this report to the
Honorable William S. Cohen, Secretary of Defense; the Honorable Louis
Caldera, Secretary of the Army; and General James L. Jones, Commandant
of the Marine Corps. Copies will also be made available to others upon
request.




Page 18                                  GAO/NSIAD-99-150 Battlefield Automation
B-282617




Please contact me at (202) 512-4841 if you or your staff have any questions
concerning this report. Key contacts and major contributors to this report
are listed in appendix III.

Sincerely yours,




Allen Li
Associate Director,
Defense Acquisitions Issues




Page 19                                 GAO/NSIAD-99-150 Battlefield Automation
Contents



Letter                                                                                              1


Appendix I                                                                                         22
Summary of
Acquisition Status of
High-Priority
Digitization Systems

Appendix II                                                                                        24
Comments From the
Department of Defense

Appendix III                                                                                       28
GAO Contacts and
Staff
Acknowledgments

Figures                 Figure 1: Testing Schedules of High Priority Systems                       12




                        Page 20                                GAO/NSIAD-99-150 Battlefield Automation
Contents




Abbreviations

AFATDS   Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System
ASAS     All Source Analysis System
ATM      Asynchronous Transfer Mode
CSSCS    Combat Service Support Control System
DOD      Department of Defense
EPLRS    Enhanced Position Location Reporting System
FAADC2I Forward Area Air Defense Command, Control, and Intelligence
FBCB2    Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below
GBS      Global Broadcast Service
HCLOS    High-Capacity Line-of-Sight
ISYSCON Integrated Systems Control
MCS      Maneuver Control System
NTDR     Near-Term Data Radio
SINCGARS Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System
SMART-T Secure, Mobile, Anti-jam, Reliable Tactical Terminal
TOC      Tactical Operating Center



Page 21                            GAO/NSIAD-99-150 Battlefield Automation
Appendix I

Summary of Acquisition Status of
High-Priority Digitization Systems                                                                                                    Appenx
                                                                                                                                           Idi




System       Acquisition status
MCS          The Army fielded MCS with a software version called Block III to III Corps test units in fiscal year 1996 and
             planned to field a Block IV software version to the first digitized division in fiscal year 2000. However, the
             results of a recent initial operational test evaluation with the Block III software did not permit the Army to
             proceed to full-rate production. The Army is currently requesting authorization to proceed with a limited
             production of MCS sufficient to field the first digitized division and corps, using the Block IV software.
AFATDS       The software versions of AFATDS are designated by year. The Army fielded AFATDS 95 to the 4th Infantry
             Division in fiscal year 1996 and the system achieved an initial operational capability in January 1997. Annual
             software versions have been fielded to the 4th Infantry Division and the objective first digitized division
             software fielding is AFATDS 99. In addition, the 4th Infantry Division’s AFATDS hardware is scheduled for
             upgrade during fiscal year 1999.
FAADC2I      Fielding of the FAADC2I with its first digitized division objective software and upgraded hardware was
             completed in fiscal year 1998.
ASAS         The ASAS has two main components: a Remote Workstation and an Analysis Control Element. The first
             digitized division requires Remote Workstations and the Army is currently completing operational testing of
             these workstations. The Army plans to field the Remote Workstation to the 4 th Infantry Division during fiscal
             year 2000. While the Analysis Control Element is not required for the first digitized division, its operational
             testing is scheduled for fiscal year 2000.
CSSCS        The Army fielded CSSCS to the 4th Infantry Division in fiscal year 1996 and received approval for low-rate
             initial production in fiscal year 1998. The program has a new software release planned for fiscal year 1999.
             The 1999 release, version 4.1, is scheduled for fielding to the first digitized division.
ATM          The contract for the first digitized division ATM switches was awarded in June 1998. Fielding is scheduled for
             March through June of 2000.
HCLOS        The contract for the first digitized division HCLOS radios was awarded in June 1998. Fielding is scheduled
             for April 2000.
NTDR         The contract option for 174 NTDR radios was awarded in fiscal year 1998. Deliveries, including the 94 radios
             for the first digitized division, are expected in fiscal year 2000.
GBS          The delivery of the GBS Transportable Ground Receive Suite terminals was delayed because the contractor’s
             initial design required too many terminal transit cases. The initial design, which required 10 to 14 transit
             cases, was considered operationally unsuitable. A redesign has resulted in the number of transit cases being
             reduced to six for the standard configuration and seven for the extended configuration. While there will be a
             delay in the delivery of the terminals, the fielding to the first digitized division is still expected to be completed
             during 2000.
SMART-T      Currently, there are two Milstar satellite designs: the low data rate version called Milstar I and the medium
             data rate version called Milstar II. Through 2006, the Milstar constellation will consist of two Milstar I
             satellites, which were launched in 1994 and 1995, and four Milstar II satellites, which are being launched from
             fiscal years 1999 through 2002.1 The Army needs a medium data rate capability for the first digitized division.
             As a part of the approved SMART-T acquisition strategy, the Army is fielding SMART-Ts to the 4th Infantry
             Division in fiscal year 1999 so that they will be available when the first Milstar II satellite becomes operational.
Spitfire     The Army awarded the Spitfire production contract in 1994 and will have fielded about 50 percent of its
             planned 2,402 units throughout the Army by the end of fiscal year 1999. The first digitized division units are
             scheduled for fielding in fiscal year 2000.
ISYSCON      The Army awarded the ISYSCON development contract in 1992 and plans to field a software version 1 to the
             first digitized division in April 2000. However, a 1998 initial operational test and evaluation identified three
             significant problems: network planning, spectrum management, and network monitoring. The system was
             retested at the start of fiscal year 1999 and, while some deficiencies persisted, the system was approved for
             full-rate production in March. The Army plans to begin ISYSCON fielding in fiscal year 2000.




                                 Page 22                                               GAO/NSIAD-99-150 Battlefield Automation
                                                Appendix I
                                                Summary of Acquisition Status of
                                                High-Priority Digitization Systems




System                      Acquisition status
TOC                         The Army awarded its TOC hardware integration contract in February 1999. However, a competing
                            contractor protested the selection. The protest resulted in a stop work order to the winning contractor in
                            March. The program management office is currently assessing the impact of the stop work order on the
                            digitization schedule.
FBCB2                       The acquisition status of FBCB2 has changed significantly. The system’s initial operational test and
                            evaluation, originally scheduled for October 1999, has been postponed until November 2001. Despite the
                            test restructuring, the Army still plans to start FBCB2 production in order to field the first digitized division by
                            December 2000. This procurement was projected in last year’s budget request, but was to have been made
                            as a full-rate production decision after the October 1999 FBCB2 initial operational test and evaluation. Now,
                            the Army plans to proceed with low-rate initial production of 5,100 systems over a three-year period.
                            Approval of this acquisition strategy is expected in August 1999. The low-rate initial production phase
                            decision is expected prior to the completion of the FBCB2 initial operational test and evaluation.
EPLRS                       The EPLRS began full-rate production in fiscal year 1997. About 450 units have been fielded to the 4th
(Very High Speed            Infantry Division and the balance is scheduled for fielding between March 1999 and July 2000. While there
integrated circuit, value   are no further operational tests of the EPLRS planned, additional testing of the EPLRS is planned as part of
engineering change          the FBCB2 initial operational test and evaluation.
proposal)
SINCGARS                    The SINCGARS is in its twelfth year of production, with over 165,000 radios fielded to date. The advanced
(Advanced system            system improvement program SINCGARS is scheduled to be fielded to the 4th Infantry Division by December
improvement program)        1999. The advanced system improvement program SINCGARS is scheduled for a customer test with the
                            82nd Airborne Division in fiscal year 1999 and, like EPLRS, will be evaluated as part of the FBCB2 initial
                            operational test and evaluation.
                                                1
                                                 For additional information on the Milstar program, please see our November 1998 report, Military
                                                Satellite Communications: Concerns With Milstar’s Support to Strategic and Tactical Forces
                                                (GAO/NSIAD-99-2, Nov. 10, 1998).




                                                Page 23                                               GAO/NSIAD-99-150 Battlefield Automation
Appendix II

Comments From the Department of Defense                                Appe
                                                                          nIx
                                                                            Idi




Note: GAO comments
supplementing those
in the report text
appear at the end of
this appendix.




See comments
1 and 2.




                       Page 24   GAO/NSIAD-99-150 Battlefield Automation
                 Appendix II
                 Comments From the Department of Defense




Now on p.16.




See comment 1.




Now on p.16.




See comment 2.




                 Page 25                                   GAO/NSIAD-99-150 Battlefield Automation
Appendix II
Comments From the Department of Defense




Page 26                                   GAO/NSIAD-99-150 Battlefield Automation
               Appendix II
               Comments From the Department of Defense




               The following are GAO’s comments on the Department of Defense’s (DOD)
               letter dated July 12, 1999.



GAO Comments   1. We believe that DOD’s review by the Integrated Product Team should
               also include the analysis included in this report.

               2. We believe that specificity and timeliness is critical to the overall
               evaluation process. The Army has framed its digitization expectations in
               the form of a hypothesis that, if within a digitized force different
               technologies and doctrine are properly integrated across the force, then
               increases in lethality, survivability, and tempo will be gained across the
               force. That hypothesis still needs to be proven. We recognize that proving
               the hypothesis involves both objective and subjective dimensions. As we
               recommended to the Secretary of Defense, the Army should specify how it
               intends to prove the hypothesis and build a consensus on an accepted
               methodology among material developers, users, testers, those providing
               oversight within DOD, and congressional decision-makers. Without an
               accepted methodology, questions on the benefits of digitization will persist.
               These questions, left unanswered, could weaken efforts to provide
               potentially beneficial systems to soldiers as expeditiously as possible.




               Page 27                                   GAO/NSIAD-99-150 Battlefield Automation
Appendix III

GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments                                                               AppeInx
                                                                                                           Idi




GAO Contact           Charles F. Rey (202) 512-4174




Acknowledgments       In addition to the name above, Robert J. Dziekiewicz, Christopher P. Galvin,
                      Subrata Ghoshroy, and Paul G. Williams made key contributions to this
                      report.




(707377)       Lte
                 rt   Page 28                                 GAO/NSIAD-99-150 Battlefield Automation
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