The Government Accountability Office has raised concerns about the U.S. Army’s plans to change how it develops and deploys new weapons systems following the establishment of the Army Futures Command. In a report released Wednesday, GAO said the service branch intends to skip field tests to immediately move new technologies into weapons systems.
“Moving forward without this testing can delay delivery and increase costs as development continues,” the agency warned.
GAO said the Army failed to fully apply some of its recommended practices to ongoing modernization efforts, such as starting weapon development at a lower level of maturity and without a plan to apply lessons learned from cross-functional team pilot programs. The report states the Army going against the recommended practices puts the service at risk of failing to deliver the desired capabilities and leverage the experience of teams in applying leading practices.
To address the modernization concerns, GAO suggested that the Army secretary ensure the AFC demonstrates technology in an operational environment before starting development, take steps to incorporate the experiences of cross-functional teams and fully apply leading practices for mergers and organizational transformations. The service has yet to respond to GAO’s new recommendations.