Report: Incomplete Data May Affect How DoD Sustain Weapons Software

The Government Accountability Office found problems in how the Department of Defense monitors the costs of sustaining software for the military’s weapons systems, including aircraft, ships, submarines and missiles. In a report issued Monday, GAO said the Pentagon projects to spend an estimated $15B over the next five years for software sustainment. However, the government watchdog found the agency lacks data on the full costs, which could affect how it manages resources.

“This impedes DoD's efforts to plan for a ready and controlled source of technical competence and to budget resources in peacetime while preserving necessary surge capabilities,” GAO said in the report.

The Navy and the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation contributed to the problem due to their failure to properly collect and report software sustainment costs, the report states. GAO said the incomplete data could lead to challenges for DoD as well as Congress to determine the magnitude and cost of software sustainment capability requirements. The watchdog recommends that DoD improves how the Navy and CAPE gather and share data on the costs of future software sustainment efforts. 

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