Battlefield Automation: Army Land Warrior Program Acquisition Strategy
May Be Too Ambitious (Letter Report, 09/11/96, GAO/NSIAD-96-190).

GAO reviewed the Army's Land Warrior System, focusing on: (1) various
technology and human factor problems associated with system development;
(2) the Army's acquisition strategy; and (3) the Army's plans to
integrate the system with the digital battlefield.

GAO found that: (1) the Army has not adequately addressed several
technical and human factor problems identified during system
development, which include the Land Warrior's failure to perform as well
as standard-equipped soldiers, cognitive and physical soldier overload,
adverse psychological effects on soldiers, the equipment's
electromagnetic signature emission and cumbersome configuration, other
health and safety issues, the lack of prototypes for early operational
experimentation tests, and overlaps in development and operational
testing; (2) the Army estimates that program procurement costs could
exceed $1.4 billion; (3) the Army has incorrectly classified the program
and, therefore, it does not receive appropriate management oversight;
(4) although the Army has accelerated production and deployment, it has
not yet determined how many Land Warrior systems will be needed for each
unit equipped, which soldiers should receive Land Warrior equipment, or
what equipment each soldier should carry; (5) the Army has not
demonstrated that the Land Warrior equipment can integrate into the
digital battlefield because prototypes have not been available for
testing; (6) the Army plans to field Land Warrior systems before other
digital battlefield hardware and software components have been proven
effective; and (7) the Army is working on synchronizing the fielding of
Land Warrior applications with other digital battlefield elements.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

     TITLE:  Battlefield Automation: Army Land Warrior Program 
             Acquisition Strategy May Be Too Ambitious
      DATE:  09/11/96
   SUBJECT:  Advanced weapons systems
             Human factors engineering
             Army personnel
             Army procurement
             Ground warfare
             Defense capabilities
             Product performance evaluation
             Command/control/communications systems
IDENTIFIER:  Army Land Warrior System
             Army Soldier Integrated Protective Ensemble Advanced 
             Technology Demonstration
             Army Generation II Soldier System
             Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System
             Army Warrior Focus Advanced Warfighting Experiment
             Army Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below System
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================================================================ COVER

Report to Congressional Committees

September 1996



Battlefield Automation


=============================================================== ABBREV

  ACAT - Acquisition Category
  ATD - Advanced Technology Demonstration
  DOD - Department of Defense
  EOE - Early Operational Experimentation
  FBCB2 - Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below System
  GENII - Generation II Soldier System
  GFE - Government Furnished Equipment
  IOT&E - Initial Operational Test and Evaluation
  MANPRINT - Manpower and Personnel Integration
  ORD - Operational Requirements Document
  SINCGARS - Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System
  SIPE - Soldier Integrated Protective Ensemble

=============================================================== LETTER


September 11, 1996

Congressional Committees

In November 1995, we reported to the Congress on the Army's efforts
to automate a number of battlefield functions through creation of a
vast network of computers, sensors, and communications systems that
would provide a common, simultaneous picture of the battlefield from
soldier to commander.\1 More recently, we examined the Army's Land
Warrior soldier system, estimated to cost in excess of $1.4 billion,
and its role in the "digital" battlefield. 

The objectives for this report were to (1) determine the status of
various technology and human factor problems associated with system
development, (2) evaluate the acquisition strategy for the Land
Warrior system, and (3) assess plans to integrate the system with the
digital battlefield.  We conducted this review under our basic
legislative responsibilities and are addressing it to you because the
matters discussed in this report fall within your committees'

\1 Battlefield Automation:  Army's Digital Battlefield Plan Lacks
Specific Measurable Goals (GAO/NSIAD-96-25, Nov.  29, 1995). 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :1

The Army developed the Land Warrior program to improve the lethality,
mobility, survivability, command and control, and sustainability of
infantry soldiers on the battlefield through the integration of a
variety of components and technologies.  Under the Land Warrior
program, the Army is developing a computer/radio, software,
integrated headgear (including an imaging display), weapon subsystem,
and protective clothing and equipment to be integrated on the
individual soldier (see fig.  1).  When developed, this equipment is
expected to allow soldiers to interface electronically with other
battlefield systems.  The Army also plans to include a number of
additional technologies later that are intended to further enhance
the soldier's battlefield performance. 

   Figure 1:  The Land Warrior

   (See figure in printed

   Source:  Soldier Systems
   Command, Project

   (See figure in printed

Land Warrior, which is currently in engineering and manufacturing
development, evolved from the Soldier Integrated Protective Ensemble
(SIPE) Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD).  SIPE was the Army's
first attempt at demonstrating the concept of the soldier as a
system.  According to the Army, SIPE successfully demonstrated the
feasibility of the soldier system concept. 

The Army originally planned to demonstrate advanced capabilities in
another system known as Generation II Soldier System (GEN II).  The
GEN II system technologies would have been incorporated as block or
component upgrades to Land Warrior, which was considered an interim

In November 1995, a Defense Appropriations conference report
criticized the Army's plans to acquire what appeared to be two
competing systems; the conference report directed the Army to submit
a revised acquisition strategy by March 1, 1996, and to accelerate
development of the GEN II program.  On March 1, 1996, the Army
submitted a revised acquisition plan.  However, the plan terminated
GEN II as a separate program merging it into Land Warrior as a
supporting science and technology component. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :2

Land Warrior is in development, but the program faces a number of
technical and human factor problems--including some discovered during
the SIPE demonstration--that have yet to be adequately addressed. 
Although the Army regarded SIPE as successful, for many test
conditions, the SIPE-equipped soldiers failed to outperform soldiers
using standard equipment.  Moreover, the Army has not yet
demonstrated that it has overcome this deficiency.  Further, the Army
may not have fully developed prototypes to test until Initial
Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E), currently scheduled for
August/September 1998.  The impact of lingering development problems
could affect the system's ability to meet critical performance
requirements.  In addition, the Army has compressed the schedule by
planning overlapping development and operational testing.  This could
lead to further compromises. 

The Army has changed its acquisition strategy to permit more rapid
production and deployment.  However, according to Army officials,
they are still determining which soldiers should receive Land Warrior
equipment, and what equipment complement each soldier should carry. 
Depending on the outcome of such decisions, program procurement could
exceed $l.4 billion.  Moreover, the program is not receiving the
appropriate management attention because it is incorrectly

Because Land Warrior prototypes have not been available when the Army
has tested other components of the digital battlefield, the Army has
not demonstrated that Land Warrior can successfully operate in this
environment.  Thus, there is no assurance that Land Warrior will
perform as intended.  Further, the Army plans to begin fielding Land
Warrior systems before other hardware and software components of the
digital battlefield have been proven.  According to Army officials,
work is in progress to synchronize the fielding of Land Warrior with
other digital battlefield elements. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :3

The Army intends to commit to significant Land Warrior production
before addressing certain technical and manpower and personnel
integration (MANPRINT) problems first identified during SIPE and Land
Warrior development.  Although the Land Warrior program is scheduled
to continue in development for over 2 more years (December 1998) and
there is still time to work on solutions, there are some problems
that will not be resolved until after production begins. 

The Land Warrior program, which evolved from SIPE, has not
demonstrated that it has resolved the problem of SIPE-equipped
soldiers not performing as well as standard-equipped soldiers,
particularly in daylight.  For example, the helmet assembly was so
heavy and unbalanced that soldiers were typically unable to lift
their heads and fire from a prone position.  Land Warrior also
inherited other SIPE problems involving target recognition, hit
performance, navigation, health and safety, and other factors. 
Moreover, the Army does not plan to address other problems such as
the need for micro-climate cooling, further weight reductions in the
helmet and helmet mounted display, and laser rangefinder, and
enhanced hearing technology\2 until well after production approval
for Land Warrior. 

Land Warrior components will be tested before production approval,
but the overall system will not be measured against standard-equipped
soldiers, as was SIPE.  The system will be evaluated against
requirements and critical operational criteria outlined in the
operational requirements document (ORD).  This approach, however,
does not require the same "head-to-head" evaluation that SIPE
underwent--that is, comparing the performance of SIPE-equipped
soldiers with that of soldiers using standard equipment to see which
showed greater capability under a variety of conditions. 

MANPRINT issues disclosed during SIPE and later during Land Warrior
development have not yet been resolved, partly because of the
development status of the program.  These issues include cognitive
and physical soldier overload, adverse psychological effects on the
soldier, electromagnetic signature emission of the equipment,
cumbersome equipment configuration, and other health and safety
issues.  In April 1996, a MANPRINT risk reduction exercise indicated
that although soldiers liked the Land Warrior concept, there were
problems with system complexity, government-furnished equipment (GFE)
integration, and component interface.  For instance, the location of
the thermal weapon sight, the laser rangefinder, and close combat
optics interfered with certain firing positions.  Overall, according
to the report, the full complement of Land Warrior equipment was
rated very bulky and cumbersome. 

Because of development problems, the Army could easily fail to meet
its interim goal of having 70 percent capable prototypes available
for early operational experimentation (EOE), scheduled for November
1996.  Accordingly, production-ready prototypes would not be
available for testing until IOT&E, which is just prior to the planned
production decision.  For example, the Modular Weapon System, which
is comprised of mounting rails for sensor attachments, grips, and
carrying handles, may not be available for EOE.  According to Army
officials, this key component of the Land Warrior weapon subsystem
recently failed operational testing.  The impact is that a surrogate
arrangement will be used and Land Warrior sensors will not be tested
on their production-configured mounting rails. 

The risk of not being able to resolve critical technical problems is
increased because of Land Warrior's compressed testing schedule. 
Although Land Warrior production approval is not scheduled until
January 1999, a 6-month bid protest delay in the start of engineering
and manufacturing development caused the Army to overlap development
testing and operational testing at the end of the development phase. 
In overlapping development and operational testing, the Army is
risking that remaining developmental problems will not be resolved
until after production begins. 

Land Warrior development has identified other problems that must be
resolved prior to production.  For example, according to a Land
Warrior program official, it is unclear whether the Single Channel
Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS)\3 can handle high-volume
compressed data transmission.  Another critical function--weapon
boresighting and zeroing--had been taking days to complete because of
all the sensors that are mounted on the weapon (for example, the
thermal weapon sight, laser rangefinder, laser aiming light, and
image intensifier).  Each sensor must be boresighted (aligned) with
the weapon and then the weapon must be "zeroed" for shot accuracy. 
The proliferation of sensors on the weapon greatly complicates the
process.  Under battlefield conditions, boresighting and zeroing have
to be accomplished very quickly.  According to Army officials, the
time required for boresighting has recently been reduced to minutes. 

\2 Enhanced hearing technology enables the soldier to overhear enemy
conversations and detect movement at longer ranges than permitted by
natural hearing. 

\3 The SINCGARS radio is the backbone of the Army's tactical internet
and serves as the communications link, or "gateway," between the
warrior in the field and higher command levels. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :4

The Army estimates total procurement cost for Land Warrior to be
$1.4 billion--exclusive of the cost of GFE--which easily exceeds the
threshold for a major system acquisition category (ACAT) II requiring
greater oversight.\4 However, the Army currently regards Land Warrior
as an ACAT III program, thus, of less significance than an ACAT II
program.  Therefore, Land Warrior is not receiving the management
attention that it would were it correctly classified as an ACAT II

Although correct program classification does not ensure appropriate
management attention, it does provide the framework for more
intensive oversight and monitoring.  The Army requires a higher level
milestone decision authority and milestone review forum for ACAT II
programs.  For example, the milestone decision authority for an ACAT
II program would change from the Program Element Office equivalent
within Army Material Command to the Army Acquisition Executive. 

Land Warrior is a high risk program because the production
quantities, system configuration, and testing approach have not been
adequately defined.  According to the ORD, the Army intends to equip
the entire contingency corps, consisting of certain high-priority
Army divisions, with Land Warrior systems.  As of May 1996, the Army
had not determined its Land Warrior acquisition objective:\5 that is,
how many systems will be needed for each unit equipped, including
support units; which soldiers should receive them; and what equipment
each soldier should carry. 

According to the Army, it wants to get whatever improved capabilities
it can into soldiers' hands as soon as possible.  Therefore, plans
are to have Land Warrior proceed into production with the
technologies that are mature at the time of the production decision. 
Further, the Army planned to produce and field 4,800 soldier systems,
at a cost of about $300 million before the more advanced technologies
are expected to become available through the GEN II science and
technology effort.  Subsequent Land Warrior systems would begin to
reflect GEN II technologies, and the first 4,800 systems would be
retrofitted through a preplanned product improvement.  Army officials
commenting on a draft of this report told us that $300 million was
just a funding "buy-in" sufficient to equip perhaps one division. 

\4 Part I of the Acquisition Management Process Regulations requires
that programs for which total production cost exceeds $645 million in
constant fiscal year 1996 dollars be classified as ACAT II, or major
systems, and receive greater oversight and monitoring. 

\5 During the report commenting period, the Army developed a draft of
its acquisition objective.  According to Army officials, preliminary
estimates now being considered are for 34,000 Land Warrior systems at
a cost of $1.4 billion. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :5

To demonstrate successful digital battlefield integration prior to
fielding, Land Warrior was to participate in ongoing advanced
warfighting experiments.  However, the Army does not plan to test
whether the Land Warrior can successfully communicate through
SINCGARS to the rest of the digital battlefield until after the
production decision. 

The ongoing advanced warfighting experiments, which test digital
battlefield integration, have not had Land Warrior prototypes
available for testing, as had been planned.  In the Warrior Focus
advanced warfighting experiment in November 1995, for example, Land
Warrior participated only as an "observer." Because of the Land
Warrior development schedule and the unavailability of prototypes,
the Army procured less capable substitute soldier systems for the
experiments.  According to program officials, the Army has used
various hybrid systems for its experiments. 

The Army plans to begin fielding Land Warrior systems before other
hardware and software components of the digital battlefield have been
proven.  However, according to Army officials, they are trying to
synchronize the fielding of Land Warrior and

Although Land Warrior may have some stand-alone value, it will not be
fully utilized until other soldier system digital technologies have
matured and are ready for insertion. 

\6 "Applique" is the name in general use for what is formally known
as the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) System.  It
consists basically of a laptop computer, FBCB2 applications software,
a Global Positioning System receiver, and a communications interface. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :6

We recommend that the Secretary of the Army defer or restrict the
purchase of Land Warrior systems until the Army (1) determines the
Army acquisition objective, (2) resolves critical technical and human
factor problems, (3) demonstrates successful digital battlefield
integration with prototype systems, and (4) ensures that Land
Warrior-equipped soldiers will outperform standard-equipped soldiers
in head-to-head testing. 

Because the cost to equip the contingency corps could exceed $1.4
billion, we also recommend that the Secretary ensure that Land
Warrior receive the monitoring and oversight appropriate for an ACAT
II major weapons system. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :7

In commenting on a draft of this report, the Department of Defense
(DOD) concurred with our recommendations.  According to DOD, action
is now being taken to determine user requirements--the Army
acquisition objective and action is now underway to reclassify the
Land Warrior program as an ACAT II, which requires a higher level of
oversight and management attention.  DOD's position is that the Land
Warrior program will develop a system that meets performance
requirements, to include human engineering and safety issues, before
a production decision is made.  DOD added that performance will be
tested and evaluated according to requirements in DOD regulations. 

DOD's comments are reprinted in their entirety in appendix I, along
with our evaluation. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :8

We interviewed cognizant officials and examined pertinent documents
related to Army policies and procedures concerning the Land Warrior
program and its predecessor, the SIPE ATD.  Additionally, we reviewed
documents related to the GEN II and 21st Century Land Warrior
initiatives.  Materials examined included Land Warrior and SIPE test
and evaluation reports that discussed various technical and MANPRINT
issues and rated overall performance; program office and contractor
reports and briefing summaries discussing program progress of Land
Warrior and GEN II, and budget and user requirements documents. 

We examined pertinent documents and interviewed officials closely
affiliated with the Army's acquisition strategy as it existed before
and after the November 1995 Defense Appropriations conference report
directing the Army to submit a revised acquisition strategy by March
1, 1996, and accelerate development of the GEN II program.  Finally,
we reviewed plans and interviewed program officials to compare the
timing of the Land Warrior acquisition with other elements of the
digital battlefield with which it must interface. 

Locations visited included the Soldier Systems Command, and the
Natick Research and Development Center, Natick, Massachusetts;
Project Manager-Soldier, Fort Belvoir, Virginia; Department of the
Army, Secretary for Research, Development, and Acquisition,
Arlington, Virginia; and U.S.  Infantry Center's Combat Development
Directorate, Dismounted Battle Space Battle Laboratory, including the
Land Warrior Modeling and Simulation Center, and the Training and
Doctrine Command Systems Manager--Soldier, Fort Benning, Georgia.  In
addition, we met with various Land Warrior contractor officials at a
technical conference in Orlando, Florida. 

Our review was conducted from August 1995 to August 1996 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :8.1

We are sending copies of this report to other appropriate
congressional committees; the Director, Office of Management and
Budget; the Secretaries of Defense, the Army, the Navy, and the Air
Force; and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.  Copies will also be
made available to others upon request. 

This report was prepared under the direction of Thomas J.  Schulz,
Associate Director, Defense Acquisitions Issues.  Please contact me
at (202) 512-4841 if you or your staff have any questions concerning
this report.  The major contributors to this report were Charles F. 
Arthur S.  Fine, Robert J.  Dziekiewicz, and John M.  Ficociello. 

Louis J.  Rodrigues
Director, Defense Acquisitions Issues

List of Congressional Committees

The Honorable Strom Thurmond
The Honorable Sam Nunn
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on Armed Services
Unites States Senate

The Honorable Ted Stevens
The Honorable Daniel K.  Inouye
Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on Defense
Committee on Appropriations
Unites States Senate

The Honorable Floyd Spence
The Honorable Ronald V.  Dellums
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on National Security
House of Representatives

The Honorable C.W.  Bill Young
The Honorable John P.  Murtha
Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on National Security
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives

(See figure in printed edition.)Appendix I
============================================================== Letter 

(See figure in printed edition.)

(See figure in printed edition.)

(See figure in printed edition.)

(See figure in printed edition.)

(See figure in printed edition.)

The following are GAO's comments on the Department of Defense's (DOD)
letter dated August 14, 1996. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :9

1.  Suggested technical changes have been incorporated in the text of
the final report. 

2.  The congressional concerns expressed in the conference report
also dealt with which system architecture--Generation II Soldier
(GEN II) or Land Warrior--would be chosen as the Army's future
soldier system.  The conference report called for GEN II to be
continued as the objective system, with Land Warrior providing
interim support.  The Army's revised strategy made Land Warrior the
primary system and relegated GEN II to the science and technology
component of the Land Warrior program. 

We recognize that efforts will be made to reduce engineering and
technical problems over the remaining 2 years before engineering and
manufacturing development is to be completed.  However, our purpose
was to point out that solving all the engineering and technical
problems in the relatively short time established to field the Land
Warrior system presents significant challenges.  This, coupled with
the many, not yet developed technology insertions planned for Land
Warrior under GEN II creates such elevated risks that close scrutiny
is appropriate.  To date, most of Land Warrior's presumed ability has
been based on the results of Advanced Technology Demonstrations
(ATD), computer modeling, and experiments using surrogate or other
hybrid equipment configurations.  This approach may be sufficient to
predict the feasibility of a system but cannot be relied upon to
gauge the extent to which Land Warrior will improve existing soldier
capabilities.  We believe that a strong focus on prototyping and
testing before a production decision is made is essential to ensure
program success and determine the worth of the Land Warrior system. 

3.  Report text has been changed. 

4.  Although the Army is attempting to address a number of problems,
we point out that not all the technology and human factor problems
associated with the Army's integrated soldier system are reflected in
the Land Warrior Organizational Requirements Document.  These include
such problems as cognitive and physical overload, heavy and
cumbersome equipment configuration, and other health and safety
issues.  These issues may well transcend the Land Warrior

5.  While it may be true that the Army has no current requirement to
solve some of these problems, they are problems nonetheless.  It is
precisely the significant technological challenge they impose that
dictated their postponement.  For example, the microclimate cooling
system, which was part of the GEN II system architecture, was
deferred because of power requirements plus weight and cost

6.  We recognize that DOD is trying to address the Soldier Integrated
Protective Ensemble (SIPE) problems, to the extent possible during
Land Warrior development.  Nevertheless, both sets of problems--those
that are part of the current Land Warrior effort and those that are
being deferred--must be resolved at some point.  For example, during
SIPE, helmet weight and balance resulted in soldiers experiencing
difficulty lifting their heads to fire from the prone position.  DOD
plans to resolve this problem during Land Warrior development. 
However, enhanced hearing, still considered an important technology
component, was deferred until after production because the device
interfered with the soldier's ability to move quietly and avoid

7.  Although the Test and Evaluation Master Plan makes reference to
the use of comparative testing under certain limited conditions, much
of the required testing would use standardized test results and not
require the same "head-to-head" testing that SIPE equipment

8.  DOD indicates that Land Warrior is required to demonstrate
compatibility with Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System
(SINCGARS) at battalion level and below.  However, Land Warrior must
communicate with higher command levels as well.  The ability of Land
Warrior to successfully demonstrate interoperability through SINCGARS
has been limited by two factors--(1) advanced warfighting experiments
to date have been at battalion level or below and (2) only hybrid or
substitute equipment has been used in these experiments because of
the unavailabilty of Land Warrior prototype components. 

*** End of document. ***