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Report Slams SLAMRAAM For Lack Of Criteria

By | February 18, 2008

      The Surface-Launched Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (SLAMRAAM) program lacks effective evaluation yardsticks because the Army has relied on a plan provided by Raytheon Co. [RTN] instead of following more objective rules, according to the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), a private watchdog group.

      POGO based its finding on a report of the Department of Defense Inspector General (DODIG), which is not releasing the report to the public. Instead, POGO filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the report.

      "For several years, the Army ceded its oversight to a contractor resulting in a situation where the Army lacked any means of ensuring that taxpayer money is well-spent and that weapons met requirements," according to POGO.

      "By relying on the contractor’s plan instead of developing its own, the Army lacked ways to gauge the performance of the Raytheon Company which led to a missile program that is not cost-effective," according to the report by the DODIG, POGO stated.

      "The [DODIG] found that the Army needs to ‘rebaseline’ — in other words, change the goals — of the contract due to ‘contractor technical difficulties’ and ‘increased contract costs,’ stemming in large part from the Army’s mismanagement of the program and its dependence on the contractor’s inadequate plan," POGO stated.

      Because of these problems, the Army couldn’t judge whether the program was advancing well or in trouble, POGO continued.

      "Raytheon’s systems engineering management plan lacked criteria for the Army to review and manage progress on technical, cost and schedule goals, making it difficult to define success in meeting program requirements — a violation of [Pentagon] policy [that was promulgated in] February 2004," according to POGO.

      Last July, "the Army presented its own new draft plan in response [to] the … probe," POGO stated. "However, that draft also contains many of the same deficiencies as Raytheon’s, according to the audit."

      The Army also "defended its delayed action since a key acquisition decision on SLAMRAAM preceded the February 2004 … policy by several months," the watchdog group continued.

      "The [DODIG] held that the … policy ‘clearly explained the benefits’ of developing an adequate plan early on which would have helped the Army ‘more effectively manage the systems engineering process,’" POGO continued.

      Even if "SLAMRAAM could fully meet all key performance parameters" it could "still be of little value, if it cannot meet system effectiveness requirements," POGO quoted from the report. But further details of the point were redacted.

      Another Pentagon oversight agency, the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), failed to hew to its own instructions and guidelines, according to POGO.

      "As is often the case, the problem is not with the rules, but that so few people follow them. The all-too-predictable result is contractor failure," said Nick Schwellenbach, POGO national security investigator.

      The program also involved The Boeing Co. [BA].

      POGO reported that "Boeing-Huntsville’s subcontractor work on the SLAMRAAM control system increased by 67 [percent] from an original $18.9 million estimate to $31.5 million.

      "Formal reporting from the DCMA office with oversight over Boeing-Huntsville to the DCMA office with responsibility for SLAMRAAM was non-existent and the informal reporting was missing critical information — such as cost and schedule analysis."

      These gaps cost money, according to POGO. The inspector general "suggested that this had a role in the cost increase of Boeing’s work, stating that it believes that ‘formalized reporting … would have given the project manager more meaningful information on the subcontractors’ progress towards satisfying SLAMRAAM cost, schedule, and performance requirements.’"

      POGO said the report also raised concerns about safekeeping of classified information.

      "The final problem with the SLAMRAAM detailed by the [report] was inadequate guidance for assuring the security of information technology systems," according to the watchdog group. The shortcoming "places the information contained in the SLAMRAAM system at greater risk of loss, misuse, or unauthorized access to or modification of the information contained in the system," POGO quoted the report as finding.

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