Chemical and Biological Defense: Program Planning and Evaluation Should Follow Results Act Framework Page: 13 of 28
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Measurement of RDT&E
NBC Defense Annual Report to Congress, constitute the equivalent of a
strategic plan. Moreover, CB Defense Program managers stated that DOD's
Planning, Programming, and Budgeting System is equivalent to the system
required by the act and that therefore no substantive changes are necessary
to comply with the spirit of the legislation.13
There is no consensus on the appropriateness of applying performance
measures to RDT&E activities. While the Soldier and Biological Chemical
Command has developed and applied measures of research and
development outcomes, other organizations conducting CB Defense
Program RDT&E have not. Neither DARPA, DOE, nor the Joint Program
Office for Biological Defense have taken the initiative to develop a
performance plan. In its strategic plan, DOE included a 5-year roadmap for
developing, demonstrating, and delivering technology that would lead to
major improvements in preparedness and capabilities. The Joint Program
Office cites the conduct of ACTDs as measures of its performance. DARPA
officials maintain that the nature of their RDT&E activities do not lend
themselves to the application of performance measurement.
DARPA conducts leading-edge research where the risks of failure are high
and the probability of success is low. Its mission is to pursue long-term,
far-reaching, and high-risk/high-payoff technology for military systems in
the distant future. DARPA officials argued that developing useable metrics
that are measurable, relevant, and timely for technology anticipated 10 or
more years into the future is impossible. Moreover, they stated that goals
and expectations are set at the project level and cannot be aggregated at
the program level. Therefore, according to the officials, it would be
inappropriate to develop programwide or agencywide measures of success
Nonetheless, DARPA did try to develop a performance contract and
submitted a draft to the Defense Management Council in early 1998. It also
argued, however, that it did not fit the mold of most DOD agencies and
should therefore be exempt from the act's requirements. DARPA drafted
performance metrics addressing its research operations as well as
administrative efficiency. The performance metrics proposed for the
research portion of its activities consisted of a series of assessments
13 The DOD Comptroller has noted that the Results Act is related to, but distinct from, DOD's Planning,
Programming, and Budgeting System, and has stated that Results Act planning and program evaluations
need to be integrated with DOD's Planning, Programming, and Budgeting System.
GAO/NSIAD-99-159 Chemical and Biological Defense
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United States. General Accounting Office. Chemical and Biological Defense: Program Planning and Evaluation Should Follow Results Act Framework, report, August 16, 1999; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc294407/m1/13/: accessed December 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.