Chemical and Biological Defense: Program Planning and Evaluation Should Follow Results Act Framework Page: 9 of 28
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defensive posture or operational flexibility of U.S. forces. While the
completion of these activities may well generate benefits for U.S. troops, in
the absence of valid, reliable measures, the contributions of RDT&E or
procurement cannot be determined.
CB Defense Pro gram
Rather Than Outcomes
The CB Defense Program is not evaluated on the impact of its activities on
the defensive or operational capabilities of U.S. forces, either individually
CB Defense Program planners use roadmaps, Defense Technology
Objectives (DTO) and advanced concept technology demonstrations
(ACTD) to assess progress toward goals. Program planners collectively
prepare a number of strategic plans they describe as "in the spirit of the
Results Act," if not specifically for the purpose of assessing outcomes and
impacts. For example, DOD's Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC)
Defense Annual Report to Congress8 and the Joint Service NBC Defense
Research, Development, and Acquisition Plan are updated annually and
include detailed metrics and time lines reflecting the performance of the
program (such as the demonstration of a new technology). Roadmaps
track program progress toward DTOs that, when achieved, DOD claims will
create new operational capabilities. A number of DTOs are ACTDs, and
plans state that technology demonstrations provide a means for the rapid
field testing of technical options to solve operational needs. CB Defense
Program roadmaps explicitly link the completion of DTOs and ACTDs with
an increase in the demonstrated warfighting capabilities of U.S. forces. In
addition, CB Defense Program planners cited ongoing programmatic peer
reviews, such as Technology Area Reviews and Assessments (TARA), as
additional means to measure progress toward meeting program goals.
We do not concur that the conduct of an ACTD or a peer review of ongoing
work measures the impact of the CB Defense Program on the warfighter.
Both measures have limitations that make them inappropriate for
appraising progress toward achieving program objectives. ACTDs
represent a means for rapidly introducing new technologies and reducing
the time from the start of a program to the system's initial operational
capability. However, the demonstration of a new technology may not by
itself result in the effective and safe deployment of a military capability in
8 Submitted to Congress annually pursuant to 50 U.S.C. 1523.
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/m1/9/: accessed January 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.