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Weapons Acquisition: DOD Should Strengthen Policies for Assessing Technical Data Needs to Support Weapon Systems

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Army and the Air Force have encountered limitations in their sustainment plans for some fielded weapon systems because they lacked needed technical data rights. The lack of technical data rights has limited the services flexibility to make changes to sustainment plans that are aimed at achieving cost savings and meeting legislative requirements regarding depot maintenance capabilities. During our review we identified seven Army and Air Force weapon system programs where these military services encountered limitations in implementing revisions to sustainment plans C-17 aircraft, F-22 aircraft, C-130J aircraft, Up-armored High- Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle HMMWV, Stryker family of vehicles, Airborne Warning and Control System AWACS aircraft, and M4 carbine. Although the circumstances surrounding each case were unique, earlier decisions made on technical data rights during system acquisition were cited as a primary reason for the limitations subsequently encountered. As a result of the limitations encountered due to the lack of technical data rights, the services had to alter their plans for developing maintenance capability at public depots, new sources of supply to increase production, or competitive offers for the acquisition of spare parts and components to reduce sustainment costs. For example, the Air Force identified a need to develop a capability to perform maintenance on the C-17 at government depots but lacked the requisite technical data rights. Consequently, the Air Force is seeking to form partnerships with C-17 subvendors to develop its depot maintenance capability. Its efforts to form these partnerships have had mixed results, according to Air Force officials, because some sub-vendors have declined to provide the needed technical data.

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  • Attack and Fighter Aircraft
  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Surface Transportation and Equipment
  • Combat Vehicles

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