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Defense Transportation: Study Limitations Raise Questions About the Adequacy and Completeness of the Mobility Capabilities Study and Report

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DOD used an innovative approach in conducting the study and acknowledged methodological limitations in its report however, it did not fully disclose how these limitations could affect the MCS conclusions and recommendations. Therefore, it is not transparent how the analyses done for the study support DODs conclusions. Measured against relevant generally accepted research standards, GAO has identified limitations in the MCS and its report that raise questions about their adequacy and completeness. GAO suggests that Congress and other decision makers exercise caution in using the MCS to make investment decisions. Among GAO s findings Aspects of modeling and data were inadequate in some areas because data were lacking and the models used could not simulate all relevant aspects of the missions. The report did not explain how these limitations could affect the study results or what the impact on projected mobility capabilities might be. Generally accepted research standards require that models used are adequate for the intended purpose, represent a complete range of conditions, and that data used are properly generated and complete. For example, the MCS modeled hypothetical homeland defense missions rather than homeland defense demands derived from a well defined and approved concept of operations for homeland defense, because the specific details of the missions were still being determined and the data used may be incomplete. The MCS also was unable to model the flexible deterrent optionsdeployment order process to move units and equipment into theater because of lack of data, but the study assumed a robust use of this process. In addition, the MCS report contains over 80 references to the need for improved modeling or data.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
  • Operations Research

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