Opportunities Exist to Achieve Greater Commonality and Efficiencies Among Unmanned Aircraft Systems : Report to the Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces, Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives
From 2008 through 2013, the Department of Defense (DOD) plans to invest over $16 billion to develop and procure additional unmanned aircraft systems. To more effectively leverage its acquisition resources, DOD recognizes that it must achieve greater commonality among the military services' unmanned aircraft programs. Doing so, however, requires certain trade-offs and complex budget, cost, and schedule interactions. GAO was asked to assess the progress of selected unmanned aircraft acquisition programs, examine the extent to which the services are collaborating and identifying commonality among those programs, and identify key factors impacting the effectiveness their collaboration. GAO analyzed cost, schedule, and performance data for eight unmanned aircraft systems, accounting for over 80 percent of DOD's total planned investment in unmanned aircraft systems from 2008 through 2013, and two payload programs. GAO recommends that DOD (1) direct a comprehensive analysis and develop a strategy to gain commonality among current unmanned aircraft programs and (2) require new programs to demonstrate that opportunities for commonality were adequately assessed.