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GAO: Service Leaders Need to Highlight Key Practices to Address Reliability in Weapon Systems

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The Government Accountability Office has recommended that secretaries of the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy issue policy emphasizing three practices to achieve reliability when developing weapons systems.

GAO said Tuesday those practices are leveraging reliability engineers often and early in the development process; setting up realistic reliability requirements; and utilizing reliability engineering activities to enhance a system’s design throughout development.

The congressional watchdog reviewed commercial companies’ efforts to address reliability and found that the firms emphasize reliability with their suppliers or contractors in addition to adopting the three key practices.

GAO also examined seven acquisition programs at the Department of Defense and discovered that such programs did not consistently implement the key reliability practices and often focused on cost and schedule.

“In an environment emphasizing speed, without senior leadership focus on a broader range of key reliability practices, DOD runs the risk of delivering less reliable systems than promised to the warfighter and spending more than anticipated on rework and maintenance of major weapon systems,” GAO said in the report.