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GAO in a spat with Raytheon over critical report of GPS ground control system

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Raytheon says GAO by no means mentioned its findings on the OCX program with the corporate. The watchdog company disagrees.

WASHINGTON — The Authorities Accountability Workplace final week released a biting report on the satellite tv for pc floor management software program that Raytheon is growing for the Air Drive’s International Positioning System, warning that this system — already 5 years not on time — is prone to undergo additional delays.

In response, Raytheon issued a press release calling GAO’s findings “inaccurate.” The corporate additionally claimed that GAO’s evaluation was “by no means mentioned with Raytheon.”

These feedback didn’t sit effectively with GAO. “We had been puzzled by that assertion,” Cristina Chaplain, GAO’s director of contracting and nationwide safety acquisitions, instructed SpaceNews on Tuesday.

The $6 billion program referred to as the next-generation operational management system for the GPS three constellation, or OCX, has been in improvement since 2012 and is carefully watched by congressional committees — and due to this fact a frequent topic of GAO investigations, most of that are directed by Congress.

Due to this system’s troubled historical past, GAO in its Could 21 report really helpful an unbiased overview of the OCX schedule. Raytheon’s contract with the Air Drive requires supply of a whole system by June 2021 and GAO questioned the contractor’s capability to satisfy that deadline.

“We do stand by our findings,” Chaplain stated.

She disputed Raytheon’s suggestion that GAO analysts by no means mentioned their work with the corporate. “We had a number of conferences with them and a variety of followup emails, getting affirmation and updates,” Chaplain stated. “We all the time meet with contractors to the extent we will on a majority of these critiques.”

Raytheon has a special take. “We answered a number of questions on very slender elements of this system, and we weren’t given a possibility to overview their findings earlier than they had been distributed,” Raytheon spokeswoman Heather Uberuaga stated Tuesday in a press release. “The conclusions they define of their report are inaccurate, and we stand by our earlier assertion.”

Chaplain famous that whereas GAO analysts do share details about their analysis with contractors — and was adamant that GAO’s investigation of OCX was mentioned with Raytheon officers — it’s lower than GAO to reveal the ultimate conclusions of a overview. Analysts give in depth “exit” briefings to the federal government program workplaces — on this case to Air Drive and Protection Division officers. “At that time it’s as much as the federal government to determine what to share with the contractor.”

Raytheon’s promise to ship the OCX Block 1 software program by June 2021 is optimistic, in Chaplain’s estimation. “They made reforms, we did see some enhancements within the tempo of software program improvement however we nonetheless noticed threat,” she stated. “In the event that they’re that assured, they need to really welcome the advice we’re making to do an unbiased overview as a result of it might validate their progress.”

GAO believes an unbiased evaluation of the OCX schedule ought to be carried out by the top of this 12 months, when Raytheon says it’s going to have absolutely applied a brand new agile software program improvement methodology, stated Chaplain. “We might then have a greater image of the place we stood, and a greater image of the federal government’s testing that has to happen after supply,” she stated. “There’s threat there too.”

Chaplain really helpful that the unbiased overview be carried out by the Pentagon’s Price Evaluation and Program Analysis workplace, referred to as CAPE. “They’re fairly conversant in this system they usually do these sorts of critiques routinely,” she stated. Though CAPE is below the workplace of the secretary of protection, “they’re used to fulfilling an unbiased position.”

The Air Drive in a written response to the GAO report disagrees with the decision for an unbiased overview of the OCX schedule. Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, navy deputy to the assistant secretary of the Air Drive for acquisition, expertise and logistics, wrote in a Could 2 letter to GAO that this system has undergone a number of critiques and continues to be carefully watched by CAPE and by Undersecretary of Protection for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord. He stated Lord and Raytheon CEO Thomas Kennedy meet twice a 12 months to overview OCX and the subsequent assembly is scheduled for Aug. 28.

Chaplain stated she is conscious that this system is receiving excessive degree consideration within the Protection Division, however a gathering with the CEO is just not the identical as an in-depth evaluation of the schedule “the place you really analyze the entire work construction,” she stated. “A program this measurement, this essential, and this late, deserves slightly bit extra.”


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