Report | April 20, 2022

Audit of the Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System (DODIG-2022-085)

Audit

Publicly Released: April 22, 2022

 

Objective

The objective of this audit was to determine whether Army officials effectively managed the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) program to meet user needs.

 

Background

IVAS is a military goggle that overlays tactically relevant information in a Soldier’s line of sight to increase lethality, mobility, and situational awareness.  The Soldier lethality cross-functional team identified seven requirements that enhance the Soldier’s decisions and capabilities to execute combat tasks with speed and precision:  communication, lethality, mobility, protection, situational awareness, survivability, and training and human performance.  These requirements serve as the source for developing technologies to meet IVAS user needs and serve as the basis for the IVAS prototyping effort.

Project Manager IVAS officials (program officials) used Soldier Centered Design during multiple testing events in the IVAS rapid prototyping phase.  This design process places the Soldiers, who will ultimately use a system, in the center of the process to ensure that their needs are considered when making design tradeoffs and production decisions.  User acceptance is a core metric for the project, and program officials used surveys to evaluate user acceptance of IVAS with the intent of measuring Soldier experience and tracking progress through the development of the system.

 

Finding

Army testing officials assessed user acceptance from Soldiers who used IVAS during various operational tests and used the results of those surveys to make changes to the system.  However, IVAS program officials did not define minimum user acceptance levels to determine whether IVAS would meet user needs.  This occurred because Army policy did not require program officials to define suitable user acceptance levels.  Procuring IVAS without attaining user acceptance could result in wasting up to $21.88 billion in taxpayer funds to field a system that Soldiers may not want to use or use as intended.

 

Recommendations

We recommend that the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology) develop Army‑wide policy requiring program officials to define suitable user acceptance measurements for testing and evaluation.

We recommend that the Program Executive Officer Soldier define clear measures of user acceptance levels to meet user needs before Soldier Touch Point‑5 testing of IVAS.  In addition, we recommend that the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology), as the decision authority for IVAS, verify whether the Program Executive Office Soldier meets established user acceptance measures and addresses Soldier‑identified issues before IVAS production.

 

Management Comments and Our Response

The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology) commented on the three recommendations to the Assistant Secretary and the Program Executive Officer Soldier.

The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology) disagreed with our recommendation to issue policy, stating that policy governing measurement of user acceptance input for test and evaluation already exists under current Army regulations as measures of effectiveness and measures of suitability.  However, for the IVAS program, user acceptance is a measure of effectiveness, but thresholds and objectives are not clearly specified due to lack of Army policy.  Therefore, the recommendation is unresolved.  We request that the Assistant Secretary reconsider his position on the recommendation and provide comments on the final report.

The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology), responding for the Program Executive Officer Soldier, partially agreed with our recommendation to define clear measures of user acceptance and requested we revise the recommendation to state to “explain” the clear measures of user acceptance levels to meet user needs before the operational demonstration of IVAS.  However, in addition to explaining, officials must define specific and measurable user acceptance requirements.  Therefore, we did not change the recommendation and it is unresolved.  We request that the Assistant Secretary reconsider his position on the recommendation and provide comments on the final report.

Although the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology) agreed with the recommendation to verify whether the Program Executive Office Soldier meets established user acceptance measures, he did not agree with Recommendation 2.  Because Army officials must define clear measures of user acceptance levels to implement this recommendation, the recommendation is unresolved pending the revised response to Recommendation 2.

 

This report is the result of Project No. D2022-D000AU-0013.000.