Case Study III

Movie Guy who is superior to me in research provides the following from the GAO report GAO-06-349 on EFV reliability 2 May 2006:

“In 2005, the Marine Corps received approval to lower the EFV’s reliability requirement from 70 hours before maintenance is needed to 43.5 hours before maintenance is needed.[Footnote 10] This decision was based on a revised analysis of the EFV’s mission profile and the vehicle’s demonstrated reliability. At the start of SDD, the EFV’s operational reliability requirement was 70 hours of operation before maintenance is needed. Program officials told us this 70-hour requirement was based on the EFV’s mission profile at the time, which called for a “do-all” mission for one 24.3 hour period of operation.”

The Marine Corps has dumbed down reliability requirements. This will increase maintenance costs, demand more marines on the ship be maintenance men and women rather than riflemen, mean there are fewer vehicles in the line for combat each day, with more spares, support equipment and training delays. To say nothing of increased support costs and burdened lines of communication. GAO does not go here.

Here is another quote:

“Unit costs have increased from $8.5 million to $12.3 million. The Program schedule has grown 35 percent or 4 years, and its reliability Requirement has been reduced from 70 hours of continuous operation to 43.5 hours (it is testing to 24 hours, usually better in tests than in use). Program difficulties occurred in part because not enough time was allowed to demonstrate maturity of the EFV design during SDD.”

Not only dumbed down in performance but unit costs are rising too. If the unit vehicle cost is $12 million dollars (about the price of 15 Lamborghini’s, not telling how many meals for the hungry) then the 20 year operation costs could be close to $36 million per vehicle to have a major breakdown every 24 operating hours, is quite expensive. GAO does not go here.
Figure 3 shows estimates of acquisition costs, for FY 2006 through 2011, for the EFV to be $8.6 B in 2001 when the design was mature enough to tell the designers to build articles representing the hardware and software for test, to $12.1 B in 2006, a 45% cost increase, while the thing was “rebaselined”, less performance more costs 3 times since 2001.

On page 26 the GAO makes a short comment on “defects” delaying deliveries and increased support and production costs.

At what point, with rising costs and declining performance, is the EFV no longer worth the expenditure of scarce our resources?

Is the thing so vital that it will be bought despite the cost and the reduced usefulness?

GAO does not investigate beyond the limited issue of rising acquisition costs and does not evaluate impacts due to degraded reliability; if they did they may be more useful.