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 DOT&E Director, Operational Test & Evaluation  
FY98 Annual Report
FY98 Annual Report

RESERVE COMPONENT AUTOMATION SYSTEM (RCAS)


Army ACAT IAM Program: Prime Contractor
Total Number of Workstations:60,000Boeing Computer Services
Total Program Cost (TY$):$1,845MVienna, VA
Average Unit Cost (TY$):$31K 
Life Cycle Cost (TY$)$3.331MService Certified Y2K Compliant
Full-rate Production:2QFY97No (Expected 1QFY99)

SYSTEM DESCRIPTION & CONTRIBUTION TO JOINT VISION 2010

The Reserve Component Automation System (RCAS) is an automated information system that supports commanders with information needed for reserve component mobilization and day-to-day administrative operations. It is a sustaining base functionally oriented networked system of workstations, employing primarily commercial-off-the-shelf and government-off-the-shelf software applications. The RCAS will interface with numerous existing and future Standard Army Management Information Systems, certain National Guard standard systems and systems designated by the Office of the Chief, Army Reserve. RCAS supports the Joint Vision 2010 concept of information superiority by supporting the readiness of the Army reserve components, increasing their responsiveness, and enabling them to rapidly integrate into joint organizations. Further, RCAS provides the communications and coordination capabilities necessary to mobilize the Army reserve components.

RCAS is scalable and compliant with open systems environment standards. The current base system employs the Microsoft Windows NT® operating system. Office automation tasks use Microsoft Office® applications. A separate application, JetForms®, is used for creating and maintaining forms. Government-off-the-shelf software applications and interfaces, including Unit Level Logistics System, Standard Property Book System-Revised, and Standard Installation/Division Personnel System Version 3 (SIDPERS-3), are to be incorporated in several increments.


BACKGROUND INFORMATION

In 1979, the Secretary of the Army approved a Mission Element Need Statement for an automated data system to support the mobilization process of the reserve components. This need was addressed with the Army Continental Army Management Information System (CAMIS), begun in the early 1980s, but canceled in 1985. CAMIS was then reprogrammed in 1986 as RCAS under the provisions of OMB Circular A-109. The RCAS acquisition was placed under the control of the Chief, National Guard Bureau, with advice of the Congress and the Chief, Army Reserve. The original Mission Need Statement for the RCAS program was approved in September 1988. The RCAS was initially precluded from using any government-furnished hardware or software. The development contract was awarded to Boeing Computer Services, Inc., in 1991. The RCAS Program Management Office (PMO) held a limited user test in August and September 1992 to demonstrate the basic RCAS capabilities, but major deficiencies were found with RCAS capabilities.

After several attempts to correct system shortcomings, the program was restructured in 1995, and the restriction regarding government-furnished elements was removed. A beta demonstration was conducted for the restructured RCAS program at several Army Reserve and Army National Guard sites in the fall of 1995. Subsequently, the revised RCAS solution was accepted by an Army Validation Assessment Team. The mission needs were revalidated in April 1996.

During 4QFY96, the Army OPTEC conducted an IOT&E for RCAS Increment 1, consisting of the Windows NT® local area network servers and the basic user PC (Pentium®) workstations, Microsoft office automation and E-mail applications. A mobilization training exercise was included as a test event. The IOT&E was conducted at 11 sites (34 units) of the Iowa Army National Guard and 6 sites (11 units) of the 99th Regional Support Command of the U.S. Army Reserve in western Pennsylvania. Based upon the IOT&E, Increment 1 of RCAS was judged to be operationally effective and operationally suitable, provided that the functional users augment the system administrator staffing and the PM improve training, logistics support, and security procedures. An abbreviated assessment was later conducted and the results showed that the revised training plan and the updated procedures were adequate.


TEST & EVALUATION ACTIVITY

An OT&E of RCAS Increment 2 was conducted by the Army OPTEC from September 26-October 17, 1997. Five COIs and five Additional Operational Issues were evaluated during the 22-day test period. The major new elements added to RCAS in Increment 2 are the Unit Level Logistics System-Ground, Unit Level Logistics System-S4, and the Standard Property Book System-Revised.

OT&E was conducted at 13 sites (39 units) of the Iowa Army National Guard, employing 563 workstations (38 classified). In addition, OT&E included 62 sites of the 99th Regional Support Command of the U.S. Army Reserve, involving 441 workstations (18 classified) located among 105 units in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia.

Increment 2 testing results showed the system to be operationally suitable and survivable, but not effective due to poor connectivity at small sites and inadequate forms processing. The PMO fixed these problems and OPTEC conducted an OA to determine whether the fixes were successfully made. After reviewing the test results, DOT&E determined that RCAS Increment 2 was operationally effective and operationally suitable on December 10, 1997. Although Increment 3 testing was planned for FY98, it has now been rescheduled to May 1999.

TEST & EVALUATION ASSESSMENT

The fundamental computing infrastructure, consisting of personal computers, the Microsoft NT operating system, and commercial-off-the-shelf network support, has been shown to function quite well. The OT&E process for RCAS has matured significantly through the two releases now fielded. The user and system administrator training program has noticeably improved as well.

The difficulties experienced recently by the RCAS program have focused upon interfaces with legacy systems, security, and connectivity to smaller sites (over voice-grade telephone lines). These problems have been addressed aggressively by the PMO, and will be revalidated in the next operational test. The PMO has pre-empted Y2K problems with legacy systems by developing software conversion interface programs to ensure Y2K compliance within the RCAS network.


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