Program Generally Stable but Improvements in Managing Schedule Are Needed

February 27, 2013

The KC-46 program 2012 estimates for cost, schedule, and performance are virtually the same as last year's, with the contractor running very close to the planned budget and schedule. Development work is more than one-fourth complete and a successful preliminary design review was held on schedule in April 2012. In response to a prior GAO recommendation, the program now has fully implemented metrics to measure the progress toward its key performance parameters and expects to meet these requirements. There are two areas of concern regarding program cost: first, both the contractor and government estimate the cost of development will exceed the contract ceiling price of $4.9 billion (although government liability is capped at that ceiling); and second, the contractor has already allocated about 80 percent of the management reserves budget, primarily for identified, yet unresolved, development risks, with the bulk of work--about 5 years--remaining. GAO maintains that significant use of these funds early in a program may indicate problems. The program has not yet evaluated how the significant use of these funds early could impact future milestones.

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