Army Virtual Reality Could Waste Up To $22B

army virtual reality waste
Credit: Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolicy

The U.S. Army is testing new technology for troops that integrates virtual reality into combat goggles to give soldiers more information on the battlefield.

In testing the equipment, troops were surveyed on many aspects of the equipment. However, one omission was assessing how much the Army would actually use it, which according to a Department of Defense Office of Inspector General report, could waste $22 billion.

While much of the report is redacted due to national security concerns, what is clear is that the new VR equipment, named Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS, would be a major change for soldiers in combat.

As with any change, if it is too much at once, or if there is not enough training to accompany the transition, soldiers simply will not use it. Or, perhaps soldiers on the ground know more than the VR developers about how applicable this technology is in combat situations, who might overestimate its usefulness.

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Either way, it is important to collect feedback from the soldiers who will be using it. While they did ask some questions about it, the report says that “program officials did not define clear measures of user acceptance levels to determine whether IVAS will meet user needs.”

It notes that user acceptance levels are critical in determining how well the system meets user needs and would predict real-world usage.

If the usefulness of the VR technology is overestimated, then many units will be ordered and left unused, leading to substantial waste.

This is a rare case where waste is identified before the transaction occurs. Hopefully, the DOD will heed these recommendations and save taxpayers almost $22 billion.

Syndicated with permission from Real Clear Wire.

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