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US Army Might Waste Billions on IVAS Next-Gen Goggles: Report

The US Army might be wasting billions of dollars on developing the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) next-generation goggles, a report by the US Department of Defense Inspector General revealed.

The audit said that several specific thresholds in the IVAS program have not been met by the developers.

It is also reportedly not sure if the force will accept the technology since there is not enough feedback from soldiers to know if the futuristic headset is something they want to use on the battlefield.

The Office of the Inspector General said it conducted its survey on IVAS user acceptance, yielding both positive and negative results.

However, the actual comments of soldiers were redacted from the recently published report.

“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,” the report states.

IVAS prototype
A soldier testing an IVAS prototype. Photo: Courtney Bacon/US Department of Defense

Recommendations

The inspector general suggests that the US Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology develop an army‑wide policy that requires program officials to define suitable user acceptance measures for the IVAS goggles.

In addition, the developers have been urged to verify whether the Program Executive Office Soldier meets user acceptance measures and addresses soldier‑identified issues before full-scale manufacture of the equipment.

The US assistant secretary said that the claim that the IVAS program is wasting millions of funds is “misleading.”

The office also rejected the recommendation to develop an army-wide policy on user acceptance, saying such a regulation already exists.

However, the inspector general insists that the army has not clearly specified “thresholds and objectives” to measure user effectiveness of the IVAS and urged the assistant secretary to “reconsider his position.”

The IVAS Goggles

Considered one of the most-hyped developments from the Army Futures Command, the IVAS goggle is based on Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 and features high-resolution night vision.

The equipment is said to “transform how soldiers see the battlefield” by overcoming some of the limitations of human vision.

However, the development of the IVAS goggles has not been smooth sailing, with the US Congress withholding nearly $350 million to procure the system until initial testing and evaluation are complete.

The US Army is also adjusting its expectations of the goggles, saying that the first batch of IVAS headsets may not be as streamlined as the service initially wanted.

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