Lawmakers reduce IVAS funding in final defense bill, limit use of funds

By Jaspreet Gill / December 4, 2020 at 2:11 PM

House and Senate lawmakers in a final version of the fiscal year 2021 defense authorization bill have reduced funding for the Army's Integrated Visual Augmentation System while also increasing the limit of funding that can be used until committees are briefed on the service's augmented reality heads-up display.

A joint explanatory statement released Thursday shows a $230 million reduction in funding for IVAS, which follows the House's recommendation in its own version of the bill that was released earlier this year.

The Army requested $906 million in base procurement for the system and $14 million in research, development, test and evaluation funding.

The service planned to buy 40,218 units of the headsets, but due to a miscalculation of unit cost, the service readjusted its quantity to about 29,000 units for FY-21. A House committee aide told reporters in June delays in user evaluations of the system were also to blame for the reduction in funding.

Congressional conferees are also increasing the limit of IVAS funding the Army can use to 75% until the Army secretary delivers a report on the service's acquisition strategy for the system. Previously, the Senate Armed Services Committee said it would limit use of funds to 50%.

Additionally, both the House and Senate are requiring an IVAS assessment from the director of operational test and evaluation no later than 30 days after the Army secretary submits his report.

That report should include "a description of the technology levels required for full-rate production of the system" and "a description of operational suitability and soldier acceptability for the production-representative model system," according to the conferees' bill released Thursday.