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Testimony: 

Before the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, Committee on 
Armed Services, House of Representatives: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

GAO: 

For Release on Delivery Expected at 10:00 a.m. EST: 

Thursday, April 6, 2006: 

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: 

Improved Planning and Acquisition Strategies Can Help Address 
Operational Challenges: 

Statement of Sharon Pickup, Director, Defenses Capabilities and 
Management: 

Michael J. Sullivan, Director, Acquisition and Sourcing Management: 

GAO-06-610T: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-06-610T, a testimony before the Subcommittee on 
Tactical Air and Land Forces, Committee on Armed Services, House of 
Representatives: 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

The current generation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) has been in 
development for defense applications since the 1980’s. As of February 
2006, the Department of Defense (DOD) had more than 3,000 unmanned 
aircraft, about 2,000 of which are supporting ongoing operations in 
Iraq. DOD’s 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review validates the importance of 
unmanned systems and establishes plans to significantly expand 
investment in unmanned systems and their use in military operations 
over the next several years. The Congress has been particularly 
interested in DOD’s approach to determining UAS needs and managing the 
growing number of UAS programs. 

This testimony addresses GAO’s prior work and preliminary observations 
on (1) the operational successes and challenges U.S. forces are 
experiencing with UAS in combat operations, and the extent to which DOD 
has taken steps to address challenges; (2) DOD’s progress in 
establishing a strategic plan and oversight framework to guide joint 
and service-specific UAS development efforts and related investment 
decisions; and (3) our assessment of the Global Hawk and Predator 
programs’ business cases and acquisition strategies and the lessons 
learned that can be applied to the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems 
program. 

What GAO Found: 

DOD has experienced a high level of mission successes with UAS, but 
continues to face challenges in fully maximizing the use of these 
assets. In operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. forces have used 
UAS for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and offensive 
strike missions in support of joint and service-specific operations. As 
the numbers of UAS operating in the same airspace as manned aircraft 
grows, DOD continues to face operational challenges related to 
interoperability, availability of communications bandwidth, and 
airspace integration. While DOD and the services have taken some 
positive initial steps to address these challenges, such as issuing 
guidance and developing initiatives to improve interoperability, 
limited progress has been made and the effectiveness of these efforts 
cannot be adequately assessed until they are fully implemented. 

While DOD continues to request funds to support service plans for 
acquiring UAS, it still lacks a viable strategic plan to guide UAS 
development and investment decisions. Since GAO last reported, DOD 
established new oversight bodies and updated its UAS Roadmap, but it is 
too early to tell how the new entities will interrelate and whether 
they will be able to influence service plans. Also, the updated roadmap 
identifies broad goals, desired capabilities, and service acquisition 
plans, but lacks critical elements, such as a clear link among goals, 
capabilities, and plans, opportunities for joint endeavors, and funding 
priorities and needs. Until DOD develops a strategic plan, it will not 
be well positioned to validate requirements, evaluate and integrate 
services plans, and establish program and funding priorities, nor will 
Congress have all the information it needs to evaluate funding 
requests. Such a plan would also help DOD anticipate and minimize the 
types of challenges that are being experienced today. 

While there have been successes on the battlefield, UAS development 
programs have shared many of the same problems as other major weapon 
systems that begin an acquisition program too early, with many 
uncertainties about requirements, funding, and immature technology, 
design, and production. Unmanned systems have also experienced similar 
outcomes—changing requirements, cost growth, delays in delivery, 
performance shortfalls, and reliability and support problems. Future 
acquisition programs can learn from past efforts to craft better and 
less risky acquisition plans. Key steps conducive to success include 
preparing a comprehensive business case, adopting a knowledge-based and 
incremental acquisition strategy, and sustaining disciplined leadership 
and direction. Frequent changes to the Joint Unmanned Combat Air 
Systems technology demonstration program and recent budget actions 
raise some questions about the Department’s priorities and future 
directions for UAS. Concerns have also been raised about possible 
duplication of systems as the services look to expand individual 
fleets. Ongoing Army and Air Force efforts to coordinate the Warrior 
and Predator programs are encouraging and could be a model for limiting 
duplication and fostering jointness and interoperability. 

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-06-610T. 

To view the full product, click on the link above. For more 
information, contact Sharon Pickup at (202) 512-9619 or 
pickups@gao.gov, or Michael J. Sullivan at (937) 258-7915 or 
sullivanm@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: 

We appreciate the opportunity to discuss our work on the Department of 
Defense's (DOD) unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).[Footnote 1] As you 
know, the current generation of UAS has been under development for 
defense applications since the 1980s and is providing combat forces 
with intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and strike 
capabilities that are helping to transform today's military operations. 
We appeared before you last year to discuss the performance of UAS in 
current operations, and DOD's progress in improving strategic and 
acquisition planning. At the time, we testified on our preliminary 
observations that while unmanned aircraft operations had achieved 
significant mission successes, emerging operational challenges could 
affect DOD's ability to maximize the use of UAS to enhance operations 
and effectively promote force transformation.[Footnote 2] We also 
emphasized the need for DOD to develop a strategic plan to guide UAS 
development and highlighted lessons learned from our prior UAS 
development and acquisition reviews that could be instructive for the 
development and fielding of UAS. Since last year's testimony, we issued 
two reports on these matters and made several recommendations intended 
to improve DOD's management and acquisition of UAS.[Footnote 3] 

Since last year, we have seen an increasingly high level of UAS use in 
military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, DOD has issued 
an updated UAS roadmap and recently released its Quadrennial Defense 
Review (QDR) report, both of which indicate the department is planning 
to increase its inventory of unmanned aircraft and associated funding 
requests significantly over the next several years. At the same time, 
we understand that DOD has initiated several studies to determine 
intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance requirements, including 
those for UAS, which could affect future investment decisions. We 
understand Congress has been particularly interested in DOD's approach 
to determining UAS needs and managing the growing number of UAS 
programs. We are also aware that DOD has made some changes in its plans 
for key future UAS acquisitions. 

Today, you asked us to discuss the results of our previous reports and 
our preliminary observations on the ongoing work we are conducting for 
this Subcommittee on the integration of unmanned aircraft systems into 
combat operations. Specifically, we will highlight (1) operational 
successes and challenges U.S. forces are experiencing with UAS in 
combat operations, and the extent to which DOD has taken steps to 
address these challenges; (2) DOD's progress in establishing a 
strategic plan and oversight framework to guide joint and service- 
specific UAS development efforts and related investment decisions; and 
(3) our assessment of the Global Hawk and Predator programs' business 
cases and acquisition strategies and the lessons learned that can be 
applied to the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) program. We 
will be continuing our work on the integration of UAS in combat 
operations and plan to issue a report to you based on this work later 
this year. 

To address our first two objectives, we interviewed officials and 
reviewed documentation from the UAS Planning Task Force within the 
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, 
and Logistics; each of the military services; U.S. Joint Forces 
Command; the Joint Staff; U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM); and other 
organizations. We also observed Predator training and support to 
ongoing operations, and updated our previously issued reports on UAS 
strategic planning and operational challenges. Additionally, we 
discussed operational challenges with CENTCOM officials and UAS 
operators who recently returned or are currently supporting operations 
in Iraq to better understand the use of UAS in ongoing operations. To 
address our third objective, we interviewed officials and obtained data 
from the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, 
Technology, and Logistics; Air Force Headquarters; Navy Headquarters; 
Air Combat Command; Air Force Materiel Command's Aeronautical Systems 
Center; and prime contractors. We reviewed acquisition strategies, 
plans, and outcomes for the three largest UAS acquisition programs, the 
Global Hawk, Predator, and J-UCAS. We compared plans to DOD's 
acquisition policy preferences and best practices to identify lessons 
learned for improving future programs. 

We conducted our ongoing work from August 2005 to April 2006 in 
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

Summary: 

Warfighting commanders are experiencing a high level of mission success 
with UAS in ongoing operations but, as we observed last year, they 
continue to face operational challenges in fully maximizing the use of 
these assets. In operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. forces have 
used UAS with great success for intelligence, surveillance, 
reconnaissance, and offensive strike missions in support of joint and 
service-specific operations. For example, commanders continue to rely 
on the Air Force Predator and Army Shadow UAS to help identify 
improvised explosive devices and locate the enemy forces who planted 
them, allowing for the detonation of the devices and the capture of the 
enemy forces. Notwithstanding these successes, interoperability remains 
a challenge as we previously reported, and integrating UAS into combat 
operations is becoming more complicated. For example, some UAS 
components cannot easily exchange and transmit data with ground forces 
because they were not designed to interoperable standards. Further, the 
availability of communications bandwidth[Footnote 4] is constrained, 
limiting the number of UAS and other systems that can be operated 
simultaneously, and the amount of data that can be transmitted from the 
UAS. In the absence of standards requiring sensor payloads to be 
reprogrammable from one band to another, UAS were designed and built 
without this flexibility. In our December 2005 report, we recommended 
that DOD take steps to develop or adjust standards to address these 
interoperability and bandwidth challenges.[Footnote 5] Additionally, 
our preliminary work indicates that airspace integration is a growing 
challenge as demand for UAS remains high and the number of assets 
operating in the same airspace as manned aircraft steadily grows. Among 
other things, unmanned aircraft are deployed and controlled at 
different levels of command, and have generally been rapidly fielded 
without the benefit of a commonly accepted concept of operations. As 
the number and usage of UAS increases, effective airspace integration 
will be crucial to avoid duplicative deployments of UAS and safety 
mishaps. While DOD has taken some positive steps to address these 
challenges and our prior recommendations, such as issuing guidance and 
developing initiatives to improve interoperability, progress to date 
has been limited and the effectiveness of these steps cannot be 
adequately assessed until they are fully implemented. 

While DOD continues to request funds for UAS and the services continue 
to plan, develop, and field UAS systems, it still lacks a robust 
oversight framework and strategic plan to guide UAS development and 
investment decisions. Since we last testified, DOD established 
additional oversight bodies - a Joint Center of Excellence and Joint 
Material Review Board - to supplement the efforts of its already 
existing UAS Planning Task force and to facilitate planning and 
coordination for the acquisition and use of UAS. While these actions 
appear to be steps in the right direction, it is too early to determine 
how these entities will interrelate with one another, what impact they 
will have on addressing the challenges we have identified, and whether 
they will be able to influence service UAS investment decisions or 
deployment. While DOD has updated its UAS Roadmap, it is still not a 
viable strategic plan because it lacks key planning elements. For 
example, while it describes broad goals, desired capabilities for UAS, 
and service-specific acquisition plans, it does not provide clear 
linkages nor does it address the relationship among service plans, 
opportunities for joint endeavors, investment priorities and related 
funding needs. As we have previously reported, without a strategic plan 
and effective oversight framework for using UAS, DOD has little 
assurance that it will have a basis for validating requirements, 
integrating service efforts, and establishing program and funding 
priorities. Furthermore, Congress may not have all the information it 
needs to evaluate DOD's UAS funding requests. Such a plan would help 
DOD assure that service plans for developing UAS anticipate and 
potentially minimize the types of challenges that are emerging today, 
particularly in the areas of interoperability, bandwidth, and airspace 
integration. 

While there have been successes on the battlefield, UAS development 
programs have exhibited similar problems as other major weapon systems 
that began an acquisition program too early, with many uncertainties 
about requirements and funding, and immature technologies, design, and 
production. Unmanned systems have also experienced similar outcomes-- 
changing requirements, cost growth, delays in delivery, performance 
shortfalls, and reliability and support problems. Future acquisition 
programs can learn from past efforts to craft better and less risky 
acquisition plans. Key steps conducive to success include (1) 
establishing a comprehensive business case that matches customer 
requirements with available resources to include proven technologies, 
sufficient time, and realistic funding; (2) implementing an 
incremental, knowledge-based acquisition strategy that separates 
technology development from product development and minimizes 
concurrency between testing and production; and (3) maintaining 
disciplined leadership support and direction. Frequent changes to the 
Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) technology demonstration 
program and recent budget actions raise some questions about the 
department's priorities and future directions for UAS. Garnering the 
benefits from improved coordination among the military services' 
individual programs and maintaining an emphasis on joint development 
and employment strategy seem to be at some risk. Concerns have also 
been raised about possible duplication of systems as the services look 
to expand individual fleets. The ongoing Army and Air Force effort to 
coordinate the Warrior and Predator programs is encouraging and could 
be a model for limiting duplication and fostering jointness and 
interoperability. 

Background: 

DOD defines an unmanned aircraft as a powered aerial vehicle that does 
not carry a human operator, uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle 
lift, can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely, can be expendable or 
recoverable, and can carry a lethal or nonlethal payload. Generally, 
unmanned aircraft systems consist of the aerial vehicle; a flight 
control station; information and retrieval or processing stations; and, 
sometimes, wheeled land vehicles that carry launch and recovery 
platforms. According to DOD, many elements are needed for the use of 
UAS, including a systems architecture that allows data to be moved, 
adequate spectrum and bandwidth for communication, airspace management 
and deconfliction, common data standards and formats to allow sharing 
and data fusion, common operating systems, and system interoperability. 
Potential missions considered appropriate for unmanned aircraft systems 
have expanded from the original focus on the intelligence, 
surveillance, and reconnaissance mission areas to the area of limited 
tactical strike capabilities, with projected plans for persistent 
ground attack, electronic warfare, and suppression of enemy air 
defenses. 

As shown in table 1, DOD had more than 3,000 unmanned aircraft as of 
February 2006, compared to fewer than 50 unmanned aircraft in 
2000.[Footnote 6] As of January 2006, more than 2000 of these aircraft 
were supporting ongoing operations in Iraq. Over 88 percent of the 
unmanned aircraft currently in inventory are small UAS, those launched 
by hand or by bungee. As a point of comparison, no small unmanned 
aircraft were in inventory in 2000. 

Table 1: Number and Type of Unmanned Aircraft in DOD's Inventory, as of 
February 2006: 

Type: Small UAS (weight less than 10 lbs./airspeed less than 100 kts); 
System: Pointer; 
Service/Command: Air Force/Special Operations Command; 
Total aircraft inventory: 126. 

System: Raven; 
Service/Command: Army/Air Force/; Special Operations Command; 
Total aircraft inventory: 1776. 

System: Dragon Eye; 
Service/Command: Marine Corps/; Special Operations Command; 
Total aircraft inventory: 402. 

System: Force Protection Airborne Surveillance System; 
Service/Command: Air Force; 
Total aircraft inventory: 126. 

System: Swift; 
Service/Command: Special Operations Command; 
Total aircraft inventory: 212. 

System: BATCAM; 
Service/Command: Air Force; 
Total aircraft inventory: 54. 

Type: Tactical UAS (weight less than 500 lbs./airspeed less than 120 
kts.); 
System: Pioneer; 
Service/Command: Navy and Marine Corps; 
Total aircraft inventory: 34. 

System: Shadow 200; 
Service/Command: Army; 
Total aircraft inventory: 140. 

System: Neptune; 
Service/Command: Special Operations Command; 
Total aircraft inventory: 15. 

System: Tern; 
Service/Command: Special Operations Command; 
Total aircraft inventory: 15. 

System: Mako; 
Service/Command: Special Operations Command; 
Total aircraft inventory: 15. 

System: Tigershark; 
Service/Command: Special Operations Command; 
Total aircraft inventory: 6. 

Type: Theater-level UAS; 
System: Predator A; 
Service/Command: Air Force; 
Total aircraft inventory: 70. 

System: I-Gnat; 
Service/Command: Army; 
Total aircraft inventory: 4. 

System: Hunter; 
Service/Command: Army; 
Total aircraft inventory: 32. 

System: Fire Scout; 
Service/Command: Navy/Army; 
Total aircraft inventory: 4. 

System: Predator B; 
Service/Command: Air Force; 
Total aircraft inventory: 6. 

System: Global Hawk; 
Service/Command: Air Force/Navy; 
Total aircraft inventory: 11. 

Type: Total; 
System: [Empty]; 
Service/Command: [Empty]; 
Total aircraft inventory: 3048. 

Source: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, 
Technology, and Logistics. 

[End of table] 

Similarly, UAS flight hours have also increased. For example, as shown 
in figure 1 below, flight hours have increased from about 5,000 hours 
in 1996 to 109,000 hours in 2005. 

Figure 1: Unmanned Aircraft Flight Hours, 1996-2005: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: Numbers do not reflect small unmanned aircraft. 

[End of figure] 

As the numbers of unmanned aircraft and flight hours have increased, so 
has UAS funding. Total UAS funding shows an increase from about $363 
million in fiscal year 2001 to about $2.06 billion in fiscal year 2006. 
In addition, the fiscal year 2007 President's Budget projects funding 
will grow to about $3.02 billion in fiscal year 2011. These figures do 
not include supplemental funding. DOD has requested approximately $208 
million for UAS in its fiscal year 2006 supplemental request. 

In December 2002, DOD created the 2002-2027 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles 
Roadmap, which was designed to guide U.S. military planning for UAS 
development and describe current programs, identify potential missions 
for UAS, and provide guidance on developing emerging technologies. In 
August 2005, DOD issued an updated version of the roadmap covering the 
period 2005-2030. Like its predecessor, the 2005 roadmap contains broad 
goals for unmanned systems that support the department's larger goals 
of fielding transformational capabilities, establishing joint 
standards, and controlling costs. 

Furthermore, DOD's 2006 QDR published in February 2006 validates the 
importance of unmanned systems. Overall, the QDR provides direction for 
accelerating the department's transformation to focus more on combatant 
commanders' needs and to develop portfolios of joint capabilities. In 
particular, the QDR report highlighted the department's plans to expand 
investment in unmanned systems and their use in military operations. 
For example, it states DOD's intent to nearly double unmanned aircraft 
coverage by accelerating the acquisition of the Predator and Global 
Hawk systems. It also plans to restructure the Joint Unmanned Combat 
Air Systems program and develop an unmanned longer-range carrier-based 
aircraft to increase naval reach and persistence. Further, the QDR 
plans to develop a new land-based, penetrating long-range strike 
capability by 2018 and sets a goal that about 45 percent of the future 
long-range strike force be unmanned. Lastly, the 2006 QDR directs the 
Air Force to establish an unmanned aerial vehicle squadron under the 
U.S. Special Operations Command. 

Combat Successes Realized, but Challenges Remain: 

DOD has experienced a high level of mission success using UAS in combat 
operations, but faces some operational challenges that could hamper 
joint operations. We previously identified interoperability and limited 
bandwidth as challenges and, according to our preliminary work, as the 
number of unmanned systems increases, airspace integration is becoming 
a growing challenge. While DOD has taken initial steps to address these 
challenges, limited progress has been made and the effectiveness of 
these actions cannot be adequately assessed until they are fully 
implemented. 

Recent UAS Successes in Combat Operations: 

DOD has achieved significant operational successes in combat operations 
from its use of a variety of unmanned aircraft and their sensor, 
communications, and armaments payloads, thereby increasing the demand 
for and use of UAS. In operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. forces 
have used a variety of UAS, such as the Predator, Raven, and Shadow, in 
integral roles on intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and 
offensive strike joint or service-specific missions. For example, a 
Predator UAS provided video to a U.S. military element which provided 
situational awareness that contributed to the success of a mission that 
resulted in the capture of an al Qaida operational commander. 
Similarly, the Army used its Shadow UAS to identify an improvised 
explosive device and guide U.S. forces to the location of the enemy 
forces, enabling the capture of the enemy forces and safe detonation of 
the improvised explosive device. 

Additionally, small UAS such as the Raven have been instrumental in 
enabling troops to find, locate, and destroy numerous targets. For 
example, a Raven was used to identify a suspicious vehicle in the 
courtyard of a residence, which facilitated the discovery of a large 
weapons and ammunition cache when soldiers conducting the ground combat 
operations confirmed the vehicle contained explosives. As a result of 
successes such as these, the demand for and use of UAS are continuing 
to grow. 

DOD Faces Operational Challenges in Integrating UAS into Combat 
Operations: 

Notwithstanding these operational successes, DOD continues to face 
challenges in effectively integrating unmanned systems into joint 
combat operations, and progress in addressing these challenges has been 
limited. Key challenges identified in ongoing operations in Iraq and 
Afghanistan relate to interoperability,[Footnote 7] the availability of 
communications bandwidth, and managing UAS and manned systems in the 
same airspace. 

First, while numerous UAS are being called on to conduct important 
missions in recent operations, interoperability remains a challenge. 
For example, as we reported in December 2005, some unmanned aircraft 
sensor and communications payloads and ground stations cannot easily 
exchange data because they were not designed to interoperable 
communications standards, even within a single service in certain 
circumstances. When communication systems are incompatible, operating 
forces may be required to operate their own UAS to accomplish a 
mission, rather than using UAS that are already operating in the same 
area, thus increasing the numbers of systems being operated. To permit 
the sharing of tactical intelligence obtained by unmanned aircraft 
sensors, the services or combatant commands have developed certain 
technical patches that permit compatibility but slow data transmission. 
DOD guidance requires interoperability and DOD's 2005 roadmap 
identifies it as a key goal. In the absence of specific standards, the 
services have tended to initiate separate development programs, 
specifically tailored to service specific requirements. Officials from 
U.S. Central Command have also emphasized the need for improved 
interoperability and standards. For example, the commander of U.S. 
Central Command recently testified that while UAS have transformed the 
battlespace and demand for their capabilities is significant, there is 
a need to develop an integrated architecture of many sensors to support 
operational units. He further stated that experiences to date highlight 
the importance of an established interoperability standard for all 
intelligence systems that can function in a joint and combined 
environment. 

Second, communications bandwidth continues to represent a major 
challenge for UAS. Unmanned aircraft and their sensor, armaments, and 
communications payloads depend on reliable access to communications 
bandwidth. Bandwidth is needed to support systems that control the 
flight of certain unmanned aircraft, to transmit data collected by 
payload sensors, and to interface with air traffic control centers. 
Because UAS and other weapons or communications systems, including 
manned aircraft, often operate on the same frequency, certain 
frequencies can become congested and interference can occur. Such 
capacity constraints may limit the number of UAS and other systems that 
can be effectively operated simultaneously and the amount of available 
data that can be transmitted. Despite having the capability to operate 
multiple UAS simultaneously, DOD's roadmap states that the limited 
number of frequencies available often restricts the number of unmanned 
aircraft airborne at any point in time to one. As we reported in 
December 2005, the problem with constrained bandwidth cannot be easily 
overcome without potentially costly modifications to existing systems 
because DOD has not established standards requiring unmanned aircraft 
or sensor payloads to be reprogrammable from one band to another. 

To address these challenges, we recommended that DOD develop standards, 
including overall UAS interoperability standards and standards that 
will allow for future UAS to be reprogrammable to different 
frequencies. We are also aware that, in the Fiscal Year 2006 National 
Defense Authorization Act, Congress required that the Secretary of 
Defense take such steps to ensure that all[Footnote 8] service tactical 
unmanned aerial vehicles are equipped and configured so that the data 
link used is the Tactical Common Data Link and those vehicles use data 
formats consistent with the architectural standard for tactical 
UAS.[Footnote 9] We understand that some of the military services have 
provided a report to Congress to identify which systems are currently 
in compliance with the Tactical Data Link requirement. According to 
DOD, use of this link is expected to reduce the amount of bandwidth 
used and allow the UAS to utilize a broader band of frequencies; 
however, it will not totally alleviate the problem because it is too 
heavy to use on small UAS and may result in shifting the frequency 
congestion to other bands. 

Third, our preliminary work indicates that effectively integrating UAS 
into the airspace is becoming a growing challenge in ongoing 
operations. With the growing numbers and increasing use of UAS of 
various types and sizes to support combat missions, particularly in 
Iraq, coordination, integration, and deconfliction of airspace among 
UAS and manned systems are becoming more complex. In addition to 
limitations on communications interoperability, UAS are deployed and 
controlled at different levels of command. Furthermore, UAS have 
generally been rapidly fielded without the benefit of a commonly 
accepted concept of operations for the different types of UAS, 
including tactics, techniques, and procedures for employment and use of 
assets. According to U.S. Central Command officials, because there are 
numerous UAS in theater now, many with multirole capabilities and 
disparate command and control, the potential exists for deployment of 
multiple UAS capabilities to support the same operation. Moreover, UAS 
are not currently equipped with the capability to sense and avoid other 
unmanned or manned aircraft but instead rely on procedural control 
methods for deconfliction. While aware of only a few mishaps, many of 
the officials we spoke with are concerned about problems in the future 
as the numbers of UAS steadily increase. For example, according to a 
U.S. Central Command official, there have been some collisions between 
small UAS and helicopters. Army officials stated that they were aware 
of one collision between a Raven UAS and a helicopter. The cause of the 
collision was attributed to the helicopter pilot being outside of his 
designated flight area. With the number of UAS in support of ongoing 
operations increasing, effective airspace integration is critical to 
maximize service capabilities, avoid duplicative deployments, and 
minimize safety mishaps. 

DOD is taking some initial steps to address interoperability, 
bandwidth, and airspace integration challenges, but progress has been 
limited. For example, to promote interoperability and address bandwidth 
issues, in December 2005 DOD issued guidance reminding the services 
that common data link[Footnote 10] remains the DOD standard for all 
intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance links. Further, DOD 
continues to refine its guidance for improved interoperability and 
supportability of information technology and national security systems, 
which include UAS. In March 2006, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff issued an instruction addressing certification and validation of 
DOD information technology and national security systems acquisition 
programs to meet emerging key interoperability performance parameters, 
such as information exchange.[Footnote 11] Additionally, DOD's 2005 
roadmap contains an appendix which outlines interoperability standards. 
However, DOD officials acknowledge that the UAS roadmap and the 
parameters included in the March guidance are evolving and neither 
provides an inclusive list of all standards required to achieve 
interoperability. The services are also initiating efforts to improve 
interoperability. For example, the Army and Marine Corps are moving to 
a "one system" ground control station to allow multiple UAS platforms 
to be operated by a single ground control station. In addition, the Air 
Force has demonstrated a multiaircraft control ground control station 
that would control up to four Predator air vehicles at any one time. 
Furthermore, an initiative originally started by the Air Force--as the 
Remote Operations Video Enhanced Receiver System--has been embraced by 
each of the services to enable ground forces to receive information 
directly from certain airborne unmanned aircraft. Also, the Army has 
begun to integrate Blue Force Tracker[Footnote 12] into some of its UAS 
to improve situational awareness. All of these efforts are in 
preliminary stages and, while these steps are positive, their 
effectiveness cannot be adequately assessed until they are fully 
implemented. 

Progress Made but Additional Elements Needed to Establish a UAS 
Strategic Plan and Effective Oversight: 

While DOD has made some progress, it still lacks a robust oversight 
framework and strategic plan to guide UAS development and investment 
decisions. DOD's progress includes an update to its roadmap and the 
establishment of new oversight bodies to facilitate planning and 
coordination regarding the development, procurement, and use of UAS. 
Despite our prior recommendations on the subject, DOD's updated roadmap 
still lacks key planning elements such as a clear link between goals, 
capabilities, plans, funding priorities, and needs. Therefore, it is 
not yet a viable strategic plan for guiding UAS development and 
investment. 

Additional UAS Oversight Bodies Established: 

As you may recall, in October 2001, the Under Secretary of Defense for 
Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics created the Joint Unmanned 
Aerial Vehicle Planning Task Force (now known as the UAS Planning Task 
Force) to provide oversight for the department's UAS programs and to 
provide guidance, as necessary, to promote interoperability and 
commonality. To communicate its vision and promote commonality of UAS 
systems, the Task Force published its first UAS roadmap in 2002 and an 
updated version in 2005. The roadmap describes current programs, 
identifies potential missions, and provides guidance on emerging 
technologies. According to DOD officials, the Task Force is currently 
focused on coordinating with the services as they procure and field 
greater numbers of UAS in an effort to ensure the military services 
avoid duplication of systems, while developing integrated systems that 
can work together in joint combat operations. 

To supplement the efforts of its UAS Planning Task Force, DOD has 
established two additional UAS oversight bodies since we last 
testified. For example, in July 2005, the Joint Requirements Oversight 
Council[Footnote 13] established a new Joint Unmanned Aircraft Systems 
Center of Excellence to focus on UAS operational issues and the Joint 
UAS Material Review Board[Footnote 14] to address joint UAS material 
issues and prioritize solutions. The Center of Excellence--assisted by 
an advisory council composed of representatives from each of the 
combatant commands, the services, and the Joint UAS Material Review 
Board--is responsible for facilitating the development and integration 
of UAS common operating standards, capabilities, concepts, doctrine, 
tactics, techniques, procedures, and training. The Center of Excellence 
has been charged with developing a joint concept of operations for 
unmanned aircraft systems. According to center officials, the concept 
of operations will likely address issues such as interoperability and 
airspace integration. 

The Material Review Board is chartered to provide a forum to identify 
or resolve requirements and corresponding material issues regarding 
interoperability and commonality, prioritize potential solutions, 
assess the focus of current and future programs, and seek strategies 
common to all services. The Material Review Board is composed of 
members from each of the services, Joint Staff, Office of the Secretary 
of Defense, and Joint Forces Command. Due to the broad nature of UAS, 
at various times other stakeholders, such as the combatant commanders, 
also attend board meetings. Additionally, the board is not a standing 
body with full-time members, but rather an organization that meets 
periodically. 

The Joint Requirements Oversight Council also tasked both the Center of 
Excellence and the Material Review Board with submitting 
recommendations to the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development 
System and with coordinating service-sponsored UAS 
submissions.[Footnote 15] DOD officials state that having the center 
and board serve in this coordination role will allow them to leverage 
service developmental efforts, capabilities, and requirements to enable 
joint interoperability, and reduce duplication of effort. As of March 
2006, the center and board were in the process of organizing, 
establishing guidance and procedures, conducting initial meetings, and 
identifying initial efforts. 

In addition to the UAS Joint Planning Task Force, DOD views the new 
oversight bodies as means to more effectively manage service UAS 
programs. While these changes appear to be steps in the right 
direction, it is unknown whether they will provide an effective 
oversight framework. It is too early to tell how these entities will 
interrelate or what impact they will have in addressing 
interoperability issues and the other challenges we have identified. 
While DOD intends for these entities to play a role in guiding service 
UAS acquisition, planning, prioritization, and execution of unmanned 
air systems, it is also unclear to what extent they will be able to 
influence the services because none of the entities are chartered with 
the authority to direct the military services to adopt any of their 
suggestions. Rather, they act in an advisory capacity and make 
recommendations to the services and Joint Requirements Oversight 
Council. 

Updated UAS Roadmap Better Identifies Challenges but Still Lacks Key 
Strategic Plan Elements: 

Notwithstanding our prior recommendations on the subject, DOD's updated 
UAS roadmap lacks key planning elements and is not a strategic plan 
that can guide UAS development and investment decisions. As we have 
previously testified and reported, a strategic plan and effective 
oversight can be helpful in guiding efforts to develop and field UAS 
and to address the types of challenges that are emerging with 
integrating UAS into the force structure. Specifically, we emphasized 
that while DOD's 2002 roadmap contained some elements of a strategic 
plan--in that it identified approaches to attaining long-term goals and 
assessed in part, annual performance goals and performance indictors 
that identified progress towards these goals--it only minimally 
addressed other elements, such as the interrelationship between service-
specific efforts, opportunities for joint endeavors, or funding 
issues.[Footnote 16] We reported that although the joint UAS Planning 
Task Force had taken a positive step by developing the Unmanned Aerial 
Vehicles Roadmap 2002-2027, a key planning document, neither it nor 
other DOD guidance documents represented a comprehensive strategic plan 
to guide the development and fielding of UAS. We further reported that 
without a strategic framework and an oversight body with sufficient 
program directive authority to implement planning, DOD had little 
assurance its investment would result in UAS programs being effectively 
integrated into the force structure. Consequently, we found that DOD 
risked increased costs, future interoperability problems, and 
duplication among the military services. We recommended that DOD 
establish a strategic plan and designate the Task Force or another body 
to oversee implementation of the plan. 

Since that time, DOD has established the previously discussed entities 
and the UAS Planning Task Force published an updated roadmap--the 
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Roadmap 2005-2030. Similar to its 
predecessor, the 2005 roadmap contains some elements of a strategic 
plan such as broad long-term goals and priorities, but lacks other 
crucial elements of a strategic plan, such as milestones and 
performance measures for achieving these goals and priorities. While it 
also describes desired capabilities for UAS, operational issues or 
challenges based on ongoing operations, and service-specific 
acquisition plans, it does not provide a clear link among the goals, 
desired capabilities, and plans, nor does it sufficiently address the 
interrelationship among service plans to each other and how they 
promote joint operations, opportunities for joint endeavors, and 
investment priorities and related funding needs. We believe the roadmap 
does not provide specific guidance on UAS development or related force 
structure integration. In fact, the roadmap clearly states that it 
neither authorizes specific UAS nor prioritizes the requirements, as 
this is the responsibility of the services and the Joint Requirements 
Oversight Council. DOD officials acknowledged to us that the updated 
roadmap is not a strategic plan and does not contain details about 
force structure, resources, and other capability implementation issues, 
but rather emphasizes technology. U.S. Central Command officials have 
cited the need for an integrated roadmap for UAS to ensure 
interoperability is achieved and that new UAS systems neither interfere 
with nor limit mission performance. We continue to believe that a 
strategic plan is needed to better position DOD to validate 
requirements, evaluate services plans, integrate service efforts, and 
establish program and funding priorities. Without a strategic plan, 
Congress may not have all the information it needs to evaluate DOD's 
UAS funding requests. Furthermore, a strategic plan and oversight 
framework would help DOD assure that service plans for developing UAS 
anticipate and potentially minimize the types of challenges that are 
emerging today, particularly in the areas of interoperability, 
bandwidth, and airspace integration. 

Unmanned Aircraft Programs Provide Lessons Learned for Future Systems 
to Craft Better and Less Risky Acquisition Strategies: 

While there have been successes on the battlefield, UAS development 
programs have exhibited similar problems as other major weapon systems 
that began an acquisition program too early, with many uncertainties 
about requirements and funding, and immature technologies, design, and 
production. Unmanned systems have also experienced similar outcomes-- 
changing requirements, cost growth, delays in delivery, performance 
shortfalls, and reliability and support problems. Future acquisition 
programs can learn from past efforts to limit risks and improve 
outcomes by establishing comprehensive business cases to match customer 
requirements and available resources and by adopting disciplined 
knowledge-based and incremental acquisition strategies consistent with 
DOD acquisition policy preferences and best practices. Recent 
management decisions and budget actions raise some questions about the 
department's priorities, future direction for UAS, and possible 
duplication of systems. Ongoing Army and Air Force efforts to 
coordinate acquisitions, logistics, and employment of two similar 
systems are encouraging. 

Acquisition Strategies and Outcomes Experienced by Current Programs Can 
Be Used to Improve Future Systems: 

We recently reported on DOD's three largest UAS programs.[Footnote 17] 
We analyzed and contrasted the acquisition strategies and outcomes of 
the Air Force's Global Hawk and Predator programs. We identified 
lessons learned that could benefit the Joint Unmanned Combat Air 
Systems technology demonstration and other future systems. 

The Global Hawk and Predator programs had similar beginnings, but 
followed different acquisition strategies that resulted in different 
outcomes. While both programs began with top leadership support and 
accomplished successful, focused demonstration efforts, Global Hawk 
switched to a high-risk acquisition strategy by accelerating 
development and production. With the substantial overlap in 
development, test, and production, the program experienced significant 
gaps in knowledge about technology, design, and manufacturing 
capabilities while requiring sizable funding. As a result, serious cost 
and schedule problems have ensued, some required capabilities have been 
deferred or dropped, operational tests have identified performance 
problems, and the Global Hawk program is being restructured for the 
fourth time. In contrast, the Predator program has pursued an 
acquisition strategy that is more consistent with DOD's revised 
acquisition guidance and commercial best practices for a more 
structured and evolutionary acquisition approach. While the Predator 
program has some overlap in development and production and has 
experienced some problems, the program's cost growth and schedule 
delays have been relatively minor, and testing of prototypes in 
operational environments has already begun. 

There are trends that run consistently through the Global Hawk and 
Predator programs, similar to trends in other major defense acquisition 
programs that we have reviewed. That is, when DOD provides strong 
leadership at an appropriate organizational level, it enables 
innovative, evolutionary, and disciplined processes to work. Once 
leadership is removed or diminished, programs have tended to lose 
control of requirements and add technical and funding risks. We have 
also found that after successful demonstrations to quickly field 
systems with existing technologies, problems were encountered after the 
programs transitioned into the system development phase of the 
acquisition process. The services pushed programs into production 
without maturing processes and also began to add new requirements that 
stretched beyond technology and design resources. Inadequate 
technology, design, and production knowledge increased risk and led to 
cost, schedule, and performance problems. 

The J-UCAS technology demonstration program and its offspring could 
benefit from the lessons learned in the Global Hawk and Predator 
programs. Since its inception, the J-UCAS program has been in flux. 
Program leadership, funding, and priorities have changed several times. 
The recent Quadrennial Defense Review has directed another 
restructuring into a Navy program to demonstrate a carrier-based 
unmanned combat air system. The Air Force plans to consider J-UCAS 
technologies and accomplishments in its efforts to develop a new long- 
range strike capability. Before DOD commits to major acquisition 
development programs for the Navy and Air Force, it has the opportunity 
and time to develop the knowledge needed to prepare solid and feasible 
business cases and to adopt disciplined, evolutionary strategies 
consistent with DOD acquisition policy preferences and best practices 
to support advanced unmanned systems acquisitions. Refining 
requirements based on proven technologies and a feasible design based 
on systems engineering are best accomplished in the concept and 
technology development phase that precedes the start of a system 
acquisition program. During this early phase, the environment is 
conducive to changes in requirements that can be accomplished more cost-
effectively than after systems integration begins and large 
organizations of engineers, suppliers, and manufacturers are formed to 
prepare for the start of system production. 

Key lessons that can be applied to J-UCAS and other future systems 
include: 

* maintaining disciplined leadership support and direction similar to 
that experienced early in Global Hawk from the Under Secretary of 
Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics and with the 
Predator's Task Force Arnold (a senior group of Air Force leaders that 
helped the program maintain a tight focus on program requirements and 
direction); 

* establishing a clear business case that justifies initial investments 
and constrains individual program requirements to match available 
resources based on proven technologies, engineering knowledge, and time 
available before committing to system development and demonstration; 

* implementing an incremental acquisition strategy preferred by defense 
policy and best practices that separates technology development from 
product development and minimizes concurrency between testing and 
production; 

* establishing and enforcing controls that require knowledge and 
demonstrations to ensure that appropriate knowledge is captured and 
used at critical decision junctures before moving programs forward and 
investing more money; and: 

* managing according to realistic funding requirements that fully 
resource product development and production based on a cost estimate 
that has been informed by proven technologies and a preliminary design. 

Additionally, lessons learned from the transition of the Global Hawk 
and Predator systems from technology demonstrations into system 
production and operation are important. The advanced concept technology 
demonstration can be a valuable tool to prove concepts and military 
utility before committing time and funds to a major system acquisition. 
Designing in product reliability and producibility, and making informed 
trade-offs among alternative support approaches are key aspects of 
development and can save substantial money in operating and maintaining 
systems during their lifetimes. However, if these operational aspects 
of system development are not addressed early before production, they 
can have major negative impacts on life-cycle costs. The original 
Predator demonstration effort did not emphasize design and development 
tasks that make a system more reliable and supportable. This made the 
transition from demonstration to acquisition more difficult and the Air 
Force had to organize a team to respond and resolve reliability and 
supportability issues. 

Future Direction of DOD's UAS Acquisitions: 

Frequent changes to J-UCAS and recent budget actions raise some 
questions about the department's priorities and future direction for 
unmanned aircraft systems, which a strategic plan would help address. 
Garnering the benefits from improved coordination among the military 
services' individual programs and maintaining an emphasis on joint 
development and fielding strategy seem to be at some risk. 

In terms of overall investment, while development and procurement 
funding have significantly increased since the terror attacks in 
September 2001, annual funding requested in fiscal year 2007 for 
unmanned aircraft systems is $1.7 billion, while DOD's funding for 
tactical aviation programs in 2007 is $25.1 billion. The total funding 
programmed in the fiscal year 2006 defense budget request was $15.4 
billion and $153.9 billion, respectively. The near-term investment 
plans laid out in the fiscal year 2007 budget request are smaller than 
the amounts projected over the same period in the fiscal year 2005 
budget. 

The termination of the J-UCAS as a joint technology demonstration 
program and uncertain, evolving future plans for its offspring also 
seem somewhat at odds with official plans for jointness. The J-UCAS was 
one of the top priorities in DOD's roadmap published in August 2005 and 
was cited as leading the way to the next generation of unmanned 
aircraft--extending missions beyond the original focus on intelligence, 
surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities to persistent, 
survivable, and advanced combat capabilities with increased levels of 
autonomy. A weaponized, stealthy unmanned aircraft was also selected as 
the most effective solution to close capability gaps identified in the 
joint strike enabler initial capabilities document published in 
December 2004. The system envisioned was to provide a penetrating and 
persistent strike aircraft against high-threat enemy air defenses and 
other high-value ground targets. Before J-UCAS became a joint program 
in October 2003, the Air Force had planned to accelerate its own 
unmanned combat air system with initial deliveries in fiscal year 2007. 
It appears to us that Air Force support for such a system waned when it 
became a joint program on a less aggressive fielding schedule. 

Also uncertain is how many crossover benefits can be mutually provided 
by separate Navy and Air Force efforts as restructured. The Navy is 
starting up its own program in fiscal year 2007 with about $1.8 billion 
in funds cut from the J-UCAS program. Some of the remaining J-UCAS 
programmed funding was redirected to the Air Force's long-range strike 
program and other efforts. Requirements are somewhat divergent. The 
Navy appears to be most interested in fielding a relatively small 
aircraft of moderate endurance that may operate solo from aircraft 
carriers to provide surveillance for the battle group. The Air Force's 
future striker will likely be a larger land-based platform able to 
operate in groups, with a longer range requiring aerial refueling and 
employing a large weapons-carrying capacity. The Air Force is expected 
to use J-UCAS experience in conducting an analysis of alternatives 
during 2006 of the future striker, which may be manned, unmanned, or 
some combination. Air Force plans are still evolving at this time and 
it is unclear how much of the previous investment in J-UCAS technology 
and continuing Navy efforts will benefit the Air Force program. 

As the J-UCAS evolves one more time--and efforts return to the 
individual services--some key challenges will exist to maintain the 
advantages that were offered by a joint effort. The services need to be 
aware of those advantages and not arbitrarily reject them for parochial 
reasons. For example, exploiting past plans for common operating 
systems, components, and payloads could offer cost savings in 
acquisition and life-cycle support as well as improved 
interoperability. In particular, the common operating system could be a 
cutting edge tool to integrate and provide for interoperability of air 
vehicles, allowing groups of unmanned aircraft to fly in a coordinated 
manner and function autonomously (without human input). A top priority 
when the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency led J-UCAS, the 
common operating system is now likely to be terminated, according to a 
program official. 

Concerns have also been raised about possible duplication of DOD 
unmanned aircraft systems as the services look to expand individual 
fleets. The joint decision of the Air Force and Army to develop a 
memorandum of understanding on the Predator and Warrior programs is 
encouraging and could be a model for inhibiting duplication and 
fostering synergy of efforts. These two systems are similar in mission 
and design and are manufactured by the same contractor. The services 
agreed to a collaborative solution in terms of acquisition, logistics, 
and employment and to optimize funding and leverage current and future 
systems to rapidly field identified capabilities. A more detailed 
memorandum of understanding is expected soon to articulate the path 
forward for each of the services in respect to developing complementary 
capabilities. One possible outcome could be a decision to acquire one 
system to meet the needs of both services. We note, however, that the 
Air Force recently substantially increased its planned investments in 
Predator A to buy much greater quantities; this year's funding 
estimates through 2011 are 165 percent more than was estimated for the 
same period last year. It would seem more prudent to do the analysis 
and reach the collaborative decisions with the Army before committing 
to increased investments. 

Mr. Chairman, this concludes our prepared statement. We would be happy 
to answer any questions that you or members of the Subcommittee may 
have. 

Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments: 

For future questions about this statement, please contact Sharon Pickup 
at (202) 512-9619 or Michael J. Sullivan at (937) 258-7915. Other 
individuals making key contributions to this statement include Patricia 
Lentini, Michael Hazard, Susan Tindall, Bruce Fairbairn, Shvetal 
Khanna, Rae Ann Sapp, Charlie Shivers III, Brian Simpson, Renee Brown, 
Katherine Lenane, and Charles Perdue. 

Related GAO Products: 

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: New DOD Programs Can Learn from Past Efforts 
to Craft Better and Less Risky Acquisition Strategies. GAO-06-447. 
Washington, D.C.: March 15, 2006. 

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Global Hawk Cost Increase Understated in 
Nunn-McCurdy Report. GAO-06-222R. Washington, D.C.: December 15, 2005. 

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: DOD Needs to More Effectively Promote 
Interoperability and Improve Performance Assessments. GAO-06-49. 
Washington, D.C.: December 13, 2005. 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Improved Strategic and Acquisition Planning 
Can Help Address Emerging Challenges. GAO-05-395T. Washington, D.C.: 
March 9, 2005. 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Changes in Global Hawk's Acquisition Strategy 
Are Needed to Reduce Program Risks. GAO-05-6. Washington, D.C.: 
November 5, 2004. 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Major Management Issues Facing DOD's 
Development and Fielding Efforts. GAO-04-530T. Washington, D.C.: March 
17, 2004. 

Force Structure: Improved Strategic Planning Can Enhance DOD's Unmanned 
Aerial Vehicles Efforts. GAO-04-342. Washington, D.C.: March 17, 2004. 

Nonproliferation: Improvements Needed for Controls on Exports of Cruise 
Missile and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. GAO-04-493T. Washington, D.C.: 
March 9, 2004. 

Nonproliferation: Improvements Needed to Better Control Technology 
Exports for Cruise Missiles and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. GAO-04-175. 
Washington, D.C.: January 23, 2004. 

Defense Acquisitions: Matching Resources with Requirements Is Key to 
the Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle Program's Success. GAO-03-598. 
Washington, D.C.: June 30, 2003. 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Questionable Basis for Revisions to Shadow 
200 Acquisition Strategy. GAO/NSIAD-00-204. Washington, D.C.: September 
26, 2000. 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Progress of the Global Hawk Advanced Concept 
Technology Demonstration. GAO/NSIAD-00-78. Washington, D.C.: April 25, 
2000. 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: DOD's Demonstration Approach Has Improved 
Project Outcomes. GAO/NSIAD-99-33. Washington, D.C.: August 30, 1999. 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Progress toward Meeting High Altitude 
Endurance Aircraft Price Goals. GAO/NSIAD-99-29. Washington, D.C.: 
December 15, 1998. 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Outrider Demonstrations Will Be Inadequate to 
Justify Further Production. GAO/NSIAD-97-153. Washington, D.C.: 
September 23, 1997. 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: DOD's Acquisition Efforts. GAO/T-NSIAD-97-
138. Washington, D.C.: April 9, 1997. 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Hunter System Is Not Appropriate for Navy 
Fleet Use. GAO/NSIAD-96-2. Washington, D.C.: December 1, 1995. 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Performance of Short-Range System Still in 
Question. GAO/NSIAD-94-65. Washington, D.C.: December 15, 1993. 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: More Testing Needed Before Production of 
Short-Range System. GAO/NSIAD-92-311. Washington, D.C.: September 4, 
1992. 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Medium Range System Components Do Not Fit. 
GAO/NSIAD-91-2. Washington, D.C.: March 25, 1991. 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Realistic Testing Needed Before Production of 
Short-Range System. GAO/NSIAD-90-234. Washington, D.C.: September 28, 
1990. 

Unmanned Vehicles: Assessment of DOD's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Master 
Plan. GAO/NSIAD-89-41BR. Washington, D.C.: December 9, 1988. 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] Until recently, DOD referred to these aircraft as "unmanned aerial 
vehicles." "Unmanned aircraft" is consistent with the Federal Aviation 
Administration's classification and emphasizes other components of the 
system, such as payload, ground stations, and communications equipment. 

[2] GAO, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Improved Strategic and Acquisition 
Planning Can Help Address Emerging Challenges, GAO-05-395T (Washington, 
D.C.: Mar. 9, 2005). 

[3] GAO, Unmanned Aircraft Systems: DOD Needs to More Effectively 
Promote Interoperability and Improve Performance Assessments, GAO-06-49 
(Washington, D.C.: Dec. 13, 2005) and Unmanned Aircraft Systems: New 
DOD Programs Can Learn from Past Efforts to Craft Better and Less Risky 
Acquisition Strategies, GAO-06-447 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 15, 2006). 

[4] Bandwidth refers to the available frequencies to support the flight 
of UAS, to transmit the output of onboard sensors, and to interface 
with air traffic control centers. 

[5] GAO, Unmanned Aircraft Systems: DOD Needs to More Effectively 
Promote Interoperability and Improve Performance Assessments, GAO-06-49 
(Washington, D.C.: Dec. 13, 2005). 

[6] The total number represents the number of unmanned aircraft, rather 
than unmanned aircraft systems, and includes test and training assets. 

[7] Interoperability is the ability of systems, units, and forces to 
provide and receive data and information from other systems, units, and 
forces. 

[8] The Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and 
Logistics may waive the applicability of these requirements to any 
tactical UAS if the Undersecretary determines and certifies to the 
congressional defense committees that it would be technologically 
infeasible or uneconomically acceptable to integrate a tactical data 
link. 

[9] Pub. L. No. 109-163 § 141 (2006). 

[10] The common data link is a family of full-duplex, jam-resistant, 
point-to-point microwave communication links developed by the U.S. 
government and used in imagery and signals intelligence collections 
systems. 

[11] CJCSI 6212.01D (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 8, 2006). 

[12] Blue Force Tracker is a satellite-based tracking and 
communications system that enables users to monitor the location of 
other Blue Force Tracker-equipped aircraft and vehicles. 

[13] The Joint Requirements Oversight Council is a joint organization 
made up of the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a four- 
star officer designated from each of the services that bases 
recommendations to the Chairman on interaction with combatant 
commanders and the Joint Staff Director-led Joint Warfighting 
Capability Assessment teams that perform detailed assessments of 
programmatic alternatives, tradeoffs, risks, bill-payers, and 
effectiveness. CJCSI 3180.01 (Washington, D.C.: Oct 31, 2002). 

[14] This group was formerly known as the Joint UAV Overarching 
Integrated Process Team and was rechartered to form the Joint Material 
Review Board and tasked with addressing UAS material issues. 

[15] In June 2003, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff created 
the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System process. It 
is a collaborative system that DOD uses to identify capability gaps and 
integrated solutions to resolve these gaps. 

[16] GAO, Force Structure: Improved Strategic Planning Can Enhance 
DOD's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Efforts, GAO-04-342 (Washington, D.C.: 
Mar. 17, 2004). 

[17] GAO, Unmanned Aircraft Systems: New DOD Programs Can Learn from 
Past Efforts to Craft Better and Less Risky Acquisition Strategies, GAO-
06-447 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 15, 2006).