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Report to the Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces, Committee on Armed 
Services, House of Representatives: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

GAO: 

November 2008: 

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: 

Additional Actions Needed to Improve Management and Integration of DOD 
Efforts to Support Warfighter Needs: 

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: 

GAO-09-175: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-09-175, a report to the Subcommittee on Air and Land 
Forces, Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives. 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

The Department of Defenseís (DOD) use of unmanned aircraft systems 
(UAS) continues to increase. In 2000, DOD components had fewer than 50 
unmanned aircraft in their inventory. By May 2008, they had more than 
6,000. However, DOD faces challenges, such as UAS acquisition and the 
integration of UAS into joint combat operations. GAO has made a series 
of recommendations to address challenges, including the need for a UAS 
strategic plan. To improve upon the management and use of UAS, DOD has 
implemented several actions, such as establishing new task forces. GAO 
was asked to (1) identify key DOD efforts to improve the management and 
operational use of UAS and (2) assess the extent to which these efforts 
constitute an overarching organizational framework to guide and oversee 
UAS efforts. GAO reviewed DOD documents such as directives and 
memorandums, and interviewed agency officials. 

What GAO Found: 

Over the past several years, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 
the Joint Staff, and the military services have undertaken several 
initiatives to improve the management of UAS programs and the 
operational use of these systems. Specifically, DOD has established new 
entities and refocused the mission of an existing organization. DOD has 
also initiated several studies to determine UAS needs and help inform 
future UAS acquisition decisions. In addition, DOD issued the Unmanned 
Systems Roadmap 2007-2032 (Roadmap), which it characterizes as a 
comprehensive plan for the evolution and transition of unmanned systems 
technology, including UAS. Also, in select cases the military services 
are developing and fielding common UAS programs and proceeding to 
develop more common concepts of operations. 

DOD has taken steps to improve the management and operational use of 
UAS, but its approach lacks key elements of an overarching 
organizational framework needed to fully integrate efforts, sustain 
progress, and resolve challenges. First, DOD has increased management 
attention on UAS and commenced at least seven separate initiatives 
since September 2006 to address challenges presented by the rapid 
integration of UAS into the military servicesí force structure, yet no 
single office or entity, supported by an implementation team, is 
accountable for integrating these key management efforts. Although 
these efforts are intended to complement one another, the priorities 
for each initiative have not been fully integrated with a DOD-wide 
approach to resolve UAS challenges and determine how UAS will meet the 
departmentís intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance or other 
mission needs. Second, DOD has not defined the roles, responsibilities, 
and relationships among the various UAS-related organizations to 
provide for effective communication of efforts within DOD and among 
external stakeholders. For example, DOD has not clarified how it will 
coordinate the efforts of its task forces addressing UAS issues. Third, 
DOD has not developed a comprehensive and integrated strategic plan to 
align departmental and service efforts to improve the management and 
operational use of UAS with long-term implementation goals, priorities, 
time lines, and other departmental planning efforts. DOD issued the 
Roadmap in 2007 to guide the development of unmanned systems to meet 
joint warfighter needs, but the Roadmap lacks key elements of a sound 
strategic plan, such as a focus on how to accomplish DODís goals and 
objectives for UAS, milestones to track progress, identification of 
performance gaps, and clear linkages between proposed UAS investments 
and long-term planning goals. GAOís prior work has shown that a 
framework that includes an accountable implementation team, an 
established communications strategy, and a comprehensive and integrated 
strategic plan can serve as a basis for organizations that seek to 
transform their cultures in response to governance challenges and to 
sustain progress over time. In the absence of an approach that 
establishes clear accountability and a strategic plan to guide UAS 
development and investment decisions, DOD will continue to be 
challenged to fully integrate departmental and service efforts to 
resolve problems in the management and operational use of UAS. 

What GAO Recommends: 

GAO recommends DOD designate a single entity accountable for 
integrating efforts related to UAS; define roles, responsibilities, and 
relationships among UAS-related entities; and develop a UAS strategic 
plan to align and integrate efforts and funding with long-term goals. 
DOD partially concurred with one recommendation and did not concur with 
two recommendations, citing actions it has already taken. GAO 
recognizes DODís efforts to date, but continues to believe additional 
actions are needed. 

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-09-175]. For more 
information, contact Sharon Pickup at (202) 512-9619 or 
pickups@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

Contents: 

Letter: 

Results in Brief: 

Background: 

Departmental and Military Service Efforts Are Under Way to Improve the 
Management and Operational Use of UAS: 

DOD Efforts Lack Elements of an Overarching Organizational Framework to 
Improve the Management and Operational Use of UAS: 

Conclusions: 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology: 

Appendix II: Comments from the Department of Defense: 

Appendix III: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

Related GAO Products: 

Tables: 

Table 1: DOD Components' Current and Planned UAS: 

Table 2: Defense Budget Plans for UAS: 

Table 3: Description and Purpose of UAS Task Force Organizations: 

Table 4: Select DOD Initiatives to Improve Management and Operations of 
ISR and UAS: 

Table 5: DOD Goals and Objectives for Unmanned Systems: 

Figure: 

Figure 1: Number of Flight Hours for DOD's UAS: 

Abbreviations: 

DOD: Department of Defense: 

ISR: intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance: 

UAS: unmanned aircraft systems: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

Washington, DC 20548: 

November 14, 2008: 

The Honorable Neil Abercrombie: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Jim Saxton: 
Ranking Member: 
Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces: 
Committee on Armed Services: 
House of Representatives: 

Battlefield commanders have experienced a high level of mission success 
in ongoing operations with transformational capabilities such as 
unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Beyond a traditional intelligence, 
surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) role, UAS have also been 
outfitted with missiles to strike targets, with equipment to designate 
targets for manned aircraft by laser, and with sensors to locate the 
position of improvised explosive devices and fleeing insurgents, among 
other tasks. Because of a greater demand for UAS, the Department of 
Defense (DOD) has increased funding and sought additional funds for 
these programs. DOD plans to spend more than $17 billion from fiscal 
years 2008 through 2013 to invest in systems with expanded and new 
capabilities. In addition, DOD recently reprogrammed about $1.3 billion 
in fiscal year 2008 funds with congressional approval to increase ISR 
capabilities, including UAS, to support ongoing operations. 

Although DOD has experienced a high level of mission success with UAS 
in ongoing operations, the dramatic increase in the demand for, and use 
of, these assets has posed challenges for DOD, including the 
development and acquisition of UAS programs and the integration of UAS 
into combat operations. For example, some UAS were not designed to meet 
joint service requirements or interoperability communications standards 
and, as a result, cannot easily exchange data, even within the same 
military service. Additionally, certain electromagnetic spectrum 
frequencies that are required for wireless communications are congested 
because a large number of UAS and other weapons or communications 
systems use them simultaneously. Furthermore, DOD has been unable to 
fully optimize the use of its UAS assets in combat operations because 
it lacks an approach to allocating and tasking them that considers the 
availability of all assets in determining how best to meet warfighter 
needs. Moreover, DOD has been unable to fully evaluate the success of 
its UAS missions because it lacks a complete set of performance 
metrics. DOD is taking steps to address these challenges, such as 
developing UAS interoperability standards and metrics to assess UAS 
performance. 

In March 2007, the Air Force requested that it be designated the 
executive agent[Footnote 1] for medium-and high-altitude UAS as a way 
to address challenges, including avoiding duplication of acquisition 
efforts among different military services; standardizing UAS 
operations, training, and procedures; and improving the distribution of 
UAS intelligence information across all DOD components. The House 
Committee on Armed Services also expressed concerns about the 
department's approach to overseeing UAS programs, including the lack of 
an executive agent to guide development and investment decisions in UAS 
and to coordinate these efforts with related manned ISR programs. The 
committee directed the Secretary of Defense to complete a review of UAS-
related competencies and determine whether the designation of one 
military department as executive agent for UAS would best serve to 
eliminate duplication of effort, enhance interoperability, and achieve 
commonality with existing ISR systems.[Footnote 2] DOD decided not to 
designate any one service as an executive agent for UAS and instead 
took alternative actions. For example, DOD rechartered the Office of 
Secretary of Defense's UAS Planning Task Force to lead a departmentwide 
effort to coordinate UAS issues and to develop a plan to enhance 
operations, enable interdependencies, and streamline the acquisition of 
UAS. 

This report responds to a request by the Subcommittee on Air and Land 
Forces, House Committee on Armed Services, that we evaluate several 
aspects of DOD's UAS, including DOD's approach for managing and 
overseeing UAS programs and its ability to support current and planned 
UAS inventories. Specifically, the objectives of this review were to 
(1) identify key departmental and service efforts to improve the 
management and operational use of UAS and (2) assess the extent to 
which DOD's efforts constitute an overarching organizational framework 
to guide and oversee UAS efforts. We plan to continue our work in this 
area and will report separately on additional UAS issues. 

To identify key departmental and military service efforts to improve 
the management and operational use of UAS, we obtained and analyzed 
available internal DOD documentation, including briefings, directives, 
memorandums, and plans that describe specific initiatives that DOD and 
the military services have implemented relating to UAS. We interviewed 
officials with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, 
DOD's unified combatant commands, and the military services to better 
understand DOD's decision-making processes for implementing these 
initiatives. We also interviewed officials who are leading and 
participating in key initiatives to obtain information about their 
goals, progress made to date, and any unresolved challenges. We 
analyzed DOD plans for UAS studies and interviewed relevant officials 
to determine how DOD intends to use the study results to inform current 
and future UAS plans. To assess the extent to which DOD's efforts 
constitute an overarching organizational framework to guide and oversee 
UAS efforts, we obtained and analyzed documents that describe the 
roles, responsibilities, and relationships of the offices and entities 
that are responsible for improving the management and operational use 
of UAS. These documents include directives and memorandums, plans, 
draft and finalized organizational charters, and UAS program management 
and budget materials. We identified elements of an overarching 
organizational framework based on our prior work and the Government 
Performance and Result Act of 1993 to determine the extent to which 
DOD's UAS oversight structure incorporates these key elements.[Footnote 
3] We interviewed officials with the Office of the Secretary of 
Defense, the Joint Staff, and the military services responsible for 
managing or overseeing UAS issues to obtain their views on the extent 
to which DOD's efforts constitute an integrated approach. We conducted 
this performance audit from September 2007 through November 2008 in 
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those 
standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain 
sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our 
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that 
the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and 
conclusions based on our audit objectives. A more detailed discussion 
of our scope and methodology is provided in appendix I. 

Results in Brief: 

Over the past several years, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 
the Joint Staff, and the military services have taken a number of steps 
intended to address long-standing challenges in the management of UAS 
programs and the operational use of these systems. To provide for 
common, joint, and effective UAS programs and to address challenges 
such as the development and acquisition of UAS and the integration of 
these assets into combat operations, DOD established new entities 
within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, including new task 
forces for ISR and UAS. In addition, it refocused the mission of an 
existing organization to coordinate the development of training 
activities and to improve the operational employment of UAS. DOD has 
also initiated several studies to determine UAS needs. For example, 
U.S. Strategic Command is leading a departmentwide study to determine 
all long-term requirements for ISR programs, including UAS. According 
to officials with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint 
Staff, the results of these studies will be used to guide future UAS 
acquisition decisions. Additionally, in December 2007 DOD issued the 
Unmanned Systems Roadmap 2007-2032 (Roadmap),[Footnote 4] which it 
characterizes as a comprehensive, departmentwide plan for the evolution 
and transition of unmanned systems technology. The military services 
are also taking several actions intended to improve the management and 
operational use of UAS. For example, in select cases the military 
services are developing and fielding common UAS programs and proceeding 
to develop more common UAS concepts of operations. 

While DOD has taken several steps to improve the management and 
operational use of UAS, its approach lacks key elements of an 
overarching organizational framework needed to fully integrate efforts, 
sustain progress, and resolve long-standing challenges in acquiring and 
operating UAS in a joint environment. First, despite its establishment 
of new entities to address issues, DOD has not designated one office or 
entity--supported by an implementation team--that is accountable for 
integrating the various management efforts undertaken to address 
challenges presented by the development and acquisition of UAS and 
their integration into combat operations. Second, DOD has not defined 
the roles, responsibilities, and relationships among the various UAS- 
related organizations to provide for effective communication of UAS 
efforts within DOD and among external stakeholders, such as Congress. 
Third, DOD has not developed a comprehensive and integrated strategic 
plan to align departmental and service efforts to improve the 
management and operational use of UAS with long-term implementation 
goals, priorities, and time lines, and with other departmental planning 
efforts. Our prior work has shown that a framework that includes an 
accountable leadership entity supported by an implementation team, an 
established communications strategy, and a comprehensive and integrated 
strategic plan can serve as a basis for organizations that seek to 
transform their cultures in response to governance challenges and to 
sustain progress over time. Senior DOD leaders have increased their 
emphasis on UAS and commenced at least seven separate initiatives and 
related organizational changes since September 2006 that at least in 
part are intended to address challenges that have arisen from the rapid 
integration of UAS into the military services' force structure, such as 
establishing the UAS Task Force. However, the accountability for these 
initiatives resides with differing organizations within DOD, and 
although these efforts are intended to complement one another, the 
priorities for each initiative have not been fully integrated with a 
DOD-wide approach to resolve UAS challenges and determine how UAS will 
meet the department's ISR or other mission needs. In addition, DOD has 
not clearly defined the roles, responsibilities, and relationships of 
its newly created task forces (e.g., clarifying how the department will 
coordinate efforts to implement the recommendations of the ISR Task 
Force). Further, although DOD issued the Roadmap in 2007 to guide the 
development of unmanned systems and related technologies to meet joint 
warfighter needs, the Roadmap lacks key elements of a sound strategic 
plan, such as a focus on how to accomplish DOD's goals and objectives 
for UAS, milestones to track progress, an identification of current 
performance gaps, and clear linkages between proposed UAS investments 
and long-term planning goals. Moreover, we found that the Roadmap's 
goals are not integrated with DOD's strategic goals for ISR, as 
established in other comprehensive departmental planning documents. In 
the absence of an approach that establishes clear leadership 
accountability and a strategic plan to guide UAS development and 
investment decisions, DOD will continue to be challenged to fully 
integrate departmental and service efforts to resolve long-standing 
problems in the management and operational use of UAS. 

To develop a fully integrated framework to sustain progress and resolve 
long-standing challenges in the management and operational use of UAS, 
we are making recommendations to the Secretary of Defense to (1) 
designate a single departmental entity responsible and accountable for 
integrating all cross-cutting DOD efforts related to UAS; (2) define 
the roles, responsibilities, and relationships among various UAS- 
related entities to facilitate communication within DOD and among 
external stakeholders; and (3) develop a UAS strategic plan to align 
and integrate respective departmental and service efforts and funding 
with long-term goals. DOD did not concur with our first recommendation; 
partially concurred with our second recommendation; and did not concur 
with our third recommendation, citing actions it has already taken. 
However, while recognizing DOD's efforts to date, we continue to 
believe additional actions are needed. DOD's comments and our 
evaluation appear later in this report. 

Background: 

UAS of all types and categories include aircraft, payloads, control 
elements, and a human component. Aircraft can be rotary, fixed wing, or 
lighter than air, and they are capable of flight without an on-board 
crew. Payloads, which aircraft are designed to carry, allow the UAS to 
accomplish their mission. The range of payloads includes sensors; 
weapons; cargo, such as mission-critical supplies; and equipment to 
extend communications networks. Control elements are responsible for 
controlling the unmanned aircraft and their payloads as well as 
communications. Control elements can be ground based, sea based, or 
airborne. The human component consists of the personnel trained by the 
military services to support UAS operations. For example, personnel are 
trained as mission commanders, aircraft and payload operators, 
maintainers, or intelligence analysts. The military services also use 
contractors, in some cases, to perform these functions. 

DOD documents categorize UAS into three main classes--man-portable, 
tactical, and theater.[Footnote 5] Man-portable UAS are small, self- 
contained, and portable and are generally used to support small ground 
combat teams in the field. Tactical UAS are larger systems, generally 
used to support operational units at tactical levels of command, such 
as battalions or brigades. Tactical UAS are locally operated and 
controlled by the units. Theater UAS are controlled by the Joint Forces 
Air Component Commander and are generally used to support the combatant 
commander's ISR priorities, but in certain circumstances they can be 
assigned to support tactical operations. Theater UAS have traditionally 
been more capable than tactical or man-portable UAS. 

In 2000, DOD components had fewer than 50 unmanned aircraft in their 
inventory; as of May 2008, they had more than 6,000.[Footnote 6] Many 
of the UAS currently being used to support military operations are part 
of formal DOD acquisition programs. DOD components have also fielded 
other types of UAS in order to meet urgent warfighter requests and for 
technology demonstrations. UAS can be government owned and operated, 
government owned and contractor operated, or contractor owned and 
operated. Although every military service and U.S. Special Operations 
Command operate several types of UAS, each does not currently operate a 
UAS in every UAS class. Table 1 provides a summary of UAS currently 
operated by DOD components and contractors and of UAS that are not yet 
fielded but appear in DOD's acquisition plans. 

Table 1: DOD Components' Current and Planned UAS: 

DOD component: Army; 
UAS category: Man-portable; 
Current DOD UAS: * Micro Air Vehicle; 
* Raven; 
Contractor-operated UAS: * Micro Air Vehicle; 
Planned DOD UAS: None. 

DOD component: Army; 
UAS category: Tactical; 
* Hunter; 
* Shadow; 
Contractor-operated UAS: DOD component: * Hunter; 
* I-Gnat; 
* Warrior-Alpha; 
Planned DOD UAS: DOD component: * Sky Warrior; 
* Fire Scout. 

DOD component: Army; 
UAS category: Theater; 
Current DOD UAS: None; 
Contractor-operated UAS: None; 
Planned DOD UAS: None. 

DOD component: Air Force; 
UAS category: Man-portable; 
Current DOD UAS: 
* Battlefield Air Targeting Micro Air Vehicle; 
* Raven; 
Contractor-operated UAS: None; 
Planned DOD UAS: None. 

DOD component: Air Force; 
UAS category: Tactical; 
Contractor-operated UAS: Scan Eagle; 
Planned DOD UAS: None. 

DOD component: Air Force; 
UAS category: Theater; 
Current DOD UAS: * Predator; 
* Reaper; 
* Global Hawk; 
Contractor-operated UAS: None; 
Planned DOD UAS: None. 

DOD component: Navy; 
UAS category: Man-portable; 
Current DOD UAS: * Gas Micro Air Vehicle; 
* Raven; 
Contractor-operated UAS: None; 
Planned DOD UAS: * Wasp Micro Air Vehicle. 

DOD component: Navy; 
UAS category: Tactical; 
Current DOD UAS: * Shadow; 
* Silver Fox; 
Contractor-operated UAS: DOD component: * Scan Eagle; 
Planned DOD UAS: * Small Tactical UAS; 
* Fire Scout. 

DOD component: Navy; 
UAS category: Theater; 
Current DOD UAS: None; 
Contractor-operated UAS: None; 
Planned DOD UAS: * Broad Area Maritime Surveillance; 
* Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle. 

DOD component: Marine Corps; 
UAS category: Man-portable; 
Current DOD UAS: * Wasp Micro Air Vehicle; 
* Raven; 
Contractor-operated UAS: None; 
Planned DOD UAS: None. 

DOD component: Marine Corps; 
UAS category: Tactical; 
Current DOD UAS: DOD component: 
* Shadow; 
Contractor-operated UAS: * Scan Eagle; 
Planned DOD UAS: DOD component: * Tier II UAS; 
* Tier III Vertical UAS. 

DOD component: Marine Corps; 
UAS category: Theater; 
Current DOD UAS: None; 
Contractor-operated UAS: None; 
Planned DOD UAS: U.S. Special Operations Command: None. 

DOD component: U.S. Special Operations Command; 
UAS category: Man-portable; 
Current DOD UAS: * Raven; 
* Puma All Environment Capable Variant; 
Contractor-operated UAS: None; 
Planned DOD UAS: None. 

DOD component: U.S. Special Operations Command; 
UAS category: Tactical; 
Current DOD UAS: DOD component: 
* Neptune; 
* Sentry; 
* Predator; 
Contractor-operated UAS: * Tiger Shark; 
* Scan Eagle; 
Planned DOD UAS: None. 

DOD component: U.S. Special Operations Command; 
UAS category: Theater; 
Current DOD UAS: * Reaper; 
Contractor-operated UAS: None; 
Planned DOD UAS:  None. 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD documents. 

[End of table] 

DOD's Increasing Reliance on UAS: 

Beyond replacing human beings in "dull, dirty, and dangerous" roles, 
UAS are highly valuable because they possess characteristics that many 
manned aircraft do not. For example, unmanned aircraft can fly for long-
duration missions and can provide a sustained presence over the 
battlefield. Additionally, unmanned aircraft may be equipped with 
multiple payloads that may enable them to satisfy several missions 
during one flight. DOD's use of UAS has increased dramatically as the 
military services continue to develop and field these systems. As shown 
in figure 1, the number of flight hours performed by the military 
services' UAS has increased each year since fiscal year 2002. 

Figure 1: Number of Flight Hours for DOD's UAS: 

This figure is a combination bar graph showing the number of flight 
hours for DOD's UAS. The X axis represents the fiscal year, and the Y 
axis represents the flight hours. The bars represent Air Force, Army, 
and Navy & Marine Corps. 

Fiscal year: 2002; 
Navy & Marine Corps: 1,314; 
Army: 4,795; 
Air Force: 2,1092. 

Fiscal year: 2003; 
Navy & Marine Corps: 3,509; 
Army: 8,385; 
Air Force: 23,592. 

Fiscal year: 2004; 
Navy & Marine Corps: 4,511; 
Army: 19,407; 
Air Force: 35,884. 

Fiscal year: 2005; 
Navy & Marine Corps: 12,004; 
Army: 48,147; 
Air Force: 45,876. 

Fiscal year: 2006; 
Navy & Marine Corps: 24,720; 
Army: 76,456; 
Air Force: 63,816. 

Fiscal year: 2007; 
Navy & Marine Corps: 31,172; 
Army: 135,662; 
Air Force: 91,668. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: DOD. 

Note: These data do not include smaller, man-portable UAS. 

[End of figure] 

As of the end of May 2008, the military services' UAS had performed 
more than 230,000 flight hours in fiscal year 2008. 

DOD has established goals for its continuing development and fielding 
of UAS programs. The February 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review Report 
stated that DOD intended to increase UAS procurement to nearly double 
the persistent surveillance[Footnote 7] capacity DOD had at the time of 
that publication; to establish a plan to develop a new land-based, long-
range strike force by 2018, of which about 45 percent would be 
unmanned; to expand maritime aviation to include unmanned aircraft for 
both surveillance and strike missions; and to establish a UAS squadron 
under U.S. Special Operations Command to provide the command with 
organic capabilities to locate and target enemy capabilities. DOD's 
funding plans for UAS reflect their growing importance to the 
department. In fiscal year 2009, DOD requested approximately $3.5 
billion for UAS procurement and research and development--approximately 
$1 billion more than the department's fiscal year 2008 request. As 
shown in table 2, DOD plans to make additional investments in UAS 
programs from fiscal years 2010 through 2013. 

Table 2: Defense Budget Plans for UAS: 

Dollars in millions. 

Procurement; 
Fiscal year 2008: $1,587.4; 
Fiscal year 2009: $2,170.3; 
Fiscal year 2010: $2,310.9; 
Fiscal year 2011: $1,968.8; 
Fiscal year 2012: $1,556.3; 
Fiscal year 2013: $1,325.3; 
Total: $10,919.0. 

Research, development, test and evaluation; 
Fiscal year 2008: 927.6; 
Fiscal year 2009: 1,320.4; 
Fiscal year 2010: 1,364.4; 
Fiscal year 2011: 1,110.5; 
Fiscal year 2012: 904.0; 
Fiscal year 2013: 729.7; 
Total: $6,356.6. 

Total; 
Fiscal year 2008: $2,515.0; 
Fiscal year 2009: $3,490.7; 
Fiscal year 2010: $3,675.3; 
Fiscal year 2011: $3,079.3; 
Fiscal year 2012: $2,460.3; 
Fiscal year 2013: $2,055.0; 
Total: $17,275.6. 

Source: GAO analysis of funding for UAS included in the President's 
fiscal year 2009 budget request, not including supplemental funds. 

[End of table] 

Organizations Involved in UAS Management and Integration: 

The responsibility for the management and integration of UAS is shared 
among several DOD components. For example, each military service is 
responsible for the development and acquisition of UAS capabilities to 
meet validated combatant commander needs. In addition, DOD implemented 
the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System in 2003 as 
the department's principal process for identifying, assessing, and 
prioritizing joint military capabilities.[Footnote 8] DOD has also 
established organizations that are intended to improve the management 
and operational use of UAS and to integrate the military services' UAS 
programs. In 2001, for example, the Undersecretary of Defense for 
Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics created the joint Unmanned 
Aerial Vehicle Planning Task Force to serve as a joint advocate for 
developing and fielding UAS. The task force was established to be the 
single focal point within DOD to help create a common vision for future 
UAS-related activities and to establish UAS interoperability standards. 
The task force was responsible for coordinating detailed plans, or 
roadmaps; recommending priorities for development and procurement 
efforts; and preparing guidance to the military services and agencies 
for UAS programs and functions. The task force published several 
versions of the Roadmap, which described UAS programs, identified 
potential missions for UAS, and provided guidance on the development of 
emerging technologies. 

In 2005, DOD established the Joint UAS Center of Excellence with the 
mission of providing support to joint warfighters and the military 
services to identify solutions for UAS capabilities and use. DOD 
chartered the Joint UAS Center of Excellence to focus on developing 
common UAS operating standards, capabilities, concepts, technologies, 
doctrine, tactics, techniques, procedures, and training. For example, 
the Joint UAS Center of Excellence has the responsibility to develop 
and update the joint concept of operations for UAS[Footnote 9] first 
published in March 2007. The document provides overarching principles, 
a discussion of UAS capabilities, operational views, and a discussion 
of UAS use in various operational scenarios. 

In September 2006, the Deputy Secretary of Defense combined all the ISR 
systems across DOD to form a capability portfolio, in a test case for 
the joint capability portfolio management concept.[Footnote 10] 
Portfolio management principles are commonly used by large commercial 
companies to prioritize needs and allocate resources. Under this 
concept, a group of military capabilities, such as ISR, are managed as 
a joint portfolio across DOD--rather than by individual military 
service or individual program. In this way, DOD reasons that it can 
potentially improve the interoperability of future capabilities, 
minimize capability redundancies and gaps, and maximize capability 
effectiveness. DOD assigned the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense 
for Intelligence to be the lead office for this ISR portfolio, known as 
the battlespace awareness portfolio. In addition, the National Defense 
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 required the Undersecretary of 
Defense for Intelligence to develop a plan to guide the development and 
integration of DOD's ISR capabilities from 2004 through 2018.[Footnote 
11] To date, DOD has provided two updates of the Defense ISR 
Integration Roadmap that discuss different management aspects of DOD's 
ISR programs, including UAS. 

DOD has also considered other proposals related to the management and 
integration of UAS programs. In 2005, the military services were unable 
to reach consensus on the scope, composition, requirements, and charter 
for an executive agent for UAS. In 2007, the Air Force proposed that it 
be designated executive agent for medium-and high-altitude UAS, for 
several reasons, including to avoid duplicating separate service 
acquisition efforts by centralizing the procurement of all medium-and 
high-altitude unmanned aircraft and their associated ground equipment 
and standardizing UAS operations, training, and combat tactics, 
techniques, and procedures. Although the Joint Requirements Oversight 
Council[Footnote 12] initially endorsed the establishment of an 
executive agent for medium-and high-altitude UAS under the Secretary of 
the Air Force, the Deputy Secretary of Defense ultimately decided that 
an executive agent was unnecessary and instead took alternative 
actions--such as convening the UAS Task Force--intended to provide for 
common, joint, and operationally effective UAS programs. 

Departmental and Military Service Efforts Are Under Way to Improve the 
Management and Operational Use of UAS: 

Over the past several years, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 
the Joint Staff, and the military services have undertaken several 
initiatives to improve the management of UAS programs and the 
operational use of these systems. To address challenges such as the 
development and acquisition of UAS and the integration of these assets 
into combat operations, DOD has established new entities within the 
Office of the Secretary of Defense and refocused the mission of an 
existing organization. DOD has also initiated several studies to 
determine UAS needs and help inform future UAS acquisition decisions. 
In addition, DOD issued the Roadmap, which it characterizes as a 
comprehensive plan for the evolution and transition of unmanned systems 
technology, including UAS. Furthermore, in select cases the military 
services are developing and fielding common UAS programs and proceeding 
to develop more common UAS concepts of operations. 

New and Existing Organizations within DOD Are Intended to Address UAS 
Challenges: 

DOD has established two new entities within the Office of the Secretary 
of Defense to address UAS challenges. First, in September 2007, in lieu 
of establishing an executive agent for UAS, the Deputy Secretary of 
Defense directed the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, 
Technology, and Logistics to convene a task force to coordinate 
critical UAS issues and develop a way forward to enhance operations, 
enable interdependencies, and streamline UAS acquisition. In response 
to this direction, the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, 
Technology, and Logistics rechartered the UAS Planning Task Force in 
October 2007 as the UAS Task Force and assigned organizations within 
the military services, the Joint Staff, and the Office of the Secretary 
of Defense to lead integrated product teams for issues related to the 
acquisition and management of UAS. DOD also established a senior 
steering group, composed of senior military officers and DOD civilians, 
to periodically assess the UAS Task Force's progress and to address 
unresolved issues. A primary near-term focus of the UAS Task Force has 
been to implement the Deputy Secretary of Defense's direction to the 
Army and the Air Force to combine the Army's Sky Warrior UAS and the 
Air Force's Predator UAS programs into a single acquisition program in 
order to achieve efficiencies in areas such as common development, 
procurement, and training activities. Table 3 provides a description of 
UAS Task Force organizations and summarizes their intended purpose. 

Table 3: Description and Purpose of UAS Task Force Organizations: 

Lead DOD organizations: Office of the Secretary of Defense; 
Description of organization: Acquisition streamlining; 
Purpose of organization: Assess and evaluate programs for acquisition 
streamlining and develop options to combine the Sky Warrior and 
Predator UAS programs. 

Lead DOD organizations: Office of the Secretary of Defense and the 
Joint Staff; 
Description of organization: Research and development coordination; 
Purpose of organization: Identify critical warfighter deficiencies with 
potential to be supported by UAS, and identify opportunities to match 
science and technology investments with these deficiencies. 

Lead DOD organizations: Office of the Secretary of Defense and the 
Navy; 
Description of organization: Standardization and interoperability 
improvements; 
Purpose of organization: Develop interoperability standards with a near-
term focus on developing a profile for the combined Sky Warrior and 
Predator program. 

Lead DOD organizations: Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Air 
Force; 
Description of organization: Civil airspace integration planning and 
technology development; 
Purpose of organization: Review and assess operational requirements; 
identify acquisition solutions; 
and recommend training and policy changes necessary to fully integrate 
UAS into all necessary classes of airspace to support DOD requirements. 

Lead DOD organizations: Office of the Secretary of Defense and the 
Army; 
Description of organization: Payload and sensor integration; 
Purpose of organization: Review and assess operational requirements; 
identify potential joint acquisitions; 
and recommend integrated training and sustainment activities to 
optimize UAS payload development and fielding. 

Lead DOD organizations: Office of the Secretary of Defense; 
Description of organization: Frequency and bandwidth utilization; 
Purpose of organization: Develop and implement a UAS frequency 
management plan for all DOD UAS to support the full range of mission 
requirements. 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD documents. 

[End of table] 

Second, in April 2008 the Secretary of Defense established a separate 
entity--the ISR Task Force--to develop options to deploy additional ISR 
capabilities, including UAS, to support ongoing military operations in 
Afghanistan and Iraq. The ISR Task Force is also responsible for 
developing options to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of 
deployed ISR and UAS assets and has made a series of recommendations to 
the Secretary of Defense to increase ISR capabilities. Based on these 
recommendations, DOD received congressional approval to reprogram about 
$1.3 billion in fiscal year 2008 funds to increase ISR capabilities to 
support ongoing operations. Of this amount, about $500 million will be 
used for various UAS initiatives, such as increasing the number of 
Predator combat air patrols[Footnote 13] and acquiring additional 
contractor-operated UAS. The ISR Task Force is developing other 
proposals to further increase the use of UAS, such as deploying 
increased numbers of the Army's Shadow, a tactical UAS. 

Furthermore, in November 2007 DOD refocused the mission of the Joint 
UAS Center of Excellence (Center) to coordinate the development of 
training activities and to improve the operational employment of UAS. 
The Center was established in July 2005 under the Joint Staff with a 
broad mission to enhance joint UAS operations. Since November 2007, the 
Center has initiated work on a range of activities. For example, it has 
conducted a study to evaluate alternative command and control 
arrangements for UAS to optimize the use of assets that are capable of 
conducting joint operations. In addition, the Joint Requirements 
Oversight Council requested that the Center assess the military 
services' training and manning approaches for all categories of UAS and 
develop recommendations to achieve joint-service efficiencies. It is 
also revising the joint concept of operations for UAS[Footnote 14] to 
include more detailed information on special operations forces' UAS 
procedures and maritime and urban UAS operations, among other topics. 
The Center is also assisting U.S. Joint Forces Command in its annual 
effort to update joint doctrine to ensure the inclusion of consistent 
and relevant information regarding UAS operations. 

Several Studies Are Under Way to Assess Long-term UAS Demand and to 
Improve UAS Effectiveness: 

DOD organizations have initiated several studies to determine long-term 
UAS needs that will be used to inform future UAS acquisition decisions. 
For example, the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for 
Intelligence is leading an assessment of the demand for ISR 
capabilities for conventional forces in the Global War on Terrorism and 
irregular warfare. According to officials, the study is intended to 
clarify mid-and long-term needs for specific ISR programs, including 
UAS. The analysis is based on an assessment of ISR performance across a 
range of military missions in Iraq, such as counterinsurgency 
operations, and has been used to determine which ISR capabilities are 
insufficient to meet the demand for these capabilities. According to 
officials with the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for 
Intelligence, the analysis has been a key source of data used to 
support DOD's decisions to increase investments in additional UAS 
platforms and sensors. In addition, the analysis has been used to 
develop guidance that the Office of the Secretary of Defense provided 
to the DOD components, instructing them to further invest in UAS 
capabilities. Based on current plans, these investments will be 
reflected in DOD's budget request for the President's fiscal year 2010 
budget. 

In addition, U.S. Strategic Command is leading a departmentwide study 
to determine all long-term requirements for ISR programs, including 
UAS. In order to meet warfighter demand for the capabilities provided 
by UAS assets, the department has requested increased production of 
certain UAS, including the Predator, Sky Warrior, Reaper, and Global 
Hawk, to their maximum production capacity. According to officials with 
the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff, U.S. 
Strategic Command is currently developing an approach to determine the 
mix of manned and unmanned ISR assets, including UAS, needed to support 
the department's force plans established in DOD's planning documents. 
The results of this study will be used by DOD to guide decisions in 
future investments in UAS programs. 

Furthermore, in its first quadrennial review of the roles and missions 
of the armed forces, DOD is examining those concerning UAS operations 
in particular. DOD's review is intended to determine whether there is 
unnecessary duplication of capabilities across DOD components and how 
the department could better develop UAS to increase combat 
effectiveness and improve support to warfighters, among other issues. 
This review is being conducted in 2008 and DOD must submit the results 
to the relevant committees of Congress not later than the date for 
submission of the department's budget request for the President's 
fiscal year 2010 budget.[Footnote 15] 

Roadmap Is Intended to Guide UAS Planning: 

In December 2007, DOD issued the Roadmap, which it characterizes as a 
comprehensive, departmentwide plan for the future development of 
unmanned systems, including UAS. The 2007 Roadmap is an update of the 
2005 Roadmap and incorporates the military services' individual 
roadmaps and plans for UAS, unmanned ground vehicles, unmanned undersea 
vehicles, and unmanned surface vehicles. The Roadmap identifies mission 
areas within DOD that can be supported technologically and 
operationally by unmanned systems and that should be considered by DOD 
components when prioritizing future research, development, and 
procurement of unmanned systems. Additionally, the Roadmap establishes 
specific goals for unmanned systems to support larger DOD goals of 
fielding transformational capabilities, establishing and implementing 
joint standards, ensuring interoperability, balancing the portfolio, 
and controlling costs. The specific goals for unmanned systems are as 
follows: 

* Improving the effectiveness of combatant command and coalition 
unmanned systems through improved integration and joint services 
collaboration. 

* Emphasizing commonality to achieve greater interoperability among 
system controls, communications, data products, and data links on 
unmanned systems. 

* Fostering the development of policies, standards, and procedures that 
enable safe and timely operations and the effective integration of 
manned and unmanned systems. 

* Implementing standardized and protected control measures for unmanned 
systems and their associated armament. 

* Supporting rapid integration of validated combat capabilities in 
fielded and deployed systems through a flexible test and logistical 
support process. 

* Aggressively controlling cost by utilizing competition, refining and 
prioritizing requirements, and increasing interdependencies among DOD 
systems. 

The Military Services Have Initiated Efforts Intended to Improve UAS 
Management and Operational Use: 

The military services have also taken steps intended to improve the 
management of UAS programs and the operational use of these systems. 
For example, the Army, Air Force, and Navy joint-service airspace 
integration work group has developed a two-phase strategy intended to 
meet DOD's UAS operational and training needs. The first phase focuses 
on resolving near-term issues to expand access to the national airspace 
for specific UAS beyond current DOD and Federal Aviation Administration 
restrictions. The second phase is intended to develop specific 
performance standards for UAS technologies and operational procedures 
that will provide UAS with an appropriate level of safety to operate in 
the airspace required to accomplish its mission. 

In addition, in select cases the military services have taken steps to 
develop more common UAS programs, and the Army and Air Force are 
developing a common concept of operations to employ similar UAS. For 
example: 

* In September 2007, the Deputy Secretary of Defense directed that the 
Army's Sky Warrior UAS and the Air Force's Predator UAS be combined 
into a single acquisition program. In February 2008, the Army and Air 
Force signed a memorandum of agreement to establish an acquisition 
partnership for the development and acquisition of the combined Sky 
Warrior and Predator acquisition program. The goals of this effort are 
to reduce total acquisition costs and facilitate increased 
interoperability. As part of this effort, the services established an 
executive steering group to provide overarching management of the Army 
and Air Force combined acquisition effort. 

* With guidance from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Army 
and Marine Corps have developed a common set of UAS programs to support 
land operations. For example, Army and Marine Corps ground forces, as 
well as special operations forces, employ the Raven man-portable UAS. 
Additionally, the Marine Corps began fielding the Shadow tactical UAS 
in 2007 as the replacement system for the legacy Pioneer UAS. The 
Shadow is the tactical UAS fielded by the Army's brigade combat teams. 

* The Navy and Marine Corps have also taken steps to combine separate 
UAS acquisition programs. The Navy made the decision to combine two 
separate programs--the Navy's Small Tactical UAS and the Marine Corps' 
Tier II UAS--into a single acquisition program to eliminate duplicative 
development efforts while ensuring an integrated and interoperable 
program for Navy and Marine Corps requirements. 

* In August 2007, the Joint Staff validated separate concepts of 
operations for the Army's Sky Warrior UAS and the Air Force's Predator 
UAS, stipulating that a joint force commander be enabled to use these 
assets as needed to meet theater requirements. However, the Army and 
Air Force, in coordination with U.S. Joint Forces Command, are 
currently identifying areas where commonality may be achieved in a 
common concept of operations, and they have initiated work to develop a 
joint-service concept of operations for the Sky Warrior and Predator 
UAS that will describe the capabilities and requirements for UAS 
employment at the theater level. 

DOD Efforts Lack Elements of an Overarching Organizational Framework to 
Improve the Management and Operational Use of UAS: 

DOD has taken several positive steps to improve the management and 
operational use of UAS, but its approach lacks key elements of an 
overarching organizational framework needed to fully integrate efforts, 
sustain progress, and resolve long-standing challenges. First, although 
DOD has created new entities and assigned other offices to oversee 
various aspects of UAS matters, no single office or entity is 
accountable for integrating key management efforts undertaken to 
address the full range of challenges that DOD faces in the development 
and acquisition of UAS and the use of these assets in combat 
operations. Second, DOD has not defined the roles, responsibilities, 
and relationships among the various UAS-related organizations to 
provide for effective communication of UAS efforts within DOD and among 
external stakeholders, such as Congress. Third, DOD has not developed a 
comprehensive and integrated strategic plan to align departmental and 
service efforts to improve the management and operational use of UAS 
with long-term implementation goals, priorities, and time lines, as 
well as with other departmental planning efforts. 

DOD Has Not Designated a Single Office or Entity That Is Accountable 
for Integrating UAS Efforts: 

DOD has not designated a single office or entity, supported by an 
implementation team, that is accountable for integrating departmental 
and service efforts to resolve the full range of challenges presented 
by the development and acquisition of UAS and their integration into 
combat operations. Our prior work has shown that as DOD and other 
agencies embark on large-scale organizational change initiatives, there 
is a compelling need to integrate various key management and 
transformational efforts into a coherent and enterprisewide approach. 
We have also reported that top-level leadership should vest an 
implementation team with dedicated resources and funding to ensure that 
change initiatives receive focused, full-time attention and are 
implemented in a coherent and integrated way.[Footnote 16] Without such 
leadership, DOD risks not being able to sustain its progress and ensure 
the success of its efforts to improve the management and operational 
use of UAS. 

Although senior DOD leaders have increased management attention on UAS 
by establishing new entities and assigning responsibilities to improve 
the management and operational use of UAS to several different DOD 
offices, no single office or entity is accountable for coordinating and 
integrating the department's various cross-cutting UAS efforts. Our 
prior work has shown that DOD lacked a robust oversight framework to 
guide UAS development and investment decisions.[Footnote 17] As such, 
we previously recommended that DOD designate a single organization with 
sufficient authority to enforce the implementation of a UAS strategic 
plan and to promote joint operations and the efficient expenditure of 
funds. DOD did not agree with our recommendation noting that the 
existing organizational framework provided sufficient oversight. 

Since that time, DOD has taken additional actions that are intended to 
both improve the management of UAS programs and the operational use of 
these systems, and determine how UAS capabilities will support the 
department's ISR needs. Our analysis shows that DOD has commenced at 
least seven separate initiatives and related organizational changes 
since September 2006 that at least in part are intended to do so. Yet 
as shown in table 4, the accountability for these initiatives resides 
with differing organizations within DOD. For example, the UAS Task 
Force receives its direction and provides recommendations through the 
Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, 
and Logistics to the Deputy's Advisory Working Group.[Footnote 18] 
Separately, the Joint UAS Center of Excellence has been directed to 
coordinate efforts to improve the training and operational use of UAS 
and will report progress through U.S. Joint Forces Command to the Joint 
Requirements Oversight Council. Although these efforts are intended to 
complement one another, the priorities for each initiative have not 
been fully integrated with a DOD-wide approach to resolve UAS 
challenges and determine how UAS will meet the department's ISR or 
other mission needs. 

Table 4: Select DOD Initiatives to Improve Management and Operations of 
ISR and UAS: 

Initiative: Battlespace awareness capability portfolio manager; 
Initiation date: Sept. 2006; 
Purpose: To oversee ISR capabilities, including UAS programs, to 
improve interoperability, minimize capability redundancies and gaps, 
and maximize capability effectiveness; 
Reporting line of authority: Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence 
and the Deputy's Advisory Working Group. 

Initiative: UAS Task Force; 
Initiation date: Oct. 2007; 
Purpose: To lead a DOD-wide effort to coordinate critical UAS issues 
and develop a way ahead to enhance operations, enable 
interdependencies, and streamline acquisitions; 
Reporting line of authority: Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, 
Technology, and Logistics and the Deputy's Advisory Working Group. 

Initiative: Joint UAS Center of Excellence; 
Initiation date: Nov. 2007[A]; 
Purpose: To focus the mission of the Joint UAS Center of Excellence on 
coordinating training activities and improving the operational 
employment of UAS; 
Reporting line of authority: U.S. Joint Forces Command and the Joint 
Requirements Oversight Council. 

Initiative: ISR support for conventional forces and missions in the 
Global War on Terrorism and irregular warfare; 
Initiation date: Jan. 2008; 
Purpose: To evaluate the growing demand for ISR and UAS capabilities in 
irregular warfare, and to identify mid-and long-term ISR and UAS needs 
to gain an ISR advantage in irregular warfare; 
Reporting line of authority: Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence 
and the Joint Staff. 

Initiative: ISR Task Force; 
Initiation date: April 2008; 
Purpose: To assess and propose options for maximizing the number of 
deployed ISR and UAS assets, and to improve the efficiency and 
effectiveness of their use; 
Reporting line of authority: Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence 
and the Secretary of Defense. 

Initiative: Quadrennial roles and missions review; 
Initiation date: May 2008; 
Purpose: To assess opportunities to expand jointness, achieve greater 
operational effectiveness, and reduce unnecessary duplication in ISR 
and UAS programs; 
Reporting line of authority: Undersecretary of Defense for Policy. 

Initiative: ISR force sizing construct; 
Initiation date: June 2008; 
Purpose: To develop an operational ISR force sizing construct and test 
it in coordination with U.S. Pacific Command; 
Reporting line of authority: Joint Requirements Oversight Council. 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD documents. 

[A] The Joint UAS Center of Excellence was established in 2005 with a 
broad mission to develop common UAS operating standards, capabilities, 
concepts, technologies, doctrine, tactics, techniques, procedures, and 
training. 

[End of table] 

DOD also does not have an implementation team in place, with dedicated 
resources and funding, to ensure that its efforts to improve the 
management and operational use of UAS are implemented in a coherent and 
integrated way. For example, most of the officials who lead DOD's UAS 
Task Force's integrated product teams do so as an extra responsibility 
outside of their normal work duties. In addition, the ISR and UAS task 
forces do not have dedicated funding to support their activities, such 
as travel funds for attending meetings, or to implement task force 
initiatives and recommendations. Officials told us that the lack of 
dedicated personnel and resources has created challenges for them in 
completing their work. A senior UAS Task Force official told us that 
the challenge created by the limited number of personnel assigned to 
the task force is further exacerbated by the fact that these personnel 
also participate in other ongoing UAS-related activities, such as the 
ISR Task Force and the quadrennial roles and missions study. In 
contrast, the Joint UAS Center of Excellence is composed of joint- 
service personnel and has dedicated funding to perform its mission. 
Without a long-term funding mechanism in place, DOD may be unable to 
ensure that efforts to improve the management and operational use of 
UAS can be sustained over a period of years. 

DOD Lacks a Strategy to Facilitate Effective Communication of UAS 
Efforts: 

DOD does not have an effective strategy to facilitate communication of 
UAS efforts within DOD and among external stakeholders, such as 
Congress, because it has not clearly defined the roles, 
responsibilities, and relationships of its various initiatives intended 
to improve the management and operational use of UAS. We have 
previously reported that establishing a communications strategy is 
important because it creates shared expectations and is crucial in the 
public sector, where policy making and program management call for 
transparency regarding the goals and outcomes to be achieved and the 
processes to be used in achieving them.[Footnote 19] 

However, DOD has not clearly defined the missions, authorities, roles 
and responsibilities, and near-and long-term goals for the ISR and UAS 
task forces in directives or other publications. For example, the ISR 
Task Force initiated its work under the broad direction specified in an 
April 2008 Secretary of Defense memorandum. Senior task force officials 
have expressed uncertainty about accountability for implementing the 
task force's recommendations, because the Secretary of Defense's 
memorandum does not specify how the implementation of the 
recommendations will be handled. In August 2008, DOD decided to realign 
the ISR Task Force under the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense 
for Intelligence. As of September 2008, DOD had not published a 
directive or other publication to guide the efforts of the task force. 
Although a senior task force official told us that efforts are under 
way to promulgate such guidance, it is unclear how the guidance will 
clarify the roles and responsibilities for the ISR Task Force, and how 
the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence will coordinate efforts 
to implement the task force's recommendations. 

Furthermore, DOD has not defined the relationships within or among UAS 
efforts. For example, the UAS Task Force's integrated product teams 
addressing issues such as UAS acquisition streamlining and airspace 
integration have not completed detailed action plans that are clearly 
integrated with the UAS Task Force's charter and other departmental UAS 
efforts. Although the UAS Task Force's integrated product teams had 
initiated work on charters and action plans at the time of our work, 
these efforts had not been finalized and milestones had not been 
established for completing them. As a result, it is unclear to what 
extent the UAS Task Force's integrated product teams had identified 
specific goals, stakeholders and their empowerment, personnel and 
resource requirements, and milestones for completing work. Moreover, it 
is unclear how the UAS Task Force's work has been integrated with that 
of other DOD entities that is intended to improve the management and 
operational use of UAS. 

An independent assessment of the UAS Task Force, completed in August 
2008 at the request of the Task Force Director, concluded that a key 
challenge in accomplishing its goals was the lack of an effective 
communications plan. The assessment team made recommendations that the 
task force and its integrated product teams complete formal charters, 
develop detailed action plans with milestones that identify 
stakeholders and resource requirements, and develop a strategy to 
improve communication from the task force leadership to the integrated 
product team members and across the task force's integrated product 
teams. Without a communications strategy that clearly defines the 
roles, responsibilities, and relationships of the various entities 
addressing UAS challenges, DOD may not adequately address House 
Committee on Armed Services concerns regarding the actions that DOD has 
taken to overcome UAS-related challenges and how these efforts are 
being coordinated with DOD's ISR manned and unmanned capabilities. 

DOD Lacks a Comprehensive and Integrated Plan to Align Efforts to 
Improve Management and Operational Use of UAS: 

DOD continues to be challenged in improving the management and 
operational use of UAS because it lacks a comprehensive and integrated 
strategic plan that aligns individual UAS efforts with other 
departmental planning efforts. Our prior work has shown that this type 
of plan should contain results-oriented goals, measures, and 
expectations that link institutional, unit, and individual performance 
goals and expectations to promote accountability, and establish an 
effective process and related tools for implementation and oversight. 
Furthermore, such an integrated plan would be instrumental in 
establishing investment priorities and guiding the department's key 
resource decisions.[Footnote 20] 

We have previously reported that DOD lacked a comprehensive plan or set 
of plans for developing and fielding UAS across DOD.[Footnote 21] 
Specifically, we found that DOD's UAS roadmaps have not constituted a 
comprehensive strategic plan for integrating UAS into the military 
services' force structure. As such, we recommended that the Secretary 
of Defense modify the existing Roadmap or establish a comprehensive 
strategic plan that would include key elements such as a clear link 
connecting goals, capabilities, funding priorities, and needs. DOD 
partially agreed with our recommendation but noted that since UAS are 
one of many possible materiel solutions available to the department for 
a given mission capability, they should not be the exclusive focus of a 
separate strategic plan. DOD also stated that it would continue to work 
to develop detailed mission capability plans. 

In December 2007, DOD issued the current Roadmap, which incorporates 
all of the department's individual roadmaps and master plans for 
unmanned systems into a comprehensive document. The Roadmap contains 
some elements of sound strategic planning to guide DOD's unmanned 
systems programs, including UAS. For example, it contains a detailed 
purpose, or mission statement, and a description of broad goals and 
objectives that DOD has established for its unmanned systems programs. 
Table 5 summarizes the Roadmap's goals and objectives for unmanned 
systems. 

Table 5: DOD Goals and Objectives for Unmanned Systems: 

Goals: Improve the effectiveness of combatant command and coalition 
unmanned systems through improved integration and joint services 
collaboration; 
Objectives: * Conduct experimentation with promising technologies; 
* Conduct risk reduction on mature technologies. 

Goals: Emphasize commonality to achieve greater interoperability among 
system controls, communications, data products, and data links on 
unmanned systems; 
Objectives: * Field secure common data link communications systems for 
unmanned systems control and sensor product data distribution; 
* Improve capability to prevent interception, interference, jamming, 
and hijacking; 
* Migrate to a capability compliant with other communications 
initiatives, when available; 
* Increase emphasis on common standards to allow for greater 
interoperability of unmanned systems; 
* Ensure compliance with existing DOD and intelligence community 
standards and profiles for motion imagery. 

Goals: Foster the development of policies, standards, and procedures 
that enable safe and timely operations and the effective integration of 
manned and unmanned systems; 
Objectives: * Promote the development, adoption, and enforcement of 
government and commercial standards for the design, manufacturing, and 
testing of unmanned systems; 
* Coordinate with federal transportation organizations to ensure that 
the operations of DOD unmanned systems adhere to comparable manned 
systems requirements; 
* Develop and field unmanned systems that can autonomously sense and 
avoid other objects to provide a level of safety equivalent to 
comparable manned systems. 

Goals: Implement standardized and protected control measures for 
unmanned systems and their associated armament; 
Objectives: * Develop a standard unmanned systems architecture and 
other standards for appropriate unmanned systems; 
* Develop a standard unmanned systems architecture and other standards 
for unmanned systems capable of weapons carriage. 

Goals: Support rapid demonstration and integration of validated combat 
capabilities in fielded and deployed systems through a flexible 
prototyping, test, and logistical support process; 
Objectives: * Develop and field reliable propulsion alternatives to 
gasoline-powered engines; 
* Develop common power sources for unmanned systems that meet size, 
weight, and space requirements, preferably common with manned systems. 

Goals: Control cost aggressively by utilizing competition, refining and 
prioritizing requirements, and increasing interdependencies among DOD 
systems; 
Objectives: * Compete all future unmanned system programs; 
* Implement configuration steering boards to increase the collaboration 
between engineering and operations to field capabilities within budget 
constraints; 
* Develop common interoperability profiles for development, design, and 
operation of unmanned systems. 

Source: Office of the Secretary of Defense's Unmanned Systems Roadmap 
2007-2032. 

[End of table] 

While the most recent Roadmap incorporates some strategic planning 
elements, it only minimally addresses other key components that could 
further align departmental and service efforts to improve the 
management and operational use of UAS. For example, the Roadmap 
provides a plan for the integration of UAS into the national airspace 
system, which aligns with one of DOD's goals for unmanned systems: to 
foster the development of policies, standards, and procedures that 
enable safe and timely operations and the effective integration of 
manned and unmanned systems. However, the Roadmap does not indicate how 
DOD plans to achieve each of its goals and objectives for unmanned 
systems, or contain a detailed timeline with milestones to track the 
progress that DOD has achieved in meeting its goals and objectives. 

Another element that is key for sound strategic planning is the 
identification of performance gaps and clear linkages between proposed 
investments and long-term planning goals. However, the Roadmap does not 
identify DOD's performance gap for the most urgent mission priorities 
that can be supported by unmanned systems or the resources needed to 
close these gaps. The Roadmap identifies the most urgent mission 
priorities that can be supported by UAS, including reconnaissance and 
surveillance; target identification and designation; and chemical, 
biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive reconnaissance. But 
the Roadmap does not clearly establish DOD's performance gap for these 
missions, which would help the military services and defense agencies 
prioritize future research, development, and procurement investments in 
unmanned systems technology. Furthermore, although the Roadmap provides 
summary data on DOD's current and planned investments in unmanned 
systems, including UAS, it does not show linkages between proposed UAS 
investments and the Roadmap's long-term planning goals. 

Additionally, DOD has not clearly integrated the strategic goals for 
UAS with other departmental planning efforts. For example, DOD issued 
the ISR Integration Roadmap as a plan to guide the development and 
integration of DOD's ISR capabilities. However, we reported in March 
2008 that the ISR Integration Roadmap does not provide a clear vision 
of a future ISR enterprise indicating what capabilities are required to 
achieve DOD's strategic goals for ISR.[Footnote 22] Our analysis shows 
that the current Roadmap does not link DOD's UAS activities with a 
larger ISR strategy and the goals in the ISR Integration Roadmap. As a 
result, although DOD continues to request funds to expand UAS 
inventories, it does so without the informed understanding that it 
could use to determine what long-term UAS force structure plans are 
required to achieve the department's strategic goals for ISR and the 
related funding needed to support these plans. DOD officials agreed 
with our analysis that the Roadmap lacks several strategic planning 
elements and that its strategic goals were not clearly linked with the 
goals established in the ISR Integration Roadmap. Officials stated that 
future versions of these documents would further refine planning 
elements, such as the department's unmanned systems vision, strategy, 
schedules, and investments. However, it is unclear whether these steps 
would constitute a comprehensive and integrated strategic plan for UAS. 

Furthermore, while the department is planning to establish capability 
portfolio strategic plans for its existing joint capability 
areas,[Footnote 23] including battlespace awareness, it is unclear how 
strategic goals for UAS initiatives may be linked. According to DOD 
documents, these strategic plans will be used as part of the capability 
portfolio management process to evaluate capability demand against 
resource constraints, identify and assess risks, and suggest capability 
trade-offs within capability portfolios. However, since these planning 
efforts are in the early stages and are focused on capability areas, 
which are broader in scope, it is unclear how strategic goals for UAS 
initiatives may be linked. 

Conclusions: 

Although DOD has experienced a high level of mission success with UAS 
in ongoing operations, the dramatic increase in the demand for and use 
of these assets has posed challenges. DOD has implemented various 
initiatives intended to address concerns with the development and 
acquisition of UAS, as well as with the integration of an increasing 
number of these assets into combat operations. However, the department 
continues to lack an overarching organizational framework to guide UAS 
development and the additional investments it plans to make to further 
increase UAS inventories. In the absence of such a framework, DOD faces 
challenges in managing the current inventories of UAS systems, 
developing coordinated concepts of operations, disseminating UAS plans, 
and coordinating the efforts of the numerous organizations addressing 
specific issues related to the UAS community. These challenges may 
become even more difficult to fully resolve, as the very existence and 
roles of DOD's UAS initiatives could change with the election of a new 
presidential administration. Without a single entity responsible for 
coordinating and integrating all cross-cutting UAS matters; clearly 
defined roles, responsibilities, and relationships to facilitate 
communication of UAS efforts; and a comprehensive and integrated 
strategic plan that aligns individual UAS efforts with long-term goals, 
priorities, and milestones, as well as with other departmental planning 
efforts, DOD will continue to face challenges to fully integrating 
departmental and service efforts to resolve long-standing problems in 
the management and operational use of UAS. 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

To develop a fully integrated framework to sustain progress and resolve 
long-standing challenges in the management and operational use of UAS, 
we recommend that the Secretary of Defense take the following three 
steps: 

* Designate a single departmental entity that is responsible and 
accountable for integrating all cross-cutting DOD efforts related to 
improving the management and operational use of UAS. This entity should 
be supported by an implementation team with dedicated resources and 
funding and should serve as the DOD point of coordination for all UAS 
initiatives; integrate all UAS activities throughout DOD; and as part 
of the planning, programming, budgeting, and execution process, make 
recommendations to the Secretary of Defense in determining the priority 
of the department's UAS-related initiatives. 

* Define, in directives or other publications as appropriate, the 
roles, responsibilities, and relationships among various UAS-related 
entities to facilitate communication within DOD and among external 
stakeholders. 

* Develop a comprehensive and integrated UAS strategic plan, in 
coordination with DOD components, to align UAS goals and funding with 
long-term departmental planning efforts. The UAS strategic plan should, 
at a minimum, include elements such as a comprehensive mission 
statement, long-term goals and an explanation of how the goals are to 
be achieved, a timeline with milestones to track progress toward short- 
and long-term goals, and a determination of the resources needed to 
close any current capability and capacity gaps. In addition, the 
strategic plan should show clear linkages between UAS initiatives and 
other comprehensive departmental planning efforts, such as the ISR 
Integration Roadmap and the development of joint capability area 
strategic plans. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

In written comments on a draft of this report, DOD partially concurred 
with one recommendation and did not concur with the other two 
recommendations. DOD's comments are reprinted in appendix II. DOD also 
provided technical comments, which we incorporated into the report as 
appropriate. 

DOD did not concur with our recommendation that the Secretary of 
Defense designate a single departmental entity responsible and 
accountable for integrating all cross-cutting DOD efforts related to 
improving the management and operational use of UAS. DOD stated that in 
response to the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review and in line with 
recommended best practices from a March 2007 GAO report,[Footnote 24] 
DOD has undertaken several initiatives to improve the department's 
approach to investment and decision making, including the 
implementation of capability portfolio managers. DOD further stated 
that it had created the UAS Task Force--in lieu of an executive agent-
-to coordinate critical UAS issues to enhance operations, enable 
interdependencies, and streamline UAS acquisition. DOD stated that 
since UAS are gaining increasing roles in other capability portfolios, 
the UAS Task Force also coordinates with other portfolio managers on 
UAS issues. In our report, we specifically recognize that DOD has 
initiated a number of efforts, including capability portfolio 
management and the UAS Task Force. However, capability portfolio 
management efforts are focused on joint capability areas, such as 
battlespace awareness, which are broad in scope and the 
responsibilities of the capability portfolio managers are continuing to 
evolve. As yet, the Joint Battlespace Awareness Capability Portfolio 
Manager has not been formally assigned the responsibility for 
integrating all cross-cutting DOD efforts related to improving the 
management and operational use of UAS. Furthermore, although the UAS 
Task Force Director is responsible for coordinating some critical UAS 
issues, making recommendations to the Deputy's Advisory Working Group, 
and where necessary, assigning lead organizations for UAS acquisition 
and management, the Director has not been assigned specific authority 
or responsibility for integrating all cross-cutting DOD UAS 
initiatives. Conversely, the accountability for the department's 
various activities that are intended to improve the management and 
operational use of UAS is distributed among multiple organizations 
within DOD, and the priorities for these activities have not been fully 
integrated with a DOD-wide approach to resolve UAS challenges. 
Therefore, we continue to believe that a single entity--supported by an 
implementation team--that is accountable for integrating cross-cutting 
UAS issues would better position DOD to sustain its progress and ensure 
the success of its efforts to improve the management and operational 
use of UAS. 

DOD partially concurred with our recommendation that the Secretary of 
Defense define, in directives or other publications as appropriate, the 
roles, responsibilities, and relationships among various UAS-related 
entities to facilitate communication within DOD and among external 
stakeholders. DOD stated that the UAS Task Force has developed a plan 
of action and milestones to address these issues. DOD also stated that 
it continues to improve the Roadmap, and sees the document as an 
effective tool for communication both across DOD and with external 
stakeholders. DOD also stated that several documents have been signed 
or are in the process of being signed that define the roles, 
responsibilities, and relationships among the key activities that 
interact in decisions relating to the management and use of UAS to 
provide specific warfighting capabilities. For example, DOD published a 
directive in September 2008 that establishes policy and assigns 
responsibilities for the use of capability portfolio managers,[Footnote 
25] and the department is in the process of finalizing a charter for 
the ISR Task Force. We recognize that DOD has completed some steps and 
has additional efforts under way to further define the roles, 
responsibilities, and relationships of its UAS initiatives. However, 
neither the department's capability portfolio management directive nor 
the most recent version of the Roadmap provide comprehensive 
information on the various UAS-related entities, such as the UAS Task 
Force, which are intended to improve the management and operational use 
of UAS. Furthermore, we acknowledge in this report that DOD has efforts 
under way to publish guidance further defining the missions, 
authorities, roles and responsibilities, and near-and long-term goals 
for the UAS Task Force and the ISR Task Force. As DOD finalizes this 
guidance, we continue to believe it will be important that the result 
clearly defines the roles, responsibilities, and relationships for each 
of its UAS-related organizations. 

DOD did not concur with our recommendation that the Secretary of 
Defense develop a comprehensive and integrated UAS strategic plan, in 
coordination with DOD components, to align UAS goals and funding with 
long-term departmental planning efforts. DOD stated that it has 
undertaken several initiatives to improve the department's approach to 
investment and decision making, including the implementation of its 
capability portfolio managers, and that the department's strategic plan 
for investment is aligned with portfolios that address specific 
warfighting capabilities as opposed to platforms or material solutions, 
such as UAS. DOD also stated that long-term goals and guidance for 
achieving those goals are provided in top-level documents, such as the 
Guidance for the Development of the Force, and that the Joint 
Capabilities Integration Development System provides a structured 
process to address warfighting capability and capacity gaps. 
Furthermore, DOD stated that to ensure that emphasis is not lost on 
making the most efficient use of UAS platforms and technologies, the 
department created the UAS Task Force, which translates the 
department's capabilities-based strategic plan into the platform-and 
technology-based Roadmap that can be shared with external stakeholders 
and industry. Lastly, DOD stated that our report came to a flawed 
conclusion by asserting that since the Unmanned Systems Roadmap does 
not have all of the elements of a strategic plan, DOD lacks a strategic 
plan. We recognize that DOD has a number of initiatives, processes, and 
guidance, including the Unmanned Systems Roadmap, that are part of the 
department's strategic planning approach. However, we believe these 
efforts, whether taken individually or collectively, do not constitute 
a strategic plan for UAS that lays out a clear path for the 
department's UAS programs. As we state in the report, in the case of 
the Unmanned Systems Roadmap, the document lacks key elements of a 
strategic plan, such as a focus on how to accomplish DOD's goals and 
objectives for UAS, milestones to track progress, identification of 
performance gaps, and clear linkages between proposed UAS investments 
and long-term planning goals. Further, while the department is planning 
to establish capability portfolio strategic plans for joint capability 
areas, these are broader in scope and it is unclear how strategic goals 
for UAS initiatives may be linked. Therefore, we continue to believe 
that our recommendation that DOD develop a comprehensive and integrated 
UAS strategic plan--or complementary set of plans--to align UAS goals 
and funding with long-term departmental planning efforts has merit. 

We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Defense, the 
Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Air Force, the Secretary of 
the Navy, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps. We will make copies 
available to others upon request. In addition, this report will be made 
available at no charge on the GAO Web site at [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov]. If you or your staffs have any questions about 
this report, please contact me at (202) 512-9619 or pickups@gao.gov. 
Contact points for our Offices of Congressional Relations and Public 
Affairs may be found on the last page of this report. Key contributors 
to this report are listed in appendix III. 

Signed by: 

Sharon L. Pickup: 

Director Defense Capabilities and Management: 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology: 

To identify key departmental and military service efforts to improve 
the management and operational use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), 
we conducted a literature review of both previous reports prepared by 
Congress and our prior work and consolidated a list of challenges 
presented by the development and acquisition of UAS and their 
integration into combat operations. We obtained and analyzed available 
internal Department of Defense (DOD) documentation, such as briefings, 
directives, memorandums, and roadmaps that describe specific UAS- 
related initiatives implemented by DOD and the military services. We 
interviewed officials with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the 
Joint Staff, DOD's unified combatant commands, and the military 
services to better understand DOD's decision-making processes for 
implementing these initiatives. We also interviewed officials who are 
leading and participating in the Office of the Secretary of Defense's 
UAS Task Force, including members of the task force's integrated 
product teams, to obtain information about the task force's goals, 
progress made to date, and any unresolved challenges. We interviewed 
officials with the Office of the Secretary of Defense's Intelligence, 
Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Task Force to obtain information about 
the task force's efforts to acquire UAS and to improve and the 
effectiveness and efficiency of UAS in ongoing military operations. We 
analyzed DOD plans for UAS-related studies and interviewed relevant 
officials to determine how DOD intends to use the study results to 
inform current and future UAS plans. We interviewed officials with the 
military services to document the key actions that each service was 
taking to improve the management and operational use of UAS programs. 

To assess the extent to which DOD's efforts constitute an overarching 
organizational framework to guide and oversee UAS efforts, we obtained 
and analyzed documents that describe the roles, responsibilities, and 
relationships of the offices and entities that are responsible for 
improving the management and operational use of DOD's UAS programs. 
These documents include briefings; directives and memorandums; DOD's 
Unmanned Systems Roadmap;[Footnote 26] draft and finalized 
organizational charters; and UAS program management and budget 
materials. We identified key elements of an overarching organizational 
framework based on our prior work and the Government Performance and 
Result Act of 1993 to determine the extent to which DOD's oversight 
structure incorporates these elements. We interviewed officials with 
the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the 
military services who are responsible for managing or overseeing key 
UAS issues, such as acquisition, program management, research and 
development, and training, to obtain their views on the progress that 
has been made and the challenges that remain to improve the management 
and operational use of UAS. In addition, we solicited their views on 
the extent to which DOD's efforts constitute an integrated approach. We 
analyzed DOD's Unmanned Systems Roadmap to determine which elements of 
sound strategic plans it contains, and discussed the results of our 
analysis with DOD officials responsible for preparing the document. We 
also reviewed the conclusions and recommendations of a DOD assessment 
of the management and operations of the Office of the Secretary of 
Defense's UAS Task Force, and interviewed the assessment team leader to 
determine the approach taken in conducting the assessment. We conducted 
this performance audit from September 2007 through November 2008 in 
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those 
standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain 
sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our 
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that 
the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and 
conclusions based on our audit objectives. 

We interviewed officials and, where appropriate, obtained documentation 
at the following locations: 

Office of the Secretary of Defense: 

* Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, 
and Logistics: 

* Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence: 

* Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness: 

* Office of the Director, Program Analysis and Evaluation: 

Joint Chiefs of Staff: 

* Directorate for Intelligence: 

* Directorate for Operations: 

* Directorate for Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment: 

Department of the Army: 

* Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, 
Logistics, and Technology: 

* Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G3/5/7: 

* Army Training and Doctrine Command: 

* Army Aviation Center of Excellence: 

* Army Intelligence Center: 

* Army UAS Training Battalion: 

* Army National Guard: 

* 25th Combat Aviation Brigade: 

Department of the Navy: 

* Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Air Warfare Division: 

* Naval Air Systems Command: 

* Headquarters Marine Corps, Department of Aviation, Weapons 
Requirements Branch: 

* Marine Corps Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron-2: 

Department of the Air Force: 

* Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Financial 
Management: 

* Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, 
and Reconnaissance: 

* Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Programs: 

* Air Force Air Combat Command: 

* Air National Guard: 

* Air Force Personnel Center: 

* Air Force 480th Intelligence Wing: 

* Air Force 432nd Wing: 

Other DOD components: 

* United States Central Command: 

* United States Joint Forces Command: 

* United States Special Operations Command: 

* United States Strategic Command: 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: Comments from the Department of Defense: 

Office Of The Under Secretary Of Defense: 
3000 Defense Pentagon: 
Washington, DC 2030-3000: 

Acquisition Technology And Logistics: 

October 23, 2008: 

Ms. Sharon L. Pickup: 
Director, Defense Capabilities and Management: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, N.W.: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

Dear Ms. Pickup:

This is the Department of Defense (DoD) response to the GAO draft 
report, GAO-08-1129, "Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Additional Actions 
Needed to Improve Management and Integration of DoD Efforts to Support 
Warfighter Needs," dated September 23, 2008 (GAO Code 351096). 

The DoD non-concurs with two of the draft report's recommendations and 
partially concurs with the other. The rationale for our positions are 
enclosed. 

We appreciate the opportunity to comment on the draft report. For 
further questions concerning this report, please contact Mr. Dyke 
Weatherington, Deputy Director, Unmanned Warfare, 
Dyke.Weatherington@osd.mil, 703-695-6188. 

Sincerely,

Signed by: 

David G. Ahern: 
Director: 
Portfolio Systems Acquisition: 

GAO Draft Report - Dated September 23, 2008 GAO Code 351096/GAO-08-1129 

"Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Additional Actions Needed to Improve 
Management and Integration of DoD Efforts to Support Warfighter Needs" 

Department Of Defense Comments To The Recommendations: 

Recommendation 1: The GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense 
designate a single departmental entity that is responsible and 
accountable for integrating all cross-cutting DoD efforts related to 
improving the management and operational use of Unmanned Aircraft 
Systems (UAS). This entity should: 
* be supported by an implementation team with dedicated resources and 
funding; 
* serve as the DoD point of coordination for all UAS initiatives; 
* integrate all UAS activities throughout DoD; and: 
* as part of the planning, programming, budgeting, and execution 
process, make recommendations to the Secretary of Defense in 
determining the priority of the Department's UAS-related initiatives. 

DOD Response: Non-concur. In response to the 2006 Quadrennial Defense 
Review (QDR) and in line with recommended best practices from a March 
2007 GAO report (GAO-07-388), DoD has undertaken several initiatives to 
improve the Department's approach to investment and decision making 
including the implementation of Capability Portfolio Managers (CPMs) 
per DoD Instruction 7045.20, "Capability Portfolio Management" 
(September 25, 2008). In accordance with the instruction, the Joint 
Battlespace Awareness (BA) CPM derives authority from the Deputy's 
Advisory Working Group (DAWG) to integrate, synchronize, and coordinate 
BA portfolio content, including UAS, to ensure alignment to strategic 
priorities and capability demand. Additionally, as the draft report 
rightly points out, the Department has taken a number of steps intended 
to address longstanding challenges in the management of UAS programs 
and the operational use of these systems. One of these steps is the 
creation of the UAS Task Force in lieu of an Executive Agent. The UAS 
Task Force Director coordinates critical UAS issues to enhance 
operations, enable interdependencies, and streamline acquisition of 
UAS. The Task Force reports findings and recommendations to the DAWG, 
and where necessary, assigns lead organizations for UAS acquisition and 
management. Although UAS primarily contribute to the BA portfolio, they 
are gaining increasing roles in other capability portfolios such as 
Force Application and Force Support. The Task Force Director 
coordinates with the CPMs and likewise has access to the DAWG to 
identify issues and to make recommendations for UAS in the context of 
their contribution to respective capability portfolios. 

Recommendation 2: The GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense 
define, in directives or other publications as appropriate, the roles, 
responsibilities, and relationships among various Unmanned Aircraft 
Systems (UAS) related entities to facilitate communication within DoD 
and among external stakeholders. 

DOD Response: Partially concur. As noted in the report, an independent 
assessment of the UAS Task Force, conducted at the request of the Task 
Force Director, recommended the development of a formal charter for the 
Task Force that clearly identifies its role, stakeholders, and 
relationships to other DoD activities. The Task Force has developed a 
Plan of Action and Milestones (POA&M) to address this and other issues 
identified by the review team. Additionally, the Department continues 
to improve the Unmanned Systems Roadmap and sees it as an effective 
tool for communication both across DoD and with external stakeholders. 
Finally, there are several recent documents that have been signed or 
are in final staffing such as DoD Instruction 7045.20, "Capability 
Portfolio Management" (September 25, 2008) and the Intelligence, 
Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Task Force Charter, that define the 
roles, responsibilities and relationships among the key activities that 
interact in decisions relating to the management and use of UAS to 
provide specific warfighting capabilities. 

Recommendation 3: The GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense 
develop a comprehensive and integrated Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) 
strategic plan, in coordination with DoD Components, to align UAS goals 
and funding with long-term departmental planning efforts. The UAS 
strategic plan should, at minimum, include elements such as a 
comprehensive mission statement; long-term goals, and an explanation of 
how the goals will be achieved; a timeline with milestones to track 
progress toward short- and long-term goals; and a determination of the 
resources needed to close any current capability and capacity gaps. In 
addition, the strategic plan should show clear linkages connecting UAS 
initiatives with other comprehensive Departmental planning efforts, 
such as the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Integration 
Roadmap and the development of joint capability area strategic plans. 

DOD Response: Non-concur. In response to the 2006 QDR and in line with 
recommended best practices from a March 2007 GAO Report (GAO-07-388), 
DoD has undertaken several initiatives to improve the Department's 
approach to investment and decision making including the implementation 
of Capability Portfolio Managers (CPMs) per DoD Instruction 7045.20, 
"Capability Portfolio Management" (September 25, 2008). The 
Department's strategic plan for investment is aligned according to 
portfolios that address specific warfighting capabilities (Battlespace 
Awareness, Force Application, etc) as opposed to platforms or material 
solutions such as UAS. Long-term goals and guidance for achieving those 
goals is provided in top-level documents such as the Guidance for the 
Development of the Force (GDF). Capability and capacity gaps are 
addressed through the Joint Capabilities Integration Development System 
(JCIDS) structured process as outlined in CJCSM 3170.01 C and are 
articulated in terms of warfighting capability needs. Each CPM derives 
authority from the Deputy's Advisory Working Group (DAWG) to integrate, 
synchronize, and coordinate portfolio content, including UAS, to ensure 
alignment to strategic priorities and capability demands. To ensure 
that emphasis is not lost on making the most efficient use of UAS 
platforms and technologies, the Department created the UAS Task Force 
to serve as a "platform advocate" at the senior decision-making level. 
As the UAS advocate, the UAS Task Force translates the Department's 
capabilities-based strategic plan into the platform/technology-based 
Unmanned Systems Roadmap in a format and classification level that can 
be shared with external stakeholders and industry. The GAO comes to a 
flawed conclusion in asserting that since the Unmanned Systems Roadmap 
does not have all of the elements of a strategic plan, that the 
Department lacks a strategic plan. The Department's strategic planning 
is based on warfighting capabilities to which UAS contribute.

[End of section] 

Appendix III: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Contact: Sharon L. Pickup, (202) 512-9619 or pickups@gao.gov: 

Acknowledgments: 

In addition to the contact named above, Patricia Lentini, Assistant 
Director; Susannah Hawthorne; James Lawson; Brian Mateja; Karen 
Thornton; Matthew Ullengren; and Cheryl Weissman made contributions to 
this report. 

[End of section] 

Related GAO Products: 

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Federal Actions Needed to Ensure Safety and 
Expand Their Potential Uses within the National Airspace System. GAO- 
08-511. Washington, D.C.: May 15, 2008. 

Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance: DOD Can Better Assess 
and Integrate ISR Capabilities and Oversee Development of Future ISR 
Requirements. GAO-08-374. Washington, D.C.: March 24, 2008. 

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Advance Coordination and Increased 
Visibility Needed to Optimize Capabilities. GAO-07-836. Washington, 
D.C.: July 11, 2007. 

Defense Acquisitions: Greater Synergies Possible for DOD's 
Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Systems. GAO-07-578. 
Washington, D.C.: May 17, 2007. 

Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance: Preliminary 
Observations on DOD's Approach to Managing Requirements for New 
Systems, Existing Assets, and Systems Development. GAO-07-596T. 
Washington, D.C.: April 19, 2007. 

Defense Acquisitions: Better Acquisition Strategy Needed for Successful 
Development of the Army's Warrior Unmanned Aircraft System. GAO-06-593. 
Washington, D.C.: May 19, 2006. 

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Improved Planning and Acquisition Strategies 
Can Help Address Operational Challenges. GAO-06-610T. Washington, D.C.: 
April 6, 2006. 

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: 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. 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] According to DOD Directive 5101.1, DOD Executive Agent (Sept. 3, 
2002), a DOD executive agent is the head of a DOD component to whom the 
Secretary of Defense or the Deputy Secretary of Defense has assigned 
specific responsibilities, functions, and authorities to provide 
defined levels of support for operational missions or administrative or 
other designated activities that involve two or more DOD components. 

[2] H.R. Rep. No. 110-146, Title IX, at 372 (2007). 

[3] See, for example, GAO, Defense Business Transformation: Achieving 
Success Requires a Chief Management Officer to Provide Focus and 
Sustained Leadership, GAO-07-1072 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 5, 2007); 
Highlights of a GAO Forum: Mergers and Transformation: Lessons Learned 
for a Department of Homeland Security Other Federal Agencies, GAO-03-
293SP (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 14, 2002); and Highlights of a GAO 
Roundtable: The Chief Operating Officer Concept: A Potential Strategy 
to Address Federal Governance Challenges, GAO-03-192SP (Washington, 
D.C.: Oct. 4, 2002). 

[4] Department of Defense, Unmanned Systems Roadmap 2007-2032 (Dec. 10, 
2007). 

[5] Additional efforts are under way to further define UAS categories. 
For example, the March 2007 Joint Concept of Operations for Unmanned 
Aircraft Systems expands the three classes into five categories: 
Tactical I, Tactical II, Tactical III, Operational, and Strategic. 
Tactical categories I through III are correlated closely with the 
typical operating altitudes for the systems in each category. The 
Operational and Strategic categories represent those UAS used for 
operational and strategic objectives. 

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

[7] DOD defines persistent surveillance as a collection strategy that 
emphasizes the ability of some collection systems to linger on demand 
in an area to detect, locate, characterize, identify, track, target, 
and possibly provide battle damage assessment and retargeting in near 
or real time. 

[8] The Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System is one 
component of DOD's capabilities-based planning process and plays a role 
in identifying the capabilities required by warfighters to support the 
national defense and military strategies. 

[9] Department of Defense, Joint Concept of Operations for Unmanned 
Aircraft Systems (March 2007). 

[10] In February 2008, DOD announced its plans to formalize the test 
cases, including the ISR portfolio, as standing capability portfolio 
management efforts. 

[11] Section 923 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 
Year 2004 (Pub. L. No. 108-136) amended Title 10 of the U.S. Code by 
adding section 426, which required the Undersecretary of Defense for 
Intelligence to develop the ISR Integration Roadmap and to submit to 
Congress a report on the roadmap that addressed six management aspects 
of the ISR enterprise. 

[12] The Joint Requirements Oversight Council is an advisory council 
that assists the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in identifying 
and assessing the priorities for joint military requirements to achieve 
current and future military capabilities. Chaired by the Vice Chairman 
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the council is composed of a senior 
officer from each of the military services. Representatives from other 
DOD entities, such as the combatant commands and the Joint Staff, serve 
in an advisory role to the council. 

[13] A combat air patrol is composed of the system equipment, manpower, 
and communications infrastructure needed to provide continuous 
operations. 

[14] Department of Defense, Joint Concept of Operations for Unmanned 
Aircraft Systems. 

[15] Section 941 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 
Year 2008 (Pub. L. No. 110-181) amended section 118b of Title 10 of the 
U.S. Code to require the Secretary of Defense to conduct a 
comprehensive assessment, every 4 years, of the roles and missions of 
the armed forces and the core competencies and capabilities of DOD to 
perform and support such roles and missions, and require the Chairman 
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to prepare and submit to the Secretary, in 
each year of such assessment, the Chairman's assessment of the roles 
and missions of the armed forces as well as any recommendations for 
changes in assignment. 

[16] See, for example, GAO-07-1072, GAO-03-293SP, and GAO-03-192SP. 

[17] See GAO, Force Structure: Improved Strategic Planning Can Enhance 
DOD's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Efforts, GAO-04-342 (Washington, D.C.: 
Mar. 17, 2004), and Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Improved Planning and 
Acquisition Strategies Can Help Address Operational Challenges, GAO-06-
610T (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 6, 2006). 

[18] The Deputy's Advisory Working Group is one of DOD's principal 
integrated civilian-military governance bodies. It provides advice and 
assistance to the Deputy Secretary of Defense on matters pertaining to 
DOD enterprise management, business transformation, and operations and 
strategic-level coordination and integration of planning, programming, 
budgeting, execution, and assessment activities. 

[19] GAO-03-293SP. 

[20] See, for example, GAO-07-1072, GAO-03-293SP, and GAO-03-192SP. 

[21] GAO-04-342. 

[22] GAO, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance: DOD Can 
Better Assess and Integrate ISR Capabilities and Oversee Development of 
Future ISR Requirements, GAO-08-374 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 24, 2008). 

[23] Joint capability areas are collections of like DOD activities 
functionally grouped to support capability analysis, strategy 
development, investment decision making, capability portfolio 
management, and capabilities-based force development and operational 
planning. 

[24] GAO, Best Practices: An Integrated Portfolio Management Approach 
to Weapon System Investments Could Improve DOD's Acquisition Outcomes, 
GAO-07-388 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 30, 2007). 

[25] Department of Defense Directive 7045.20, Capability Portfolio 
Management (Sept. 25, 2008). 

[26] Department of Defense, Unmanned Systems Roadmap 2007-2032 (Dec. 
10, 2007). 

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