This is the accessible text file for GAO report number GAO-10-331 
entitled 'Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Comprehensive Planning and a 
Results-Oriented Training Strategy Are Needed to Support Growing 
Inventories' which was released on March 26, 2010. 

This text file was formatted by the U.S. Government Accountability 
Office (GAO) to be accessible to users with visual impairments, as 
part of a longer term project to improve GAO products' accessibility. 
Every attempt has been made to maintain the structural and data 
integrity of the original printed product. Accessibility features, 
such as text descriptions of tables, consecutively numbered footnotes 
placed at the end of the file, and the text of agency comment letters, 
are provided but may not exactly duplicate the presentation or format 
of the printed version. The portable document format (PDF) file is an 
exact electronic replica of the printed version. We welcome your 
feedback. Please E-mail your comments regarding the contents or 
accessibility features of this document to Webmaster@gao.gov. 

This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright 
protection in the United States. It may be reproduced and distributed 
in its entirety without further permission from GAO. Because this work 
may contain copyrighted images or other material, permission from the 
copyright holder may be necessary if you wish to reproduce this 
material separately. 

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

United States Government Accountability Office: 
GAO: 

March 2010: 

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: 

Comprehensive Planning and a Results-Oriented Training Strategy Are 
Needed to Support Growing Inventories: 

GAO-10-331: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-10-331, 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 Defense (DOD) requested about $6.1 billion in fiscal 
year 2010 for new unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and for expanded 
capabilities in existing ones. To support ongoing operations, the Air 
Force and Army have acquired a greater number of larger systems. GAO 
was asked to determine the extent to which (1) plans were in place to 
account for the personnel, facilities, and communications 
infrastructure needed to support Air Force and Army UAS inventories; 
(2) DOD addressed challenges that affect the ability of the Air Force 
and the Army to train personnel for UAS operations; and (3) DOD 
updated its publications that articulate doctrine and tactics, 
techniques, and procedures to reflect the knowledge gained from using 
UAS in ongoing operations. Focusing on UAS programs supporting ongoing 
operations, GAO reviewed the servicesí program and funding plans in 
light of DODís requirements definition and acquisition policy; 
interviewed UAS personnel in the United States and in Iraq about 
training experiences; and reviewed joint, multiservice, and service-
specific publications. 

What GAO Found: 

DOD continues to increase UAS inventories, but in some cases, the Air 
Force and the Army lack robust plans that account for the personnel, 
facilities, and some communications infrastructure to support them. 
Regarding personnel, the Air Force and the Army have identified 
limitations in their approaches to provide personnel to meet current 
and projected UAS force levels, but they have not yet fully developed 
plans to supply needed personnel. Further, although DOD has recently 
requested funding and plans to request additional funds, the Air Force 
and the Army have not completed analyses to specify the number and 
type of facilities needed to support UAS training and operations. 
Having identified a vulnerability to the communications infrastructure 
network used to control UAS missions, the Air Force is taking steps to 
mitigate the risk posed by a natural or man-made disruption to the 
network but has not formalized a plan in the near term to provide for 
the continuity of UAS operations in the event of a disruption. While 
DOD guidance encourages planning for factors needed to operate and 
sustain a weapon system program in the long term, several factors have 
contributed to a lag in planning efforts, such as the rapid fielding 
of new systems and the expansion of existing ones. In the absence of 
comprehensive planning, DOD does not have reasonable assurance that 
Air Force and Army approaches will support current and projected UAS 
inventories. The lack of comprehensive plans also limits the ability 
of decision makers to make informed funding choices. 

DOD has not developed a results-oriented strategy to resolve 
challenges that affect the ability of the Air Force and the Army to 
train personnel for UAS operations. GAO found that the limited amount 
of DOD-managed airspace adversely affected the amount of training that 
personnel conducted to prepare for deployments. As UAS are fielded in 
greater numbers, DOD will require access to more airspace for 
training; for example, DOD estimated that based on planned UAS 
inventories in fiscal year 2013, the military services will require 
more than 1 million flight hours to train UAS personnel within the 
United States. Further, Air Force UAS personnel and Army ground units 
have limited opportunities to train together in a joint environment, 
and they have not maximized the use of available assets during 
training. Current UAS simulators also have limited capabilities to 
enhance training. DOD has commenced initiatives to address training 
challenges, but it has not developed a results-oriented strategy to 
prioritize and synchronize these efforts. Absent a strategy, DOD will 
not have a sound basis for prioritizing resources, and it cannot be 
assured that the initiatives will address limitations in Air Force and 
Army training approaches. 

In many cases, DODís UAS publications articulating doctrine and 
tactics, techniques, and procedures did not include updated 
information needed by manned and unmanned aircraft operators, military 
planners, and ground units to understand current practices and 
capabilities. Such information can serve as the foundation for 
effective joint training programs and can assist military personnel in 
integrating UAS on the battlefield. 

What GAO Recommends: 

GAO recommends, among other things, that DOD conduct comprehensive 
planning as part of the decision-making process to field new systems 
or expand existing capabilities and that DOD develop a results-
oriented strategy for addressing training challenges. DOD generally 
agreed with the recommendations. 

View [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-331] or key 
components. For more information, contact Sharon Pickup at (202) 512-
9619 or pickups@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

Contents: 

Letter: 

Background: 

Plans Are Not in Place to Fully Account for the Personnel, Facilities, 
and Some Communications Infrastructure Needed to Support Air Force and 
Army UAS Programs: 

DOD Has Not Resolved Challenges That Affect the Ability of the Air 
Force and the Army to Train Personnel for UAS Operations: 

DOD Has Not Fully Incorporated Knowledge Gained from Ongoing UAS 
Operations in Key Publications: 

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: 

Tables: 

Table 1: Military Services' Inventories of Selected Unmanned Aircraft: 

Table 2: DOD's Budget Requests for UAS (Fiscal Years 2007 through 
2010): 

Table 3: DOD Organizations and Initiatives Addressing UAS Training 
Challenges: 

Figures: 

Figure 1: Line-of-Sight UAS Operational Concept: 

Figure 2: Beyond-the-Line-of-Sight UAS Operational Concept: 

Abbreviations: 

DOD: Department of Defense: 

ERMP: Extended Range Multi-Purpose: 

UAS: unmanned aircraft systems: 

[End of section] 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

March 26, 2010: 

The Honorable Adam Smith: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Roscoe Bartlett: 
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 capabilities provided by unmanned 
aircraft systems (UAS). Beyond replacing human beings in aircraft that 
perform dangerous roles, UAS are highly valuable because they possess 
characteristics that many manned aircraft do not. For example, they 
can fly long-duration missions, thereby providing a sustained presence 
over the battlefield. Because of greater demand for UAS, the 
Department of Defense (DOD) continues to increase its investment in 
these programs, requesting approximately $6.1 billion in fiscal year 
2010 for new systems and expanded capabilities in existing ones. In 
2000, DOD had fewer than 50 unmanned aircraft in its inventory; as of 
October 2009, this number had grown to more than 6,800. Although each 
of the military services operates several types of UAS, the Air Force 
and the Army have acquired a greater number of larger, more capable 
systems that have been deployed to support ongoing operations. 

While DOD has expanded its inventories of UAS to meet warfighter 
demand, our prior work has found that DOD has faced obstacles in 
overcoming challenges in the development and acquisition of UAS 
programs and in the integration of these systems into combat 
operations.[Footnote 1] For example, in 2007 we reported that because 
DOD began the UAS acquisition process too early, the related UAS 
development plans contained requirements and funding uncertainties. We 
also reported in 2007 that DOD had been unable to fully optimize the 
use of its UAS assets in combat operations because it lacked an 
approach to allocating and tasking them that considered the 
availability of all assets in determining how best to meet warfighter 
needs. In 2008, we reported that DOD had not developed a comprehensive 
and integrated strategic plan with priorities, timelines, and long-
term implementation goals to align departmental and military service 
efforts in order to improve the management and operational use of UAS. 
More recently, the Congress has expressed interest in DOD's plans 
regarding UAS, for example, in the steps that DOD has taken to develop 
qualifications for UAS operators necessary for the routine access of 
unmanned aircraft to U.S. airspace to conduct training and operations. 

Integral to the operation of UAS are numerous support elements-- 
including personnel, facilities, and a communications infrastructure 
to relay signals to and from the aircraft; programs to train personnel 
for UAS operations; and publications to guide personnel as they 
conduct training and operations. Regarding training programs, DOD 
guidance directs the military services to take actions to support 
joint and integrated operations training to the maximum extent 
possible.[Footnote 2] Thus, training programs ideally require access 
to the national airspace system (a complex system comprising thousands 
of people, procedures, facilities, and pieces of equipment) and 
opportunities for ground combat units and UAS personnel to participate 
in joint training exercises so that these personnel can practice the 
interactions they will have with one another on the battlefield. 
However, DOD's UAS operations are subject to numerous restrictions, 
[Footnote 3] which can create competition for the limited available 
airspace and can constrain DOD's ability to effectively utilize 
training and operational locations. Further, commitments to ongoing 
operations can limit the amounts of UAS personnel and equipment that 
are available to conduct training. Because of airspace access and 
personnel and equipment availability issues, DOD has used simulators 
(or virtual training devices) to increase training opportunities. To 
guide service and joint training programs and to assist individuals 
and units in integrating military capabilities in joint operations, 
the military services are responsible for coordinating with each other 
to develop timely publications. These publications describe doctrine, 
tactics, techniques, procedures, and concepts of operations and can be 
used to optimize the integration of UAS during joint operations. 

As you requested, we evaluated DOD's ability to support UAS 
inventories. Specifically, we determined the extent to which (1) plans 
were in place to account for the personnel, facilities, and 
communications infrastructure needed to support Air Force and Army UAS 
inventories; (2) DOD addressed challenges that affect the ability of 
the Air Force and the Army to train personnel for UAS operations; and 
(3) DOD updated its existing publications that articulate doctrine and 
tactics, techniques, and procedures to reflect the knowledge gained 
from using UAS in ongoing operations. 

To determine the extent to which plans were in place to account for 
the personnel, facilities, and communications infrastructure to 
support Air Force and Army UAS inventories, we focused primarily on 
Air Force and Army UAS programs that support ongoing operations. 
Excluded from this review were programs for small unmanned aircraft. 
While the military services have acquired more than 6,200 of these 
aircraft, they generally do not have substantial support requirements. 
We examined UAS program and funding plans and DOD's policies governing 
the requirements definition and acquisition processes. We consulted 
the Office of Management and Budget's Capital Programming Guide and 
our Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide for instruction on developing 
cost estimates and plans to manage capital investments.[Footnote 4] In 
determining the extent to which DOD addressed challenges that affect 
the ability of the Air Force and the Army to train personnel for UAS 
operations, we visited select military installations and the Army's 
National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, and spoke with 
knowledgeable DOD officials to determine the specific challenges that 
the Air Force and the Army faced when training service personnel to 
perform UAS missions in joint operations. Specifically, we spoke with 
personnel in Air Force and Army UAS units in the United States and in 
Iraq to identify the training they were able to perform prior to 
operating UAS in joint operations and the challenges, if any, that 
prevented them from performing their required training tasks. In 
identifying Air Force and Army unit personnel to speak with, we 
selected a nonprobability sample of units that were preparing to 
deploy for contingency operations or had redeployed from these 
operations from May 2009 through September 2009. We assessed DOD's 
efforts to overcome these challenges in light of leading practices 
derived from principles established under the Government Performance 
and Results Act of 1993 and key elements of an overarching 
organizational framework, such as developing results-oriented 
strategies, as described in our prior work.[Footnote 5] To determine 
the extent to which DOD had updated its existing publications that 
articulate doctrine and tactics, techniques, and procedures to reflect 
the knowledge gained from using UAS in ongoing operations, we reviewed 
joint, multiservice, and service-specific UAS doctrine, tactics, 
techniques, procedures, and concepts of operations. We interviewed DOD 
and military service officials and analyzed publications to determine 
how the documents articulate knowledge gained from using UAS in 
ongoing operations; the degree to which information is provided for 
UAS stakeholders, such as military planners and ground commanders; and 
the processes that the services use to update the publications. We 
conducted this performance audit from October 2008 through March 2010 
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. 

Background: 

DOD defines a UAS as a system whose components include the necessary 
equipment, networks, and personnel to control an unmanned aircraft-- 
that is, an aircraft that does not carry a human operator and is 
capable of flight under remote control or autonomous programming. 
Battlefield commanders have experienced a high level of mission 
success in ongoing operations with capabilities provided by UAS. 
Beyond a traditional intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance 
role, UAS have been outfitted with missiles to strike targets, with 
equipment to designate targets for manned aircraft by laser, and with 
sensors to locate the positions of improvised explosive devices and 
fleeing insurgents, among other tasks. 

DOD has acquired UAS through formal acquisition programs, and in 
certain cases, the military services have purchased common UAS 
components. For example, the Army and the Marine Corps are purchasing 
the Shadow UAS and the Air Force and the Navy are acquiring a similar 
unmanned aircraft for the Global Hawk and the Broad Area Maritime 
Surveillance UAS programs. DOD has also fielded other UAS in order to 
meet urgent warfighter requests and for technology demonstrations. In 
2008, U.S. Joint Forces Command's Joint UAS Center of Excellence 
established a system to categorize UAS in groups that are based on 
attributes of vehicle airspeed, weight, and operating altitude. For 
example, group 1 UAS weigh 20 pounds or less whereas group 5 UAS weigh 
more than 1,320 pounds. Table 1 provides the military services' 
inventories of groups 3, 4, and 5 unmanned aircraft as of October 2009. 

Table 1: Military Services' Inventories of Selected Unmanned Aircraft: 

Military service: Air Force; 
Group: 4; 
System: Predator; 
Number of aircraft: 140. 

Military service: Air Force; 
Group: 5; 
System: Global Hawk; 
Number of aircraft: 17. 

Military service: Air Force; 
Group: 5; 
System: Reaper; 
Number of aircraft: 35. 

Military service: Air Force; 
Group: Total; 
Number of aircraft: 192. 

Military service: Army; 
Group: 3; 
System: Shadow; 
Number of aircraft: 288. 

Military service: Army; 
Group: 4; 
System: Extended Range Multi-Purpose; 
Number of aircraft: 4. 

Military service: Army; 
Group: 4; 
System: Fire Scout; 
Number of aircraft: 32. 

Military service: Army; 
Group: 4; 
System: Hunter; 
Number of aircraft: 22. 

Military service: Army; 
Group: 4; 
System: Warrior; 
Number of aircraft: 18. 

Military service: Army; 
Group: Total; 
Number of aircraft: 364. 

Military service: Navy; 
Group: 4; 
System: Fire Scout; 
Number of aircraft: 7. 

Military service: Navy; 
Group: 5; 
System: Global Hawk Maritime Demonstration; 
Number of aircraft: 2. 

Military service: Navy; 
Group: 5; 
System: Reaper; 
Number of aircraft: 4. 

Military service: Navy; 
Group: 5; 
System: Unmanned Combat Air System; 
Number of aircraft: 2. 

Military service: Navy; 
Group: Total; 
Number of aircraft: 15. 

Military service: Marine Corps; 
Group: 3; 
System: Shadow; 
Number of aircraft: 28. 

Military service: Marine Corps; 
Group: Total; 
Number of aircraft: 28. 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD data. 

Note: The military services have also acquired more than 6,100 group 1 
unmanned aircraft, such as the Raven, and more than 100 group 2 
unmanned aircraft, such as the Scan Eagle. These systems were excluded 
from this review because smaller UAS generally do not have substantial 
support requirements. 

[End of table] 

Several major systems--including the Air Force Predator, Reaper, and 
Global Hawk; the Army and Marine Corps Shadow; and the Army Extended 
Range Multi-Purpose (ERMP) UAS--have been deployed and used 
successfully in combat. Because of the resulting demand for these 
assets, several of the military services' UAS programs have 
experienced significant growth. For example, DOD's fiscal year 2010 
budget request sought funds to continue to increase the Air Force's 
Predator and Reaper UAS programs to 50 combat air patrols by fiscal 
year 2011--an increase of nearly 300 percent since fiscal year 
2007.[Footnote 6] DOD's fiscal year 2007 through fiscal year 2010 
budget requests for all of DOD's UAS programs reflect an increase in 
the amount of funding requested by DOD for UAS investments to support 
warfighting needs, as shown in table 2. 

Table 2: DOD's Budget Requests for UAS (Fiscal Years 2007 through 
2010): 

In fiscal year 2009 constant dollars in millions. 

Research, development, test and evaluation: 
2007: $1,778.9; 
2008: $1,668.3; 
2009: $2,016.4; 
2010: $2,519.6; 
Total: $7,983.1. 

Procurement: 
2007: $2,201.4; 
2008: $2,968.3; 
2009: $3,372.2; 
2010: $3,596.8; 
Total: $12,138.7. 

Total: 
2007: $3,980.3; 
2008: $4,636.6; 
2009: $5,388.6; 
2010: $6,116.4; 
Total: $20,121.8. 

Source: GAO analysis of funding requests for UAS included in the 
President's fiscal year 2009 and fiscal year 2010 budget requests, 
including funds to support contingency operations. 

Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding. 

[End of table] 

Beyond development and acquisition costs, DOD's UAS programs have 
additional funding requirements, for example, those costs to operate 
and sustain the weapon system, to provide personnel, and to construct 
facilities and other infrastructure. DOD guidance encourages 
acquisition personnel to consider factors, including personnel, 
facilities, supporting infrastructure, and policy costs, when fielding 
new capabilities.[Footnote 7] However, DOD's and our prior work have 
found that decision makers have had limited visibility over total 
weapon system costs because estimates have not reflected a full 
accounting of life cycle costs. In a November 2009 report, for 
example, DOD concluded that its acquisition processes pay too little 
attention to weapon system support costs, even though the department 
spends more than $132 billion each year to sustain its weapon systems. 
[Footnote 8] The report also concluded that the lack of adequate 
visibility of operating and support costs has been a long-standing 
barrier to effectively assessing, managing, and validating the 
benefits or shortcomings of support strategies. In our prior work, we 
have found that DOD often makes inaccurate funding commitments to 
weapon system programs based on unrealistic cost estimates.[Footnote 
9] The foundation of an accurate funding commitment should be a 
realistic cost estimate that allows decision makers to compare the 
relative value of one program to another and to make adjustments 
accordingly. We reported that DOD's unrealistic cost estimates were 
largely the result of a lack of knowledge, failure to adequately 
account for risk and uncertainty, and overly optimistic assumptions 
about the time and resources needed to develop weapon systems. By 
repeatedly relying on unrealistically low cost estimates, DOD has 
initiated more weapon systems programs than its budget can afford. 

We have also conducted an extensive body of work on DOD's efforts to 
ensure the availability of defense critical infrastructure, which 
includes space, intelligence, and global communications assets, 
reporting on DOD's progress in addressing the evolving management 
framework for the Defense Critical Infrastructure Program, 
coordination among program stakeholders, implementation of key program 
elements, the availability of public works infrastructure, and 
reliability issues in DOD's lists of critical assets, among other 
issues.[Footnote 10] For example, we reported in 2008 on the 
challenges that the Air Force faced in addressing the continuity of 
operations and physical security at Creech Air Force Base, a location 
where nearly half of the Air Force's UAS operations were being 
performed at the time.[Footnote 11] 

While many of DOD's UAS operations currently take place outside of the 
United States, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military 
services require access to the national airspace system to conduct UAS 
training, among other reasons, and personnel and equipment to support 
training exercises. However, DOD has experienced several challenges in 
gaining access to the national airspace system and limitations in the 
availability of UAS personnel and equipment to support training 
because of operational commitments. Because DOD's UAS do not meet 
several federally mandated requirements for routine access to the 
national airspace system, most types of UAS may not perform routine 
flight activities, such as taking off and landing outside DOD-managed 
airspace. For example, UAS do not have personnel or a suitable 
alternative technology on board the aircraft to detect, sense, and 
avoid collision with other aircraft. The Federal Aviation 
Administration approves applications from DOD (and other government 
agencies) for authority to operate UAS in the national airspace system 
outside of that restricted for DOD's use on a case-by-case basis. 

To provide military personnel with information on UAS, DOD components, 
which include the military services and other defense organizations, 
have produced several publications, including joint and service 
doctrinal publications that describe processes to plan for and 
integrate UAS into combat operations. In addition, DOD components have 
produced concepts of operations for UAS, as well as multiservice and 
platform-specific tactics, techniques, and procedures manuals. These 
publications are intended to provide planners at operational and 
tactical levels of command, such as joint task forces and divisions, 
with an understanding of the processes to incorporate UAS into their 
intelligence collection plans and into combat operations. Tactical 
ground units requesting support from UAS, which can range from small 
special operations units to large infantry brigades engaged in ground 
combat operations, may use these documents to understand UAS 
capabilities and how to best incorporate them into preplanned and 
dynamic missions. UAS operators use these documents to establish best 
practices, standard operating procedures for integrating UAS into 
joint operations, and processes for interacting with other air and 
ground forces on the battlefield. Periodically, DOD components update 
these publications to include new knowledge on military practices and 
capabilities. Generally, these updates are accomplished through 
comprehensive service--or departmentwide reviews conducted by subject 
matter experts. 

Plans Are Not in Place to Fully Account for the Personnel, Facilities, 
and Some Communications Infrastructure Needed to Support Air Force and 
Army UAS Programs: 

DOD has policies that encourage its components to plan for factors, 
including personnel, facilities, and communications infrastructure, 
that are needed to support weapon systems programs. Extensive planning 
for these factors provides decision makers with complete information 
on total program costs and assurances that weapon system programs can 
be fully supported in the long term. During our review, however, we 
identified areas where, despite the growth in UAS inventories, 
comprehensive plans for personnel, facilities, and some communications 
infrastructure have not been fully developed to support Air Force and 
Army UAS programs. 

DOD Has Processes to Plan for Personnel, Facilities, and 
Communications Infrastructure for UAS Programs: 

DOD guidance recommends that acquisition personnel determine a weapon 
system program's life cycle costs by conducting planning for the 
manpower, facilities, and other supporting infrastructure, among other 
factors, needed to support a weapon system, and fully fund the program 
and manpower needed in budget requests[Footnote 12]. Decision makers 
use this information to determine whether a new program is affordable 
and the program's projected funding and manpower requirements are 
achievable. DOD components are expected to conduct continuing reviews 
of their strategies to sustain weapon systems programs and to identify 
deficiencies in these strategies, making necessary adjustments to them 
in order to meet performance requirements. 

In addition, the Office of Management and Budget's Capital Programming 
Guide also indicates that part of conducting cost analyses for capital 
assets, such as weapon systems, is refining cost estimates as programs 
mature and as requirements change, and incorporating risk analyses in 
these estimates.[Footnote 13] We have reported that accurate cost 
estimates are necessary for government acquisition programs for many 
reasons, for example, to evaluate resource requirements, to support 
decisions about funding one program over another, and to develop 
annual budget requests.[Footnote 14] Moreover, having a realistic 
estimate of projected costs makes for effective resource allocations, 
and it increases the probability of a program's success. 

Service Strategies Are Not Fully Developed to Supply the Personnel 
Needed to Support UAS Programs: 

The Air Force and the Army train personnel to perform functions for 
UAS operations, such as operating the aircraft and performing 
maintenance. Because of the rapid growth of UAS programs, the number 
of personnel required to perform these functions has substantially 
increased and the services have taken steps to train additional 
personnel. However, in service-level UAS vision statements, the Air 
Force and the Army have identified limitations in their approaches to 
provide personnel for UAS operations, but they have not yet fully 
developed strategies that specify the actions and resources required 
to supply the personnel needed to meet current and projected future 
UAS force levels. 

The Air Force, for example, has identified limitations in the 
approaches it has used to supply pilots to support the expanded 
Predator and Reaper UAS programs. Since the beginning of these 
programs, the Air Force has temporarily reassigned experienced pilots 
to operate UAS, and more recently, it began assigning pilots to 
operate UAS immediately after they completed undergraduate pilot 
training. Air Force officials stated that this initiative is intended 
to provide an additional 100 pilots per year on a temporary basis to 
support the expanding UAS programs. While the Air Force has relied on 
these approaches to meet the near-term increase in demand for UAS 
pilots, officials told us that it would be difficult to continue these 
practices in the long term without affecting the readiness of other 
Air Force weapon systems, since the pilots who are performing UAS 
operations on temporary assignments are also needed to operate other 
manned aircraft and perform other duties. 

In an attempt to develop a long-term, sustainable career path for UAS 
pilots, the Air Force implemented a new initiative in 2009 to test the 
feasibility of establishing a unique training pipeline for UAS pilots. 
Students selected for this pipeline are chosen from the broader Air 
Force officer corps and are not graduates of pilot training. At the 
time of our work, the Air Force was analyzing the operational 
effectiveness of those personnel who graduated from the initial class 
of the test training pipeline to determine if this approach could meet 
the long-term needs of the Air Force. In addition, officials told us 
that the Air Force would ultimately need to make some changes to this 
pipeline to capture lessons learned from the initial training classes 
and to help ensure that graduates were effectively fulfilling UAS 
mission requirements. For example, officials stated that the initial 
graduates of the training pipeline have not yet been provided with 
training on how to take off and land the Predator and that these 
functions are being performed by more experienced pilots. However, the 
Air Force had neither fully determined the total training these 
personnel would require to effectively operate the Predator and Reaper 
aircraft during UAS missions nor fully determined the costs that would 
be incurred to provide training for these assignments. Officials 
estimated that it would take at least 6 months after the second class 
of personnel graduated from the training pipeline to assess their 
effectiveness during combat missions and to determine what, if any, 
additional training these personnel require. 

Further, the Air Force has not finalized an approach to supply the 
personnel needed to perform maintenance functions on the growing UAS 
inventories and meet servicewide goals to replace contractor 
maintenance positions with funded military ones. Currently, the Air 
Force relies on contractors to perform a considerable portion of UAS 
maintenance because the Air Force does not have military personnel 
trained and available to perform this function. For example, 
contractors perform approximately 75 percent of organization-level 
maintenance requirements for the Air Combat Command's Predator and 
Reaper UAS. According to the Air Force's UAS Flight Plan,[Footnote 15] 
replacing contractor maintenance personnel with military personnel 
would enable the Air Force to develop a robust training pipeline and 
to build a sustainable career field for UAS maintenance, while 
potentially reducing maintenance costs. According to officials with 
whom we spoke, the Air Force's goal is to establish a training 
pipeline for military maintenance personnel by fiscal year 2012. 
However, the Air Force has not developed a servicewide plan that 
identifies the number of personnel to be trained, the specific 
training required, and the resources necessary to establish a 
dedicated UAS training pipeline. Officials estimated that it could 
take until fiscal year 2011 to determine these requirements and to 
test the feasibility of a new training pipeline. 

Our review also found that the Army's personnel authorizations are 
insufficient to fully support UAS operations. For example, according 
to officials, the Army has determined on at least three separate 
occasions since 2006 that Shadow UAS platoons did not have adequate 
personnel to support the near-term and projected pace of operations. 
Officials from seven Army Shadow platoons in the United States and in 
Iraq with whom we spoke told us that approved personnel levels for 
these platoons did not provide an adequate number of vehicle operators 
and maintenance soldiers to support continuous UAS operations. Army 
officials told us that currently approved personnel levels for the 
Shadow platoons were based on planning factors that assumed that the 
Shadow would operate 12 hours per day with the ability to extend 
operations to up to 16 hours for a limited period of time. However, 
personnel with these platoons told us that UAS in Iraq routinely 
operated 24 hours per day for extended periods of time. Army officials 
also told us that organizations, such as combat brigades and 
divisions, require additional personnel to provide UAS expertise to 
assist commanders in optimizing the integration of UAS into operations 
and safely employing these assets. 

Despite the shortfalls experienced during ongoing operations, the Army 
has yet to formally increase personnel authorizations to support UAS 
operations or approve a servicewide plan to provide additional 
personnel. Officials told us that on the basis of these and other 
operational experiences, the Army was in the process of developing 
initiatives to provide additional personnel to Army organizations to 
address personnel shortfalls, and included these initiatives in an 
October 2009 UAS vision statement developed by the Army's UAS Center 
of Excellence. These initiatives include increasing authorized 
personnel levels for vehicle operators and maintenance soldiers in 
Shadow UAS platoons as well as other initiatives to assign UAS warrant 
officers and Shadow vehicle operators to brigade and division staffs. 
According to the Army's UAS vision statement, the initiatives to 
increase UAS personnel to meet current and projected requirements will 
be completed by 2014. However, at the time of our work, the Army had 
not developed a detailed action plan that identified the number of 
additional personnel that would support UAS operations and the steps 
it planned to take in order to synchronize the funding and manpower 
necessary to provide these personnel, such as reallocating existing 
manpower positions within combat brigades to increase the size of 
Shadow platoons. 

Facilities Needed to Support UAS Programs Have Not Been Systematically 
Defined and Costs Are Uncertain: 

Although DOD has requested funding to some extent in recent budget 
requests and expects to request additional funds in future years, the 
Air Force and the Army have not fully determined the specific number 
and type of facilities needed to support UAS training and operations. 
For example: 

* The Air Force has neither determined the total number of facilities 
required to support its rapidly expanding Predator and Reaper programs 
nor finalized the criteria it will use to renovate existing facilities 
because decisions regarding the size of UAS squadrons and the 
locations where these squadrons will be based had not been finalized. 
In some cases, the Air Force has constructed new facilities to support 
UAS operations. In other cases, the Air Force determined that it did 
not need to construct new facilities and is instead renovating 
existing facilities on UAS operating locations, such as maintenance 
hangars and buildings to use for unit operations facilities. However, 
until the Air Force determines where it plans to locate all of its new 
UAS units and finalizes the criteria that would be used to guide the 
construction or renovation of facilities, the Air Force will be unable 
to develop realistic estimates of total UAS facility costs and long-
term plans for their construction. 

* The Army has begun to field the ERMP UAS and has determined that the 
Army installations where the system will be stationed require 
facilities uniquely configured to support training and operations. 
These facilities include a runway, a maintenance hangar, and a unit 
operations facility. However, the Army has not fully determined where 
it will base each of these systems and it has not completed 
assessments at each location to evaluate existing facilities that 
could potentially be used to meet the ERMP requirements and to 
determine the number of new facilities that the Army needs to 
construct. The lack of detailed facility planning has affected the 
Army's fielding schedule for the ERMP. Army officials told us that the 
fielding plan for this system has been adjusted to give priority to 
locations that do not require significant construction. According to 
Army officials, initially the Army had developed its fielding plan for 
the ERMP so that the plan for fielding the system synchronized with 
the estimated deployment dates for units supporting ongoing 
contingency operations. 

* The Army has not definitively determined, for the Shadow UAS, the 
type and number of facilities needed to support training and aircraft 
storage. In 2008, the Army established a policy that directed its 
ground units to store Shadow aircraft in facilities with other ground 
unit tactical equipment and not in facilities uniquely configured for 
these aircraft.[Footnote 16] Ground units typically store equipment in 
facilities, such as motor pools, that are not always near training 
ranges. Previously, the Army had allowed some units to construct 
unique facilities for the Shadow nearby installation ranges to 
facilitate their ability to conduct training. Army officials told us 
that storing equipment within the motor pool creates constraints to 
training when ranges are not in proximity. In these situations, units 
are required to transport the Shadow and its associated equipment from 
the motor pool to the training range, assemble and disassemble the 
aircraft, and transport the equipment back to the motor pool. 
Officials we spoke with at one Shadow platoon estimated that these 
steps required more than 3 hours to complete, thereby limiting the 
amount of flight training that can be performed during one day. This 
practice may also lead to a more rapid degradation of aircraft 
components. Officials told us that the frequent assembling and 
disassembling of aircraft increases the wear and tear on components, 
which could increase maintenance costs. While the Army maintains a 
process for installations to request a waiver from the policy that 
would allow for the construction of unique aircraft facilities, 
officials told us that the Army is reevaluating whether the Shadow 
requires unique facilities. Any decision to change the policy on 
Shadow facilities would ultimately increase total program costs. 

Because systematic analyses of facility needs for UAS programs have 
not been conducted, the total costs to provide facilities for Air 
Force and Army UAS programs are uncertain and have not been fully 
accounted for in program cost estimates that are used by decision 
makers to evaluate the affordability of these programs. Further, 
although costs for facilities were not included in these estimates, 
our analysis of DOD's budget requests for fiscal year 2007 through 
fiscal year 2010 found that the Air Force and the Army have sought 
more than $300 million to construct facilities for UAS. Moreover, as 
these services finalize assessments of the number and type of 
facilities required for UAS operations and field additional systems, 
they will likely request additional funds for facilities. For example, 
Army officials told us that cost estimates for ERMP facilities would 
be unavailable until all of the ongoing requirements assessments were 
complete; however, our analysis of the Army's facility plans for the 
ERMP estimates that the Army could request more than $600 million to 
construct facilities for this program alone.[Footnote 17] 

The Air Force Does Not Have a Plan in Place to Address Near-Term Risks 
to Communications Infrastructure: 

In general, the military services operate UAS using two different 
operational concepts. For example, Army and Marine Corps units 
primarily conduct UAS operations through a line-of-sight operational 
concept. As depicted in figure 1, UAS are launched, operated, and 
landed in this concept nearby the ground units that they support and 
are controlled by a ground station that is also nearby. 

Figure 1: Line-of-Sight UAS Operational Concept: 

[Refer to PDF for image: illustration] 

The following information is depicted on the illustration: 

Unmanned aircraft: Sensor video/data link with: 
* Mobile ground control station; 
* Ground forces; 
* Manned aircraft/unmanned aircraft teaming; 

Unmanned aircraft: Aircraft command and control with: 
* Launch and recovery ground control station; 
* Mobile ground control station. 

Unmanned aircraft: focused on: 
* Target: 

Sources: GAO analysis of DOD data; Art Explosion (Images). 

[End of figure] 

In this concept, UAS can also transmit video and data to ground units 
or other aircraft within line of sight to support a range of missions, 
such as reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition. Some 
level of risk is introduced in a line-of-sight operational concept if 
the command and control links to the aircraft are not secure. 

Air Force and Navy units use this line-of-sight concept but also use a 
beyond-the-line-of-sight operational concept that increases the risk 
of a disruption in operations. In this concept, the operation of the 
UAS relies on additional equipment and networks, some of which are 
located outside of the country where the UAS operations occur. 
According to Air Force officials, the use of a beyond-the-line-of-
sight concept permits the service to conduct UAS operations with 
limited numbers of personnel and equipment deployed within an 
operational theater. As in the line-of-sight concept, the UAS are 
launched and landed by deployed ground control stations; however, the 
UAS are controlled during missions by a pilot and sensor operator 
located at a fixed ground control station located at a remote site. A 
satellite relay site delivers the signals between the UAS and the 
ground control station at the remote site (see figure 2). 

Figure 2: Beyond-the-Line-of-Sight UAS Operational Concept: 

[Refer to PDF for image: illustration] 

The following information is depicted on the illustration: 

Satellite: Has: 
Aircraft command and control; and: 
Sensor video/data link; with: 
* Fixed satellite relay site; 
* Unmanned aircraft. 

Terrestrial circuits between: 
* Fixed satellite relay site; 
* Fixed ground control station; 
(Both Aircraft command and control and Sensor video/data link). 

Unmanned aircraft: Has: 
Aircraft command and control connection with: 
* Deployed launch and recovery ground control station. 

Unmanned aircraft: Has: 
Sensor video/data link with: 
* Deployed launch and recovery ground control station; 
* Ground forces. 

Unmanned aircraft: Focused on: 
* Target. 

Sources: GAO analysis of DOD data; Art Explosion (Images). 

[End of figure] 

The Air Force currently employs this operational concept for Predator, 
Reaper, and Global Hawk UAS missions that support contingency 
operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. For these missions, a ground 
control station located within the United States takes control of the 
aircraft. A satellite relay site at a fixed location (located outside 
of the continental United States) relays signals from the ground 
control station to the UAS so that they can communicate.[Footnote 18] 
Any disruptions at the satellite relay site caused, for example, by a 
natural or man-made disaster could affect the number of UAS operated 
under this concept. 

DOD assesses risks and vulnerabilities to its critical assets and 
installations using the Defense Critical Infrastructure Program and 
other mission assurance programs and efforts, including those related 
to force protection, antiterrorism, continuity of operations, and 
installation preparedness.[Footnote 19] For example, Air Force 
doctrine dated June 2007 calls for the establishment of backup or 
redundant command and control systems for high-value systems so that 
operations can continue in the event of failure or damage of the 
primary system.[Footnote 20] This doctrine further states that 
planning for redundant command and control systems should be 
formalized and exercised before military operations begin. However, 
the Air Force has not established an alternate, redundant satellite 
relay site with the capacity to control all UAS missions that are 
supporting ongoing combat operations. Because of the satellite relay's 
critical importance in supporting ongoing contingency operations, the 
Air Force is taking steps to establish a redundant satellite relay 
site to support UAS missions in the event of disruptions at the 
current location. For example, officials told us that the Air Force is 
acquiring new communications equipment with increased capacity for the 
current site, which will allow equipment currently in use to be 
available for other locations. In addition, the Air Force is seeking 
funds to conduct surveys to identify potential locations to establish 
a redundant satellite relay site. However, officials stated that these 
efforts are not scheduled to be completed until fiscal year 2012, at 
the earliest. Air Force officials also told us that they would have 
options to pursue in the event of a near-term disruption at the 
satellite relay site, such as relocating assets from other Air Force 
operations. At the time of our work, however, the Air Force had not 
conducted a detailed analysis of these options to determine the extent 
to which they would provide for the continuity of UAS operations, or 
established a specific milestone to formalize a plan that could be 
implemented quickly in the event of a disruption. 

Various Factors Have Contributed to a Lag in Planning for Personnel, 
Facilities, and Communications Infrastructure for UAS Programs: 

Several factors have contributed to a lag in Air Force and Army 
planning for the personnel, facilities, and some communications 
infrastructure that are integral to the operation of UAS. For example, 
although DOD's primary requirements definition process--termed the 
Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System--encourages 
acquisition personnel to develop cost estimates for its new weapon 
systems programs, including consideration of various support factors, 
the Air Force's current UAS programs were, for the most part, 
initially developed and fielded as technology demonstrations. 
According to the Air Force, these programs have been subsequently 
approved within the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development 
System, but comprehensive life cycle plans that fully account for the 
personnel, facilities, and communications infrastructure to 
effectively manage the systems have not yet been completed. 

Further, to meet near-term warfighter demands for these capabilities, 
several UAS programs have been expanded beyond planned force structure 
levels and, in some cases, have been fielded more rapidly than 
originally planned. Given the changes in program requirements in the 
near term, the Air Force and the Army have, for example, in the case 
of the Air Force Predator and the Army Shadow programs, taken measures 
to support UAS inventories. However, these measures have been taken 
without the benefit of rigorous planning for the specific numbers and 
types of personnel and facilities and some communications 
infrastructure that are needed to support these programs in the long 
term. Finally, while DOD components are expected to identify 
deficiencies in their strategies to support weapon systems programs 
and to make necessary adjustments to them as requirements change, the 
Air Force and the Army have not completed the analyses or developed 
plans to account for new personnel and facility requirements, and the 
Air Force has not developed a plan to ensure the communications 
infrastructure needed to support its UAS programs. In the absence of 
detailed action plans that fully account for these factors and include 
milestones for tracking progress and synchronize funding and 
personnel, DOD cannot have a reasonable assurance that these services' 
approaches will fully support current and projected increases in UAS 
inventories. In addition, the lack of comprehensive plans limits the 
visibility of decision makers to evaluate the total resources required 
to support UAS inventories and to make informed choices about funding 
one program over another. 

DOD Has Not Resolved Challenges That Affect the Ability of the Air 
Force and the Army to Train Personnel for UAS Operations: 

Prior work shows that in order to improve the management of federal 
activities, it is important that agencies develop comprehensive 
strategies to address challenges that threaten their ability to meet 
long-term goals. We identified several initiatives that DOD has 
commenced to address UAS training challenges, but DOD lacks a results- 
oriented strategy to ensure that compatible goals and outcomes are 
achieved among these initiatives. 

Availability of Airspace Limits Training Opportunities: 

Many of DOD's UAS operations take place outside of U.S. airspace, but 
DOD requires access to the national airspace system for training, to 
conduct operations such as homeland defense, and for the transit of 
unmanned aircraft to overseas deployment locations--requirements that 
have created airspace access challenges. For example, according to 
Army officials, a single Shadow UAS platoon requires more than 3,000 
flight hours per year to fully train all aircraft operators. Because 
UAS do not meet various federally mandated requirements and therefore 
do not have routine access to the national airspace system, personnel 
must train in DOD-managed airspace and training ranges located near 
their home stations. Competing for this finite airspace are other 
units located at home stations that also require access to DOD-managed 
airspace for their operations, such as manned aircraft training. This 
competition, among other factors, has affected the amount of training 
UAS personnel can conduct and their ability to prepare for 
deployments. Army officials with four of the seven Shadow platoons we 
met with told us that they were unable to fully train the number of 
personnel needed to perform continuous combat missions before they 
deployed for overseas operations. As a result, UAS personnel had to 
conduct additional training tasks upon arrival in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Plans to further increase UAS inventories on selected military 
installations will likely further increase the demand for airspace. 
For example, the Army plans to increase the number of Shadow UAS from 
about 70 systems fielded at the time of our review to a goal of more 
than 100 systems by fiscal year 2015. According to current plans, all 
active and reserve component combat brigades, Army Special Forces 
units, fires brigades, and battlefield surveillance brigades will be 
provided with Shadow systems. In some cases, relocations of UAS to 
different installations have resulted in increased UAS inventories at 
the new installations. For example, in 2009, the Army moved the 4TH 
Infantry Division and two combat brigades from Fort Hood, Texas, to 
Fort Carson, Colorado. This move resulted in the addition of two 
Shadow systems on Fort Carson. Army officials acknowledged that 
increases in UAS inventories will further complicate the competition 
for limited quantities of DOD-managed airspace. 

As more advanced UAS are fielded in greater numbers, the military 
services will require increased access to the national airspace 
system. For example, the Army has fielded the ERMP UAS to its training 
battalion at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and plans to provide one system, 
comprising 12 aircraft, to each of its active component combat 
aviation brigades. Because these aircraft are designed to operate at 
higher altitudes and possess capabilities beyond those on the Shadow 
UAS, officials told us that personnel who are responsible for 
operating the ERMP will require access to airspace that they cannot 
currently access to conduct training. Similarly, the Air Force 
requires expanded access to the national airspace system to train 
pilots who operate its UAS, and also to move aircraft, such as the 
Global Hawk, from bases in the United States to operational theaters 
around the world. Because UAS do not possess "sense and avoid" 
technology mandated by federal requirements for safe and efficient 
operations, the military services must provide, in many cases, an air-
or ground-based observer of the aircraft during its flight in the 
national airspace system. According to DOD and military service 
officials, this restriction negates many of the most effective 
advantages of UAS, such as aircraft endurance, and creates an 
impractical requirement given the numbers of aircraft and personnel 
that are needed to monitor the unmanned aircraft during training. 
Moreover, the practice may be an unsustainable solution for meeting 
the demands of the military services' growing inventories of UAS. DOD 
estimated in a December 2008 report that based on planned UAS 
inventories in fiscal year 2013, the services will require more than 1 
million flight hours to train UAS personnel within the United States. 
[Footnote 21] 

In recent years, DOD has taken several actions to integrate UAS into 
the national airspace system. For example, in November 2004, DOD 
issued an airspace integration plan for unmanned aviation.[Footnote 
22] The plan established timelines and program milestones to achieve a 
goal that DOD's UAS would have safe, routine use of the national 
airspace system by 2010 while maintaining an equivalent level of 
safety to that of an aircraft with a pilot on board. In 2007, DOD 
convened a UAS Task Force with the participation of the Federal 
Aviation Administration and the Department of Homeland Security to 
find solutions to overcome the restrictions that limit the integration 
of UAS in the national airspace system, among other tasks. According 
to an official with the task force, DOD is in the process of revising 
the airspace integration plan by October 2010 to include near-, mid-, 
and long-term actions that DOD can take in concert with other federal 
agencies to improve the integration of UAS in the national airspace 
system. In our prior work, however, we reported that although some 
progress has been made to provide increased access to the national 
airspace system for small UAS, routine access for all types of UAS may 
not occur for a decade or more.[Footnote 23] 

The Congress has also raised questions about the progress made by DOD 
and other federal agencies in developing an approach to enable greater 
access for the department's UAS to the national airspace system. In 
the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, the 
Congress directed DOD and the Department of Transportation to jointly 
develop a plan to provide the military services' UAS with expanded 
national airspace system access. The plan, which is due April 2010, is 
to include recommendations concerning policies for the use of the 
national airspace system and operating procedures that should be 
implemented by both DOD and the Department of Transportation to 
accommodate UAS assigned to any state or territory of the United 
States.[Footnote 24] 

Limited Opportunities Exist for Air Force and Army Units to Train 
Together in a Joint Environment and Available Training Opportunities 
Have Not Maximized the Use of UAS: 

Army ground combat units and Air Force UAS units primarily train 
together at the Army's large training centers and not at home 
stations. In the United States, the Army has two large training 
centers--the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, and 
the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Army 
ground combat units conduct 2-week mission rehearsal exercises at one 
of these training centers before deploying for ongoing operations. The 
Air Force, however, has UAS stationed in the United States only near 
the National Training Center, so Air Force UAS do not support Army 
training exercises at the Joint Readiness Training Center.[Footnote 25] 

At the National Training Center, several factors limit the time Air 
Force UAS are available to support ground unit training. First, 
considerable numbers of Air Force UAS personnel and equipment items 
are supporting overseas contingency operations and therefore are 
unavailable to participate in training exercises in a joint 
environment. Air Force officials with the 432ND Wing, the unit that 
operates Air Force's Predator and Reaper UAS, told us that all of its 
unmanned aircraft are deployed to support overseas operations except 
for those that are supporting the initial training of UAS personnel or 
the testing of aircraft. These officials stated that in the event that 
additional aircraft were made available, the wing's personnel levels 
are insufficient to support additional training events because the 
unit does not have adequate personnel to support projected operational 
commitments and greater numbers of training exercises. Second, Army 
and Air Force officials told us that when Air Force UAS are at the 
training center, these aircraft are not always available to support 
ground unit training because a considerable portion of the UAS flight 
time is dedicated to accomplishing Air Force crewmember training 
tasks. Officials told us that the Army and Air Force have reached an 
informal agreement to allot about half of the time that an Air Force 
UAS is flying at the training center to support Army ground unit 
training objectives and the other half to accomplish Air Force 
training tasks. Air Force officials pointed out that although they try 
to align their crewmember training syllabi with ground unit training 
objectives at the National Training Center, training new personnel to 
operate these aircraft is their priority. Third, UAS may not be 
available during certain hours to support ground unit training, which 
can occur on a 24-hour schedule. For example, Predator UAS from the 
California Air National Guard are available to support ground units 
only during daylight hours. To travel to the training center, these 
aircraft must pass through segments of national airspace that are not 
restricted for DOD's use and therefore must rely on a ground-based 
observer or on chase aircraft to follow them to and from the training 
center. Because of this reliance on ground or airborne observers, 
flights to and from the training center must be accomplished during 
daylight hours. 

As a result of the limited number of unmanned assets that are 
available to support ground unit training at the National Training 
Center and the Joint Readiness Training Center, Army ground units 
conducting training exercises have relied on manned aircraft to 
replicate the capabilities of the Air Force's Predator and Reaper UAS. 
Officials told us that the use of manned aircraft in this role permits 
ground units to practice the process to request and integrate the 
capabilities provided by Air Force UAS in joint operations. However, 
this practice is not optimal as the manned aircraft do not replicate 
all of the capabilities of the Predator and Reaper aircraft, such as 
longer dwell times. At the time of our work, DOD was analyzing the 
utilization of manned aircraft for this purpose in order to assess 
whether there is a need for additional UAS to support joint training. 

Additionally, when UAS are available to support ground unit training, 
we found that several factors affect the ability of ground combat 
units to maximize the use of available assets during training 
exercises. Officials we spoke with at the National Training Center 
pointed out that the effective integration of UAS in training 
exercises, like the integration of other types of joint air assets, 
depends on the priority that ground units place on developing training 
objectives that require the participation of joint air assets and 
their ability to plan for the use of these assets in the exercise. An 
Army Forces Command official stated that Army combat brigades often 
focus UAS training objectives during exercises on integrating their 
Shadow UAS and do not emphasize planning for and employing Air Force 
UAS. This is consistent with challenges that DOD has found in the 
integration of other joint air assets with ground unit training at the 
Army's training centers. A 2009 U.S. Joint Forces Command study found 
that although the National Training Center provides well-designed 
training environments to integrate Air Force aviation assets to 
support combat brigade training, a lack of adequate pre-exercise 
planning resulted in aircraft that were not fully integrated with 
ground combat units in training scenarios.[Footnote 26] The study 
recommended that to improve the integration of joint air assets into 
ground training, ground units should conduct planning meetings with 
Air Force organizations early in the training process to identify 
mutually supporting training objectives and to synchronize air assets 
to achieve these training objectives. 

Air Force and Army UAS Simulators Have Limited Capabilities to Enhance 
Training, and Long-Term Plans Are Unclear: 

DOD officials have indicated that UAS simulators can play an essential 
role in providing training opportunities for UAS personnel. 
Specifically, simulators may allow personnel to repetitively practice 
tactics and procedures and to meet training proficiency requirements 
without the limitations of airspace constraints or range availability. 
UAS are particularly well-suited for simulation training given that 
UAS vehicle and sensor operators rely on video feeds to perform 
operations, and DOD and service officials have indicated that current 
simulators have been used to complete initial training tasks for UAS 
vehicle and sensor operators. 

DOD's current UAS simulators have limited capabilities, however, to 
enhance training. For example, a recent study performed for DOD found 
critical deficiencies in each of the UAS training simulators 
evaluated.[Footnote 27] In particular, the study found that the 
military services lacked simulators that were capable of supporting 
training that is intended to build proficiency in skills required of 
UAS vehicle and sensor operators and prepare these personnel to 
conduct UAS combat missions. During our review, we also found several 
key deficiencies that limit the ability of Air Force and Army 
simulators to be used for training--including the inability of some 
simulators to replicate all UAS procedures and to enable the 
integration of UAS training with other types of aircraft. For example, 
Air Force officials told us that the Reaper simulator will initially 
be fielded without weapons-release capabilities, which would enable 
UAS personnel to replicate the procedures used to attack targets, and 
this capability will not be available until fiscal year 2011. 
Similarly, the Army's Shadow Institutional Mission Simulator is not 
currently capable of replicating system upgrades that are being 
fielded directly to ongoing combat operations, such as a laser target 
designator and communications relay equipment. As a result, Shadow 
unit personnel expressed concern that they would be unable to train 
with these capabilities prior to their deployment. 

Air Force and Army simulators are also currently incapable of 
providing virtual, integrated training opportunities between manned 
and unmanned aircraft because of interoperability and information 
security concerns. For example, the Air Force's Predator and Reaper 
simulators are not interoperable with the Air Force's Distributed 
Mission Operations Network,[Footnote 28] which creates a virtual 
training network for Air Force aviation assets. Officials told us that 
the Predator and Reaper simulators do not meet Air Force information 
security requirements for the Distributed Mission Operations Network, 
which precludes these simulators from participating in virtual 
integrated training exercises. Similarly, the Army's Shadow 
Institutional Mission Simulator is not fully interoperable with the 
Army's manned aviation simulator (the Aviation Combined Arms Tactical 
Trainer) because of differences in the two simulators' software. 
According to Army officials, the lack of interoperability of the two 
simulators detracts from the training value that UAS personnel would 
receive by performing virtual integrated training with other types of 
Army aviation assets. 

Moreover, the Air Force and the Army have not fully developed 
comprehensive plans that address long-term UAS simulator requirements 
and associated funding needs. The Air Force, for example, has not 
finalized plans to address its UAS simulator goals. Some goals 
established within the Air Force's UAS Flight Plan, such as the 
development of high-fidelity simulators, are expected to be completed 
in fiscal year 2010. However, we found that other goals are not linked 
with the Air Force's funding plans. For example, while officials 
recognize the training benefit of connecting the Predator and Reaper 
simulators to the Distributed Mission Operations Network, the Air 
Force has not identified funds within its future funding plans for 
this initiative. The Army has not fully defined the number and type of 
simulators that its active component forces require to meet the 
training needs of personnel who operate the Shadow and ERMP UAS or the 
resources needed to acquire these systems. Army officials told us that 
steps to determine simulator needs are ongoing. Specifically, the Army 
has commissioned the Army Research Institute to complete a simulator 
requirements study by October 2010 and it has developed an initial UAS 
simulation strategy. In contrast, the Army National Guard has begun to 
acquire a simulator to train soldiers who operate the Guard's Shadow 
UAS based on the results of a study it completed in 2007 to validate 
its simulator needs. 

DOD Lacks a Comprehensive, Results-Oriented Strategy to Resolve UAS 
Training Challenges: 

DOD has identified several challenges that affect service and joint 
UAS training and has commenced several initiatives intended to address 
them, but DOD has not developed a comprehensive, results-oriented 
strategy to prioritize and synchronize these initiatives. A leading 
practice derived from principles established under the Government 
Performance and Results Act of 1993[Footnote 29] is that in order to 
improve the management of federal agencies, it is important that 
agencies develop comprehensive strategies to address management 
challenges that threaten their ability to meet long-term goals. We 
have previously reported that these types of strategies should contain 
results-oriented goals, performance measures, and expectations with 
clear linkages to organizational, unit, and individual performance 
goals to promote accountability and should also be clearly linked to 
DOD's key resource decisions.[Footnote 30] 

To address UAS training challenges, DOD has launched a number of 
initiatives to identify requirements for UAS access to national 
airspace, to identify available training airspace at current and 
proposed UAS operating locations, to improve joint training 
opportunities for ground units and UAS personnel, and to recommend 
effective training methods and UAS simulator equipment, and these 
initiatives are at various stages of implementation. Table 3 provides 
a summary of select DOD organizations and initiatives that are 
intended to address UAS training challenges. 

Table 3: DOD Organizations and Initiatives Addressing UAS Training 
Challenges: 

Lead DOD organizations: U.S. Joint Forces Command - Joint UAS Center 
of Excellence; 
Description of initiative: National airspace system capabilities-based 
assessment; 
Purpose: Outline requirements for national airspace system access, 
associated gaps, and potential solutions. 

Lead DOD organizations: U.S. Joint Forces Command - Joint UAS Center 
of Excellence; 
Description of initiative: Joint UAS minimum training standards; 
Purpose: Implement by October 2011 minimum UAS crewmember training 
tasks to facilitate national airspace system access. 

Lead DOD organizations: U.S. Joint Forces Command - Joint UAS Center 
of Excellence; 
Description of initiative: UAS integration at predeployment training 
centers; 
Purpose: Provide near-term actionable measures to improve UAS 
integration at service and joint training centers. 

Lead DOD organizations: U.S. Joint Forces Command - Joint UAS Center 
of Excellence; 
Description of initiative: UAS training improvement project; 
Purpose: Develop a series of documents that a predeployment training 
center or a unit can use to plan, execute, and assess UAS training 
events. 

Lead DOD organizations: Office of the Secretary of Defense - 
Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics UAS Task Force; 
Description of initiative: Civil airspace integration planning and 
technology development; 
Purpose: Review and assess operational requirements, identify 
acquisition solutions, and recommend training and policy changes 
necessary to fully integrate UAS into the national airspace system to 
support DOD requirements. 

Lead DOD organizations: Office of the Secretary of Defense - Personnel 
and Readiness; 
Description of initiative: UAS training and airspace access study; 
Purpose: Complete steps, including documenting UAS training 
requirements, establishing standard criteria for UAS basing decisions, 
and identifying supporting training infrastructure requirements. 

Lead DOD organizations: Office of the Secretary of Defense - Personnel 
and Readiness and U.S. Joint Forces Command - Joint UAS Center of 
Excellence; 
Description of initiative: UAS surrogate aircraft; 
Purpose: Provide manned aircraft equipped with sensor packages to 
training centers to replicate Predator and Reaper UAS capabilities. 

Lead DOD organizations: Military services and U.S. Special Operations 
Command; 
Description of initiative: UAS simulation studies; 
Purpose: Analyze UAS crewmember missions and training requirements and 
recommend training methods and equipment to sustain training. 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD documents. 

[End of table] 

At the time of our review, DOD's initiatives to improve UAS training 
were at varying stages of implementation. For example, the Office of 
the Secretary of Defense's effort to identify UAS airspace and 
training range requirements was established in October 2008 by the 
Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Officials told 
us that as of January 2010, the team had completed initial meetings 
and data collection with military service and combatant command 
officials. As a result of these initial steps, the team has identified 
specific actions that DOD should take to improve UAS training and 
airspace access, which include documenting UAS training requirements, 
establishing criteria for UAS basing decisions, and identifying 
supporting training infrastructure needs. Further, the Joint UAS 
Center of Excellence initiated an effort to analyze UAS integration at 
predeployment training centers in March 2009, and according to 
officials, they have collected data on UAS training at the National 
Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, and the Marine Corps Air 
Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California. We have previously 
reported that the Office of the Secretary of Defense's UAS Task Force, 
established in October 2007, is addressing civil airspace integration 
planning and technology development, among other issues.[Footnote 31] 

Although many defense organizations are responsible for implementing 
initiatives to resolve UAS training challenges and to increase UAS 
access to the national airspace system, DOD has not developed a 
comprehensive plan to prioritize and synchronize these initiatives to 
ensure that compatible goals and outcomes are achieved with milestones 
to track progress. Officials with the Office of the Secretary of 
Defense who are identifying the amount of DOD-managed airspace at 
planned UAS operating locations told us that one of their first 
efforts was to determine whether DOD had developed a comprehensive 
strategy for UAS training, but that they found that no such strategy 
existed. These officials also stated that while they intended to 
complete efforts to improve UAS training and airspace access within 18 
months, they had not established specific milestones to measure 
progress or identified the resources required to achieve this goal. 
Absent an integrated, results-oriented plan to address the challenges 
in a comprehensive manner, DOD will not have a sound basis for 
prioritizing available resources, and it cannot be assured that the 
initiatives it has under way will fully address limitations in Air 
Force and Army training approaches. 

DOD Has Not Fully Incorporated Knowledge Gained from Ongoing UAS 
Operations in Key Publications: 

Battlefield commanders and units have increased the operational 
experience with UAS and have used these assets in innovative ways, 
underscoring the need for complete and updated UAS publications. We 
identified several factors that create challenges to incorporating new 
knowledge regarding UAS practices and capabilities into formal 
publications in a comprehensive and timely way. 

UAS Publications Have Not Been Fully Updated to Include Information to 
Assist a Range of Stakeholders: 

DOD components have produced several UAS publications, including 
service doctrine; multiservice and service-specific tactics, 
techniques, and procedures; and a joint concept of operations, which 
are intended to provide military personnel with information on the use 
of these systems, to address interoperability gaps, and to facilitate 
the coordination of joint military operations. These publications 
serve as the foundation for training programs and provide the 
fundamentals to assist military planners and operators to integrate 
military capabilities into joint operations. For UAS operations, such 
stakeholders include both manned and unmanned aircraft operators, 
military planners in joint operations, and ground units that request 
UAS assets. Because military personnel involved in joint operations 
may request or employ assets that belong to another service, they need 
comprehensive information on the capabilities and practices for all of 
DOD's UAS. However, many of DOD's existing UAS publications have been 
developed through service-specific processes and focus on a single 
service's practices and UAS, and they contain limited information on 
the capabilities that the other services' UAS could provide in joint 
operations. This information would assist military personnel at the 
operational and tactical levels of command to plan for the optimal use 
of UAS in joint operations and determine the best fit between 
available UAS capabilities and mission needs. Furthermore, military 
personnel who are responsible for the effective integration of UAS 
with other aviation assets in joint operations, such as air liaison 
officers and joint aircraft controllers, require knowledge beyond a 
single service's UAS assets and their tactics, techniques, and 
procedures. To effectively integrate UAS, these service personnel 
require information that crosses service boundaries, including 
capabilities, employment considerations, and service employment 
procedures for all UAS that participate in joint operations. 

An internal DOD review of existing key UAS publications conducted in 
2009 also found that most of these documents are technical operator 
manuals with limited guidance to assist military planners and ground 
units on the employment of UAS in joint operations. For example, the 
review suggests that military planners and personnel who request the 
use of UAS assets require additional guidance that links UAS 
performance capabilities to specific mission areas so that there is a 
clear understanding of which UAS offer the optimal desired effects. 
Additionally, these stakeholders also require comprehensive 
information on UAS planning factors and the appropriate procedures for 
UAS operators to assist with mission planning. 

DOD Has Processes to Capture Knowledge Gained from Ongoing Operations, 
but Key UAS Publications Do Not Contain Timely Information: 

In addition, many key publications do not contain timely information. 
DOD officials told us that existing publications are due for revision 
given the rapidly expanding capabilities of UAS and the utilization of 
these assets in joint operations. As a result, information on UAS 
practices and capabilities described in these publications is no 
longer current. For example, DOD's multiservice tactics, techniques, 
and procedures manual for the tactical employment of UAS was last 
updated in August 2006. According to officials with whom we spoke, the 
document does not contain detailed information on UAS operations in 
new mission areas, such as communication relay, fires, convoy support, 
and irregular warfare.[Footnote 32] Although DOD components have 
established milestones to revise UAS publications, in some cases, 
these efforts have not been successful. For example, the Air Force has 
canceled conferences that were scheduled to occur in prior fiscal 
years that were intended to revise the tactics, techniques, and 
procedures manuals for the Predator UAS because, according to 
officials, key personnel were supporting overseas operations and were 
therefore unavailable to participate in the process. As a result, 
these publications have not been formally updated since 2006, and Air 
Force officials acknowledged to us that these manuals do not reflect 
current tactics and techniques. While past attempts to revise these 
publications have been unsuccessful, the Air Force has scheduled 
another conference in 2010 to revise the Predator publications. 

Documenting timely information on the use of UAS in ongoing joint 
operations is important because commanders and units are increasing 
their operational experience with these new weapon systems. As a 
result, military personnel have often developed and used new 
approaches to employ UAS, which may differ or build upon approaches 
outlined in existing publications. For example, according to 
officials, the use of UAS in ongoing operations has contributed to the 
development of new tactics for the employment of UAS in 
counterinsurgency operations--information that has not previously been 
included in DOD's publications. Officials told us that although 
publications have not been formally updated, some units, such as Air 
Force UAS squadrons, maintain draft publications that describe current 
tactics, techniques, and procedures that are being used in ongoing 
operations. However, these officials acknowledged to us that while UAS 
unit personnel have access to these draft documents, other 
stakeholders, such as military planners and manned aircraft operators, 
do not have access to the new information contained in the draft 
publications. 

In the absence of updated publications, DOD components have captured 
lessons learned and developed ad hoc reference materials that contain 
updated information on UAS capabilities to use in training exercises 
and during joint operations. For example, the military services and 
U.S. Joint Forces Command's Joint UAS Center of Excellence maintain 
Web sites that post lessons learned from recent UAS operations. In 
addition, warfighter unit personnel with whom we met provided us with 
several examples of reference materials that were produced to fill 
voids in published information on current UAS practices. Although this 
approach assists with documenting new knowledge during the time 
between publication updates, the use of lessons learned and reference 
materials as substitutes for timely publications can create challenges 
in the long term. Namely, these materials may not be widely 
distributed within DOD, and the quality of the information they 
contain has not been validated since these materials have not been 
formally vetted within the normal publication development and review 
process. 

Personnel Availability and Service Coordination Have Limited 
Development of Comprehensive and Timely Publications: 

Several factors create challenges to incorporating new knowledge about 
UAS practices and capabilities into formal publications in a 
comprehensive and timely way. Because the military services, in some 
cases, have rapidly accelerated the deployment of UAS capabilities to 
support ongoing contingency operations, there has been a corresponding 
increase in new knowledge on the employment of UAS in joint 
operations. This creates a challenge in incorporating new knowledge 
and maintaining current information within UAS publications through 
the normal publication review process. Military service officials 
noted that the pace of ongoing operations for UAS subject matter 
experts has also limited the amount of time that key personnel have 
been available to revise publications. As one example, Air Force 
officials told us that the subject matter experts who are normally 
responsible for documenting new tactics, techniques, and procedures 
within formal manuals for the service's Predator and Reaper UAS are 
the same service personnel who operate these UAS in ongoing 
operations. Because of the rapid expansion of the number of Air Force 
UAS supporting operations, the Air Force has not had enough personnel 
with critical knowledge on the use of these assets to participate in 
efforts to update its formal UAS publications. Officials told us that 
conferences scheduled in previous years intended to update the 
Predator UAS publications and to develop initial publications for the 
Reaper UAS were postponed because key personnel were supporting 
operations and were therefore unavailable to attend the conferences. 
In 2008, the Air Force established a new squadron at the Air Force 
Weapons School to develop tactical experts for the service's UAS. 
According to officials, personnel within the squadron will play a key 
role in conferences scheduled in fiscal year 2010 that are intended to 
revise the tactics, techniques, and procedures manuals for both the 
Predator and Reaper UAS. 

We recognize that the pace of operations has strained the availability 
of key subject matter experts to document timely information in UAS 
publications, but the military services have not, in some cases, 
assigned personnel to positions that are responsible for UAS 
publication development. For example, in 2006, the Air Force 
established the 561ST Joint Tactics Squadron on Nellis Air Force Base, 
comprising multiservice personnel, with the primary mission to provide 
timely development and update of tactics, techniques, and procedures 
publications. However, the squadron did not have UAS subject matter 
experts on staff who would be responsible for finalizing UAS 
publications and documenting procedures for the integration of UAS in 
combat operations, such as in the areas of airspace management and 
fire support coordination. Squadron officials told us that as of 
August 2009, the Air Force had not filled its UAS expert positions 
because of personnel shortfalls throughout the UAS community and the 
Army had not filled its positions despite agreements between Army and 
Air Force leadership to do so. According to officials, the lack of 
these experts also limits the squadron's ability to collect and 
validate emerging UAS tactics and to disseminate these emerging 
tactics to warfighters who are preparing to deploy for overseas 
contingency operations. 

Additionally, while a DOD directive[Footnote 33] makes the services 
responsible for participating with one another to develop publications 
for those UAS that are common among the services, they have not yet 
done so. To their credit, the Army and the Air Force completed a 
concept in June 2009, which presents a common vision for the services 
to provide theater-capable, multirole UAS to support a joint force 
commander across the entire spectrum of military operations. The Army 
and Air Force view this concept as the first step to improving service-
centric UAS procedures, and among other tasks, the services intend to 
update joint doctrine and tactics, techniques, and procedures for 
multirole UAS capabilities. However, we found that in several 
instances, the military services worked independently to develop 
publications for common UAS and did not maximize opportunities to 
share knowledge and work collaboratively. The lack of collaboration 
during the development of publications can limit the sharing of 
lessons learned and best practices that have been established through 
the use of UAS in operations. For example: 

* In 2009, the Air Force developed the first tactics, techniques, and 
procedures manual for the Global Hawk UAS, but did not collaborate 
with the Navy on the process to develop this publication. The Navy is 
using a similar unmanned aircraft for its Broad Area Maritime 
Surveillance and has begun operating a version of this UAS to support 
ongoing operations. 

* At the time of our work, the Marine Corps was finalizing its 
tactical manual for the Shadow UAS, which the service began to deploy 
in fiscal year 2008. However, the Marine Corps had limited 
collaboration with the Army in the development of this publication, 
despite the fact that Army ground units have considerable operational 
experience employing the Shadow UAS system and have been operating it 
since 2002.[Footnote 34] 

* We were told that the Air Force did not plan to invite the Army to 
participate in the process scheduled for 2010 to update the Predator 
UAS tactics manuals. In 2009, the Army began to deploy an initial 
version of the ERMP UAS, which is similar in design and performance to 
the Predator. 

The lack of comprehensive and timely publications that are written for 
a range of stakeholders limits the quality of information that is 
available to serve as the foundation for effective joint training 
programs and to assist military planners and operators in integrating 
UAS on the battlefield. 

Conclusions: 

Warfighter demand for UAS has fueled a dramatic growth in DOD's 
programs and the military services have had success providing assets 
to military forces supporting ongoing operations. However, the rapid 
fielding of new systems and the considerable expansion of existing Air 
Force and Army programs has posed challenges for military planners to 
fully account for UAS support elements, such as developing 
comprehensive plans that account for the personnel and facilities 
needed to operate and sustain UAS programs and ensure the 
communications infrastructure that is necessary to control UAS 
operations. While the Air Force and the Army have implemented various 
actions to address UAS support elements, these actions in many cases 
have not been guided by a rigorous analysis of the requirements to 
support UAS programs in the long term or the development of plans that 
identify milestones for completing actions and synchronize the 
resources needed for implementation. In the absence of plans that 
fully account for support elements and related costs, DOD cannot be 
reasonably assured that Air Force and Army approaches will provide the 
level of support necessary for current and projected increases in UAS 
inventories. Moreover, the lack of comprehensive plans limits the 
ability of decision makers to evaluate the total resources needed to 
support UAS programs and to make informed future investment decisions. 
Furthermore, the challenges regarding UAS training may be difficult to 
resolve unless DOD develops a comprehensive and integrated strategy to 
prioritize and synchronize the initiatives it has under way to address 
limitations in Air Force and Army training. Lastly, without assigning 
personnel or taking steps to coordinate efforts to update and develop 
UAS publications, information in UAS publications will not be 
comprehensive and therefore will not include new knowledge on UAS 
practices and capabilities. This has the potential to limit the 
quality of information that is available to serve as the foundation 
for effective joint training programs and to assist military planners 
and operators in integrating UAS on the battlefield. 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

We recommend that the Secretary of Defense take the following five 
actions: 

To ensure that UAS inventories are fully supported in the long term, 
we recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct the Secretary of the 
Air Force and the Secretary of the Army, in coordination with the 
Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, 
to conduct comprehensive planning as part of the decision-making 
process to field new systems or to further expand existing 
capabilities to account for factors necessary to operate and sustain 
these programs. At a minimum, this planning should be based on a 
rigorous analysis of the personnel and facilities needed to operate 
and sustain UAS and include the development of detailed action plans 
that identify milestones for tracking progress and synchronize funding 
and personnel. 

To ensure that the Air Force can address the near-term risk of 
disruption to the communications infrastructure network used to 
control UAS missions, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense 
direct the Secretary of the Air Force to establish a milestone for 
finalizing a near-term plan to provide for the continuity of UAS 
operations that can be rapidly implemented in the event of a 
disruption and is based on a detailed analysis of available options. 

To ensure that DOD can comprehensively resolve challenges that affect 
the ability of the Air Force and the Army to train personnel for UAS 
operations, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct the 
Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in 
coordination with the military services and other organizations as 
appropriate, to develop a results-oriented training strategy that 
provides detailed information on the steps that DOD will take to: 

* identify and address the effects of competition and airspace 
restrictions on UAS training, 

* increase the opportunities that Army ground units and Air Force UAS 
personnel have to train together in a joint environment, 

* maximize the use of available assets in training exercises, and: 

* upgrade UAS simulation capabilities to enhance training. 

At a minimum, the strategy should describe overarching goals, the 
priority and interrelationships among initiatives, progress made to 
date, milestones for achieving goals, and the resources required to 
accomplish the strategy's goals. 

To help ensure that all stakeholders, including unmanned aircraft 
operators, military planners, and ground units, have comprehensive and 
timely information on UAS practices and capabilities, we recommend 
that the Secretary of Defense direct the Secretary of the Air Force 
and the Secretary of the Army to assign personnel to update key UAS 
publications. We also recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct 
the Secretary of the Air Force, the Secretary of the Army, and the 
Secretary of the Navy to take steps to coordinate the efforts to 
develop publications for those UAS where there is commonality among 
the services. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

In written comments on a draft of this report, DOD concurred with four 
recommendations and partially concurred with one recommendation. DOD's 
comments are reprinted in appendix II. DOD also provided technical 
comments, which we incorporated into the report as appropriate. 

DOD concurred with our recommendation to direct the Secretary of the 
Air Force and the Secretary of the Army, in coordination with the 
Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, 
to conduct comprehensive planning as part of the decision-making 
process to field new systems or to further expand existing 
capabilities to account for factors necessary to operate and sustain 
these programs that at a minimum, is based on a rigorous analysis of 
the personnel and facilities needed to operate and sustain UAS and 
include the development of detailed action plans that identify 
milestones for tracking progress and synchronize funding and 
personnel. DOD stated that the department conducts ongoing analysis to 
determine personnel requirements, necessary capabilities for emerging 
and maturing missions, basing, and training requirements as part of 
the military services' processes for fielding new systems and 
expanding existing capabilities and that this planning is based on 
internal studies as well as rigorous computer modeling, which provides 
detailed projections of personnel requirements based on anticipated 
growth and training capacity. DOD further stated that these plans take 
into account factors that are necessary to operate and sustain UAS, 
which are applied in order to synchronize funding and personnel. DOD 
also noted that some planning factors are variable over time and are 
regularly reassessed in order to validate plans or drive necessary 
changes. As discussed in the report, the Air Force and the Army are 
conducting analyses of factors, such as personnel and facilities, 
which are required to operate and sustain current and projected UAS 
force levels. However, although the services are requesting funds, 
they have not finalized ongoing analyses or fully developed plans that 
specify the actions and resources required to supply the personnel and 
facilities that are needed to support these inventories in the long 
term. Therefore, we reiterate our recommendation that as DOD makes 
decisions to further expand UAS inventories, it needs to ensure that 
the Air Force and the Army conduct extensive planning, to include 
performing the necessary analyses for these factors, so that decision 
makers have complete information on total program costs and assurances 
that weapon system programs can be fully supported. 

DOD concurred with our recommendation to direct the Secretary of the 
Air Force to establish a milestone for finalizing a near-term plan to 
provide for the continuity of operations that can be rapidly 
implemented in the event of a disruption to the communications 
infrastructure network used to control UAS missions that is based on a 
detailed analysis of available options. DOD stated the Air Force is 
conducting a site selection process for identifying a second satellite 
relay location and that until the alternate site has been selected and 
funding secured, the Air Force has mitigated risk of communication 
disruption with a plan for acquiring and positioning backup equipment 
for the existing satellite relay site. We state in the report that at 
the time of our review, the Air Force had not conducted a detailed 
analysis of available options, such as repositioning backup equipment, 
to determine the extent to which they would provide for the continuity 
of UAS operations and it had not established a specific milestone to 
formalize a plan that could be implemented quickly in the event of a 
disruption. We are encouraged by DOD's statement that the Air Force 
has since developed a continuity plan. Although we did not have the 
opportunity to review the plan's contents, we would expect that it is 
based on a detailed analysis of the equipment that is required to 
provide a redundant communications capability at the existing 
satellite relay site and that it includes specific milestones for 
acquiring and positioning new equipment in the near term. 

DOD concurred with our recommendation to direct the Under Secretary of 
Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in coordination with the military 
services and other organizations as appropriate, to develop a results- 
oriented training strategy that provides detailed information on the 
steps that DOD will take to identify and address the effects of 
competition and airspace restrictions on UAS training; increase the 
opportunities that Army ground units and Air Force UAS personnel have 
to train together in a joint environment; maximize the use of 
available assets in training exercises; and upgrade UAS simulation 
capabilities to enhance training. This strategy should, at a minimum, 
describe overarching goals, the priority and interrelationships among 
initiatives, progress made to date, milestones for achieving goals, 
and the resources required to accomplish the strategy's goals. DOD 
stated that the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel 
and Readiness has work under way to address this recommendation and 
that organizations, including the offices of the Under Secretary of 
Defense for Personnel and Readiness and the Under Secretary of Defense 
for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, the Joint UAS Center of 
Excellence, and the military services, are participating on a team to 
facilitate identifying UAS training requirements and develop a concept 
of operations for UAS training. DOD further stated that upon 
completion of the concept, the department will develop and implement a 
mission readiness road map and investment strategy. 

DOD partially concurred with our recommendation to direct the 
Secretary of the Air Force and the Secretary of the Army to assign 
personnel to update key UAS publications. DOD stated that military 
personnel are updating regulations that govern training, 
certification, and operational guidance for UAS personnel. DOD also 
stated that the military services are active participants in the 
process for updating key joint guidance, such as joint publications 
and other tactics documents, and that the Office of the Under 
Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics is 
initiating development of the third edition of the Unmanned Systems 
Roadmap and the Joint UAS Center of Excellence is writing the third 
version of the Joint Concept of Operations for Unmanned Aircraft 
Systems. DOD further stated that guidance on UAS tactics, techniques, 
and procedures should be incorporated into joint functional guidance 
rather than the update of documents that are dedicated only to UAS 
tactics, techniques, and procedures. We state in our report that DOD 
components, such as the military services and other defense 
organizations, have produced several publications, including joint and 
service doctrinal publications, that describe processes to plan for 
and integrate UAS into combat operations. We also state in the report 
that DOD components have produced UAS-specific publications, such as 
multiservice and platform-specific tactics, techniques, and procedures 
manuals. However, we identified many cases where DOD's UAS 
publications did not incorporate updated information needed by 
military personnel to understand current practices and capabilities, 
and we found that the military services have not, in some instances, 
assigned personnel to positions that are responsible for UAS 
publication development. This has the potential to limit the quality 
of information that is available to serve as the foundation for 
effective joint training programs and to assist military planners and 
operators in integrating UAS on the battlefield. Therefore, we 
continue to believe that our recommendation has merit. 

DOD concurred with our recommendation to direct the Secretary of the 
Air Force, the Secretary of the Army, and the Secretary of the Navy to 
take steps to coordinate the efforts to develop publications for those 
UAS where there is commonality among the services. DOD stated that 
coordination to develop publications where commonality exists between 
UAS is occurring. For example, DOD stated that the Army and Air Force 
Theater-Capable Unmanned Aircraft Enabling Concept was approved in 
February 2009. According to DOD, this document outlines how the two 
services will increase the interoperability of similar systems, and as 
a result, planning is under way to identify key publications and 
incorporate joint concepts. As we note in our report, to their credit, 
the Air Force and Army concept can serve to improve service-centric 
UAS procedures. However, we found that in other instances, the 
military services did not maximize opportunities to share knowledge 
and work collaboratively in the development of UAS publications where 
there is commonality among the services, which can limit the sharing 
of lessons learned and best practices that have been established 
through the use of UAS in operations. Therefore, we reiterate the need 
for the military services to coordinate the efforts to develop 
publications for those UAS where there is commonality among the 
services. 

We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Defense, the 
Secretary of the Air Force, the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary 
of the Navy, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps. This report also 
is available at no charge on the GAO Web site at [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov]. 

If you or your staff have any question 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 address our objectives, we met with officials from the Office of 
the Secretary of Defense; the Joint Staff; several unified combatant 
commands; the Multi-National Forces Iraq; and the Departments of the 
Air Force, the Army, and the Navy who represent headquarters 
organizations and tactical units. To determine the extent to which 
plans were in place to account for the personnel, facilities, and 
communications infrastructure to support Air Force and Army unmanned 
aircraft systems (UAS) inventories, we focused primarily on Air Force 
and Army UAS programs that support ongoing operations. Excluded from 
this review were programs for small unmanned aircraft. While the 
military services have acquired more than 6,200 of these aircraft, 
they generally do not have substantial support requirements. We 
examined the military services' UAS program and funding plans, 
Department of Defense (DOD) policies governing the requirements 
definition and acquisition processes, and data generated by the Joint 
Capabilities Integration and Development System--the department's 
principal process for identifying, assessing, and prioritizing joint 
military capabilities and the process used by acquisition personnel to 
document a weapon system's life cycle costs (including support costs) 
to determine whether the associated program is affordable. We analyzed 
UAS funding requests included in the President's budget requests for 
fiscal years 2006 through 2010. We compiled data from the Departments 
of the Air Force, the Army, and the Navy and the DOD-wide procurement, 
research, development, test and evaluation, military construction, and 
operation and maintenance budget justification books.[Footnote 35] We 
reviewed documents that detail UAS operational concepts and we 
interviewed officials with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and 
the military services to determine whether UAS plans account for the 
services' personnel, facilities, and communication infrastructure 
needs for these concepts, and to determine any actions taken to update 
UAS plans to more accurately reflect the costs of further expanding 
UAS programs. We considered all of the information collected on these 
planning efforts in light of knowledge gained by the services from 
operational experiences with the use of UAS in ongoing contingency 
operations. In examining UAS planning documents, we consulted the 
Office of Management and Budget's Capital Programming Guide and our 
Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide for instruction on developing 
cost estimates and plans to manage capital investments.[Footnote 36] 

In determining the extent to which DOD addressed challenges that 
affect the ability of the Air Force and the Army to train personnel 
for UAS operations, we visited select military installations and the 
Army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, and spoke 
with knowledgeable DOD and military service officials to determine the 
specific challenges that the Air Force and the Army faced when 
training service personnel to perform UAS missions in joint 
operations. Specifically, we spoke with Air Force and Army personnel 
in UAS units in the United States and in Iraq to determine the 
training that they were able to perform prior to operating UAS in 
joint operations through live-fly training and through the use of 
simulators. We discussed the challenges, if any, that prevented them 
from performing required training tasks. In identifying Air Force and 
Army unit personnel to speak with, we selected a nonprobability sample 
of units that were preparing to deploy for contingency operations or 
had redeployed from these operations from May 2009 through September 
2009. We examined documents and spoke with DOD and military service 
officials to identify initiatives that have begun to address UAS 
training challenges. We assessed DOD's efforts to overcome these 
challenges in light of leading practices derived from principles 
established under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, 
which are intended to assist federal agencies in addressing management 
challenges that threaten their ability to meet long-term goals, and 
key elements of an overarching organizational framework, such as 
developing results-oriented strategies, as described in our prior 
work.[Footnote 37] 

To determine the extent to which DOD updated its existing publications 
that articulate doctrine and tactics, techniques, and procedures to 
reflect the knowledge gained from using UAS in ongoing operations, we 
examined joint, multiservice, and service-specific UAS doctrine, 
tactics, techniques, and procedures, and concept of operations 
publications. We interviewed DOD and military service officials to 
determine which organizational entities require information on UAS 
capabilities and practices. We examined the publications to determine 
the level of information provided to various organizations and 
personnel that are responsible for planning for and employing UAS in 
joint operations. We also analyzed the publications to determine the 
degree to which information is provided to the various organizations 
and personnel that are responsible for planning for and employing UAS 
in joint operations. Finally, we interviewed DOD and military service 
officials about the processes used to develop and update publications; 
any challenges that affect their ability to update key publications; 
and how new knowledge regarding UAS operations, such as lessons 
learned and best practices, is captured. We analyzed these processes 
to determine the level of coordination among the military services to 
develop UAS publications and the frequency at which documents have 
been revised. 

We conducted this performance audit from October 2008 through March 
2010 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 Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology 
and Logistics: 

* Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence: 

* Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness: 

* Office of the Director, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation: 

Department of the Air Force: 

* Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower and Personnel: 

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

* Air Combat Command:
- 432nd Wing:
- 6th Combat Training Squadron:
- 561st Joint Tactics Squadron: 

* Air Force Central Command:
- 609th Combined Air Operations Center:
- 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group: 

Department of the Army: 

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

* Army Corps of Engineers: 

* Army National Guard: 

* Army Forces Command: 

* Army Installation Management Command:
- Fort Bragg, North Carolina:
- Fort Carson, Colorado:
- Fort Drum, New York:
- Fort Hood, Texas:
- Fort Huachuca, Arizona:
- Fort Irwin, California:
- Fort Lewis, Washington:
- Fort Riley, Kansas:
- Fort Stewart, Georgia: 

* Army Materiel Command:
- Program Executive Office-Aviation, Program Manager UAS: 

* Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command:
- Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, 
Joint Technology Center/Systems Integration Laboratory: 

* Army Training and Doctrine Command:
- Army Aviation Center of Excellence: 

* 1st Cavalry Division:
- 4th Brigade Combat Team: 

* 2nd Infantry Division:
- 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team: 

* 3rd Infantry Division:
- 1st Brigade Combat Team: 

* 4th Infantry Division:
- 1st Brigade Combat Team:
- 3rd Brigade Combat Team:
- 4th Brigade Combat Team: 

* 10th Mountain Division: 

* 10th Army Special Forces Group: 

Department of the Navy: 

* Research, Development, and Acquisition:
- Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons, 
Persistent Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems: 

* Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command: 

* Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific: 

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

Other DOD Components: 

* Multi-National Forces Iraq:
- Multi-National Corps Iraq: 

* United States Central Command: 

* United States Joint Forces Command: 

* United States Special Operations Command: 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: Comments from the Department of Defense: 

Office Of The Under Secretary Of Defense: 
Acquisition, Technology And Logistics: 
3000 Defense Pentagon: 
Washington, DC 20301-3000: 

March 15, 2010: 

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, GA0-10-331, "Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Comprehensive Planning 
and a Results-Oriented Training Strategy are Needed to Support Growing 
Inventories," dated February 4, 2010 (GAO Code 351271). 

The DoD partially-concurs with the draft report's fourth 
recommendation and concurs with recommendation one through three and 
five. The rational for the DoD's position is enclosed. 

The Department appreciates the opportunity to comment on the draft 
report. For further questions concerning this report, please contact 
Mr. Edward Wolski, Unmanned Warfare, Edward.Wolski@osd.mil, 703-695-
8778. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

David G. Ahern: 
Director: 
Portfolio Systems Acquisition: 

Enclosure: As stated: 

GAO DRAFT REPORT DATED FEBRUARY 4, 2010: 
GAO-10-331(GAO CODE 351271): 

"Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Comprehensive Planning And A Results-
Oriented Training Strategy Are Needed To Support Growing Inventories" 

Department Of Defense Comments To The GAO Recommendations: 

Recommendation 1: The GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense 
direct the Secretary of the Air Force and the Secretary of the Army, 
in coordination with the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, 
Technology, and Logistics, to conduct comprehensive planning as part 
of the decision making process to field new systems or to further 
expand existing capabilities to account for factors necessary to 
operate and sustain these programs. At a minimum, this planning should 
be based on a rigorous analysis of the persons and facilities needed 
to operate and sustain UAS and include the development of detailed 
action plans that identify milestones for tracking progress and 
synchronize funding and personnel. (Page 39/GAO Draft Report) 

DOD Response: Concur. The Department of Defense (Department) conducts 
ongoing analysis to determine personnel requirements, necessary 
capabilities for emerging and maturing missions, basing, and training 
requirements as part of the Military Service's Title 10-guided process 
for fielding new systems and expanding existing capabilities. This 
planning is based on internal studies as well as a rigorous computer 
modeling which provides detailed projections of personnel requirement 
based on anticipated growth and training capacity. These plans take 
into account factors that are necessary to operate and sustain UAS, 
which are applied in order to synchronize funding and personnel. Some 
planning factors are variable over time, however, and are regularly 
reassessed in order to validate plans or drive necessary changes. 

Recommendation 2: The GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense 
direct the Secretary of the Air Force to establish a milestone for 
finalizing a near-term plan to provide for the continuity of UAS 
operations that can be rapidly implemented in the event of a 
disruption and is based on a detailed analysis of available options. 
(Page 40/GAO Draft Report) 

DOD Response: Concur. The Air Force is conducting the site selection 
process for identifying a second satellite relay location. Until the 
alternate site has been selected and the MILCON funding secured, the 
Air Force has mitigated this risk of communication disruption with a 
plan for acquiring and positioning back-up equipment for the satellite 
relay sites. 

Recommendation 3: The GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense 
direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in 
coordination with the Military Services and other organizations as 
appropriate, to develop a results-oriented training strategy that 
provides detailed information on the steps that DoD will take to: 

* Identify and address the effects of competition and airspace 
restrictions on UAS training, 

* Increase the opportunities that Army ground units and Air Force UAS 
personnel have to train together in a joint environment, 

* Maximize the use of available assets in training exercises, and, 

* Upgrade UAS simulation capabilities to enhance training. 

At a minimum, the strategy should describe overarching goals; the 
priority and interrelationships among initiatives, progress made to 
date; milestones for achieving goals; and the resources required to 
accomplish the strategy's goals. (Page 40/GAO Draft Report) 

DOD Response: Concur. The office of the Under Secretary of Defense for 
Personnel and Readiness (USD(P&R)) has work underway now to address 
this recommendation. ODUSD(P&R) is leading a UAS Tiger Team in 
coordination with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for 
Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (OUSD(AT&L)) UAS Task Force, 
the Joint UAS Center of Excellence (JUAS COE) and the Military Services
to facilitate identification of training requirements and develop a 
concept of operations (CONOPS) for UAS continuation training. As part 
of this effort, the areas identified above will be assessed and 
incorporated into the CONOPS. Upon completion of the CONOPS a UAS 
Mission Readiness Roadmap and Investment Strategy will be developed 
and implemented. 

Recommendation 4: The GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense 
direct the Secretary of the Air Force and the Secretary of the Army to 
assign personnel to update key UAS publications. (Page 41/GAO Draft 
Report) 

DOD Response: Partially Concur. Military personnel are updating 
regulations which govern the training, certification, and operational 
guidance for UAS crews. The Military Services are also active 
participants in the process for updating key joint guidance such as 
Joint Publication (JP) 3-30, the 3-09 series of JPs, and JFIRE, and 
other key tactics documents. UAS guidance on tactics, techniques, and 
procedures for their employment should be incorporated into joint 
functional guidance vs. the update of documents that are dedicated 
only to UAS Tactics Techniques and Procedures. The OUSD(AT&L) UAS Task 
Force is initiating the third edition of its "Unmanned Systems 
Roadmap" and the JUAS COE is writing the third version of the JUAS 
CONOPS. 

Recommendation 5: The GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense 
direct the Secretary of the Air Force, the Secretary of the Army, and 
the Secretary of the Navy to take steps to coordinate the efforts to 
develop publications for those UAS where there is commonality among 
the services. (Page 41/GAO Draft Report) 

DOD Response: Concur. Coordination to develop publications where 
commonality exists between UAS is occurring. For example, the Army/Air 
Force Theater-Capable Unmanned Aircraft Enabling Concept, a product of 
the Air Force Air Combat Command and the Army Training and Doctrine 
Command collaboration, was approved by both the Chief of Staff Army 
and the Chief of Staff Air Force in February 2009. This document 
outlines how the two services will increase the interoperability of 
similar systems. As a result, planning is underway to identify key 
publications and incorporate joint concepts. 

[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; Meghan Cameron; Mae Jones; Susan Langley; Ashley Lipton; 
Greg Marchand; Brian Mateja; Jason Pogacnik; Mike Shaughnessy; and 
Matthew Ullengren made significant contributions to this report. 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] See, for example, GAO, Defense Acquisitions: Greater Synergies 
Possible for DOD's Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance 
Systems, [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-07-578] 
(Washington, D.C.: May 17, 2007); Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Advance 
Coordination and Increased Visibility Needed to Optimize Capabilities, 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-07-836] (Washington, D.C.: 
July 11, 2007); Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Additional Actions Needed 
to Improve Management and Integration of DOD Efforts to Support 
Warfighter Needs, [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-175] 
(Washington, D.C.: Nov. 14, 2008); and Defense Acquisitions: 
Opportunities Exist to Achieve Greater Commonality and Efficiencies 
among Unmanned Aircraft Systems, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-520] (Washington, D.C.: July 30, 
2009). 

[2] Department of Defense Directive 1322.18, Military Training (Jan. 
13, 2009). 

[3] UAS training operations are generally restricted to DOD-designated 
airspace because current systems do not meet several federal 
requirements. For example, UAS do not have personnel or a suitable 
alternative technology on board to detect and avoid other aircraft. 

[4] See Office of Management and Budget, Capital Programming Guide: 
Supplement to Circular A-11, Part 7, Planning, Budgeting, and 
Acquisition of Capital Assets (Washington, D.C.: June 2006), and GAO, 
GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide: Best Practices for 
Developing and Managing Capital Program Costs, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-3SP] (Washington, D.C.: March 2009). 

[5] See, for example, GAO, Highlights of a GAO Roundtable: The Chief 
Operating Officer Concept: A Potential Strategy to Address Federal 
Governance Challenges, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-192SP] (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 4, 
2002); Highlights of a GAO Forum: Mergers and Transformation: Lessons 
Learned for a Department of Homeland Security and Other Federal 
Agencies, [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-293SP] 
(Washington, D.C.: Nov. 14, 2002); Defense Business Transformation: 
Achieving Success Requires a Chief Management Officer to Provide Focus 
and Sustained Leadership, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-07-1072] (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 5, 
2007); and [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-175]. 

[6] DOD's February 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Report states that 
the Air Force is on track to achieve this goal and that it will 
continue to increase the number of combat air patrols to 65 by fiscal 
year 2015. 

[7] Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Manual for the Operation of 
the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (July 31, 
2009), cited in Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 
3170.01G, Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (Mar. 
1, 2009), [hyperlink, https://acc.dau.mi/pm] (accessed Feb. 1, 2010). 

[8] Department of Defense, Weapon System Acquisition Reform Product 
Support Assessment (November 2009). 

[9] GAO, Defense Acquisitions: A Knowledge-Based Funding Approach 
Could Improve Major Weapon System Program Outcomes, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-619] (Washington, D.C.: July 2, 
2008). 

[10] See, for example, GAO, Defense Critical Infrastructure: DOD's 
Evolving Assurance Program Has Made Progress but Leaves Critical 
Space, Intelligence, and Global Communications Assets at Risk, 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-828NI] (Washington, 
D.C.: Aug. 22, 2008), and Defense Critical Infrastructure: Actions 
Needed to Improve the Identification and Management of Electrical 
Power Risks and Vulnerabilities to DOD Critical Assets, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-147] (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 23, 
2009). 

[11] GAO, Defense Critical Infrastructure: Additional Air Force 
Actions Needed at Creech Air Force Base to Ensure Protection and 
Continuity of UAS Operations, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-469RNI] (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 23, 
2008). 

[12] See Department of Defense Instruction 5000.02, Operation of the 
Defense Acquisition System (Dec. 8, 2008), and Department of Defense, 
Defense Acquisition Guidebook (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 17, 2009), 
[hyperlink, https://dag.dau.mil] (accessed Jan. 5, 2010). 

[13] Office of Management and Budget, Capital Programming Guide. 

[14] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-3SP]. 

[15] Department of Defense, United States Air Force Unmanned Aircraft 
Systems Flight Plan 2009-2047 (May 2009). 

[16] In contrast, the Marine Corps, which also operates the Shadow 
UAS, has determined that the system has a facility requirement. The 
Marine Corps has requested military construction funds to build new 
facilities to support its systems. 

[17] This estimate is based on our analysis of the notional facility 
requirement for an ERMP UAS to include a maintenance hangar, a company 
operations facility, and a landing surface for fielding the system to 
10 combat aviation brigades. 

[18] In addition, the Navy's Global Hawk Maritime Demonstration 
unmanned aircraft are controlled through the same location. 

[19] As discussed earlier in this report, our prior work has 
identified a number of challenges that DOD faces with the evolving 
management framework of the Defense Critical Infrastructure Program. 
See, for example, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-828NI] and [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-147]. 

[20] Department of Defense, Air Force Doctrine Document: Command and 
Control 2-8 (June 2007). 

[21] According to a DOD official, in February 2010 U.S. Joint Forces 
Command plans to publish revised estimates of annual flight hours 
required for UAS training. DOD's preliminary analysis of these 
estimates indicates a decrease in the number of flight hours needed to 
accomplish annual UAS training requirements. 

[22] Department of Defense, Airspace Integration Plan for Unmanned 
Aviation (November 2004). 

[23] GAO, Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Federal Actions Needed to Ensure 
Safety and Expand Their Potential Uses within the National Airspace 
System, [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-511] 
(Washington, D.C.: May 15, 2008). 

[24] Pub. L. No. 111-84, ß 935 (2009). 

[25] Officials pointed out that because of the beyond-the-line-of-
sight operational concept, Air Force UAS stationed at current bases 
are capable of supporting training at the Joint Readiness Training 
Center; however, challenges associated with gaining access to the 
airspace needed to transit to Fort Polk make it impractical to 
participate in exercises at the training center. 

[26] Department of Defense, Brigade Combat Team Air-Ground Integration 
Final Report (February 2009). 

[27] CHI Systems Inc., UAS Training Simulator Evaluation, a special 
report prepared at the request of the United States Special Operations 
Command, August 2009. 

[28] The Air Force's Distributed Mission Operations Network provides a 
persistent and secure connection for combat Air Force simulators to 
perform virtual training exercises. 

[29] Pub. L. No. 103-62 (1993). 

[30] See, for example, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-192SP], [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-293SP], [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-07-1072], and [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-175]. 

[31] [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-175]. 

[32] According to officials, DOD's Multi-Service Tactics, Techniques, 
and Procedures for the Tactical Employment of Unmanned Aircraft 
Systems publication is currently being revised with a planned issuance 
date in August 2010. 

[33] Department of Defense Directive 5100.1, Functions of the 
Department of Defense and Its Major Components (certified current as 
of Nov. 21, 2003). 

[34] For example, we were told that Army representation in this 
process was provided by a U.S. Joint Forces Command official. 

[35] All of the associated costs for UAS programs are not transparent 
within the budget justification books. We requested supplementary data 
from the services to provide additional information regarding 
operation and support costs as well as facility construction or 
renovation costs. 

[36] See Office of Management and Budget, Capital Programming Guide, 
and [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-3SP]. 

[37] See, for example, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-192SP], [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-293SP], [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-07-1072], and [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-175]. 

[End of section] 

GAO's Mission: 

The Government Accountability Office, the audit, evaluation and 
investigative arm of Congress, exists to support Congress in meeting 
its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance 
and accountability of the federal government for the American people. 
GAO examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and 
policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance 
to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding 
decisions. GAO's commitment to good government is reflected in its core 
values of accountability, integrity, and reliability. 

Obtaining Copies of GAO Reports and Testimony: 

The fastest and easiest way to obtain copies of GAO documents at no 
cost is through GAO's Web site [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. Each 
weekday, GAO posts newly released reports, testimony, and 
correspondence on its Web site. To have GAO e-mail you a list of newly 
posted products every afternoon, go to [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov] 
and select "E-mail Updates." 

Order by Phone: 

The price of each GAO publication reflects GAOís actual cost of
production and distribution and depends on the number of pages in the
publication and whether the publication is printed in color or black and
white. Pricing and ordering information is posted on GAOís Web site, 
[hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/ordering.htm]. 

Place orders by calling (202) 512-6000, toll free (866) 801-7077, or
TDD (202) 512-2537. 

Orders may be paid for using American Express, Discover Card,
MasterCard, Visa, check, or money order. Call for additional 
information. 

To Report Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in Federal Programs: 

Contact: 

Web site: [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/fraudnet/fraudnet.htm]: 
E-mail: fraudnet@gao.gov: 
Automated answering system: (800) 424-5454 or (202) 512-7470: 

Congressional Relations: 

Ralph Dawn, Managing Director, dawnr@gao.gov: 
(202) 512-4400: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street NW, Room 7125: 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 

Public Affairs: 

Chuck Young, Managing Director, youngc1@gao.gov: 
(202) 512-4800: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street NW, Room 7149: 
Washington, D.C. 20548: