The threat of improvised explosive devices (IED) continues to be a major concern in Afghanistan, as well as to other areas throughout the world with over 500 reported IED events per month worldwide outside of Southwest Asia according to Department of Defense (DOD) officials. Further, there is widespread consensus in DOD that this threat will not go away and that IEDs will continue to be a weapon of strategic influence in future conflicts. In support of the fight against IEDs, Congress has appropriated over $18 billion to the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) from fiscal year 2006 through fiscal year 2011 to address the IED threat. In addition, other DOD components, including the military services, also have spent billions of dollars from their own funds developing counter-IED capabilities. For example, the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Task Force, which leads DODs efforts to produce and field Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to protect troops against IEDs and other threats, received over $40 billion from fiscal years 2005 through 2010. With the current fiscal challenges facing the nation, it will be important for DOD to coordinate its counter-IED efforts in order to use funds efficiently.
As GAO reported in March 2011, there are several examples of duplication in DODs counter-IED efforts and neither JIEDDO nor any other DOD organization had full visibility over all of DODs counter-IED efforts. GAO also reported in February 2012 on additional examples of potential duplication in DODs counter-IED efforts.
This total represents appropriations and rescissions made to the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Fund for JIEDDO. Prior to the establishment of JIEDDO in 2006, no single entity was responsible for coordinating DODs counter-IED efforts. A primary role for JIEDDO is to provide funding and assistance to rapidly develop, acquire, and field counter-IED solutions.
DOD does not have full visibility over all of its counter-IED efforts. DOD relies on various sources and systems for managing its counter-IED efforts, but has not developed a process that provides DOD with a comprehensive listing of its counter-IED initiatives and activities. For example, JIEDDO has developed the JIEDDO Enterprise Management System to manage its own operations by collecting and reporting cost and other information related to JIEDDOs organizational and funds management, its coordination of JIEDDO-funded projects and projects funded by other DOD activities, its administrative activities, and its own counter-IED projects. However, while this system contains information that could be used to identify individual initiatives, it does not automatically separate costs directly expended on counter-IED initiatives from JIEDDOs overhead and infrastructure costs such as facilities, contractor support, pay and benefits, and travel. Consequently, this system does not provide an automated means to comprehensively and rapidly identify and list all of JIEDDOs counter-IED initiatives. Further, even if it did collect this information, the system is limited to JIEDDO, and therefore would not include a comprehensive listing of other DOD efforts outside of JIEDDO. However, JIEDDO is currently developing a new information technology architecture and plans to develop a database for counter-IED efforts across DOD as part of this new architecture. This effort is in the conceptualization stage, and JIEDDO officials do not anticipate completion before the end of fiscal year 2012. Further, JIEDDO does not have an implementation plan that includes a detailed timeline with milestones to help track its progress in achieving this goal.
Without a comprehensive listing of counter-IED initiatives, DOD components may be unaware of the total spectrum of counter-IED efforts within the department, and thereby continue to independently pursue counter-IED efforts that focus on similar technologies and may be duplicative. GAO identified three examples of potential duplication within DOD counter-IED efforts focusing on relatively high-cost areas.
In 2010, according to Navy officials, the Army continued to develop new technology for insertion into its Duke systemexpected to cost about $1.062 billion when completed and installedwithout notifying and coordinating with the Navy. According to Army officials, the Army is pursuing development of its own system because it intends to expand the use of this technology for purposes other than countering IEDs, such as jamming enemy command, control, and communication systems. However, according to Navy officials, the CREW systems technology has the flexibility and capacity to expand and provide the same additional functions as the Army plans for its Duke system. Moreover, according to Navy officials, the Navys system is further along in its development. Because the Navy and Army are pursuing separate jamming systems, it is not clear if DOD is taking the most cost-effective approach. While, according to JIEDDO officials, the Office of the Secretary of Defense was considering how to resolve this issue, a decision had not been made before GAOs report was completed. Regardless of the final outcome, however, a more coordinated approach early in the process when initiating programs of this magnitude could prevent unnecessary duplication in costs and effort.
According to JIEDDO officials, JIEDDO is aware of the redundancy within these electronic tools. In April 2011, the JIEDDO Deputy Director for Information Management raised the issue of redundancy in JIEDDOs information technology systems, including its counter-IED data collection and analysis systems and tools. Consequently, since April 2011, JIEDDO has worked to eliminate overlapping information technology capabilities where feasible, including among the approximately 70 analytical tools JIEDDO has funded and developed for use in countering IED networks. For example, on July 1, 2011, JIEDDO discontinued funding for one of these initiativesTripwire Analytical Capabilityciting as reasons the initiatives limited purpose, high cost, and duplicative capabilities.
However, in making its decision to discontinue the Tripwire Analytical Capability, yet continue operating the other data collection and analysis tools, JIEDDO had not compared and quantified all of the potential options to streamline or consolidate these tools to create a single, collective system that includes extracting data on counter-IED efforts across DOD. As a result, JIEDDO cannot be certain it is pursuing the most advantageous approach for collecting, analyzing, storing, and using available data for combating the IED threat. Further, although JIEDDO has discontinued funding the Tripwire Analytical Capability, the Defense Intelligence Agency is continuing to develop the tool for its own use, resulting in the potential for DOD-wide duplication between the Tripwire Analytical Capability and JIEDDOs other data collection and analysis tools.
These above three examples of potential duplication are based on GAOs examination of selected efforts identified during its review of DODs progress in developing a comprehensive DOD-wide counter-IED database. However, given the continued absence of a database and a process to identify and reduce duplication in DODs counter-IED efforts, the potential exists for additional cases of duplication.
The specific capability gap addressed by this technology is classified and therefore not discussed in this report.
See Department of Defense Directive 5101.14, DoD Executive Agent and Single Manager for Military Ground-Based Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare (CREW) Technology, ¶ 5.3.1 (June 11, 2007) (requiring the Secretary of the Navy to designate a single manager).
Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization Office of Internal Review, Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization: Information Technology Investment Management, Report of Audit 2011-07-002 (September 6, 2011).
To improve visibility of its collective counter-IED expenditures and investments, GAO has in prior years recommended that DOD develop a database of all department-wide counter-IED efforts. However, after expending billions of dollars on developing counter-IED capabilities, DOD has not made progress in establishing such a database. Consequently, GAO recommended in February 2012 that DOD should
It is essential that DOD follow-through in implementing GAOs recommendations to address the risk of duplication in its multibillion-dollar counter-IED expenditures and investments. Given that JIEDDO and other DOD organizations have spent billions of dollars on counter-IED efforts, cost savings could be significant should DOD focus on reducing duplication across its counter-IED efforts.
The information contained in this analysis is based on findings from the products in the related GAO products section. GAO reviewed JIEDDO databases on counter-IED efforts and interviewed DOD, military service, and JIEDDO officials to determine the degree of comprehensive visibility regarding DODs counter-IED efforts. GAO identified and evaluated examples of potential duplication using information from interviews with DOD officials and data and documentation collected that evidenced similar capabilities and objectives among two or more counter-IED efforts.
GAO provided a draft of its February 2012 report to DOD for review and comment. DOD agreed with GAOs recommendation to develop an implementation plan for the establishment of DODs counter- IED database. The department did not agree with the recommendation to develop a means to identify and reduce any duplication, overlap, and fragmentation among counter-IED initiatives, stating that it had existing processes to facilitate coordination and collaboration with the military services and across DOD, which would address this recommendation. GAO agrees that existing DOD processes such as JIEDDOs Capabilities Development Process and DODs Senior Integration Group prioritization process can be helpful in coordinating DODs counter-IED efforts. However, the effectiveness of these processes has been limited given that they did not prevent the instances of potential duplication GAO identified. For example, in the case of DODs directed energy counter-IED efforts where DOD has collectively expended $104 million, the processes cited by DOD in its response did not identify and resolve the potential duplication present in these efforts. As a result the commander of U.S. Central Command, as mentioned previously, protested in writing to DOD officials about potential duplication of efforts. Without a process to use DODs counter-IED database, once it is developed, DOD will continue to lack assurance that it is identifying and addressing instances of potential duplication before making significant investments. In finalizing its February 2012 report, GAO modified the wording of the recommendation to clarify the intent that DOD establish a process to use its counter-IED data base once it is established.
For additional information about this area, contact Cary B. Russell at (404) 679-1808 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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