Military Transformation:

Actions Needed to Better Manage DOD's Joint Experimentation Program

GAO-02-856: Published: Aug 29, 2002. Publicly Released: Aug 29, 2002.

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The Department of Defense (DOD) considers the transformation of the U.S. military a strategic imperative to meet the security challenges of the new century. In October 1998, DOD established a joint concept development and experimentation program to provide the engine of change for this transformation. In the nearly 4 years since becoming the executive agent for joint concept development and experimentation, the Joint Forces Command has increased in participation of key DOD stakeholders--the military services, the combatant commands, and other organizations and agencies--in its experimentation activities. The Command has also expanded the participation of federal agencies and departments, academia, the private sector, and some foreign allies. No recommendations flowing from joint experimentation have been approved or implemented. Although the Joint Forces Command issued three recommendations nearly a year ago, they were not approved by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council because of confusion among the Joint Staff and the Joint Forces Command about a proposed change in guidance that required additional data be included when submitting these recommendations. Although DOD has been providing more specific and clearer guidance for joint experimentation, DOD and the Joint Forces Command are missing some key management elements that are generally considered necessary for successful program management.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In the Department of Defense Performance and Accountability Report for Fiscal Year 2006, DOD broadly addresses the intent of our recommendation in two of its performance goals (2.3, "Align Forces Consistent with Strategic Priorities" and 4.4, "Drive Innovative Joint Operations") by describing how the results of concept development and experimentation would be used to guide the development of future joint capabilities as well as force development and employment. Further, the U.S. Joint Forces Command Commander's 2007 Joint Concept Development and Experimentation Annual Report to Congress provides specific qualitative measures of effectiveness used to assess overall performance of joint experimentation, which include the extent to which the program has identified innovative integrated solutions and joint interoperability standards for Service-developed military capabilities; provided objective validation of enhanced combatant command capabilities to perform joint missions in their theaters; and resolved specific joint capability shortfalls as delineated through the Joint Forces Command Combatant Commander Engagement process and Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System.

    Recommendation: Further, the Secretary of Defense should develop both quantitative and qualitative performance measures for joint experimentation in DOD's annual performance report to provide a better assessment of the program's contribution to advancing military transformation.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD's April 2003 Transformation Planning Guidance directs the Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) to submit a Joint Experimentation Campaign Plan to the Secretary of Defense biennially. Among other things, this Plan is to include tools that enable the timely correlation and dissemination of mission-specific information tailored to commanders at all levels including mission planning, rehearsal, joint training, and knowledge management. Further, the most recent joint experimentation guidance memorandum from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (dated January 9, 2006) directs JFCOM to plan, design, execute, and assess a relevant and credible joint warfighting experimentation program; to submit annual reports to the Secretary of Defense on the Conduct of Joint Experimentation Activities and on Joint Concept Development and Experimentation Assessment; and to establish a web-based knowledge management system to capture observations, insights, and recommendations. JFCOM produced a Joint Concept Development and Experimentation Campaign Plan in January 2004 and is in the process of updating that plan.

    Recommendation: To improve the management of DOD's joint experimentation program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to require the Commander and Chief of the U.S. Joint Forces Command to develop strategic planning tools to use in managing and periodically assessing the program of its joint experimentation program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Recommendation was implemented. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued instruction CJCSI 3180.01, dated October 31, 2002, which articulated new procedures for recommending changes resulting from Joint Experimentation to the Joint Requirements Oversight Council. The instruction defines the information required in its Enclosure B.

    Recommendation: To improve the management of DOD's joint experimentation program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to approve and issue guidance that clearly defines the information required to accompany joint experimentation recommendations for the Joint Requirement Oversight Council's review and approval.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Secretary of Defense issued the Transformation Planning Guidance, dated April 2003. The Guidance described the roles and responsibilities of the Office of Force Transformation and other DOD stakeholders in joint concept and experimentation, which is the engine of change for DOD's transformation efforts. These roles and responsibilities are largely defined in the Guidance on pages 12-13, 17-19, 23-25, and 33-34.

    Recommendation: Further, the Secretary of Defense should clarify the role of the Office of Force Transformation and its relationship to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Joint Forces Command, and other key DOD stakeholders in DOD's joint experimentation program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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