The World Wide Military Command and Control Information System--Problems in Information Resource Management

MASAD-82-2: Published: Oct 19, 1981. Publicly Released: Oct 19, 1981.

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GAO was requested to evaluate: (1) the Department of Defense's (DOD) efforts to modernize the World Wide Military Command and Control Information System (WIS), as the World Wide Military Command and Control System (WWMCCS) automatic data processing program is currently termed; (2) the DOD plan to modernize WIS to determine whether it provided a reasonable and systematic approach to address and resolve known problems associated with WIS; and (3) subsequent modernization efforts, including an analysis of the feasibility of allowing each command the option of developing its own computer configuration for WIS.

The evaluation of the DOD plan to modernize WIS showed that: (1) the present WIS has a limited capability to provide timely, accurate, and complete information to commanders, particularly during times of crisis; (2) current conditions dictate a need to accelerate the modernization schedule; (3) operational concepts for WIS have been inadequately developed and are so broad, general in nature, and self-evident that they make little or no contribution toward providing a foundation for resolving known problems; (4) too much emphasis is being placed on the selection of a system architecture before defining information requirements; (5) centralized management of the current WIS is necessary but unattainable; and (6) the existing state-of-the-art in computer technology makes it entirely feasible for each command to develop its own computer configuration to support its assigned missions. The DOD subsequent WIS modernization efforts are slow, do not address the fundamental issues, and will not lead to a timely responsive solution to known WIS problems.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD submitted a revised plan dated July 1982, but it was not sufficiently responsive to the recommendations. Therefore, the recommendation should no longer be tracked.

    Matter: Congress may wish to direct DOD to provide a revised plan to modernize the WWMCCS Information System that incorporates the GAO recommendations with the fiscal year (FY) 1983 budget. Consideration should be given to deferring selected items in the FY 1982 budget until the revised plan is accepted by Congress.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should redirect the modernization of the WWMCCS Information System by replacing those computer systems having immediate shortfalls with modern upward compatible computers where a comparative cost analysis justifies such action.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should redirect the modernization of the WWMCCS Information System by completing the detailed information requirements to support command and control decisionmaking.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should redirect the modernization of the WWMCCS Information System by developing an architecture and computer system design that can satisfy detailed information requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should redirect the modernization of the WWMCCS Information System by employing proven state-of-the-art computer technology in the WWMCCS Information system design to ensure the development of reliable systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should, in developing an architecture and computer system design, employ life-cycle management practices, including life-cycle costing, as presented in DOD Directive 7920.1, Life Cycle Management of Automated Information Systems (October 17, 1978).

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should, in developing an architecture and computer system design, follow other sound measurement practices such as establishing measurable system performance and effectiveness goals and objectives, including periodic evaluation, providing cost-effective growth potential, and clearly delineating responsibilities and coupling them with needed authority and control of resources.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should redirect the modernization of the WWMCCS Information System by specifying standard network protocols, terminology, data elements, data formats, and data retrieval techniques for horizontal (between commands) and vertical (command to national military command centers) communications.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should redirect the modernization of the WWMCCS Information System by decentralizing decisionmaking to allow individual WWMCCS sites to develop their own computer systems to meet command needs in compliance with standards.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should redirect the modernization of the WWMCCS Information System by centralizing management and control of resources for the communications network and equipment interconnecting WWMCCS sites to ensure that local command needs do not preempt network operations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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