An Analysis of the Counterair Mission Is Required To Help Ensure That the Air Force Is Buying the Capabilities It Needs

MASAD-83-1: Published: Nov 5, 1982. Publicly Released: Nov 5, 1982.

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GAO examined the extent to which the Air Force conducts mission area analysis to identify counterair deficiencies and requirements.

Determining how to best allocate Air Force resources among the nine mission areas and within the counterair mission, on which billions of dollars are spent annually, is a difficult and complex task. One management tool that can be used to facilitate this task is mission area analysis, a structured, analytical process by which overall mission deficiencies and alternative solutions are identified and evaluated. Mission area analysis provides all levels of management with the ability to obtain a documented analysis and justification explaining why a particular budgeted item is considered to be the most effective solution to correcting a formally identified mission deficiency. GAO found that the Tactical Air Command is not conducting a counterair mission area analysis to identify deficiencies and validate needs. Instead, it uses an array of military judgments and miscellaneous studies in its requirements process. As a result, requirements are based on perceived deficiencies in mission capabilities rather than on an analysis of the mission. Air Force Headquarters has developed a process for performing Air Force-wide mission area analysis which shows strong potential. However, efforts are needed to improve the credibility and acceptance of this process. The individual counterair related programs within the Air Force's annual budget are not traceable back to a well-documented mission area analysis and justification.

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 ensure that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Conventional Capability Improvement Study is performed in accordance with the mission area analysis concept.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President

  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 direct the Air Force to continue to develop the Air Force-wide mission area analysis into a reliable management tool in the resource allocation process. Specifically, the Secretary of Defense should direct that the Secretary of the Air Force require the Assessment Capability Division to continue its efforts to improve the credibility of its modeling techniques.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense concurred with the first part of the recommendation, and indicated that it continues to do so. However, it did not concur with the specific recommendation that ongoing Air Force actions such as standardized imports, common databases and improved automation techniques, will accomplish this objective without further direction from the Secretary of Defense.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Air Force to continue to develop the Air Force-wide mission area analysis into a reliable management tool in the resource allocation process. Specifically, the Secretary of Defense should direct that the Secretary of the Air Force require major commands to improve the quality of their data inputs so that accurate information is used as a starting point in the Air Force-wide mission area analysis process.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense contends that Air Force regulations are in compliance. It stated that the Tactical Air Command has attempted a formal counter-air mission area analysis and found the results disappointing. The Command indicated a desire to test new air staff mission area models when they are validated for major command use.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to require the Tactical Air Command to comply with Air Force regulations and perform a formal mission area analysis of the counterair mission to properly identify deficiencies and potential solutions. The mission area analysis should be updated as required, based on changes in the threat or other needs.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President

  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 direct the Air Force to continue to develop the Air Force-wide mission area analysis into a reliable management tool in the resource allocation process. Specifically, the Secretary of Defense should direct that the Secretary of the Air Force require the Air Force Board Structure continue to work with the Air Staff towards the ultimate goal of incorporating Air Force-wide mission area analysis as a valuable management tool in program objective memorandum development.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President

 

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