Weapons of Mass Destruction:

DOD's Actions to Combat Weapons Use Should Be More Integrated and Focused

NSIAD-00-97: Published: May 26, 2000. Publicly Released: May 26, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) implementation of the Defense Counterproliferation Initiative, focusing on: (1) DOD actions to make the nuclear, biological, and chemical threat a matter of routine consideration within its organization, activities, and functions; (2) other actions DOD can take to improve implementation of the Initiative; and (3) the actions of the interagency Counterproliferation Program Review Committee to coordinate the research and development programs of DOD, the Department of Energy (DOE), and the U.S. intelligence community to identify and eliminate unnecessary duplication.

GAO noted that: (1) DOD is taking steps to make the nuclear, biological, and chemical threat a matter of routine consideration within its activities and functions, such as training and field exercises and the acquisition of weapon systems and equipment; (2) DOD has given greater emphasis to this threat in policy and planning documents, and the Joint Staff has made considerable effort to determine and prioritize the counterproliferation requirements of the unified commands; (3) the services have increased the importance placed on counterproliferation requirements in their acquisition programs, training, and doctrine; (4) regional unified commands have incorporated counterproliferation concepts, equipment, and tasks into their planning and military exercises; (5) while DOD has taken positive steps, it can do more to integrate and focus its response to the growing threat posed by the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons; (6) DOD does not have an overarching joint counterproliferation doctrine document to provide a centralized picture of how DOD should respond in a nuclear, biological, and chemical environment across the spectrum of military operations; (7) such a document will help ensure that counterproliferation is being satisfactorily integrated in the entire body of joint doctrine; (8) DOD also has not taken sufficient action to provide reasonable assurance that its weapon systems and equipment can survive and operate in a biological and chemical environment; (9) studies indicate that DOD's organization structure may be too diffused to effectively manage and integrate DOD's counterproliferation mission; (10) DOD has not developed key strategy documents and management plans to aid in directing and managing its counterproliferation initiatives; (11) internal DOD reviews have identified the need for a comprehensive strategy for countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and a military strategy for integrating offensive and defensive capabilities; (12) there is also no management plan to guide, oversee, and integrate departmentwide initiatives; (13) DOD primarily coordinates its counterproliferation activities with DOE and the intelligence community through the Counterproliferation Program Review Committee; (14) DOD, DOE, and intelligence agency officials generally expressed satisfaction with the exchange of information that the Committee had provided about ongoing programs among the agencies; and (15) however, the Committee has taken little action to identify and eliminate undesirable redundancies among research and development programs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD believes current acquisition regulations sufficiently address the survivability of weapon systems in a nuclear, biological, and chemical environment. GAO disagrees. A DOD study team concluded in January 1999, that survivability provisions in acquisition regulations need to be strengthened and that there is a lack of uniform standards among the military services to ensure survivability in systems and equipment being acquired. It developed a plan, which has not yet been implemented. The thrust of GAO's recommendation is to take actions consistent with the study team's recommendations. As of September 2004, discussions with DOD officials and on-line research indicates that there has not been any change in status since the last update.

    Recommendation: To improve the attention given to nuclear, biological, and chemical survivability in DOD and service acquisition processes, the Secretary of Defense should devise and implement a systematic approach that identifies the systems and equipment that need to be capable of operating in a nuclear, biological, and chemical environment and provides reasonable assurance that appropriate features are incorporated into the designs of these systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, approved the joint doctrine publication 3-40, "Joint Doctrine for Counterproliferation Operations", which was published on July 8, 2004. The overarching joint publication covers the three major elements of counterproliferation: non-proliferation, counter-proliferation, and consequence management. This publication satisfies GAO's recommendation.

    Recommendation: To provide assurance that the nuclear, biological, and chemical threat is being given sufficient attention in the body of military doctrine, the Secretary of Defense should have the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff develop a comprehensive overarching joint doctrine publication that encompasses all elements of counterproliferation.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not include an examination of the Department's organization for counterproliferation to determine if adjustments can be made to realize greater efficiency and effectiveness in the management and integration of the Department's initiatives in its 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should include in the next Quadrennial Defense Review an examination of the Department's organization for counterproliferation to determine if adjustments can be made to realize greater efficiency and effectiveness in the management and integration of the Department's initiatives.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD, in accordance with the Government Performance and Results Act, completed its first annual DOD Chemical-Biological Defense program performance plan in February 2001. While this action partially addresses GAO's recommendation, GAO's intent was for DOD to develop a comprehensive management and performance plan that includes all areas of counterproliferation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should develop: (1) a management plan that clearly delineates responsibilities, explicit and outcome-oriented goals, a process for reporting, evaluating, and validating its progress, and a resource strategy for ensuring funding of its efforts; and (2) quantitative or qualitative performance measures that can be used to assess progress toward goal achievement.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD believes that the intent of a department-wide strategy is satisfied by key planning and management documents and various DOD directives and instructions. This collection of documents does not fully satisfy this recommendation. On February 22, 2001, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff signed the "Counterproliferation Strategy", which establishes basic principles, operational concepts and strategic guidance to provide a common understanding of counterproliferation. The Chairman is also making revisions to CJCS CONPLAN 0400-00, which is in final review.

    Recommendation: To more clearly determine DOD's progress in implementing its Counterproliferation Initiative, provide additional tools to guide and oversee its efforts, and ensure greater accountability to Congress, the Secretary of Defense should take actions to develop: (1) a departmentwide strategy that takes a long-term, comprehensive view of the nuclear, biological, and chemical threat and links ends, ways, and means to better integrate DOD's policies and programs for counterproliferation; and (2) a military strategy for integrating U.S. offensive and defensive capabilities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD agrees that there may be opportunities for the Counterproliferation Program Review Committee to do more to identify and eliminate any unnecessary redundant programs. However, DOD has not yet decided whether the mechanism GAO recommends is necessary at this time. As of September 2004, discussions with DOD and on-line research indicated that the status of this action has not changed.

    Recommendation: To strengthen the effectiveness of the Counterproliferation Program Review Committee in identifying and eliminating any unnecessary redundant programs, the Secretary of Defense, as Committee Chairman, should direct the Committee to devise and implement a procedural mechanism that establishes clear criteria, procedures, and a process for making such decisions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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