Interoperability:

DOD's Efforts To Achieve Interoperability Among C3 Systems

NSIAD-87-124: Published: Apr 27, 1987. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 1987.

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GAO reported on command, control, and communications (C3) interoperability among the military services and Department of Defense (DOD) efforts to attain a greater degree of interoperability.

GAO found that, although DOD implemented initiatives to achieve interoperability, it did not achieve its objective because it: (1) failed to develop an overall C3 architecture; (2) took too long to revise its interoperability directive; and (3) had limited success in using common and compatible C3 equipment. GAO noted that the services: (1) experienced interoperability problems in Vietnam and Grenada and in joint exercises; and (2) still do not have compatible encryption equipment, antijam radios, and satellite terminals. GAO also found that interoperability problems result from the: (1) DOD decentralized management structure; (2) lack of clearly defined joint requirements; and (3) absence of an effective central enforcement authority to make the necessary interoperability decisions. GAO concluded that, although the Joint Tactical C3 Agency will need many years to complete the development of C3 architecture, it should help DOD achieve interoperability.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation, but asserted that existing directives and policies were sufficient.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require that the service secretaries certify that the C3 equipment being developed and procured will provide the needed degree of interoperability with other C3 equipment in order to satisfy the operational plans of the unified commander. If the C3 equipment will not provide the needed degree of interoperability, the service secretaries should seek a waiver from the Secretary of Defense or a designee.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation, but asserted that existing directives and policies were sufficient.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should allow the services to seek congressional funding only for items that will provide the needed degree of interoperability for which a waiver has been approved.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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