Radio Frequencies:

Earlier Coordination Could Improve System Use and Save Costs

NSIAD-87-42: Published: Feb 9, 1987. Publicly Released: Feb 9, 1987.

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GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) efforts to coordinate the use of radio frequencies with European nations for command, control, and communication systems.

GAO noted that DOD modified some command, control, and communication systems to meet frequency requirements overseas, which resulted in costly delays. DOD stated that coordination was delayed because: (1) its guidance did not specify in which stage of a system's acquisition coordination should take place; (2) it could not disclose system information which contained business proprietary data or U.S. classified or restricted technological information; (3) coordination with host nations on systems that were changing or would never become operational was detrimental to the frequency management process; and (4) a system it developed for use in one nation could be fielded later in another nation. GAO found that delays and unnecessary costs resulted when DOD did not coordinate with host nations early in the development of communication systems to ensure that they would approve the frequencies DOD selected.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD corrective actions include: (1) issuing a directive; (2) revising a DOD instruction; and (3) introducing a control form. These actions implement this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should change management controls in the DOD instruction dealing with system acquisition and frequency coordination to specify that host nation frequency coordination be initiated no later than a system's full-scale development phase. The Secretary should also direct that the secretaries of the military departments change their instructions to conform to the changed DOD instruction.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD corrective actions taken include: (1) issuing a directive; (2) revising a DOD instruction; and (3) introducing a control form. These actions implement this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Chairman, Military Communications-Electronics Board, to strengthen management controls in the coordination process by: (1) requiring the military departments to routinely provide written authority to release frequency allocation applications and related documents to host nations for coordination before contracting for full-scale development; and (2) ensuring that theater commander comments and available host-nation comments are incorporated in frequency guidance to the military departments for the development, procurement, or modification of systems. When host-nation comments are unavailable, the guidance should explain why, when they are expected to be obtained, and what the likely frequency problems facing the system will be.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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