Defense Reorganization:

Progress and Concerns at JCS and Combatant Commands

NSIAD-89-83: Published: Mar 1, 1989. Publicly Released: Mar 1, 1989.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO examined the Department of Defense's (DOD) implementation of the DOD Reorganization Act of 1986, focusing on: (1) progress that DOD made in implementing the act; and (2) related areas of concern.

GAO found that: (1) DOD was generally responsive to the act and made progress in implementing it; (2) DOD completed 28 of 33 recommended actions to implement the act; (3) some of the actions would require up to 5 more years to become fully effective; and (4) the five remaining issues involved geographic areas of responsibility for three combatant commands and the creation of new unified combatant commands for strategic missions and Northeast Asia. GAO also found that: (1) although the act provided the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) with input in the programming and budgeting process, DOD had not issued guidance clarifying JCS functions to support the Chairman in the resource allocation process; (2) although the Chairman approved a master plan for joint doctrine projects, the combatant commands believed that they did not have sufficient staff to perform the complex doctrine development functions; (3) although JCS and the combatant commands modified an existing situation report to satisfy a requirement that they establish a uniform preparedness evaluation system, they had not fully developed the format or incorporated it into JCS guidance; (4) JCS and combatant commands believed that allowing the commands to have separate budgets could have drawbacks because of a lack of unified staff to perform budget functions and a potential for duplication; (5) the combatant commanders could make their resource priority lists more useful if DOD provided more specific guidance on their preparation; and (6) DOD could do more to ensure that combatant commanders receive the information needed to effectively participate in the programming and budgeting process.

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