Drug Control:

Communications Network Funding and Requirements Uncertain

NSIAD-92-29: Published: Dec 31, 1991. Publicly Released: Feb 6, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request and a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) efforts to integrate and coordinate U.S. command, control, communications, and technical intelligence assets used for drug interdiction into an effective communications network.

GAO found that: (1) DOD has contributed significant technical and financial support toward the implementation of the National Telecommunications Master Plan for Drug Enforcement; (2) although DOD has contributed $140 million to fund network equipment purchases, $340 million worth of planned equipment remains to be purchased; (3) due to funding uncertainties, it is not clear when a network will be established; (4) at the current annual funding rate of $47 million, it will take until fiscal year 2000 to fund the remaining equipment; (5) the implementation plan does not include equipment requirements for a required satellite communications system, and the satellite system may duplicate some of the radio equipment requirements delineated in the implementation plan; (6) Anti-Drug Network (ADNET) users report improved interdiction communications and intelligence; and (7) DOD is making improvements that should improve ADNET intelligence exchange capability.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Considerations for developing a satellite communications network for law enforcement have been permanently dropped.

    Recommendation: Because the planned satellite communications network may eliminate the need for some of the communications equipment currently scheduled to be brought under the master plan, the Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), should finalize satellite communications systems plans and requirements as soon as practicable.

    Agency Affected: Office of National Drug Control Policy

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Considerations for developing a satellite communications network for law enforcement have been permanently dropped.

    Recommendation: Because the planned satellite communications network may eliminate the need for some of the communications equipment currently scheduled to be bought under the master plan, the Director, ONDCP, should advise relevant agency heads to proceed with only the most critically needed high-frequency and other radio equipment acquisitions until the satellite plan is completed and potentially overlapping requirements are identified.

    Agency Affected: Office of National Drug Control Policy

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The DOD response indicates its willingness to assist whenever ONDCP calls upon them.

    Recommendation: To facilitate oversight of drug interdiction communications network implementation and gauge its progress, GAO recommends that once master plan equipment requirements are fully resolved, the Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), should, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and other relevant agency heads, establish a time goal and funding schedules for completing the network and obtain firm commitments from the agency heads to meet them.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Considerations for developing a satellite communications network for law enforcement have been permanently dropped.

    Recommendation: To facilitate oversight of drug interdiction communications network implementation and gauge its progress, GAO recommends that once master plan equipment requirements are fully resolved, the Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), should, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and other relevant agency heads, establish a time goal and funding schedules for completing the network and obtain firm commitments from the agency heads to meet them.

    Agency Affected: Office of National Drug Control Policy

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: ONDCP completed the plan and requested funding to implement the plan from the committees responsible for the drug community oversight. The executive branch, in its FY 1993 budget submission, submitted a plan for implementation and also requested funding for the program.

    Recommendation: In the annual National Drug Control Policy reports to Congress, the Director, ONDCP, should detail the funding and acquisition schedules required for completing the network and the progress made toward achieving them.

    Agency Affected: Office of National Drug Control Policy

 

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