Naval Air Operations:

Interservice Cooperation Needs Direction From Top

NSIAD-93-141: Published: May 19, 1993. Publicly Released: Jun 18, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO identified issues that significantly affected naval aircraft performance during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

GAO found that: (1) some Navy aviation units did not receive the critical Desert Shield training necessary to familiarize them with other services' tactics, procedures, and weapon capabilities; (2) the Navy lacked the shipboard equipment needed to receive and transmit mission orders; (3) the Marine Corps complicated air operations by adding another layer of control over the existing airspace management structure; (4) the integration difficulties that Navy and Marine aviation units encountered during Desert Storm resulted from their inexperience in joint operations and training before the war; (5) the Navy and Marine Corps have made efforts since the war to improve joint operations and overall interoperability with the other services; and (6) individual naval organizations still determine their own requirements and priorities, and naval interests still prevail over joint concerns in some cases.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: While GAO takes issue with many of the points in DOD's official response, GAO sees demonstrated movement toward greater jointness in the naval air community and in the Navy/Marine Corps as a whole. The follow-on GAO assignment is pursuing specific details concerning Navy/Marine Corps progress in this area. The follow-on assignment is "Effectiveness of JCS Management of Joint Training," code 703041.

    Recommendation: The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, should require the individual services to report back on how and when they will achieve the interoperability goals and provide him with periodic updates on their progress.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Joint Chiefs of Staff

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: While GAO takes issue with many of the points in DOD's official response, GAO sees demonstrated movement toward greater jointness in the naval air community and in the Navy/Marine Corps as a whole. The follow-on GAO assignment is pursuing specific details concerning Navy/Marine Corps progress in this area. The follow-on assignment is "Effectiveness of JCS Management of Joint Training," code 703041.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, to develop an interoperability plan, encompassing all military forces, as a follow-on effort to the Chairman's February 1993 report entitled "Roles, Missions, and Functions of the Armed Forces of the United States." As part of this effort, the Chairman should ensure that the services' military capabilities are integrated into an affordable and smoothly functioning team without unwarranted duplication, yet fully supporting the Department of Defense's interoperability goals and budget priorities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: While GAO takes issue with many of the points in DOD's official response, GAO sees demonstrated movement toward greater jointness in the naval air community and in the Navy/Marine Corps as a whole. The follow-on GAO assignment is pursuing specific details concerning Navy/Marine Corps progress in this area. The follow-on assigment is "Effectiveness of JCS Management of Joint Training," code 703041.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should develop a comprehensive plan to ensure that naval forces continue recent efforts to improve their ability to operate in a joint team environment in concert with the other services. The plan should include a mechanism for measuring progress made by the Navy and the Marine Corps toward their goals and objectives.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: While GAO takes issue with many of the points in DOD's official response, GAO sees demonstrated movement toward greater jointness in the naval air community and in the Navy/Marine Corps as a whole. The follow-on GAO assignment is pursuing specific details concerning Navy/Marine Corps progress in this area. The follow-on assignment is "Effectiveness of JCS Management of Joint Training," code 703041.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should develop a comprehensive plan to ensure that naval forces continue recent efforts to improve their ability to operate in a joint team environment in concert with the other services. The plan should include specific steps, time frames, and funding allocations for achieving the Navy and Marine Corps' joint training goals and objectives. The plan should identify what types of joint training will best accomplish naval goals and ensure that appropriate naval forces receive this training. For example, efforts could include standardizing naval participation in service-sponsored joint training such as Blue and Red Flag exercises, as well as unit-to-unit joint training with other services.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: While GAO takes issue with many of the points in DOD's official response, GAO sees demonstrated movement toward greater jointness in the naval air community and in the Navy/Marine Corps as a whole. The follow-on GAO assignment is pursuing specific details concerning Navy/Marine Corps progress in this area. The follow-on assignment is "Effectiveness of JCS Management of Joint Training," code 703041.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should develop a comprehensive plan to ensure that naval forces continue recent efforts to improve their ability to operate in a joint team environment in concert with the other services. The plan should include joint training goals and objectives specifying how naval forces, including air, land, and sea forces, will fulfill the roles and missions identified in the new naval strategy.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: While GAO takes issue with many of the points in DOD's official response, GAO sees demonstrated movement toward greater jointness in the naval air community and in the Navy/Marine Corps as a whole. The follow-on GAO assignment is pursuing specific details concerning Navy/Marine Corps progress in this area. The follow-on assignment is "Effectiveness of JCS Management of Joint Training," code 703041.

    Recommendation: The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, should periodically report to Congress on the services' progress in achieving the goals.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Joint Chiefs of Staff

 

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