Joint Military Operations:

DOD's Renewed Emphasis on Interoperability Is Important but Not Adequate

NSIAD-94-47: Published: Oct 21, 1993. Publicly Released: Oct 21, 1993.

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GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) efforts to overcome persisting interoperability problems associated with DOD command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) systems.

GAO found that: (1) DOD has experienced interoperability problems for at least 25 years; (2) achieving effective C4I interoperability continues to be a difficult matter for DOD to resolve; (3) DOD renewed its emphasis to better ensure interoperability success in 1992; (4) the new C4I initiative faces several obstacles, including a prolonged schedule for achieving interoperability that extends into the next century; (5) the C4I initiative involves unknown costs and relies on unavailable technology; (6) DOD success in achieving interoperability will depend on the availability of a comprehensive, integrated, and useful joint C4I architecture; (7) interoperability success could depend on whether mechanisms are available for effective enforcement at the highest levels, including a joint program management office with directive authority and funding controls; and (8) interoperability effectiveness could be strengthened by assigning primary responsibility to the U.S Atlantic Command for assessing C4I requirements for joint task force operations, providing guidance to the Defense Information Systems Agency on the development of a joint C4I architecture, and ensuring continuous C4I interoperability assessments through joint training exercises.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD agreed to establish new architecture guidelines and is evaluating the requirement for new policy guidelines.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense and the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, should take additional actions to ensure that guidelines are established, including time-driven goals, for the development of a joint C4I architecture.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD agreed to establish new architecture guidelines and is evaluating the requirement for new policy guidelines.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense and the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, should take additional actions to ensure that guidelines are established, including time-driven goals, for the development of a joint C4I architecture.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Joint Chiefs of Staff

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD recognized that additional action was required to ensure effective interoperability enforcement and established additional controls in the form of procedural guidance.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense and the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, should take additional actions to ensure that a joint program management office be established with directive authority and funding controls for C4I system acquisitions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD recognized that additional action was required to ensure effective interoperability enforcement and established additional controls in the form of procedural guidance.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense and the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, should take additional actions to ensure that a joint program management office be established with directive authority and funding controls for C4I system acquisitions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Joint Chiefs of Staff

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD agreed to continue to evaluate where additional policy and actions are needed to enhance interoperability.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense and the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, should take additional actions to ensure that consideration is given to assigning the U.S. Atlantic Command primary responsibility for: (1) assessing C4I requirements for the potential effect on the joint task force operations; (2) providing guidance to the Defense Information Systems Agency on the development of a joint C4I architecture; and (3) ensuring continuous C4I interoperability assessments through joint training exercises.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD agreed to continue to evaluate where additional policy and actions are needed to enhance interoperability.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense and the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, should take additional actions to ensure that consideration is given to assigning the U.S. Atlantic Command primary responsibility for: (1) assessing C4I requirements for the potential effect on the joint task force operations; (2) providing guidance to the Defense Information Systems Agency on the development of a joint C4I architecture; and (3) ensuring continuous C4I interoperability assessments through joint training exercises.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Joint Chiefs of Staff

 

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