Combat Air Power:
Joint Mission Assessments Needed Before Making Program and Budget Decisions
T-NSIAD-96-196, Jun 27, 1996
GAO discussed the Department of Defense's (DOD) future combat air power capabilities. GAO noted that: (1) DOD has added many new aircraft to its fleet and has improved the capabilities of its remaining combat aircraft; (2) DOD has made more of its aircraft capable of delivering advanced munitions; (3) DOD does not believe that potential adversaries possess the capabilities needed to prevent U.S. forces from achieving their military objectives; (4) the United States and its allies are cooperating to limit conventional arms transfers to certain nations; (5) DOD has planned major aircraft modernization programs to achieve greater combat capabilities; (6) DOD faces a major challenge in funding these programs, since its budget is expected to decline over the next 6 years; (7) DOD is proceeding with major air power programs without assessing its joint mission requirements; (8) some aircraft modernization programs would marginally improve existing capabilities at a very high cost; (9) there are less costly alternatives that could be pursued to meet the services needs; and (10) it is impossible to determine the necessity of these investments without comparing mission requirements against existing capabilities.