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    Subject Term: "Quadrennial defense review"

    1 publication with a total of 3 open recommendations
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512- 5431

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to establish a strategic policy that incorporates key elements of leading practices for sound strategic management planning, such as a mission statement and long-term goals, to inform the military services' plans for retrograde and reset to support overseas contingency operations and to improve DOD's response to section 324 of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2014.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: This recommendation remains open because we found in our review of DOD's second update (GAO-17-530R) that DOD has not established a strategic policy for retrograde and reset consistent with leading practices on sound strategic management planning. Nor has DOD, as of June 2017, selected an appropriate organization to lead the effort on developing such a policy. We continue to believe that our recommendation remains valid because without a strategic policy for retrograde and reset that incorporates key elements of strategic management planning, DOD cannot ensure that its efforts to develop retrograde and reset guidance provide the necessary strategic planning framework to inform the military services' implementation plans for retrograde and reset. A necessary first step, as DOD has indicated and as we stated in our May 2016 report, is the selection of an appropriate organization to lead the development of the policy.
    Recommendation: To enhance the accuracy of budget reporting to Congress, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in coordination with the DOD Comptroller, to develop and require the use of consistent information and descriptions of key terms regarding retrograde and reset in relevant policy and other guidance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: This recommendation remains open because we found in our review of DOD's second update (GAO-17-530R) that DOD has not developed and required the use of consistent information and descriptions of key terms regarding retrograde and reset in policy and guidance. Thus, descriptions of retrograde and reset still vary, and the services use the same terms differently. In its written comments on our report, DOD partially concurred with our recommendation and stated that the Financial Management Regulation had recently been updated to include the definitions of both reset and retrograde that will be used to estimate and report Overseas Contingency Operations costs starting in Fiscal Year 2018, referencing the chapter on Contingency Operations. However, contrary to the department's claim, as of April 2017, the Financial Management Regulation chapter regarding Contingency Operations has not been updated since September 2007.21 An official we met with from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) told us that this office will be updating DOD's Financial Management Regulation to include the expanded definition of reset. According to this official, however, the updated Financial Management Regulation will likely not include a definition for retrograde. As we reported in May 2016, major operations typically involve retrograde. However, the chapter of the DOD Financial Management Regulation specific to contingency operations does not provide a definition of retrograde or include any information describing how retrograde costs should be considered or calculated. We continue to believe that if DOD does not ensure the use of consistent terms--especially retrograde and reset--and descriptions in policy and other departmental documents used to inform budget estimates on retrograde and reset, Congress may not receive the consistent and accurate information that it needs to make informed decisions concerning retrograde and reset.
    Recommendation: To improve Army, Navy, and Air Force planning, budgeting, and execution for retrograde and reset efforts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to develop service-specific implementation plans for retrograde and reset that incorporate elements of leading practices for sound strategic management planning, such as strategies that include how a goal will be achieved, how an organization will carry out its mission, and the resources required to meet goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: This recommendation remains open because we found in our review of DOD's second update (GAO-17-530R) that the Army, Navy, and Air Force have not yet developed implementation plans for the retrograde and reset of their equipment, according to service officials. As previously discussed, in May 2016 we recommended that the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force develop service-specific implementation plans for retrograde and reset that incorporate elements of leading practices for sound strategic management planning. In its response to our recommendation, DOD partially concurred, stating that the department would determine the appropriate Principal Staff Assistant to lead the development and application of service-related implementation plans. However, as of June 2017, DOD has not identified a lead for this effort. We continue to believe that Army, Navy, and Air Force service-specific implementation plans that articulate goals and strategies for retrograde and reset of equipment, among other things, are important and that reset-related maintenance costs may not consistently be tracked, and resources and funding for retrograde and reset may not be consistently or effectively budgeted for and distributed within each service. For this reason, we continue to believe that our prior recommendation remains valid and reinforces the need for DOD to establish a strategic policy consistent with leading practices on sound strategic management planning to guide and inform the services' plans.