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    Subject Term: "Special operations"

    6 publications with a total of 14 open recommendations including 2 priority recommendations
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    6 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To enable AFRICOM's component commands to better plan, advise, and coordinate for OCS, the AFRICOM Commander, as part of AFRICOM's ongoing efforts to update related guidance and emphasize the importance of OCS integration at the subordinate command level, should direct the service components to designate elements within their respective staffs to be responsible for coordinating OCS, and consider the establishment of an OCS Integration Cell or similar structure with these dedicated OCS personnel, as needed.

    Agency: Department of Defense: U.S. Africa Command
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, AFRICOM officials stated that there are clear advantages and benefits to establishing an OCSIC at Service-component level. USAFRICOM, as a geographic combatant command, assigns operational missions to subordinate commands for execution, including operational contract support (OCS) tasks. Joint Pub 4-10, as augmented by AFRICOM Command Instruction (ACI) 4800.01 A, specifies the tasks and functions in support of OCS that Service Components must execute. Service Components determine the most appropriate organizational structure best suited to meet its assigned mission. i.e. establishment of an OCSlC as deemed necessary. However, service components have indicated that guidance clarifying the circumstances under which they should establish OCSICs would be helpful. As such, this recommendation will remain open at this time.
    Recommendation: To enable AFRICOM's component commands to better plan, advise, and coordinate for OCS, the AFRICOM Commander, as part of AFRICOM's ongoing efforts to update related guidance and emphasize the importance of OCS integration at the subordinate command level, should clarify under what conditions a subordinate joint force command, such as Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, should establish an OCS Integration Cell.

    Agency: Department of Defense: U.S. Africa Command
    Status: Open

    Comments: AFRICOM officials told us that USAFRICOM J4 conducted a staff assistance visit (SA V) at CJTF-HOA from 16-19 August 2015. It was recommended that ClTF-HOA establish an OCS Working Group (OCSWG) that is owned b) the ClTF-HOA J4. The OCSWG is a doctrinal working group and would contain designated cross-functional staff members to enable OCS planning and policy generation as well as Oversee contractor management issues. Other OCS recommendations were made to the CJTF-HOA J4 that included adding permanent OCS billets to the J4 and executing OCSIC tasks. This recommendation will remain open at this time.
    Recommendation: To enable AFRICOM to better identify, address, and mitigate OCS readiness gaps at its component commands before inaccurate information is incorporated into formal defense readiness reporting systems, the AFRICOM Commander should clarify the scorecard process, including assessment standards, for OCS Readiness Scorecards to ensure that evaluators can accurately assess subordinate commands' OCS capabilities.

    Agency: Department of Defense: U.S. Africa Command
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, AFRICOM officials stated that while the OCS score card may be considered a best practice in the OCS execution in the AFRICOM AOR, it is not a replacement for the Defense Readiness Reporting System (DRRS) to report OCS. This recommendation will remain open at this time.
    Recommendation: To enable AFRICOM to comprehensively and consistently account for contractor personnel in Africa, the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, should direct Joint Staff to clarify what types of contractor personnel should be accounted for in its guidance on personnel status reports.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has taken steps to clarify what types of contractor personnel should be accounted for in its guidance on personnel status reports, but revision of that guidance is ongoing. According to Joint Staff officials in August 2016, USAFRICOM has not yet incorporated its local policies and standards into the CJCSM 3150.13C as the manual is up for review by the Joint Staff and is projected to be completed by Spring 2017. Additionally, in February 2016, a class deviation became effective for the USAFRICOM area of responsibility (AOR). This deviation superseded Class Deviations 2014-O0005, and 2015-O0003. The deviation stated that contracting officers shall incorporate clause 252.225-7980, Contractor Personnel Performing in the United States Africa Command Area of Responsibility, in lieu of the clause at DFARS 252.225-7040, Contractor Personnel Supporting U.S. Armed Forces Deployed Outside the United States, in all solicitations and contracts, including solicitations and contracts using FAR part 12 procedures for the acquisition of commercial items that will require contractor personnel to perform in the United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM) area of responsibility. In addition, to the extent practicable, contracting officers shall modify current, active contracts with performance in the USAFRICOM AOR to include the clause 252.225-7980. The USAFRICOM Commander has identified a need to utilize the Synchronized Pre-deployment and Operational Tracker for all contracts performed in the AOR during all operational phases (including Phase 0), not limited to declared contingency operations. However, until guidance clarifying what types of contractor personnel is finalized, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To enable AFRICOM to comprehensively and consistently account for contractor personnel in Africa, the AFRICOM Commander should develop area of responsibility-wide contractor personnel accountability guidance on or before December 2015, when the current guidance expires, that clarifies which types of contractor personnel should be accounted for using SPOT, and when SPOT accountability requirements should be incorporated into contracts.

    Agency: Department of Defense: U.S. Africa Command
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, AFRICOM officials told us Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) 252.225-7980 (Class Deviation 2016-00008), Contractor Personnel Performing in the United States Africa Command Area of Responsibility was published in June 2016. This clause requires the use of the Synchronized Pre-Deployment and Operational Tracker (SPOT) to account for all Contractor Authorized to Accompany the Force (CAAF), United States and third-country national contractors (TCNs), all private security contractors. and all other contractor personnel authorized to carry weapons when performing in the AFRICOM AOR on all DoD contracts, regardless of the contract amount or period of performance. Furthermore. the DoD contractor is required to submit to the cognizant contracting officer for SPOT reporting and aggregate count of all local national employees performing in the AFRICOM AOR. by country of performance, for 30 days or longer under a contract valued at or above $150.000. This recommendation will remain open at this time.
    Recommendation: To ensure that combatant commands are not contracting with entities that may be connected to or supporting prohibited organizations, the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, should develop guidance that clarifies the conditions under which combatant commands should have a foreign vendor vetting process or cell in place to determine whether potential vendors actively support any terrorist, criminal, or other sanctioned organizations, including clarifying when combatant commands should develop procedures for transmitting the names of any vendors identified through this process for inclusion in prohibited entities lists in the appropriate federal contracting databases, such as the System for Award Management.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of October 2016, DOD has taken steps to develop foreign vendor vetting guidance, but that guidance is in the process of being drafted. According to Joint Staff officials in August 2016, as required by NDAA for FY2015, Section 841(d)(1), the Director, Defense Procurement & Acquisition Policy, issued Class Deviation 2015-O0016, Prohibition on Providing Funds to the Enemy and Authorization of Additional Access to Records, effective September 15, 2015. Also, Joint Staff has drafted a Directive Type Memorandum (DTM)on foreign vendor vetting. When issued, the DTM will assign responsibility to each of the Combatant Commanders to establish a foreign vendor program in their respective Areas of Responsibility in accordance with NDAA for FY2015, Sections 841, 842 and 843. However, until the DTM is issued, this recommendation will remain open.
    Director: John Pendleton
    Phone: (202) 512-3489

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve the budget visibility over the funding for SOF needed to guide departmental and congressional decision making and to better balance operational deployments across the joint force, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), in consultation with the military service Secretaries and SOCOM, to develop a mutually acceptable methodology to track and report funding to support SOF, possibly as part of annual budget justification materials.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to GAO's report, the Department of Defense (DOD) stated that it would review the current methodology to track and report funding to support special operations force (SOF) and consider any changes based on incremental costs incurred by enhanced audit and reporting procedures balanced against potential benefits for decision making on SOF resourcing. However, as of June 2017, DOD has not adopted any specific SOF-related changes in policies or procedures related to the recommendation. The Department will continue to review and consider, as appropriate, policies and procedures for SOF that balance resources within the Department.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the budget visibility over the funding for SOF needed to guide departmental and congressional decision making and to better balance operational deployments across the joint force, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in consultation with SOCOM and the military services, to evaluate whether opportunities exist for certain types of activities traditionally conducted by SOF to be transferred to or shared with conventional forces.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to GAO's report, the Department of Defense (DOD) stated that it believes that the current Global Force Management process appropriately balances assignments of missions and requirements between special operations forces (SOF) and conventional forces. DOD further stated that it would consider any changes to the current decision process that could improve allocation of missions and requirements between SOF and conventional forces as part of the department's ongoing review of the Global Force Management process. However, as of June 2017, DOD has not adopted any specific SOF-related changes in policies or procedures related to the recommendation. The Department will continue to review and consider, as appropriate, policies and procedures for SOF that balance resources within the Department.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the budget visibility over the funding for SOF needed to guide departmental and congressional decision making and to better balance operational deployments across the joint force, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in consultation with SOCOM and the military services, to revise the validation criteria outlined in Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Manual 3130.06A to include a requirement that the Joint Staff consider whether conventional forces could serve as an appropriate alternative to meet requests for SOF before validating combatant commander requests.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to GAO?s report, the Department of Defense (DOD) stated that it believes that the current Global Force Management validation process considers the appropriate allocation of missions and requirements between special operations forces (SOF) and conventional forces. DOD further stated that the Joint Staff was reviewing the Global Force Management process for improvements and would consider revising validation procedures outlined in the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Manual 3130.06A, as necessary, to ensure that missions and requirements are appropriately assigned to SOF and conventional forces. However, as of June 2017, DOD has not adopted any specific SOF-related changes in policies or procedures to address the intent of the recommendation. The Department will continue to review and consider, as appropriate, policies and procedures for SOF that balance resources within the Department.
    Director: John Pendleton
    Phone: (202) 512-3489

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation to develop guidance on transitioning enduring activities that have been funded with overseas contingency operations appropriations to DOD's base budget, including a time frame for this transition.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) partially concurred with our recommendation. In fiscal year 2016, the President's budget acknowledged that it was time to reconsider the appropriate financing mechanism for costs of overseas operations that are enduring and that beyond 2016 some costs would endure. It included a commitment for the Administration to propose a plan to transition all enduring costs currently funded in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget to the base budget with the transition beginning in 2017 and ending by 2020. However, the budget also noted this transition will not be possible if the sequester level discretionary spending caps remain in place. According to DOD officials, the plan envisioned by the Administration was not submitted since the fiscal year 2017 budget was developed consistent with the Bipartisan Budget Act, which increased the amount of enduring costs funded in the OCO budget. Furthermore, DOD officials stated that the current discretionary spending caps limit their ability to transition enduring costs currently funded in the OCO budget to the base budget.
    Director: Pendleton, John H
    Phone: (404)679-1816

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To ensure that the geographic combatant commands are properly sized to meet their assigned missions and to improve the transparency of the commands' authorized manpower, assigned personnel, and mission and headquarters-support costs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to revise Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 1001.01A to require a comprehensive, periodic evaluation of whether the size and structure of the combatant commands meet assigned missions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Our review found that DOD has a process for evaluating requests for additional authorized positions, but that it does not periodically evaluate the commands' authorized positions to ensure they are needed to meet the commands' assigned missions. The department did not concur with our recommendation, stating that the combatant commands had already been reduced during previous budget and efficiency reviews. The department also noted that any periodic review of the combatant commands' size and structure must include a review of assigned missions, and that a requirement for a mission review was not appropriate for inclusion in the commands' guiding instruction on personnel requirements. Our report acknowledged and described several actions taken by DOD to manage growth in positions and costs at the combatant commands, including establishing personnel baselines and identifying personnel reductions. We continue to maintain that the actions taken by DOD do not constitute a comprehensive, periodic review because they have not included all authorized positions at the combatant commands. In addition, the department's response does not fully explain why there should not be a requirement for periodic reviews to ensure that the resources meet constantly evolving missions. We continue to believe that institutionalizing a periodic evaluation of all authorized positions would help to systematically align manpower with missions and add rigor to the requirements process. Currently, the Department does not plan to take action to implement this recommendation. We will continue to monitor actions DOD takes in response to this recommendation and will provide updated information as appropriate.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the geographic combatant commands are properly sized to meet their assigned missions and to improve the transparency of the commands' authorized manpower, assigned personnel, and mission and headquarters-support costs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in coordination with the combatant commanders and the secretaries of the military departments, to develop and implement a formal process to gather information on authorized manpower and assigned personnel at the service component commands.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Our review found that the Joint Staff and combatant commands lacked visibility and oversight over the authorized manpower and personnel at the service component commands. Specifically, we found that the combatant commands and Joint Staff did not have visibility over personnel at the service component commands or access to the service-specific personnel management systems that the service component commands use, and if they need information to determine whether personnel at the service component commands could support the combatant commands' mission requirements they had to request it from the service component commands. The Director, Joint Staff concurred with the recommendation, but did not provide comments on the corrective action to be taken. In a June 2015 update on this recommendation, Joint Staff officials acknowledged they continue to have no insight into the authorized positions of the service component commands which are managed and tracked by the military services. The Joint Staff and combatant commands continue to request information from the service component commands when needed to track authorized positions and actual personnel, the same process we reported on in 2013. Currently, DOD does not plan to take action to implement this recommendation. We will continue to monitor actions DOD takes in response to this recommendation and will provide updated information as appropriate.
    Director: Pickup, Sharon L
    Phone: 202-512-9619

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To develop a fully integrated management approach to guide virtual training efforts and investments, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to develop an overarching strategy to align goals and funding for virtual training efforts across all Air Force major commands. This strategy should at a minimum contain elements such as results-oriented goals, performance measures, and a determination of resources needed to achieve stated goals. In addition, this strategy should show clear linkages between existing and planned initiatives and goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Lepore, Brian J
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To determine the viability and cost-effectiveness of reducing transmission times for biometrics data, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, through the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, to comprehensively assess and then address, as appropriate, the factors that contribute to transmission time for biometrics data.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2016, DOD published Directive 8521.01E, Defense Biometrics, which directs the Secretary of the Army to measure the health and performance of the DOD Biometrics Enterprise and generate results for the Biometrics Principal Staff Assistant and the DOD Biometrics Executive Committee. OUSD(AT&L) and Army officials also noted that the department is required to obtain a favorable evaluation from the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) and the Army Test and Evaluation Command in order to obtain approval for extending the service life of DOD's authoritative biometric system. These officials note that the tests and evaluations required for such approval will include an assessment of transmission and response times against approved requirements for the biometrics system. However, Marine Corps officials highlighted continued biometrics data transmission and synchronization issues with a currently fielded biometric capability that uses some of the same technology we identified issues with during the course of our review. In Summer 2017, DOD informed GAO that the department will soon issue a report to address these issues, so GAO is keeping this recommendation open until such time as DOD's report becomes available for GAO review.