This is the accessible text file for GAO report number GAO-03-329 
entitled 'Defense Acquisitions: Steps Needed to Ensure Interoperability 
of Systems That Process Intelligence Data' which was released on March 
31, 2003.



This text file was formatted by the U.S. General Accounting Office 

(GAO) to be accessible to users with visual impairments, as part of a 

longer term project to improve GAO productsí accessibility. Every 

attempt has been made to maintain the structural and data integrity of 

the original printed product. Accessibility features, such as text 

descriptions of tables, consecutively numbered footnotes placed at the 

end of the file, and the text of agency comment letters, are provided 

but may not exactly duplicate the presentation or format of the printed 

version. The portable document format (PDF) file is an exact electronic 

replica of the printed version. We welcome your feedback. Please E-mail 

your comments regarding the contents or accessibility features of this 

document to Webmaster@gao.gov.



Report to the Chairman, Committee on Armed Services, 

House of Representatives:



March 2003:



DEFENSE ACQUISITIONS:



Steps Needed to Ensure Interoperability of Systems That Process 

Intelligence Data:



GAO-03-329:



GAO Highlights:



Highlights of GAO-03-329, a report to the Chairman, Committee on Armed 

Services, House of Representatives



Why GAO Did This Study:



Making sure systems can work effectively together (interoperability) 

has been a key problem for the Department of Defense (DOD) yet integral 

to its goals for enhancing joint operations. Given the importance of 

being able to share intelligence data quickly, we were asked to assess 

DODís initiative to develop a common ground-surface-based intelligence 

system and to particularly examine (1) whether DOD has adequately 

planned this initiative and (2) whether its process for testing and 

certifying the interoperability of new systems is working effectively.



What GAO Found:



DOD relies on a broad array of intelligence systems to study the 

battlefield and identify and hit enemy targets. These systems include 

reconnaissance aircraft, satellites, and ground-surface stations that 

receive, analyze, and disseminate intelligence data. At times, these 

systems are not interoperableóeither for technical reasons (such as 

incompatible data formats) and/or operational reasons. Such problems 

can considerably slow down the time to identify and analyze a potential 

target and decide whether to attack it. 



One multibillion-dollar initiative DOD has underway to address this 

problem is to pare down the number of ground-surface systems that 

process intelligence data and upgrade them to enhance their 

functionality and ensure that they can work with other DOD systems. The 

eventual goal is an overarching family of interconnected systems, known 

as the Distributed Common Ground-Surface System (DCGS). 



To date, planning for this initiative has been slow and incomplete. DOD 

is developing an architecture, or blueprint, for the new systems as 

well as an overarching test plan and an operational concept. Although 

DCGS was started in 1998, DOD has not yet formally identified which 

systems are going to be involved in DCGS; what the time frames will be 

for making selections and modifications, conducting interoperability 

tests, and integrating systems into the overarching system; how 

transitions will be funded; and how the progress of the initiative will 

be tracked.



Moreover, DODís process for testing and certifying that systems will be 

interoperable is not working effectively. In fact, only 2 of 26 DCGS 

systems have been certified as interoperable. Because 21 of the systems 

that have not been certified have already been fielded, DOD has a 

greater risk that the new systems will not be able to share 

intelligence data as quickly as needed. Certifications are important 

because they consider such things as whether a system can work with 

systems belonging to other military services without unacceptable 

workarounds and whether individual systems conform to broader 

architectures designed to facilitate interoperability across DOD. 



What GAO Recommends:



GAO recommends that DOD enhance its planning to include a detailed 

migration plan and schedule. GAO also recommends that DOD take steps 

needed to enforce its process and determine why the services are slow 

to certify systems in order that it can implement controls and 

incentives needed to spur compliance. DOD  generally agreed with our 

recommendations.



www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-329.

To view the full report, including the scope and methodology, click on 

the link above. For more information, contact Robert Levin at (202) 

512-4841 or levinr@gao.gov.



[End of section]



Letter:



Results in Brief:



Background:



Planning for Migration Effort Is Incomplete:



DODís Process for Certifying Intelligence Systems As Interoperable Is 

Not Working Effectively:



Conclusions:



Recommendations for Executive Action:



Agency Comments and Our Evaluation:



Scope and Methodology:



Appendix:



Appendix I: Comments from the Department of Defense:



Table :



Table 1: Status of DODís Joint Interoperability Certification 

for Its Distributed Common Ground-Surface Systems as of December 10, 

2002:



Figures:



Figure 1: Illustration of Equipment and Platforms That Need 

to Be Interoperable:



Figure 2: Examples of Ground-Surface-Based Systems for Processing 

Intelligence Data:



C4SIR: Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, 

Surveillance, and Reconnaissance:



DCGS: Distributed Common Ground-Surface System:



JITC: Joint Interoperability Test Command:



This is a work of the U.S. Government and is not subject to copyright 

protection in the United States. It may be reproduced and distributed 

in its entirety without further permission from GAO. It may contain 

copyrighted graphics, images or other materials. Permission from the 

copyright holder may be necessary should you wish to reproduce

copyrighted materials separately from GAOís product.



Letter March 31, 2003:



The Honorable Duncan Hunter

Chairman, Committee on Armed Services

House of Representatives:



Dear Mr. Chairman:



The Department of Defense (DOD) relies on a broad array of intelligence 

systems to study the battlefield and to identify and hit enemy targets. 

These systems include reconnaissance aircraft, satellites, and ground-

surface-based stations that receive, analyze, and disseminate 

intelligence data. A key problem facing DOD is the inability of these 

systems to operate effectively together for technical reasons (such as 

incompatible data formats) and/or operational reasons. Such problems 

can considerably slow the time involved with identifying and analyzing 

a potential target and deciding whether to attack it, as well as 

delivering an order to the war fighter in charge of the attack.



DOD recognizes this problem, and it has undertaken a range of 

initiatives aimed at improving interoperability among all of its 

systems. One multibillion-dollar initiative underway since 1998 is to 

pare down the number of ground-surface systems that process 

intelligence data and upgrade them to enhance their functionality and 

to ensure that they are interoperable with other DOD systems. The 

eventual goal is the migration to an overarching, interconnected family 

of systems for processing intelligence data known as the Distributed 

Common Ground-Surface System (DCGS). Given the importance of the DCGS 

initiative to the war fighter, you asked us to assess (1) whether DOD 

has adequately planned for these processing systems and (2) whether 

DODís process for testing and certifying the interoperability of the 

systems is working effectively.



Results in Brief:



DOD has not completed plans for its initiative to pare down and enhance 

its ground-surface-based systems for processing intelligence data. DOD 

is developing an architecture, or blueprint, for the new systems, but 

it has not yet formally identified which systems are to be involved in 

the migration initiative; what the time frames will be for making 

selections and modifications, conducting interoperability tests, and 

integrating systems into the overarching system; how the transitions 

will be funded; and how the success of the initiative will be tracked. 

For example, DOD has not completed an overarching test plan that would 

define when and how interoperability tests will be conducted. Given the 

range of disparate interests among the services and the billions of 

dollars involved, such plans are critical to ensuring that the 

migration is adequately funded and managed.



Moreover, DODís process for testing and certifying that ground-surface-

based processing systems will be interoperable is not working 

effectively. In fact, only 2 of 26 DCGS systems have been certified as 

interoperable. Because 21 of the systems that have not been certified 

have already been fielded, there is greater risk that the systems 

cannot share data as quickly as needed. Moreover, while certifications 

are planned for 17 of the 26 systems, they are not planned for 7 

others. The certification process is important because it considers 

such things as whether systems can work with systems belonging to the 

other military services without unacceptable workarounds or special 

interfaces, whether they are using standard data formats, and whether 

they conform to broader architectures designed to facilitate 

interoperability across DOD. One reason why the process is not working 

effectively is the incomplete planning discussed above, including the 

lack of an overarching test plan. Other reasons cited by DOD officials 

are that system managers are more focused on getting systems fielded 

quickly and/or they do not want to fund the certification process, as 

DOD requires them to do. Our work has also shown that the military 

services focus more on meeting their own requirements when developing 

new systems as opposed to requirements that would facilitate operating 

jointly with other services.



We are making recommendations that DOD enhance its planning to include 

a detailed migration plan and schedule. We are also recommending that 

DOD take steps needed to enforce its certification process and 

determine why the services are slow to certify their systems in order 

that it can implement the controls and incentives needed to spur 

compliance. DOD generally agreed with our recommendations.



Background:



The military services and defense agencies, such as the National 

Security Agency and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, collect 

and use intelligence data--either in the form of photographic, radar, 

or infrared images or electronic signals--to better understand and 

react to an adversaryís actions and intentions. This data can come from 

aircraft like the U-2 or Global Hawk or satellites or other ground, 

air, sea, or spaced-based equipment. The sensors that collect this data 

are linked to ground-surface-based processing systems that collect, 

analyze, and disseminate it to other intelligence processing facilities 

and to combat forces. (See figures 1 and 2.) These systems can be large 

or small, fixed, mobile, or transportable. For example, the Air Force 

operates several large, fixed systems that provide extensive analysis 

capability well beyond combat activities. By contrast, the Army and 

Marine Corps operate smaller, mobile intelligence systems that travel 

with and operate near combat forces.



Figure 1: Illustration of Equipment and Platforms That Need 

to Be Interoperable:



[See PDF for image]



[End of figure]



Figure 2: Examples of Ground-Surface-Based Systems for Processing 

Intelligence Data:



[See PDF for image]



[End of figure]



A key problem facing DOD is that these systems do not always work 

together effectively, thereby slowing down the time it takes to collect 

data and analyze and disseminate it sometimes by hours or even days, 

though DOD reports that timing has improved in more recent military 

operations. At times, some systems cannot easily exchange information 

because they were not designed to be compatible and must work through 

technical patches to transmit and receive data. In other cases, the 

systems are not connected at all. Compounding this problem is the fact 

that each service has its own command, control, and communications 

structure that present barriers to interoperability.



Among the efforts DOD has underway to improve interoperability is the 

migration to a family of overarching ground-surface systems, based on 

the best systems already deployed and future systems. DCGS will not 

only connect individual systems but also enable these systems to merge 

intelligence information from multiple sources. The first phase of the 

migration effort will focus on connecting existing systems belonging to 

the military services--so that each service has an interoperable 

ďfamilyĒ of systems. The second phase will focus on interconnecting the 

families of systems so that joint and combined forces can have an 

unprecedented, common view of the battlefield. DODís Office of the 

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, 

and Intelligence is leading this effort.



Successfully building a compatible ground-surface system is extremely 

challenging. First, DOD is facing a significant technical challenge. 

The ground-surface-based systems must not only have compatible 

electronic connections, but also compatible data transfer rates and 

data formats and vocabularies. At the same time it modifies systems, 

DOD must protect sensitive and classified data and be able to make 

fixes to one system without negatively affecting others. All of these 

tasks will be difficult to achieve given that the systems currently 

operated were designed by the individual services with their own 

requirements in mind and that they still own the systems. Second, 

sufficient communications capacity (e.g., bandwidth) must exist to 

transmit large amounts of data. DOD is still in the early stages of 

adding this capacity through its bandwidth expansion program. Third, 

DOD must have enough qualified people to analyze and exploit the large 

volumes of data modern sensors are capable of collecting. Lastly, DOD 

must still address interoperability barriers that stretch well beyond 

technical and human capital enhancements. For example, the services may 

have operating procedures and processes that simply preclude them from 

sharing data with other services and components, or they may have 

inconsistent security procedures. Formulating and following common 

processes and procedures will be difficult since the services have 

historically been reluctant to do so.[Footnote 1]



Planning for Migration Effort Is Incomplete:



Given the multi-billion-dollar commitment and many technical and 

operational challenges with the migration initiative, it is critical 

that DOD have effective plans to guide and manage system development. 

These would include such things as a comprehensive architecture, 

migration plan, and investment strategy. However, even though it 

initiated DCGS in 1998 and is fielding new intelligence systems, DOD is 

still in the beginning stages of this planning. It is now working on an 

enterprise architecture, a high level concept of operations for the 

processing of intelligence information, and an overarching test plan, 

and it expects these to be done by July 2003. DOD has not yet focused 

on an investment strategy or on a migration plan that would set a 

target date for completing the migration and outline activities for 

meeting that date. By fielding systems without completing these plans, 

DOD is increasing the risk that DCGS systems will not share data as 

quickly as needed by the warfighter.



Planning Elements Essential to Success of DODís Migration Effort:



Successfully moving toward an interoperable family of ground-surface-

based processing systems for intelligence data is a difficult endeavor 

for DOD. The systems now in place are managed by many different 

entities within DOD. They are involved in a wide range of military 

operations and installed on a broad array of equipment. At the same 

time, they need to be made to be compatible and interoperable. DODís 

migration must also fit in with long-term goals for achieving 

information superiority over the enemy. Several elements are 

particularly critical to successfully addressing these challenges. They 

include an enterprise architecture, or blueprint, to define the current 

and target environment for ground-based processing systems; a road map, 

or migration plan to define how DOD will get to the target environment 

and track its progress in doing so; and an investment strategy to 

ensure adequate resources are provided toward the migration. Each of 

these elements is described in the following discussions.



* Enterprise architecture. Enterprise architectures systematically and 

completely define an organizationís current (baseline) or desired 

(target) environment. They do so by providing a clear and comprehensive 

picture of a mission area--both in logical (e.g., operations, 

functions, and information flows) terms and technical (e.g., software, 

hardware, and communications) terms. If defined properly, enterprise 

architectures can assist in optimizing interdependencies and 

interrelationships among an organizationís operations and the 

underlying technology supporting these operations. Our experience with 

federal agencies has shown that attempting to define and build systems 

without first completing an architecture often results in systems that 

are duplicative, not well integrated, and unnecessarily costly to 

maintain and interface, and do not optimize mission 

performance.[Footnote 2] DOD also recognizes the importance of 

enterprise architectures and developed a framework known as the 

Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, 

Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) Architecture Framework for its 

components to use in guiding efforts similar to DCGS. DODís acquisition 

guidance also requires the use of architectures to characterize 

interrelationships and interactions between U.S., allied, and coalition 

systems.[Footnote 3]



* Migration plan or road map. Given the size and complexity of DCGS, it 

is important that the migration be planned in convenient, manageable 

increments to accommodate DODís capacity to handle change. At a 

minimum, a plan would lay out current system capabilities, desired 

capabilities, and specific initiatives, programs, projects, and 

schedules intended to get DOD and the services to that vision. It would 

also define measures for tracking progress, such as testing timeliness 

and the status of modifications, roles and responsibilities for key 

activities, and mechanisms for enforcing compliance with the migration 

plan and ensuring that systems conform to technical and data standards 

defined by the architecture. Such plans, or road maps, are often 

developed as part of an enterprise architecture.



* Investment strategy. To ensure the migration is successfully 

implemented, it is important to know what funds are available--for the 

initial phases of migration, for interoperability testing, and for 

transition to the target architecture. It is important as well to know 

what constraints or gaps need to be addressed. By achieving better 

visibility over resources, DOD can take steps needed to analyze its 

migration investment as well as funding alternatives.



DOD Is Developing an Architecture:



DOD is in the process of developing an architecture for DCGS. It 

expects the architecture to be completed by July 2003. As recommended 

by DODís C4ISR Architecture Framework, the architecture will include a 

(1) baseline, or as-is, architecture and (2) a target, or to-be, 

architecture. The architecture will also include a high-level concept 

of operations.



The architecture will to also reflect DODís future plans to develop a 

web-based intelligence information network. This network would 

substantially change how intelligence information is collected and 

analyzed and could therefore substantially change DODís requirements 

for DCGS. Currently, ground-surface-based systems process intelligence 

data and then disseminate processed data to select users. Under the new 

approach, unprocessed data would be posted on a Web-based network; 

leaving a larger range of users to decide which data they want to 

process and use. DOD has started implementing its plans for this new 

network but does not envision fully implementing it until 2010-2015.



In addition, DOD has created a DCGS Council comprised of integrated 

product teams to oversee the migration. A team exists for each type of 

intelligence (imagery, signals, measurement, and signature); test and 

evaluation; and infrastructure and working groups to study specific 

issues.



In tandem with the architecture, DOD has also issued a capstone 

requirements document for the migration effort. This document 

references top-level requirements and standards, such as the Joint 

Technical Architecture with which all systems must comply. DOD is also 

developing an overarching test plan called the Capstone Test and 

Evaluation Master Plan, which will define standards, test processes, 

test resources, and responsibilities of the services for demonstrating 

that the systems can work together and an operational concept for 

processing intelligence information.



Planning Gaps Raise Risks:



An enterprise architecture and overarching test plan should help ensure 

that the ground-surface-based processing systems selected for migration 

will be interoperable and that they will help to achieve DODís broader 

goals for its intelligence operations. But there are gaps in DODís 

planning that raise risks that the migration will not be adequately 

funded and managed.



* First, the planning process itself has been slower than DOD officials 

anticipated. By the time DOD expects to complete its architecture and 

testing plan, it will have been proceeding with its migration 

initiative for 4 years. This delay has hampered DODís ability to ensure 

interoperability in the systems now being developed and deployed.



* Second, DOD still lacks a detailed migration plan that identifies 

which systems will be retained for migration; which will be phased out; 

when systems will be modified and integrated into the target system; 

how the transition will take place--how efforts will be prioritized; 

and how progress in implementing the migration plan and architecture 

will be enforced and tracked. Until DOD puts this in place, it will 

lack a mechanism to drive its migration. Moreover, the DCGS Council 

will lack a specific plan and tools for executing its oversight.



* Third, DOD has not yet developed an integrated investment strategy 

for its migration effort that would contemplate what resources are 

available for acquisitions, modifications, and interoperability 

testing and how gaps in those resources could be addressed. More 

fundamentally, DOD still lacks visibility over spending on its 

intelligence systems since spending is spread among the budgets of 

DODís services and components. As a result, DOD does not fully know 

what has already been spent on the migration effort, nor does it have a 

means for making sure the investments the services make in their 

intelligence systems support its overall goals; and if not, what other 

options can be employed to make sure spending is on target.



DOD officials agreed that both a migration plan and investment strategy 

were needed but said they were concentrating first on completing the 

architecture, test plan, and the operational concept.



DODís Process for Certifying Intelligence Systems As Interoperable Is 

Not Working Effectively:



DOD has a process in place to test and certify that systems are 

interoperable, but it is not working effectively for ground-surface-

based intelligence processing systems. In fact, at the time of our 

review, only 2 of 26 DCGS systems have been certified as being 

interoperable. The certification process is important because it 

considers such things as whether systems can work with systems 

belonging to other military services without unacceptable workarounds 

or special interfaces, whether they are using standard data formats, 

and whether they conform to broader architectures designed to 

facilitate interoperability across DOD.



DODís Process for Ensuring Interoperability:



DOD has placed great importance on making intelligence processing 

systems interoperable and requires that all new (and many existing) 

systems demonstrate that they are interoperable with other systems and 

be certified as interoperable before they are fielded. DOD relies on 

the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC, part of the Defense 

Information Systems Agency) to certify systems. In conducting this 

certification, JITC assesses whether systems can interoperate without 

degrading other systems or networks or being degraded by them; the 

ability of systems to exchange information; the ability of systems to 

interoperate in joint environments without the use of unacceptable 

workaround procedures or special technical interfaces; and the ability 

of systems to interoperate while maintaining system confidentiality and 

integrity. In doing so, JITC reviews testing already conducted as well 

as assessments prepared by independent testing organizations. It may 

also conduct some of its own testing. The results are then submitted to 

the Joint Staff, who validate the systemís certification. Systems are 

generally certified for 3 years--after which they must be re-certified.



The certification is funded by the system owner--whether it is a 

service or DOD agency. The cost depends on the size and complexity of a 

system and generally requires 10 percent of funding designated for 

testing and evaluation. Generally, certification costs are small 

relative to the total cost of a system. The cost to certify the Armyís 

$95 million Common Ground Station, for example, was $388,000.



To help enforce the certification process, DOD asked 4 key officials 

(the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and 

Logistics; the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, 

Communications, and Intelligence; the Director of Operational Test and 

Evaluation; and the Director, Joint Staff) in December 2000 to 

periodically review systems and to place those with interoperability 

deficiencies on a ďwatch list.Ē This designation would trigger a series 

of progress reviews and updates by the program manager, the responsible 

testing organization, and JITC, until the system is taken off the list. 

Other DOD forums are also charged with identifying systems that need to 

be put on the list, including DODís Interoperability Senior Review 

Panel, which is composed of senior leaders from the offices of the 

Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Technology and Logistics; 

the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, 

Communications, and Intelligence; the Joint Staff; the Director for 

Programs, Analysis, and Evaluation; the Director, Operational Test and 

Evaluation; and U. S. Joint Forces Command.



Most Systems Are Not Certified:



At the time of our review, only 2 of 26 DCGS systems had been certified 

by JITC. Of the remaining 24 systems; 3 were in the process of being 

certified; 14 had plans for certification; and 7 had no plans. (See 

table 1.):



Table 1: Status of DODís Joint Interoperability Certification 

for Its Distributed Common Ground-Surface Systems 

as of December 10, 2002:



[See PDF for image]



Source: DOD.



Notes: The categories provided in the table assume the following 

definition:



[A] Certified: 100 percent certification of all critical interfaces:



[B] In process: at least 1 critical interface has been tested and/or 

certified:



[C] Planned: funding is available and test planning initiated:



[D] Not planned: No funding or agreement established for JITC testing:



[End of table]



Because 21 systems that have not been certified have already been 

fielded, there is greater risk that the systems cannot share data as 

quickly as needed. Some of the systems in this category are critical to 

the success of other intelligence systems. For example, software 

modules contained in the Armyís tactical exploitation system are to be 

used to build systems for the Navy, Marine Corps, and the Air Force.



DOD officials responsible for developing intelligence systems as well 

as testing them pointed toward several reasons for noncompliance, 

including the following. Our previous work in this area has identified 

the following similar reasons.[Footnote 4]



* Some system managers are unaware of the requirement for 

certification.



* Some system managers do not believe that their design, although 

fielded, was mature enough for testing.



* Some system managers are concerned that the certification process 

itself would raise the need for expensive system modifications.



* DOD officials do not always budget the resources needed for 

interoperability testing.



* The military services sometimes allow service-unique requirements to 

take precedence over satisfying joint interoperability requirements.



* Various approval authorities allow some new systems to be fielded 

without verifying their certification status.



DODís interoperability watch list was implemented after our 1998 report 

to provide better oversight over the interoperability certification 

process. In January 2003, after considering our findings, DODís 

Interoperability Senior Review Panel evaluated DCGSís progress toward 

interoperability certification and added the program to the 

interoperability watch list.



Conclusions:



Making its intelligence systems interoperable and enhancing their 

capability is a critical first step in DODís effort to drive down time 

needed to identify and hit targets and otherwise enhance joint military 

operations. But DOD has been slow to plan for this initiative and it 

has not addressed important questions such as how and when systems will 

be pared down and modified as well as how the initiative will be 

funded. Moreover, DOD is fielding new systems and new versions of old 

systems without following its own certification process. If both 

problems are not promptly addressed, data sharing problems may still 

persist, precluding DOD from achieving its goals for quicker 

intelligence dissemination. Even for the DCGS systems, which are 

supposed to be interconnected over time, noncompliance with 

interoperability requirements continues to persist. We believe DOD 

should take a fresh look at the reasons for noncompliance and consider 

what mix of controls and incentives, including innovative funding 

mechanisms, are needed to ensure the interoperability of DCGS systems.



Recommendations for Executive Action:



To ensure that an effective Distributed Common Ground-Surface System is 

adequately planned and funded, we recommend that the Secretary of 

Defense direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, 

Communications, and Intelligence to expand the planning efforts for 

DCGS to include a migration plan or road map that at a minimum lays out 

(1) current system capabilities and desired capabilities; (2) specific 

initiatives, programs, projects and schedules to get DOD and the 

services to their goal; (3) measures to gauge success in implementing 

the migration plan as well as the enterprise architecture; and (4) 

mechanisms for ensuring that the plan is followed.



We also recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct the Assistant 

Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, and 

Intelligence to develop an investment strategy to identify what funds 

are available, both for the initial phases of the DCGS migration and 

transition to the target architecture, and whether there are gaps or 

constraints that need to be addressed.



To ensure that systems critical to an effective DCGS are interoperable, 

we recommend that the Secretary of Defense take steps needed to enforce 

its certification process, including directing the service secretaries 

in collaboration with the Joint Staff, Acquisition Executives, and the 

Joint Interoperability Test Command to (1) examine reasons the services 

are slow to comply with its certification requirement and (2) 

mechanisms that can be implemented to instill better discipline in 

adhering to the certification requirement. If lack of funding is found 

to be a significant barrier, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense 

consider centrally funding the DCGS certification process as a pilot 

program.



Agency Comments and Our Evaluation:



In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD concurred with our 

recommendations to expand the planning efforts for DCGS to include a 

migration plan and an investment strategy. It stated that it has 

already funded both projects. DOD also strongly supported our 

recommendation to take additional steps to enforce its certification 

process and described recent actions it has taken to do so. DOD 

partially concurred with our last recommendation to consider centrally 

funding the certification process if funding is found to be a 

significant barrier. While DOD supported this step if it is warranted, 

DOD believed it was premature to identify a solution without further 

definition of the problem. We agree that DOD needs to first examine the 

reasons for noncompliance and consider what mix of controls and 

incentives are needed to make the certification process work. At the 

same time, because funding has already been raised as a barrier, DOD 

should include an analysis of innovative funding mechanisms into its 

review.



Scope and Methodology:



To achieve our objectives, we examined Department of Defense 

regulations, directives, instructions as well as the implementing 

instructions of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, regarding 

interoperability and the certification process. We visited the Joint 

Interoperability Test Command in Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and obtained 

detailed briefings on the extent that intelligence, surveillance, and 

reconnaissance systems, including DCGS systems, have been certified. We 

visited and obtained detailed briefings on the interoperability issues 

facing the Combatant Commanders at Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, 

Virginia; Central Command in Tampa, Florida; and Pacific Command in 

Honolulu, Hawaii, including a videoconference with U.S. Forces Korea 

officials. We discussed the interoperability certification process and 

its implementation with officials in the Office of the Director, 

Operational Test and Evaluation; the Under Secretary of Defense for 

Acquisition, Technology and Logistics; and the Assistant Secretary of 

Defense for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence. During 

these visits and additional visits to the intelligence and acquisition 

offices of the services, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, and 

the National Security Agency, we obtained detailed briefings and 

examined documents such as the capstone requirements document involving 

the status and plan to implement the ground systems strategy. We 

conducted our review from December 2001 through February 2003 in 

accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.



:



As agreed with your office, unless you publicly announce the contents 

of this report earlier, we plan no further distribution of it until 7 

days from the date of this report. At that time, we will send copies of 

this report to the other congressional defense committees and the 

Secretary of Defense. We will also provide copies to others on request. 

In addition, the report will be available at no charge on the GAO Web 

site at http://www.gao.gov.



Please contact me at (202) 512-4841 if you or your staff have any 

questions concerning this report. Key contributors to this report were 

Keith Rhodes, Cristina Chaplain, Richard Strittmatter, and Matthew 

Mongin.



Sincerely yours,



R.E. Levin

Director, Acquisition and Sourcing Management:



Signed by R.E. Levin:



[End of section]



Appendixes:



Appendix I: Comments from the Department of Defense:



ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE:



6000 DEFENSE PENTAGON WASHINGTON, DC 20301-6000:



COMMAND, CONTROL, COMMUNICATIONS, AND INTELLIGENCE:



Mr. Robert E. Levin:



Director, Acquisition and Sourcing Management U.S. General Accounting 

Office:



441 G Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20548:



Dear Mr. Levin:



This is the Department of Defense (DoD) response to the GAO draft 

report, ďDEFENSE ACQUISITIONS: Steps Needed To Ensure Interoperability 

of Systems That Process Intelligence DataĒ dated February 10, 2003, 

(GAO Code 120115/GAO-03-329).



This response has been prepared by OASD (C3I)/ISR Programs as the 

Primary Action Office after reviewing comments from the Collateral 

Action Offices. The Department accepts and CONCURS with Recommendations 

1, 2, and 3 and PARTIALLY CONCURS with Recommendation 4. Responses to 

each recommendation are provided on the attached comment sheets.



In addition to responses to GAO recommendations, you will find a fifth 

attachment that suggests changes to the body of the report in areas 

that the Department feels are in error or require additional 

information.



We appreciate the opportunity to provide this information and look 

forward to further dialogue on this matter.



Sincerely,



Kevin P. Meiners:

Director, OASD (C3I)/ISR Programs:



Signed for Kevin P. Meiners:



Attachments: Comment Sheets (4) Suggested Change Matrix:



GAO DRAFT REPORT - DATED FEBRUARY 10, 2003 GAO CODE 120115/GAO-03-329:



ďDEFENSE ACQUISITIONS: STEPS NEEDED TO ENSURE INTEROPERABILITY OF 

SYSTEMS THAT PROCESS INTELLIGENCE DATAĒ:



DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE COMMENTS TO THE RECOMMENDATIONS:



RECOMMENDATION 1:



The GAO recommended that the Secretary of Defense direct the Assistant 

Secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications, and 

Intelligence) to expand the planning efforts for Distributed Common 

Ground/surface Systems (DCGS) to include a migration plan or roadmap 

that, at a minimum, lays out: (1) current system capabilities and 

desired capabilities, (2) specific initiatives, programs, projects and 

schedules, to get DoD and the Services to their goal, (3) measures to 

gauge success in implementing the migration plan as well as the 

enterprise architecture, and (4) mechanisms for ensuring that the plan 

is followed. (p. 18/GAO Draft Report):



DoD RESPONSE: CONCUR:



DoD COMMENTS:



A roadmap development effort has been identified as the objective 

activity for the DoDís Architecture Development effort discussed on 

pages 9 and 10 of the GAO report. The sequence of events of an 

operational concept definition, architectural product creation, and 

shortfalls analysis all lead to the generation of a roadmap that will 

contain necessary policy, programmatic, and resource decision points 

and migration paths. The roadmap activity is funded in FY 03 and is to 

begin shortly.



GAO DRAFT REPORT - DATED FEBRUARY 10, 2003 GAO CODE 120115/GAO-03-329:



ďDEFENSE ACQUISITIONS: STEPS NEEDED TO ENSURE INTEROPERABILITY OF 

SYSTEMS THAT PROCESS INTELLIGENCE DATAĒ:



DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE COMMENTS TO THE RECOMMENDATIONS:



RECOMMENDATION 2:



The GAO recommended that the Secretary of Defense direct the Assistant 

Secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications and 

Intelligence) to develop an investment strategy to identify what funds 

are available, both for the initial phases of the DCGS migration and 

transition to the target architecture, and whether there are gaps or 

constraints that need to be addresses. (p. 18 GAO Draft Report):



DoD RESPONSE: CONCUR:



DoD COMMENTS:



As part of the roadmap activity planned for FY 03, the necessary 

investments will be captured as part of the resource decision points 

outlined in that roadmap.



GAO DRAFT REPORT - DATED FEBRUARY 10, 2003 GAO CODE 120115/GAO-03-329:



ďDEFENSE ACQUISITIONS: STEPS NEEDED TO ENSURE INTEROPERABILITY OF 

SYSTEMS THAT PROCESS INTELLIGENCE DATAĒ:



DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE COMMENTS TO THE RECOMMENDATIONS:



RECOMMENDATION 3:



The GAO recommended that the Secretary of Defense take steps needed to 

enforce its certification process, including directing the Service 

Secretaries in collaboration with the Commander, Joint Interoperability 

Test Command, to; (1) examine reasons the Services are slow to comply 

with its certification requirement, and (2) examine mechanisms that can 

be implemented to instill better discipline in adhering to the 

certification requirement. (p. 18/GAO Draft Report):



DoD RESPONSE: CONCUR:



DoD COMMENTS:



The Department strongly supports this recommendation. This is evidenced 

by recent activities to improve interoperability enforcement including 

publication of DODD 4630.5 and DODI 4630.8, the Interoperability Senior 

Review Panel (ISRP) review of DCGS, the DCGS Capstone Test & Evaluation 

Master Plan (CTEMP), and the development of DCGS Compliance Level 

criteria that will support Joint Interoperability Certification.



Successful implementation of the recommended steps will require the 

Joint Staff, who promulgates CJCSI 6212.0113 and validates system JICs 

from JITC, and the Service Acquisition Authorities that are key to 

effective implementation by their System Program Managers, to 

participate in the process.



The additional actions suggested under this recommendation are areas 

that must be incorporated into the DCGS program to ensure migration and 

transformation to the defined objective state captured in the DCGS 

Capstone Requirements Document (CRD) and the DCGS architectural 

products. All of these considerations and issues will be addressed in 

the DoD DCGS roadmap activity. It will address not only materiel but 

also policy and other non-materiel solutions.



GAO DRAFT REPORT - DATED FEBRUARY 10, 2003 GAO CODE 120115/GAO-03-329:



ďDEFENSE ACQUISITIONS: STEPS NEEDED TO ENSURE INTEROPERABILITY OF 

SYSTEMS THAT PROCESS INTELLIGENCE DATAĒ:



DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE COMMENTS TO THE RECOMMENDATIONS:



RECOMMENDATION 4:



The GAO recommended that, if lack of funding is found to be a 

significant barrier, the Secretary of Defense consider centrally 

funding the DCGS certification process as a pilot program. (p. 18 GAO 

Draft Report):



DoD RESPONSE: PARTIALLY CONCUR:



DoD COMMENTS:



While the GAO recommends centrally funding the DCGS certification 

process as a pilot program if lack of funding is found to be a 

significant barrier, the Department believes it is premature to 

identify a solution without further definition of the problem. The 

Department identified this problem and placed DCGS on the 

Interoperability Watch List. This will result in increased emphasis. If 

this proves to be insufficient, then a centrally funded effort may be 

warranted.



[End of section]



(120115):



:



FOOTNOTES



[1] U.S. General Accounting Office, Joint Warfighting: Attacking Time-

Critical Targets, 

GAO-02-204R (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 30, 2001).



[2] U.S. General Accounting Office, Information Technology: Enterprise 

Architecture Use across the Federal Government Can Be Improved, GAO-02-

6 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 2002).



[3] Department of Defense, C4ISR Architect Framework (Washington, D.C.: 

Dec. 1997).



[4] U.S. General Accounting Office, Joint/Military Operations: 

Weaknesses in Department of Defenseís Process for Certifying C4I 

Systemsí Interoperability, GAO/NSIAD 98-73 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 

1998).



GAOís Mission:



The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, 

exists to support Congress in meeting its constitutional 

responsibilities and to help improve the performance and accountability 

of the federal government for the American people. GAO examines the use 

of public funds; evaluates federal programs and policies; and provides 

analyses, recommendations, and other assistance to help Congress make 

informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions. GAOís commitment to 

good government is reflected in its core values of accountability, 

integrity, and reliability.



Obtaining Copies of GAO Reports and Testimony:



The fastest and easiest way to obtain copies of GAO documents at no 

cost is through the Internet. GAOís Web site ( www.gao.gov ) contains 

abstracts and full-text files of current reports and testimony and an 

expanding archive of older products. The Web site features a search 

engine to help you locate documents using key words and phrases. You 

can print these documents in their entirety, including charts and other 

graphics.



Each day, GAO issues a list of newly released reports, testimony, and 

correspondence. GAO posts this list, known as ďTodayís Reports,Ē on its 

Web site daily. The list contains links to the full-text document 

files. To have GAO e-mail this list to you every afternoon, go to 

www.gao.gov and select ďSubscribe to daily E-mail alert for newly 

released productsĒ under the GAO Reports heading.



Order by Mail or Phone:



The first copy of each printed report is free. Additional copies are $2 

each. A check or money order should be made out to the Superintendent 

of Documents. GAO also accepts VISA and Mastercard. Orders for 100 or 

more copies mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. 

Orders should be sent to:



U.S. General Accounting Office



441 G Street NW,



Room LM Washington,



D.C. 20548:



To order by Phone: 	



	Voice: (202) 512-6000:



	TDD: (202) 512-2537:



	Fax: (202) 512-6061:



To Report Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in Federal Programs:



Contact:



Web site: www.gao.gov/fraudnet/fraudnet.htm E-mail: fraudnet@gao.gov



Automated answering system: (800) 424-5454 or (202) 512-7470:



Public Affairs:



Jeff Nelligan, managing director, NelliganJ@gao.gov (202) 512-4800 U.S.



General Accounting Office, 441 G Street NW, Room 7149 Washington, D.C.



20548: