Military Transformation:

Navy Efforts Should Be More Integrated and Focused

GAO-01-853: Published: Aug 2, 2001. Publicly Released: Aug 2, 2001.

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With the end of the Cold War, national security strategies changed to meet new global challenges. The Navy developed a new strategic direction in the early 1990s, shifting its primary focus from open ocean "blue water" operations to littoral, or shallow water, operations closer to shore. GAO found that although the Navy has recently placed more emphasis on transformation, it does not have a well-defined and overarching strategy for transformation. It has not clearly identified the scope and direction of its transformation; the overall goals, objectives, and milestones; or the specific strategies and resources to be used in achieving these goals. It also has not clearly identified organizational roles and responsibilities, priorities, resources, or ways to measure progress. Without a well-defined strategic plan to guide the Navy's efforts, senior leaders and Congress will not have the tools they need to ensure that the transformation is successful.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In their official comments to the draft report, the Department of Defense stated that it agreed with GAO's conclusion and recommendation that the Navy needed to develop a strategic plan and roadmap to manage and execute its transformation efforts. It also stated that "the majority of actual and perceived transformation shortfalls are due to the lack of an overarching strategic plan and roadmap..." The Secretary of Defense subsequently to GAO's report provided guidance that instructed each military department to prepare and annually update a transformation roadmap that includes information on timelines and required resources. In July 2002, the Navy completed its first Naval Transformation Roadmap and, in late 2003, updated the roadmap, which expanded the information on specific initiatives and programs for its transformation.

    Recommendation: To more clearly determine the Navy's direction and promote better understanding of actions taken to transform its forces for the 21st century, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to develop a long-term strategic plan and roadmap that clearly articulates priorities, objectives, and milestones; identifies the scope, resource requirements, and responsibilities; and defines the metrics for assessing progress in achieving successful transformation.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In its comments to a draft of the report, the Department of Defense agreed with both recommendations. While it did not elaborate on the need for the Navy to adjust its experimentation program to include long-term force structure issues and concepts, it did state that a central clearinghouse for transformation and experimentation was needed, and indicated that it was considering such a clearinghouse. According to the Navy in DOD's follow-up to the report, the Warfare Integration and Assessment Division, under the Deputy Chief of Naval operations for Warfare Requirements and Programs, was established to integrate the Navy's warfighting capability requirements, including those aspects that are transformational. The Division, according to the Navy, has coordinated alignment of the Navy's Centers of Excellence and has also designated the Navy's Executive Agent for Transformation with the responsibility to establish capstone requirements for transformation based on the input of the Fleet and the Centers of Excellence. To strengthen relationships between the Fleet commands and Navy staff, the Navy also realigned its Navy Warfare Development Command to report to a newly established Commander, US Fleet Forces Command, as its immediate superior in command for purposes of warfare innovation, concept development and joint warfare experimentation and the synchronization and dissemination of doctrine.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should also direct the Secretary of the Navy to (1) adjust the Navy's experimentation program to provide greater exploration of long-term force structure and operational issues and (2) create a clearinghouse for Navy-wide innovation activities to improve coordination and monitoring of such activities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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