Joint Warfighting:

Attacking Time-Critical Targets

GAO-02-204R: Published: Nov 30, 2001. Publicly Released: Dec 5, 2001.

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James F. Wiggins
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This report reviews the military's efforts to attack time-critical targets, such as mobile theater missiles, surface-to-air missile launchers, and cruise missile batteries. GAO found that the Defense Department (DOD) has developed guidance to help the armed services achieve system interoperability as well as develop oversight controls, directives, and policies and to achieve interoperability. DOD has also worked to develop joint capabilities through exercises and advanced concept technology demonstrations. The individual services have undertaken various efforts to improve their own capability to attack time-critical targets. Although these efforts are helping DOD to improve the sensor-to-shooter process, much more needs to be done to significantly reduce the time it takes to strike time-critical targets. First, DOD needs to overcome cultural impediments to joint warfighting. Second, some of DOD's current oversight and control mechanisms are simply not working. Third, DOD still lacks a joint service concept of operations to defeat time-critical targets. As a result, each military service plans and acquires systems to meet requirements under its own concept of operations. DOD has recently developed plans and initiatives to address these problems. It is too early to determine whether these steps will allow DOD to achieve more common, integrated systems.

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