The World Wide Military Command and Control System--Major Changes Needed in Its Automated Data Processing Management and Direction

LCD-80-22: Published: Dec 14, 1979. Publicly Released: Dec 14, 1979.

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The World Wide Military Command and Control System (WWMCCS) is an arrangement of personnel, equipment, communications, facilities, and procedures employed in planning, directing, coordinating, and controlling the operational activities of U.S. military forces. WWMCCS and its priority component, the National Military Command System, are essential elements of U.S. national security. WWMCCS is intended to provide the President and the Secretary of Defense a means to receive warning and intelligence information, apply the resources of the military departments, assign military missions, provide direction to the Unified and Specified Commands, and support the Joint Chiefs of Staff in carrying out their responsibilities. An evaluation focused on the WWMCCS automatic data processing (ADP) program. The WWMCCS ADP program, consisting of data communication lines, an intercomputer network, computers, and software capabilities, is an essential resource that can enable WWMCCS to achieve its intended purpose. To properly support the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the equipment must be compatible, data communication links must provide a direct connection (or real-time relay) whenever necessary, computerized data formats must be common, and all components of the system configuration and operation must be as efficient as possible.

The objectives of the WWMCCS ADP program had not yet been achieved, although about $1 billion had been spent since the start of the current program in 1966. The management structure was so complex and fragmented that no one organization or individual had a complete overview of the program or the centralized responsibility for its funding, budgeting, and management. As a result, the WWMCCS ADP program was not responsive to national or local level requirements, was not reliable, lacked economical and effective growth potential, could not transfer data and information efficiently, made it extremely difficult and costly to exploit ADP technology, impaired each command's operational backup capability, and encouraged independent and decentralized software development efforts. The Department of Defense (DOD) recognized all of these problems in 1966; the current WWMCCS ADP program was intended to resolve them. The problems occurred because the DOD WWMCCS ADP program specification preparation and evaluation process resulted in the selection of a computer configuration and related software that was not suited for the environment in which it was to operate, and DOD failed to define the information requirements of the various commanders comprising the WWMCCS community properly and clearly.

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