Defense Acquisitions:

Status of Strategic C4 System Modernization and Plans to Integrate Additional Mission Capabilities

NSIAD-00-212R: Published: Aug 25, 2000. Publicly Released: Aug 25, 2000.

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Louis J. Rodrigues
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Office of Public Affairs
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Defense's (DOD) plans to modernize its current strategic command, control, communications, and computer (C4) capabilities for ballistic missile warning, space control, and air sovereignty/defense missions, focusing on plans to: (1) modernize strategic C4 capabilities; and (2) integrate additional system capabilities for newly planned and assigned missions.

GAO noted that: (1) the U.S. Space Command's and the North American Aerospace Defense Command's plan to modernize their strategic command, control, communications, and computer systems is being implemented by the Air Force, which is overseeing the efforts of two competing contractors to develop detailed plans for designing and implementing the modernization program; (2) in September 2000, the Air Force expects to select one of the contractors to incrementally execute the program, which could last 15 years; (3) until a single contractor is selected, final modernization plans and estimated total acquisition and implementation costs will not be available; (4) the commands have not completed plans for integrating new mission areas into their command, control, communications, and computer systems; (5) the commands, in conjunction with other Department of Defense (DOD) organizations, are studying, developing, and testing concepts for a national missile defense system; (6) the command, control, communications, and computer capabilities for such a system could be incorporated into DOD's ballistic missile warning infrastructure located at Cheyenne Mountain and eventually the modernization program; (7) however, until the President decides that a national missile defense system should be deployed and assigns the mission to a specific military command for execution, plans to integrate the necessary C4 capabilities into the commands' systems will remain preliminary; (8) the Secretary of Defense assigned responsibility to the U.S. Space Command for implementing DOD's computer network defense/attack missions; and (9) the Command's plans for implementing the computer network attack mission beginning October 1, 2000, have been finalized and are awaiting Secretary of Defense approval--plans for integrating these missions with current missions have not been completed.

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