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Highlights

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 DOD's 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.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense To ensure that an effective Distributed Common Ground-Surface System is adequately planned and funded, the Secretary of Defense should 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 as 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.
Closed - Implemented
The FY 2004 Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 108-136) directed DOD to create a Defense Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Integration Roadmap. The roadmap for DCGS was incorporated into the larger effort and was published in May 2005.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should 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.
Closed - Implemented
The FY 2004 Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 108-136) directed DOD to create a Defense Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Integration Roadmap. The roadmap for DCGS was incorporated into the larger effort and the final report was issued in May 2005. In the Roadmap, DOD indicated that the investment strategy was the program of record as of the FY 2006 president's budget. The Integration Roadmap will be updated periodically.
Department of Defense To ensure that systems critical to an effective DCGS are interoperable, the Secretary of Defense should 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.
Closed - Implemented
DCGS program management placed the certification process on the Interoperability Watch List. Two systems have been certified for interoperability and 22 of 26 systems identified in GAO's report have developed formal certification plans.
Department of Defense If lack of funding is found to be significant barrier, the Secretary of Defense should consider centrally funding the DCGS certification process as a pilot program.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD increased funding by $750,000 in FY 05 and 06 to improve Joint Interoperability Test Command's ability to oversee DCGS testing and certification. Funding for specific test events continues to be responsibility of the services.

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