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.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|