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Highlights

Department of Defense (DOD) officials currently estimate that the department will spend approximately $34 billion through 2011 to develop the core network of the Global Information Grid (GIG), a large and complex undertaking intended to provide on-demand and real-time data and information to the warfighter. DOD views the GIG as the cornerstone of information superiority, a key enabler of network-centric warfare, and a pillar of defense transformation. A high degree of coordination and cooperation is needed to make the GIG a reality. In prior work GAO found that enforcing investment decisions across the military services and assuring management attention and oversight of the GIG effort were key management challenges facing DOD. This report assesses (1) the management approach that DOD is using to develop the GIG and (2) whether DOD's three major decision-making processes support the development of a crosscutting, departmentwide investment, such as the GIG.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense 1. To better accommodate the crosscutting nature of the GIG development effort, DOD should adopt a management approach that will ensure a joint perspective is taken. In doing so, DOD should consolidate responsibility, authority, and control over resources--within the existing management structure or in a new entity--necessary to enforce investment decisions that cut across organizational lines.
Closed - Implemented
DOD agreed with the report findings and recommendations, but indicated that policies, procedures, and organizational roles and responsibilities are in place to integrate information technology and related activities across the department. Subsequent to providing comments on our report, DOD has taken additional steps to strengthen the management of command and control and networking acquisitions, including the Global Information Grid (GIG). In particular, DOD established a capability-based portfolio management framework in September 2008 to advise senior leadership on capability investments across the defense enterprise. This includes a portfolio for joint net-centric operations, which is intended to provide the transport, information assurance, services and management foundation for the GIG. A key purpose of the portfolios is to advise the Deputy Secretary of Defense on the capability needs and allocation of funding resources for joint net-centric programs. The policy which formalizes the roles and responsibilities of the portfolio management process establishes Capability Portfolio Managers (CPM), who are charged with evaluating capability demand against resource constraints, identifying and assessing risks, and suggesting capability trade-offs within their portfolio. They provide advice to the Deputy's Advisory Working Group (DAWG) which is the senior DOD proponent charged with integrating, synchronizing, and coordinating portfolio content to ensure alignment to strategic priorities and capability demand. The portfolio managers also have access to the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, Defense Acquisition Board, and other established Component forums to raise portfolio related issues and influence portfolio allocation decisions. The Assistant Secretary of Defense (Networks and Information Integration) is the civilian CPM for the net-centric capability portfolio, the same official who is responsible for providing oversight of the development, integration, and implementation of the GIG. We believe these actions are responsive to the intent of our recommendation.
Department of Defense 2. To better accommodate the crosscutting nature of the GIG development effort, DOD should adopt a management approach that will ensure a joint perspective is taken. In doing so, DOD should hold the organization accountable for ensuring the objectives of the GIG are achieved.
Closed - Implemented
DOD agreed with the report findings and recommendations, but indicated that policies, procedures, and organizational roles and responsibilities are in place to integrate information technology and related activities across the department. DOD has taken subsequent actions to strengthen the management of command and control and networking acquisitions, including the Global Information Grid (GIG), by establishing a capability-based portfolio management framework in September 2008 to advise senior leadership on capability investments across the defense enterprise. This includes a portfolio for joint net-centric operations, which is intended to provide the transport, information assurance, services and management foundation for the GIG. This policy established the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Networks and Information Integration) as the civilian portfolio manager for the net-centric capability portfolio, the same official who is responsible for providing oversight of the development, integration, and implementation of the GIG.

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