Force Structure: Joint Seabasing Would Benefit from a Comprehensive Management Approach and Rigorous Experimentation before Services Spend Billions on New Capabilities

GAO-07-211 Published: Jan 26, 2007. Publicly Released: Jan 26, 2007.
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Highlights

Joint seabasing is one of several evolving concepts for projecting and sustaining forces without relying on immediate access to nearby land bases and could be the source of billions of dollars of investment. In future security environments, the Department of Defense (DOD) expects to encounter situations of reduced or denied access to areas of operation. Even where forward operating bases are otherwise available, their use may be politically undesirable or operationally restricted. GAO was asked to address the extent to which (1) DOD has employed a comprehensive management approach to joint seabasing, (2) DOD has developed a joint experimentation campaign plan for joint seabasing, and (3) DOD and the services have identified the costs of joint seabasing options. For this review, GAO analyzed joint requirements documents, experimentation efforts, and service acquisition plans.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense To assist decision makers in developing a comprehensive management approach to guide and assess joint seabasing as an option for force projection and sustainment in an antiaccess environment and integrate service initiatives, the Secretary of Defense should assign clear leadership and accountability for developing a joint seabasing capability and coordinating supporting initiatives to incorporate sound management principles into DOD's management of joint seabasing.
Closed – Implemented
In February 2011, DOD stated that the Seabasing Capabilities Based Analysis (CBA) Leadership Transition Terms of Reference states that leadership and accountability for developing a joint seabasing capability belongs to the Seabasing Executive Oversight Committee. Additionally, the Navy (N85) assumed responsibility from the Joint Staff for completing the Seabasing CBA and exercises.
Department of Defense To assist decision makers in developing a comprehensive management approach to guide and assess joint seabasing as an option for force projection and sustainment in an antiaccess environment and integrate service initiatives, the Secretary of Defense should establish an overarching, dedicated implementation team to provide day-to-day management oversight over the services, combatant commands, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and others involved in joint seabasing to incorporate sound management principles into DOD's management of joint seabasing.
Closed – Implemented
Although in 2007 the Department closed the recommendation and considered it premature to establish additional oversight at that time, in February 2011, DOD noted that, per the Seabasing Capabilities Based Analysis Leadership Terms of Reference, the Seabasing Executive Oversight Committee provides day-to-day management oversight over the Services, Combatant Commands, the JCS, and others involved in seabasing activities.
Department of Defense To assist decision makers in developing a comprehensive management approach to guide and assess joint seabasing as an option for force projection and sustainment in an antiaccess environment and integrate service initiatives, the Secretary of Defense should develop and implement a communications strategy to ensure communication between and among the services, combatant commands, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and to provide information on all joint seabasing activities across DOD to incorporate sound management principles into DOD's management of joint seabasing.
Closed – Implemented
In March 2007, the Department stated that the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS)process, Joint Capabilities Boards, and the Joint Requirements Oversight Council provide for communication between the Joint Staff, all four services, the Combatant Commands, and OSD. However, in February 2011, the Department noted that the Seabasing Executive Oversight Committee is the primary communications method among the services, Combatant Commands, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This group meets regularly to discuss movement in the Functional Solutions Analysis Teams, development of doctrine, progress of acquisition programs, and all other joint seabasing activities across DOD.
Department of Defense To better guide joint seabasing experimentation and inform decisions on joint seabasing as an option for force projection and sustainment in an antiaccess environment, the Secretary of Defense should direct the U.S. Joint Forces Command to lead and coordinate joint seabasing experimentation efforts, under the purview of the joint seabasing implementation team. U.S. Joint Forces Command should be responsible for developing and implementing a joint seabasing experimentation campaign plan to guide the evaluation of joint seabasing. Such an experimentation plan should include a clear focus and objectives for joint seabasing that encompass near-, mid-, and long-term experimentation plans.
Closed – Implemented
The Joint Capabilities Document includes some key elements for an experimentation plan. For example, the Analytic Enabling Package (AEP), Appendix G: Joint Experimentation Recommendations and DOTMLPF Recommendations, Appendix H: Modeling and Simulation Way Ahead, and Appendix I: Proposed Functional Solutions Analysis (FSAs), all put forth aspects of the experimentation plan. In February 2011, DOD stated that the Seabasing Executive Oversight Committee is providing leadership and the Navy (N85) is responsible for completing the Seabasing Capability Based Analysis and experiments.
Department of Defense To better guide joint seabasing experimentation and inform decisions on joint seabasing as an option for force projection and sustainment in an antiaccess environment, the Secretary of Defense should direct that the services collaborate with the U.S. Joint Forces Command in developing, implementing, and using the joint seabasing experimentation campaign plan.
Closed – Implemented
According to DOD, in May 2009, a Joint Requirements Oversight Council Memorandum approved the Joint Capabilities Document, which recommended that the Joint Staff, in conjunction with the Services, the Combatant Commanders, and OSD, develop and implement a joint experimentation plan.
Department of Defense To better guide joint seabasing experimentation and inform decisions on joint seabasing as an option for force projection and sustainment in an antiaccess environment, the Secretary of Defense should direct that the services utilize and contribute to the U.S. Joint Forces Command's knowledge management portal by providing their observations, insights, results, and planned activities to the portal for use by the joint seabasing experimentation community.
Closed – Implemented
The Joint Staff maintains a Seabasing Knowledge Management Portal, which will be transitioned to another entity as the Joint Staff transitions responsibility of the Seabasing Capabilities Based Analysis to the Navy (N85). Additionally, in February 2011, DOD noted that the Seabasing Executive Oversight Committee provides day-to-day management oversight over the Services, Combatant Commands, the JCS, and others involved in seabasing activities, and that they meet regularly to discuss all joint seabasing activities across DOD.
Department of Defense To assist decision makers in evaluating the costs of joint seabasing options against the capabilities that joint seabasing could provide the joint warfighter as a means for force projection and sustainment in an antiaccess environment, the Secretary of Defense should direct the implementation team or other appropriate entity to synchronize development of total ownership cost estimates for the range of joint seabasing options so decision makers have sufficient information to use in making investment decisions on service seabasing initiatives.
Closed – Implemented
In February 2011, DOD noted that, the Seabasing Executive Oversight Committee (SEOC) provides day-to-day management oversight of the seabasing community and the Navy (N85) assumed responsibility from the Joint Staff (J-8) for completing the Seabasing Capabilities Based Analysis and exercises. The SEOC meets regularly to discuss, among other things, movement in the Functional Solutions Analysis Teams and progress of acquisition programs. When the Functional Solutions Analyses are complete, the total ownership cost estimates are developed for each proposed solution as part of the Department's Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution and DOD 5000 Acquisition processes.
Department of Defense To better guide joint seabasing experimentation and inform decisions on joint seabasing as an option for force projection and sustainment in an antiaccess environment, the Secretary of Defense should direct the U.S. Joint Forces Command to lead and coordinate joint seabasing experimentation efforts, under the purview of the joint seabasing implementation team. U.S. Joint Forces Command should be responsible for developing and implementing a joint seabasing experimentation campaign plan to guide the evaluation of joint seabasing. Such an experimentation plan should include a near-term plan for joint seabasing experimentation that includes events for the next fiscal year, participants, timelines, and resources that will be used to support the events.
Closed – Implemented
The Joint Capabilities Document includes some key elements for an experimentation plan. For example, the Analytic Enabling Package (AEP), Appendix G: Joint Experimentation Recommendations and DOTMLPF Recommendations, Appendix H: Modeling and Simulation Way Ahead, and Appendix I: Proposed Functional Solutions Analysis (FSAs), all put forth aspects of the experimentation plan. In February 2011, DOD stated that the Seabasing Executive Oversight Committee is providing leadership and the Navy (N85) is responsible for completing the Seabasing Capability Based Analysis and experiments.
Department of Defense To better guide joint seabasing experimentation and inform decisions on joint seabasing as an option for force projection and sustainment in an antiaccess environment, the Secretary of Defense should direct the U.S. Joint Forces Command to lead and coordinate joint seabasing experimentation efforts, under the purview of the joint seabasing implementation team. U.S. Joint Forces Command should be responsible for developing and implementing a joint seabasing experimentation campaign plan to guide the evaluation of joint seabasing. Such an experimentation plan should include a spectrum of joint experimentation activities that include wargaming, comprehensive modeling and simulation, live demonstrations, workshops, symposiums, and analysis.
Closed – Implemented
The Joint Capabilities Document includes key elements for an experimentation plan. For example, the Analytic Enabling Package (AEP), Appendix G: Joint Experimentation Recommendations and DOTMLPF Recommendations, Appendix H: Modeling and Simulation Way Ahead, and Appendix I: Proposed Functional Solutions Analysis (FSAs), all put forth aspects of the experimentation plan. The plan recommends a wide range of joint activities including wargaming, modeling and simulation, live demonstrations, and other forums.
Department of Defense To better guide joint seabasing experimentation and inform decisions on joint seabasing as an option for force projection and sustainment in an antiaccess environment, the Secretary of Defense should direct the U.S. Joint Forces Command to lead and coordinate joint seabasing experimentation efforts, under the purview of the joint seabasing implementation team. U.S. Joint Forces Command should be responsible for developing and implementing a joint seabasing experimentation campaign plan to guide the evaluation of joint seabasing. Such an experimentation plan should include a data collection and analysis plan to capture and evaluate results.
Closed – Implemented
The Joint Capabilities Document includes some key elements for an experimentation plan. For example, the Analytic Enabling Package (AEP), Appendix G: Joint Experimentation Recommendations and DOTMLPF Recommendations, Appendix H: Modeling and Simulation Way Ahead, and Appendix I: Proposed Functional Solutions Analysis (FSAs), all put forth aspects of the experimentation plan. In February 2011, DOD stated that the Seabasing Executive Oversight Committee is providing leadership and the Navy (N85) is responsible for completing the Seabasing Capability Based Analysis and experiments.
Department of Defense To better guide joint seabasing experimentation and inform decisions on joint seabasing as an option for force projection and sustainment in an antiaccess environment, the Secretary of Defense should direct the U.S. Joint Forces Command to lead and coordinate joint seabasing experimentation efforts, under the purview of the joint seabasing implementation team. U.S. Joint Forces Command should be responsible for developing and implementing a joint seabasing experimentation campaign plan to guide the evaluation of joint seabasing. Such an experimentation plan should include a method for communicating observations, results, upcoming activities, and feedback across the joint seabasing experimentation community.
Closed – Implemented
In February 2011, the Department stated that the Seabasing Executive Oversight Committee (SEOC) is the primary communications method among the services, Combatant Commands, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The SEOC meets regularly to discuss movement in the Seabasing Functional Analysis Teams, development of doctrine, progress of acquisition programs, and all other joint seabasing activities across DOD. Additionally, the Navy (N85) is responsible for completing the Seabasing Capabilities Based Assessment and exercises.

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