Special Operations Command's (SOCOM) duties have greatly increased since the attacks of September 11, 2001. Today, Special Operations Forces are at work in Afghanistan and Iraq, and SOCOM has been assigned to lead U.S. efforts in the Global War on Terrorism. SOCOM's acquisitions budget has also greatly increased in this period--more than doubling from $788 million in 2001 to approximately $1.91 billion in 2006. In light of SOCOM's expanded duties, Congress requested that GAO review SOCOM's management of its acquisition programs. GAO's evaluation includes an assessment of: the types of acquisition programs SOCOM has undertaken since 2001 and whether the programs are consistent with its mission; the extent to which SOCOM's programs have progressed as planned; and the challenges SOCOM faces in managing its acquisition programs.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||1. To better position SOCOM to achieve the right acquisition program outcomes, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that SOCOM establishes sound business cases for its more complex and military department-managed acquisition programs. Integral to this is applying the elements of a knowledge-based acquisition strategy (That is: programs match requirements with resources.) and having effective agreements in place with the military departments that specify clear roles, responsibilities, and expectations for executing programs.|
|Department of Defense||2. To better position SOCOM to achieve the right acquisition program outcomes, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that, as SOCOM increases its acquisition workforce, it (1) obtains personnel with the skills and abilities needed for more complex acquisitions, (2) makes sure personnel meet DOD acquisition certification level requirements, and (3) has the ability to make the hiring process as efficient as possible.|
|Department of Defense||3. To better position SOCOM to achieve the right acquisition program outcomes, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that SOCOM improves the accuracy, timeliness, and usefulness of its acquisition management information system. To accomplish this, SOCOM should (1) establish enforcement mechanisms to make sure program managers submit updated information on a regular basis and (2) conduct quality checks to make sure the information is reliable.|