Increasing combat demands and fiscal constraints make it critical for the Department of Defense (DOD) to ensure that its weapon system investments not only meet the needs of the warfighter, but make the most efficient use of available resources. GAO's past work has shown that achieving this balance has been a challenge and weapon programs have often experienced cost growth and delayed delivery to the warfighter. In 2003, DOD implemented the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) to prioritize and ensure that the warfighter's most essential needs are met. In response to Senate Report 109-69, GAO reported in March 2007 that DOD lacks an effective approach to balance its weapon system investments with available resources. This follow-on report focuses on (1) whether the JCIDS process has achieved its objective to prioritize joint warfighting needs and (2) factors that have affected DOD's ability to effectively implement JCIDS. To conduct its work, GAO reviewed JCIDS guidance and capability documents and budgetary and programming data on major weapon systems, and interviewed DOD officials.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||1. The Secretary of Defense should direct the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop an analytic approach within JCIDS to better prioritize and balance the capability needs of the military services, COCOMs, and other defense components. The Joint Staff should consider whether current efforts--particularly, the capabilities prioritization project--should be adopted as a framework for this approach. The approach should also establish appropriate criteria and measures for identifying capability gaps and determining the relative importance of near-, mid-, and long-term capability needs. Ultimately, the approach should provide a means to review and validate proposals more efficiently and ensure that the most important capability needs of the department are being addressed.|
|Department of Defense||2. The Secretary of Defense should determine and allocate appropriate resources for joint capabilities development planning. In so doing, the Secretary should consider whether the responsibility and capacity of the COCOMs and FCBs to conduct joint capabilities development planning should be increased, whether one or more of the functional COCOMs should be given the responsibility and capacity to conduct joint capabilities development planning, and whether resources currently residing within the military services for capabilities development planning should be shifted to the COCOMs and FCBs.|