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Highlights

The Department of Defense's (DOD) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities-such as satellites and unmanned aircraft systems-are crucial to military operations, and demand for ISR capabilities has increased. For example, DOD plans to invest $28 billion over the next 7 years in 20 airborne ISR systems alone. Congress directed DOD to fully integrate its ISR capabilities, also known as the ISR enterprise, as it works to meet current and future ISR needs. GAO was asked to (1) describe the challenges, if any, that DOD faces in integrating its ISR enterprise, (2) assess DOD's management approach for improving integration of its future ISR investments, and (3) evaluate the extent to which DOD has implemented key activities to ensure proposed new ISR capabilities fill gaps, are not duplicative, and use a joint approach to meeting warfighters' needs. GAO assessed DOD's integration initiatives and 19 proposals for new ISR capabilities. We supplemented this analysis with discussions with DOD officials.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence to develop a vision of a future ISR architecture that addresses a longer period of time than the 5-year ISR budget and is based on an independent analysis of expected future requirements and strategic goals. This architecture should be sufficiently detailed to inform a comprehensive assessment and prioritization of capability gaps and overlaps, to allow decision makers to evaluate tradeoffs between competing needs, and to assess progress in addressing capability gaps and overlaps in order to achieve ISR strategic goals.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

The Department agreed with the recommendation and stated that work is underway to develop a vision of a future intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) architecture that addresses a longer period of time than the 5-year ISR budget and is based on an independent analysis of expected future requirements and strategic goals. In May 2009, the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence provided a program of action and milestones for refining the ISR architecture for 2010-2030. The Department issued a reviewed ISR Integration Roadmap in early 2010 and it addresses a longer period of time than the 5-year budget, as GAO recommended.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should direct the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence to collaborate, with one of these organizations assigned as the lead, in developing a comprehensive source of information, which augments the ISR Integration Roadmap, on all existing and developmental ISR capabilities throughout the ISR enterprise for sponsors to use in conducting capabilities-based assessments and for the Battlespace Awareness Functional Capabilities Board to use in evaluating them.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

DOD has developed a database of information on current and planned ISR capabilities to assist the services and support the joint requirements identification process. The database is available on DOD's classified computer system to approved users, including service intelligence staffs and combatant commanders, to use in conducting capabilities-based assessments. Furthermore, the database is used by decisionmakers in considering proposals to develop new capabilites.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should direct the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a supervisory review or other monitoring mechanism to ensure that (1) the Battlespace Awareness Functional Capabilities Board and the sponsors engage in early coordination to facilitate sponsors' consideration of existing and developmental ISR capabilities in developing their capabilities-based assessments, (2) capabilities-based assessments are completed, and (3) the Battlespace Awareness Functional Capabilities Board uses systematic procedures for reviewing the assessments.
Closed - Not Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Not Implemented.

Although DOD agreed with the need for systematic procedures for reviewing capabilities-based assessments, it disagreed that additional direction is required.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should direct the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to (1) review the Battlespace Awareness Functional Capabilities Board's staffing levels and expertise and workload to engage in early coordination with sponsors and review capabilities-based assessments, and (2) if shortfalls are identified, develop a plan that addresses any identified shortfalls of personnel, resources, or training, assigns responsibility for actions, and establishes time frames for implementing the plan.
Closed - Not Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Not Implemented.

DOD did not agree with this recommendation. In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD said that the Joint Staff conducted and FY07 review of functional capabilities personnel and resources and did not identify any deficiencies. In the area of training, the Joint Staff has already established a new mandatory training course for all "Requirements Managers" that will certify them in writing, reviewing, development and approval of requirements for Major Defense Acquisitions Programs. We continue to believe that a review of personnel and resources is needed, in view of the deficiencies in implementing current integration processes.

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