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Highlights

What GAO Found

The Department of Defense (DOD) has developed certifications and training for acquisition and intelligence personnel, but it does not have certifications for certain personnel who provide intelligence support to acquisition programs. These personnel help integrate threat information on foreign capabilities and intelligence mission data—technical intelligence such as radar signatures and geospatial mapping data—into acquisition programs. DOD uses certifications to determine that an employee has necessary education, training, and experience. The lack of certifications for personnel providing intelligence support to acquisition programs has led to the services developing varying levels of training: the Air Force certifies and requires training specific to providing intelligence support, the Army offers training that is not required, and the Navy has no formal training. Without certifications for personnel providing intelligence support to acquisition programs, DOD does not have assurance that these personnel are prepared to carry out their duties.

DOD has multiple efforts underway to improve processes and procedures for integrating intelligence into its acquisitions but does not require prioritization of intelligence mission data, which would identify those data most needed for a weapon system to perform its mission. A task force DOD created in 2015 to better integrate intelligence into acquisition programs identified the need for prioritization and proposed processes and procedures for doing so. Without department-wide requirements to prioritize intelligence mission data, new processes and procedures such as those developed by the task force may not be fully implemented and weapon systems could be deployed without the intelligence mission data they need to perform their missions.

DOD is developing two tools for integrating intelligence into major defense acquisition programs. One tool to share threat information lacks a communication plan to obtain feedback from users to better ensure its effectiveness. Without user feedback, DOD may not receive useful information to develop the tool. The other tool is for acquisition programs to communicate their intelligence needs to the intelligence community, though the services did not identify a need for the tool and there is no mechanism to fund its implementation and operation. Without assessing the need for such a tool or plans or funding for implementation and operation, DOD may be using funds unnecessarily to develop an unneeded tool.

Examples of Intelligence Mission Data

Examples of Intelligence Mission Data

Why GAO Did This Study

DOD has reported that it expects to invest $1.6 trillion on acquiring 80 major defense acquisition programs, many of which depend on intelligence input both during the acquisition process and to effectively perform missions once deployed. The complexity of advanced weapon systems, such as the F-35, is creating increasing demand for intelligence mission data—such as radar signatures—for sensors and processes supporting warfighters.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 includes a provision that GAO review intelligence integration into DOD acquisitions. This report evaluates, for major defense acquisition programs, the extent to which DOD has (1) processes and procedures for certifying and training personnel providing intelligence input into acquisition programs; (2) efforts to improve processes and procedures for integrating intelligence into its acquisitions; and (3) efforts to develop tools to integrate intelligence into its acquisitions. GAO compared certification and training to relevant guidance; reviewed relevant documents to identify intelligence inputs and the provision of intelligence input into acquisition programs; and interviewed cognizant officials.

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Recommendations

GAO recommends DOD create certifications and training for intelligence support personnel, require that intelligence mission data be prioritized, develop a communication plan for a threat information tool, and determine the need to develop another tool. DOD concurred with GAO's recommendations.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense To enhance DOD's efforts to better integrate and improve intelligence support to major defense acquisition programs, and to better enable personnel to provide intelligence inputs to their portfolios of acquisition programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct--as appropriate--the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics; the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; and/or the Secretaries of the military departments, in coordination with one another, to establish certifications that include having these personnel complete required training.
Open
The Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with the recommendation and outlined a number of actions it planned to take. These included a request in 2017 for establishment of an Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Acquisition Intelligence Career Occupation Program and Functional Integrated Product Team to develop and implement the certification program. DOD also plans to update Defense Acquisition University courses and conduct a study of competencies required for workforce certification. We continue to work with DOD to document actions related to this recommendation and assess the extent to which any actions meet the intent of the recommendation.
Department of Defense To enhance DOD's efforts to better integrate and improve intelligence support to major defense acquisition programs, and to facilitate implementation of improved processes and procedures developed by the Acquisition Intelligence Requirements Task Force and by the Air Force for the integration of intelligence into major defense acquisition programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct--as appropriate--the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics; the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; and/or the Secretaries of the military departments, in coordination with one another, to revise relevant guidance and procedures--including DOD Instruction 5000.02 and DOD Directive 5250.01-- require that intelligence mission data at the acquisition program, service, and department levels be prioritized.
Open
The Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with the recommendation and outlined a number of actions it planned to take. These include updates to Department of Defense Directive 5250.01, Management of Intelligence Mission Data (IMD) in DoD Acquisition. This directive was revised in August 2017. DOD also plans to implement performance objectives for Intelligence Mission Data. We continue to work with DOD to document actions related to this recommendation and assess the extent to which any actions meet the intent of the recommendation.
Department of Defense To enhance DOD's efforts to better integrate and improve intelligence support to major defense acquisition programs, and to better ensure that DOD obtains useful feedback from stakeholders and the intended users of the Validated Online Lifecycle Threat tool, the Secretary of Defense should direct--as appropriate--the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics; the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; and/or the Secretaries of the military departments, in coordination with one another, to instruct the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency to develop a communication plan for the tool that includes plans for communicating with and obtaining feedback from stakeholders and intended users such as acquisition program offices and personnel providing intelligence support to acquisition programs.
Open
The Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with the recommendation and outlined a number of actions it planned to take. These included use of the Acquisition Intelligence Support Working Group (AISWG) as a forum to collect feedback. This group includes acquisition program officers and personnel providing support to acquisition programs. DOD also plansd to implement feedback mechanisms when it deployed the Validated Online Lifecycle Threat (VOLT) tool. We continue to work with DOD to document actions related to this recommendation and assess the extent to which any actions meet the intent of the recommendation.
Department of Defense To enhance DOD's efforts to better integrate and improve intelligence support to major defense acquisition programs, and to ensure that it fulfills the needs of acquisition programs and the intelligence community and works as intended, the Secretary of Defense should direct--as appropriate--the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics; the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; and/or the Secretaries of the military departments, in coordination with one another, to assess the need for the Acquisition Intelligence Support Assessment tool and, if validated by this assessment, define this tool's requirements for development and identify the entity responsible for providing oversight and funding for its continued development, implementation, and operation.
Open
The Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with the recommendation and outlined a number of actions it planned to take. These included pilot efforts for the tool in DOD components and assessing with the DOD acquisition and sustainment structure whether and how to sustain the effort. We continue to work with DOD to document actions related to this recommendation and assess the extent to which any actions meet the intent of the recommendation.

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