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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO assessed the: (1) cost-effectiveness of the Defense Data Network (DDN); and (2) Defense Communication Agency's (DCA) plans to spend $126 million over 7 years to expand DDN.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense 1. The Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence to: (1) perform a thorough economic analysis to determine the most cost-effective way to meet DOD long distance data communication needs; and (2) require the Director, DCA, to reflect the results of this analysis in any plans for DDN. At a minimum, this analysis should consider: (1) discarding the policy of mandating DDN use; (2) focusing on the needs of individual users on a case-by-case basis, particularly those that are not well-suited for DDN packet switching technology; (3) recognizing the impact of some DDN users switching to Federal Telecommunications Systems (FTS) 2000; and (4) including cost as a factor in all decisions.
Closed - Implemented
In response to the recommendation, DOD initiated a study which showed that DDN should be downsized, resulting in a $53.9-million savings over the next 10 years.

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