GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) Joint Chiefs of Staff's efforts to improve U.S. capabilities to conduct conventional combat operations in urban environments, focusing on: (1) determining the progress and identifying shortcomings in the areas of doctrine, training, and intelligence support to military operations conducted in urban environments; and (2) evaluating whether initiatives to improve U.S. capabilities to conduct military operations in urban settings are being adequately coordinated.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||In response to a growing recognition that future military operations are likely to occur in urban environments and to congressional direction to improve the readiness of U.S. forces to conduct operations in such environments, the Secretary of Defense should designate an entity to lead and coordinate Joint Staff and service efforts to improve U.S. capabilities to conduct urban operations. The organizational options suggested by the joint Urban Working Group should be considered as part of this process. These options include establishing a service chief or the Joint Forces Command as executive agent for urban operations and making urban operations a major force program.|
|Department of Defense||The Secretary of Defense should direct this designated entity to develop an overarching, DOD-wide strategy for improving service and joint capabilities to conduct military operations in urban environments. Milestones and performance measures should accompany this strategy so that progress toward solving identified urban capability shortfalls can be monitored.|
|Department of Defense||The Secretary of Defense should direct this designated entity to compile data estimates on the resources needed to carry out the strategy, recommend the priority to be assigned to various initiatives, determine the need to conduct joint concept development and experimentation focused on urban operations, and expedite development of training standards.|
|Department of Defense||The Secretary of Defense should direct this designated entity to examine the potential for joint training facilities and whether simulation and existing military and civilian facilities might be used for some training purposes to reduce costs.|
|Department of Defense||With respect to intelligence to support urban operations, the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, should review the priority accorded urban intelligence collection and analysis and other intelligence efforts and determine what actions can be taken to better meet the intelligence requirements of U.S. forces for these types of operations.|