Defense Information Superiority: Progress Made, but Significant Challenges Remain

NSIAD/AIMD-98-257 Published: Aug 31, 1998. Publicly Released: Aug 31, 1998.
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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) progress in implementing certain key information superiority activities to provide an indication of how well DOD is progressing toward its information superiority goals, focusing on DOD's progress in: (1) establishing a DOD-wide architecture for the information systems known as Command, Control, Communications, Computers (C4), Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems; (2) developing and implementing the Global Command Control System (GCCS); (3) establishing the Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS); and (4) implementing recommendations of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Information Warfare-Defense.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
Congress may wish to consider having DOD report, in conjunction with annual budget requests, on the progress being made Department-wide in implementing the information superiority concept and its attendant key C4ISR systems development and acquisitions.
Closed – Implemented
DOD now calls the C4ISR architecture the Global Information Grid, which has been partially implemented. The initial thrust has been on development of policies and procedures, but not all policies are in place. The National Defense Authorization Act for the Year 2001, also requires that the Secretary of Defense report to Congress on: (1) the development and implementation of network warfare concepts and activities, and how DOD will ensure these activities are consistent with network centric warfare and information superiority; (2) the roles and responsibilities of the DOD in defending against attacks on critical infrastructure and critical information-based systems; and (3) actions taken to integrate various capabilities into this defense.
In such reports, Congress may wish to require DOD to describe its progress in: (1) completing and maintaining the C4ISR architecture, including progress toward established milestones; (2) establishing information assurance and its compliance with the architecture; and (3) developing and implementing key C4ISR systems, such as GCCS and JTRS, and the ways and degree to which they are complying with the architecture and information assurance requirements.
Closed – Implemented
DOD now calls the C4ISR architecture the Global Information Grid, which has been partially implemented. The initial thrust has been on development of policies and procedures, but not all policies are in place. The National Defense Authorization Act for the Year 2001, also requires that the Secretary of Defense report to Congress on: (1) the development and implementation of network warfare concepts and activities, and how DOD will ensure these activities are consistent with network centric warfare and information superiority; (2) the roles and responsibilities of the DOD in defending against attacks on critical infrastructure and critical information-based systems; and (3) actions taken to integrate various capabilities into this defense.
Congress may wish to take DOD's progress into consideration when deliberating the authorization and funding of C4ISR systems.
Closed – Implemented
DOD now calls the C4ISR architecture the Global Information Grid, which has been partially implemented. The initial thrust has been on development of policies and procedures, but not all policies are in place. The National Defense Authorization Act for the Year 2001, also requires that the Secretary of Defense report to Congress on: (1) the development and implementation of network warfare concepts and activities, and how DOD will ensure these activities are consistent with network centric warfare and information superiority; (2) the roles and responsibilities of the DOD in defending against attacks on critical infrastructure and critical information-based systems; and (3) actions taken to integrate various capabilities into this defense.
Rather than establishing a separate reporting requirement, Congress may wish to have DOD modify the reports it already provides to include the information GAO suggests.
Closed – Implemented
DOD now calls the C4ISR architecture the Global Information Grid, which has been partially implemented. The initial thrust has been on development of policies and procedures, but not all policies are in place. The National Defense Authorization Act for the Year 2001, also requires that the Secretary of Defense report to Congress on: (1) the development and implementation of network warfare concepts and activities, and how DOD will ensure these activities are consistent with network centric warfare and information superiority; (2) the roles and responsibilities of the DOD in defending against attacks on critical infrastructure and critical information-based systems; and (3) actions taken to integrate various capabilities into this defense.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense To enhance DOD's ability to achieve its information superiority goals and objectives, the Secretary of Defense should establish milestones for completing the C4ISR architecture and information assurance program.
Closed – Implemented
DOD now calls the C4ISR architecture the Global Information Grid. On March 31, 2000, DOD published overarching guidance defining the major policy principles and associated responsibilities for the GIG. Also on March 31, 2000, DOD established a DOD Chief Information Officer Executive Board as the principal DOD forum to advise the DOD CIO on all matters pertaining to the GIG. In addition, on June 16, 2000, DOD issued Guidance and Policy for GIG Information Assurance (IA) to provide a framework for achieving IA. Finally, DOD has issued a series of guidance documents to implement the GIG. The Defense Authorization Act for the Year 2001 also requires that the Secretary of Defense report to Congress on: (1) the roles and responsibilities of the DOD in defending against attacks on critical infrastructure and critical information-based systems; and (2) actions taken to integrate various capabilities into this defense.
Department of Defense To enhance DOD's ability to achieve its information superiority goals and objectives, the Secretary of Defense should ensure the C4ISR management structure has sufficient authority to enforce compliance with the C4ISR architecture and is effective in achieving that compliance.
Closed – Implemented
DOD now calls the C4ISR architecture the Global Information Grid. On March 31, 2000, DOD published overarching guidance defining the major policy principles and associated responsibilities for the GIG. Also on March 31, 2000, DOD established a DOD Chief Information Officer Executive Board as the principal DOD forum to advise the DOD CIO on all matters pertaining to the GIG. In addition, on June 16, 2000, DOD issued Guidance and Policy for GIG Information Assurance (IA) to provide a framework for achieving IA. Finally, DOD has issued a series of guidance documents to implement the GIG.
Department of Defense A consideration the Secretary of Defense should give to achieving compliance is to ensure that architecture compliance is incorporated into DOD's planning, programming, and budgeting process and C4ISR systems funding decisions.
Closed – Implemented
DOD now calls the C4ISR architecture the Global Information Grid. On March 31, 2000, DOD published overarching guidance defining the major policy principles and associated responsibilities for the GIG. Also on March 31, 2000, DOD established a DOD Chief Information Officer Executive Board as the principal DOD forum to advise the DOD CIO on all matters pertaining to the GIG. In addition, on June 16, 2000, DOD issued Guidance and Policy for GIG Information Assurance (IA) to provide a framework for achieving IA. Finally, DOD has issued a series of guidance documents to implement the GIG.

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