Index


Defense Information Superiority: Progress Made, But Significant
Challenges Remain (Letter Report, 08/31/98, GAO/NSIAD/AIMD-98-257).

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.

GAO noted that: (1) DOD faces many challenges in achieving its
information superiority goals and objectives and may need many years of
concerted effort to reach them; (2) one of the key challenges is to
complete the development of a C4ISR architecture, maintain it, and
ensure that the many systems that make up the C4ISR infrastructure
comply with the architecture; (3) without an established architecture
and the ability to enforce its use, DOD will find it difficult to make
cost-effective development and acquisition decisions and ensure that the
systems work with each other, perform as expected, and are adequately
protected; (4) DOD has been trying unsuccessfully to establish some form
of Department-wide C4ISR architecture; (5) in the past 6 years DOD
refocused its efforts and made progress by building Department-wide
consensus on what should be accomplished by the architecture and how it
should be built; (6) DOD also established the architectural component
that defines technical standards for C4ISR systems; (7) the most
important component, which defines the information needs that are the
basis for setting system standards and acquiring and protecting systems,
is not completed; (8) furthermore, plans for developing and implementing
the remainder of the architecture are still being formulated; (9) DOD
has been developing a number of critical C4ISR systems and information
assurance measures without the benefit of a completed and approved
architecture; (10) enforcing compliance with the C4ISR architecture will
be an important factor in achieving information superiority; (11) DOD
said that compliance with the architecture will be achieved through a
combination of new and existing oversight organizations and processes;
(12) however, DOD has had difficulty in achieving compliance with
related C4ISR policies and decisions in the past; (13) in the absence of
a C4ISR architecture, DOD has had mixed success in developing and
fielding GCCS, its premier strategic C4ISR system; (14) although some of
its features are well liked by users, GCCS has encountered problems;
(15) it also has potential year 2000 problems that could cause systems
failure; (16) DOD officials told GAO that the Department has suspended
development of the JTRS program until Congress approves and funds the
program; and (17) to meet interim needs, DOD has allowed the services to
acquire a limited number of service-unique radios until the joint radios
become available.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

 REPORTNUM:  NSIAD/AIMD-98-257
     TITLE:  Defense Information Superiority: Progress Made, But 
             Significant Challenges Remain
      DATE:  08/31/98
   SUBJECT:  Command/control/communications/computer systems
             Requirements definition
             Computer security
             Military communication
             Systems design
             ADP procurement
             Strategic information systems planning
             Military radio
IDENTIFIER:  JCS Joint Vision 2010
             DOD Command, Control, Communications, and Computer Systems
             DOD Global Command and Control System
             DOD Future Years Defense Program
             Worldwide Military Command and Control System
             DOD Joint Tactical Radio System
             DOD C4 Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance 
             Systems
             DOD Defense Information Assurance Program
             Y2K
             
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Cover
================================================================ COVER


Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Military Research and
Development Committee on National Security, House of Representatives

August 1998

DEFENSE INFORMATION SUPERIORITY -
PROGRESS MADE, BUT SIGNIFICANT
CHALLENGES REMAIN

GAO/NSIAD/AIMD-98-257

Defense Information Superiority

(707294)


Abbreviations
=============================================================== ABBREV

  C3 - Command, Control, and Communications
  C3I - Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence
  C4 - Command, Control, Communications, and Computers
  C4I - Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence
  C4ISR - Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence,
     Surveillance, and Reconnaissance
  DISA - Defense Information Systems Agency
  DOD - Department of Defense
  GCCS - Global Command and Control System
  IA - Information Assurance
  JTRS - Joint Tactical Radio System

Letter
=============================================================== LETTER


B-278201

August 31, 1998

The Honorable Curt Weldon
Chairman, Subcommittee on Military Research
 and Development
Committee on National Security
House of Representatives

Dear Mr.  Chairman: 

In 1996, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a
conceptual framework for the Department of Defense's (DOD) war
fighting called Joint Vision 2010.\1 The document identifies
information superiority over the enemy as a key element for the
success of this vision.  DOD defines information superiority as "the
capability to collect, process, and disseminate an uninterrupted flow
of information while exploiting or denying an adversary's ability to
do the same." DOD believes that information superiority can provide
significant advantages over the enemy during a conflict and increase
the efficiency of peacetime and wartime operations.  However, greater
reliance on information systems may also make DOD vulnerable to
intrusion and attack on those systems, damaging its war-fighting
capability.\2

As requested, we evaluated DOD's progress in implementing certain key
information superiority activities to provide an indication of how
well DOD is progressing toward its information superiority goals. 
Specifically, you asked us to evaluate DOD's progress in establishing
a DOD-wide architecture for the information systems known as Command,
Control, Communications, Computers (C4), Intelligence, Surveillance,
and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems; developing and implementing the
Global Command and Control System (GCCS); and establishing the Joint
Tactical Radio System (JTRS). 

In addition, you asked us to evaluate DOD's progress in implementing
recommendations of the Defense Science Board Task Force on
Information Warfare-Defense.\3 At your request, we reported on DOD's
implementation of these recommendations and other activities to
protect its C4ISR systems in a separate letter to the Subcommittee
for a June 11, 1998, joint hearing with the Military Procurement
Subcommittee on the fiscal year 1999 national defense authorization
request on Critical Infrastructure Protection-Information
Assurance.\4


--------------------
\1 Joint Vision 2010 recognizes the need to modernize DOD's
war-fighting concepts and respond to advancing technologies for the
21st century.  It translates information superiority and the
technological advances that are changing traditional war-fighting
concepts into new concepts through changes in weapon systems,
doctrine, culture, and organization.  It also describes the improved
intelligence and improved command and control available in the
information age as the basis of four operational concepts--dominant
maneuver, precision engagement, full dimensional protection, and
focused logistics. 

\2 Information Security:  Computer Attacks at Department of Defense
Pose Increasing Risks (GAO/AIMD-96-84, May 22, 1996) and Critical
Foundations:  Protecting America's Infrastructures, Report of the
President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection
(Washington, D.C.:  Oct.  1997). 

\3 The recommendations were presented in Report of the Defense
Science Board Task Force on Information Warfare-Defense (IW-D),
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and
Technology (Washington, D.C.:  Nov.  1996).  The task force
determined that DOD's information systems were highly vulnerable to
intrusions and attacks and made over 50 recommendations for improving
their protection. 

\4 DOD's Information Assurance Efforts (GAO/NSIAD-98-132R, June 11,
1998). 


   BACKGROUND
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :1

Achieving information superiority will be expensive and complex. 
Based on its analysis of the fiscal year 1999 through 2003 Future
Years Defense Plan, DOD estimates it will budget an average of $43
billion a year (nearly 17 percent of the $257 billion budget request
for fiscal year 1999) for C4ISR systems and activities during the
plan period.  Achieving information superiority is complex because it
involves thousands of decentralized C4ISR systems and information
networks.  Furthermore, the systems, networks, and information
superiority activities are managed by many different offices of the
Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, services, unified
commands, and defense agencies throughout DOD. 

One of DOD's key activities to achieve information superiority is the
development of a Department-wide C4ISR information systems
architecture.  An information systems architecture is a blueprint
that guides and controls the development and maintenance of many
related systems.  Another key activity is the development and
deployment of a Department-wide Defense Information Infrastructure\5
that features GCCS as DOD's principal worldwide command and control
system.  GCCS has more capabilities and functions (such as almost
real-time knowledge of battlefield conditions, or situational
awareness)\6 than the system it replaced.  DOD is also trying to
consolidate the services' programmable, modular tactical radio
development and acquisition programs into a single JTRS program to
reduce costs and increase the ability of the services to communicate
with each other.  JTRS is intended to become one of the Department's
key tactical-level C4ISR systems.  Finally, DOD is developing and
implementing a Department-wide program to protect and defend its
C4ISR systems from intrusion and attack; this activity is known as
information assurance. 


--------------------
\5 DOD describes this infrastructure as all of the information
systems and networks used to support the war fighter. 

\6 DOD defines situational awareness as knowledge of one's location,
the location of friendly and hostile forces, and external factors
such as terrain and weather that may affect one's capability to
perform a mission. 


   RESULTS IN BRIEF
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :2

DOD faces many challenges in achieving its information superiority
goals and objectives and may need many years of concerted effort to
reach them.  One of the key challenges is to complete the development
of a C4ISR Architecture, maintain it, and ensure that the many
systems that make up the C4ISR infrastructure comply with the
Architecture.  Without an established architecture and the ability to
enforce its use, DOD will find it difficult to make cost-effective
development and acquisition decisions and ensure that the systems
work with each other, perform as expected, and are adequately
protected. 

For over 30 years (since 1967) DOD has been trying unsuccessfully to
establish some form of Department-wide C4ISR Architecture.  In the
past
6 years DOD refocused its efforts and made progress by building
Department-wide consensus on what should be accomplished by the
Architecture and how it should be built.  DOD also established the
architectural component that defines technical standards for C4ISR
systems. 

However, the most important component, which defines the information
needs that are the basis for setting system standards and acquiring
and protecting systems, is not completed.  Furthermore, plans for
developing and implementing the remainder of the Architecture, to
define systems and information flows, are still being formulated. 
Meanwhile, DOD has been developing a number of critical C4ISR systems
and information assurance measures without the benefit of a completed
and approved architecture. 

Enforcing compliance with the C4ISR Architecture will be an important
factor in achieving information superiority.  DOD said that
compliance with the Architecture will be achieved through a
combination of new and existing oversight organizations and
processes.  For example, DOD recently reorganized the Office of the
Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I to better focus on visibility,
support, and responsibility for information technology architectures. 
It also stated that it will rely on program reviews conducted within
traditional planning, budgeting, and acquisition oversight processes
to achieve compliance.  However, DOD has had difficulty in achieving
compliance with related C4ISR policies and decisions in the past. 
Therefore, it remains to be seen whether the new organization and
traditional oversight processes will be effective in achieving
architectural compliance. 

DOD's experience with two key C4ISR systems is indicative of the
types of challenges ahead.  In the absence of a C4ISR architecture,
DOD has had mixed success in developing and fielding GCCS, its
premier strategic C4ISR system.  Although some of its features are
well liked by users, GCCS has encountered problems.  These include
problems with some key functions that cause the system to perform
less effectively than expected.  It also has potential year 2000
problems that could cause system failure.\7 Similarly, requirements
for JTRS have not been defined in the context of an established C4ISR
architecture.  Also, DOD officials told us that the Department has
suspended development of the JTRS program until Congress approves and
funds the program.  To meet interim needs, DOD has allowed the
services to acquire a limited number of service-unique radios until
the joint radios become available. 


--------------------
\7 Year 2000 problems are difficulties that may be encountered by
many information and computer systems that were programmed to use two
digits to identify years (98 for 1998), causing a year identified as
00 to be misinterpreted as 1900 instead of 2000 and resulting in
program malfunctions or failure. 


   PROGRESS MADE WITH THE
   ARCHITECTURE, BUT MUCH WORK
   REMAINS
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :3

A single C4ISR architecture is critical for achieving information
superiority.  After more than 30 years, DOD has begun to make
progress toward establishing such an architecture but needs to
complete its development, establish adequate information assurance
measures, and enforce compliance by the services, unified commands,
and agencies. 


      C4ISR ARCHITECTURE IS
      CRITICAL TO ACHIEVING
      INFORMATION SUPERIORITY
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.1

To construct a building it is necessary to have a plan that shows the
building's features, its systems and their functions, the way
different components interrelate, and the way the components should
be built.  The architects and engineers must also take into account
building codes, rules, and standards.  The effective and efficient
development and management of an organization's information systems
require a similar architectural blueprint.  An information systems
architecture can be viewed as having both logical and technical
components.  At the logical level the architecture includes a
high-level description of the organizational mission being
accomplished, the different functions being performed, the
relationships between functions, the information needed to perform
these functions, and the flow of information among functions.  At the
technical level the architecture provides rules and standards to
ensure that interrelated systems are interoperable, portable, and
maintainable.\8 These rules and standards include specifications for
hardware, software, communication, data, security, and performance
characteristics. 

DOD is developing, managing, and maintaining an extremely complex
system of C4ISR information systems and networks.  Establishing an
overall architecture under which these information systems and
networks will operate is critical for achieving information
superiority.  Without one, DOD will have difficulty identifying,
establishing, and prioritizing (1) the information and information
links needed among the services, war fighters, intelligence sources,
and national command authorities; (2) the processes and technical
standards to be used to communicate information among them; (3) the
systems and interoperability needed to achieve the timely transfer of
information from where it is maintained to where it is needed; and
(4) the measures needed to protect the systems, their information,
and the infrastructure supporting them. 

Establishing information and information link requirements for
conducting operations is particularly important because they are
needed to design and develop systems.  Information requirements
include the amount, type, source, frequency, and speed at which data
and information must be gathered, edited, correlated, fused, updated,
displayed, printed, and transmitted.  Many system developers and
program managers have identified ill-defined or incomplete
information requirements and requirements growth as root causes of
system failure.\9 Without adequately defined, organizationally
approved information requirements, a system may need extensive and
costly reengineering before it can become fully operational.  For
example, we recently reported that the Federal Aviation
Administration had to spend over $38 million to overcome
incompatibilities between air traffic control systems, a problem that
may have been avoided if the Administration had a complete
information systems architecture.\10 System requirements such as
security, reliability, availability, and maintainability must be
accurately defined because they drive subsequent choices (such as
hardware and software) and have a significant impact on system
development cost, schedule, and performance. 

As for the security provisions of a C4ISR architecture, a March 1997
report of a DOD task force on information assurance stressed the
importance of having the architecture drive information assurance.\11
The report concluded that adequate information assurance is critical
for achieving information superiority and that U.S.  forces are at
increasing risk of failing in their mission without it.  It also
concluded that DOD's C4ISR Architecture must support security and
that security must be addressed in an integrated way when the system
is first designed and not later with add-on products or services. 
The report further concluded that DOD must provide security links
throughout a C4ISR architecture to show what, when, where, and why
security should be applied; where, what, and how it will be applied;
and the codes and standards for what and how security will be
applied. 


--------------------
\8 Interoperable means that systems or programs are capable of
exchanging information and operating together effectively.  Portable
means that a computer program can be transferred from one hardware
and/or software configuration to another.  Maintainable means that
errors in an operational program can be located and fixed with
reasonable effort. 

\9 Strategic Information Planning:  Framework for Designing and
Developing System Architectures (GAO/IMTEC-92-51, June 1992). 

\10 Air Traffic Control:  Complete and Enforced Architecture Needed
for FAA Systems Modernization (GAO/AIMD-97-30, Feb.  3, 1997). 

\11 Improving Information Assurance:  A General Assessment and
Comprehensive Approach to an Integrated IA Program for the Department
of Defense (ASD C3I, Mar.  28, 1997). 


      PAST ARCHITECTURE EFFORTS
      NOT SUCCESSFUL
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.2

DOD has had an official requirement for C4ISR interoperability and
for a Department-wide architecture since 1967, when it encountered
communications interoperability problems during the Vietnam War. 
However, it has never adequately met that requirement, even though it
experienced similar problems during military operations in Grenada,
Panama, and the Persian Gulf.  In 1987\12

and again in 1993\13 we reported that DOD had made little progress in
meeting the requirement because it lacked centralized or joint
managerial and funding control over individual service priorities,
which often took precedence over interoperability priorities.  We
also reported that all of DOD's component commands, services, and
agencies had been unable to agree on what such an architecture should
accomplish or what it should consist of. 


--------------------
\12 Interoperability:  DOD's Efforts to Achieve Interoperability
Among C3 Systems (GAO/NSIAD-87-124, Apr.  27, 1987). 

\13 Joint Military Operations:  DOD's Renewed Emphasis on
Interoperability Is Important but Not Adequate (GAO/NSIAD-94-47, Oct. 
21, 1993). 


      RECENT PROGRESS MADE
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.3

In 1992, after serious interoperability problems with command,
control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) systems in
the Persian Gulf War, the Joint Staff began an initiative called C4I
for the Warrior to stress joint interoperability, stimulate
solutions, and guide the services toward a global information system. 
This initiative gave stimulus to a number of C4ISR development
efforts, including the Defense Information Infrastructure, the
overall C4ISR Architecture, and the concept of information
superiority described in Joint Vision 2010. 

Before an effective architecture could be developed, however, DOD had
to forge an agreement among the services, commands, and agencies on
what that architecture should accomplish and how it would be
constructed.  Thus, a working group of service, command, and DOD
agency representatives in June 1996 established a C4ISR Architecture
Framework, which outlined a coordinated, Department-wide approach to
C4ISR Architecture development, presentation, and integration.  The
Framework was updated in December 1997 and agreed on by the services,
the Joint Staff, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense
for C3I.  According to DOD, the Framework is now required to be used
by all DOD organizations. 

The Framework describes an overall architecture comprised of three
interdependent, interlocking components:  an operational, a systems,
and a technical subarchitecture.  The operational component--known as
the Joint Operational Architecture--is supposed to identify and
document war-fighting information needs.  The system component--known
as the Joint Systems Architecture--is supposed to describe which
systems, common information flow, and system interfaces will be used
to meet war-fighting needs.  Finally, the technical component--known
as the Joint Technical Architecture--is supposed to specify the
characteristics and standards for hardware, software, communications,
data, security, and performance.\14 Underlying the building of the
information infrastructure and technical subarchitecture was a common
operating environment, in which all DOD component organizations would
be required to develop, acquire, and deploy C4ISR systems that
operate under a common set of standards and protocols to permit
interoperability. 

The creation of this framework was an important step--it was the
first DOD-wide consensus on what a C4ISR architecture should do and
how it should be built.  The three-part Architecture also conforms to
the generally accepted architectural definition described earlier: 
DOD's operational subarchitecture corresponds to the logical
definition, while the technical and system subarchitectures together
correspond to the technical definition. 

Multiple DOD organizations are involved in the development of the
three-part Architecture.  The Joint Staff's C4 Systems Directorate
(J6) is responsible for developing the operational subarchitecture,
the component services and unified commands are responsible for
developing the systems subarchitecture, and the Defense Information
Systems Agency (DISA) is responsible for developing the technical
subarchitecture.  The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense
for C3I is responsible for overall coordination and integration of
the DOD-wide C4ISR Architecture. 

Of the three subarchitectures, only the technical subarchitecture has
been officially established.  In August 1996, DOD completed a first
version of the technical subarchitecture and mandated that all new
C4ISR systems and major upgrades comply with the standards and
guidelines it prescribed.  DOD completed a second, expanded version
of the technical subarchitecture in February 1998. 


--------------------
\14 In comments on a draft of this report, DOD described the C4ISR
Architecture as being comprised of three subarchitectural
"views"--the Joint Operational, Joint Technical, and Joint Systems
Views.  It also used the terms Joint Operational Architecture and
Joint Technical Architecture.  Because the meaning of the term "view"
may be confusing to some readers, we have used only the terms
"architecture" or "subarchitecture" when referring to the three
architectural components. 


      THREE-PART ARCHITECTURE AND
      INFORMATION ASSURANCE
      PROGRAM REMAIN INCOMPLETE
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.4

Although DOD has established a technical subarchitecture, we believe
the operational subarchitecture is the most important of the three
subarchitectures and should have been completed first because it
determines the basis for information needs, thereby forming the
foundation for the other subarchitectures and for determining
systems' development and acquisition needs.  The operational
subarchitecture is still being developed, and DOD officials estimate
that its overall structure will be completed in the second quarter of
fiscal year 1999.  DOD plans to have each unified command develop its
own operational architecture and to have a working group under Joint
Staff leadership oversee the integration of all the different
architectures into a single Joint Operational Architecture.  As for
the systems subarchitecture, no plans have been set for its
development, according to a DOD official. 

The need for establishing an overall C4ISR Architecture is
highlighted by the architecture's close relationship with information
assurance activities.  In our June 1998 letter to the Subcommittee on
DOD's C4ISR systems protection activities, we noted that DOD's
organizations had undertaken a variety of information assurance
measures that were not meeting the Department's needs.  For example,
a DOD internal analysis and a subsequent report in November 1997
concluded that the Department's decentralized information assurance
management could not deal with information assurance adequately
because of the proliferation of networks across DOD and that some
assurance efforts were only minimally effective. 

In our letter, we also noted that to improve information assurance
management (1) in December 1997 the Assistant Secretary of Defense
for C3I established an Information Technology Security Certification
and Accreditation Process that requires comprehensive information
assurance evaluations of all information technology systems in
accordance with standard analytical procedures and (2) in January
1998 the Deputy Secretary directed the Assistant Secretary of Defense
for C3I to develop and implement the DOD-wide Defense Information
Assurance Program proposed in the November 1997 report.  We concluded
that the effectiveness of these new activities remains to be
determined but also noted that DOD's information assurance efforts
are moving forward without a completed and approved C4ISR
Architecture in place. 


      EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT
      STRUCTURE TO ENFORCE
      COMPLIANCE IS ESSENTIAL
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.5

Creating the C4ISR Architecture in itself is not enough to build the
Defense Information Infrastructure and its attendant systems.  An
effective management structure to enforce compliance with the
Architecture is essential.  In December 1996 the Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, observing that no formal enforcement mechanism
existed for the implementation of the C4ISR Architecture Framework,
cited the need for a management structure to carry out this task. 
Specifically, no one had responsibility for enforcing compliance with
the Framework.  At about the same time, a DOD C4ISR Integration Task
Force made a number of recommendations to improve C4ISR management,
including a recommendation that DOD establish oversight mechanisms to
ensure that the Department's organizations comply with the
Architecture Framework. 

An example of the sort of problem created by lack of an enforcement
mechanism was provided by a Joint Staff biennial assessment of
DISA.\15 The assessment found that the services often experienced
joint interoperability, connectivity, and configuration management
problems with DISA's core program systems after they were fielded. 
DISA relies on the services at the base, post, station, and camp
levels to integrate the systems after they are fielded.  The Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff believed that such problems occurred
because of so-called "Title 10 concerns"\16 and DISA's lack of
authority to require the services to adequately fund the integrations
needed.  The tendency to give individual service requirements higher
priority was also noted in a November 1997 DOD Inspector General
report,\17 which observed that the sense of urgency or importance of
implementing the Joint Technical Architecture is not apparent in the
plans and approaches of the Navy and the Air Force, while the Army
has shown greater commitment to implementation. 

In comments on a draft of this report, DOD indicated that it will
rely on a combination of recently established and traditional
oversight organizations and processes to achieve compliance with the
C4ISR Architecture.  These consist of the Architecture Coordination
Council, established in 1997 and cochaired by the Under Secretary of
Defense for Acquisition and Technology, the Joint Staff's Director
for C4 Systems, and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I; the
Joint Requirements Oversight Council, supported by requirements
analyses provided by a Joint C4ISR Decision Support Center; the Joint
Strategic Planning System; the Planning, Programming, and Budgeting
System; and the acquisition system.  DOD also indicated that it will
rely on program reviews conducted within the planning, budgeting, and
acquisition oversight processes to achieve compliance with the C4ISR
Architecture.  Finally, DOD stated that it recently reorganized the
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I to better focus
on visibility, support, and responsibility for DOD information
technology architectures. 

It is not yet clear whether these oversight organizations and
processes will be effective in achieving compliance with the C4ISR
Architecture.  As indicated earlier, DOD has had a long history of
being unable to override service-unique priorities and establish
C4ISR interoperability and a DOD-wide architecture.  In addition,
other reports we have recently issued on related subjects disclose a
similar inability of DOD to attain compliance with C4ISR policies and
decisions.\18 Finally, we believe it is too early to gauge the
potential impact the reorganization may have on DOD's ability to
enforce compliance with the Architecture. 


--------------------
\15 This biennial assessment is required by 10 U.S.C.  Section 193. 

\16 This phrase refers to the independent funding authority granted
the military departments under
10 U.S.C.  and a tendency for them to fund their own service-unique
requirements before funding joint requirements. 

\17 Implementation of the DOD Joint Technical Architecture (DOD
Inspector General Report No.  98-023, Nov.  18, 1997). 

\18 For example, Defense IRM:  Poor Implementation of Management
Controls Has Put Migration Strategy at Risk (GAO/AIMD-98-5, Oct.  20,
1997) and Joint Military Operations:  Weaknesses in DOD's Process for
Certifying C4I Systems' Interoperability (GAO/NSIAD-98-73, Mar.  13,
1998). 


   GCCS AND JTRS IMPLEMENTATION
   EFFORTS ILLUSTRATE CHALLENGES
   FACING DOD
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :4

DOD is facing tough challenges in developing and implementing GCCS
and JTRS.  Although GCCS has greater capabilities and functions--such
as almost real-time situational awareness of the battlefield--than
its predecessor, the development, fielding, and performance of GCCS
have been hampered by fragmented management.  DOD is also trying to
consolidate the services' programmable, modular tactical radio
development and acquisition programs into a single joint radio
program to increase interoperability among services and efficiency in
acquisition.  While awaiting approval and funding of the JTRS
Program, the services are procuring interim radios. 


      GCCS IS AN EVOLVING SYSTEM
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.1

GCCS began as a system of existing command and control components
that was to be implemented rapidly to replace DOD's outdated World
Wide Military Command and Control System and fulfill the most urgent
user requirements.  DOD plans to further develop GCCS as an
"evolutionary system," which means that DOD will continue to develop
its capabilities incrementally as it reacts to user feedback or
rapidly evolving new technology.  As new GCCS versions are fielded,
DOD intends to have added capabilities replace other existing C4ISR
systems. 

While initially developing GCCS, DOD did not clearly define the
system's goals, requirements, and schedules.  For example, a 1997
Institute for Defense Analysis report on this evolutionary process
said that the GCCS architecture was designed, developed, and fielded
not as a single system but through periodic additions of
functionality and capability over the past 3 years.\19 It described
GCCS as a "set of long-term goals established by DOD senior
leadership, the attainment of which does not have a well defined
trajectory."


--------------------
\19 Richard H.  White et al., An Evolutionary Acquisition Strategy
for the Global Command and Control System (GCCS), Institute for
Defense Analysis (Sept.  1997). 


      MIXED SUCCESS WITH GCCS
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.2

DOD has experienced a mixture of successes and problems in
implementing GCCS.  For example, users like some of the additional
features it provides compared to the old system and found them
productive.  These features include mission-related communications by
e-mail, internet-like web pages, and on-line discussion groups. 
Users also like the idea of being provided situational awareness of
the battlefield.  However, some key capabilities, such as the
system's operational planning function and the situational awareness
function, have experienced problems and are performing less
effectively than expected.  Also, operator training is deficient,
data exchange procedures with coalition partners have not been
defined, and the system is at risk of failure because year 2000
problems have not been fully resolved.  If GCCS encounters year 2000
problems, the United States and its many allies who use GCCS could
have difficulty conducting a Desert Storm-type engagement.\20 We
believe these problems exist partly because DOD does not have a set
of clearly defined goals, requirements, and schedules for the system. 


--------------------
\20 Defense Computers:  Year 2000 Computer Problems Threaten DOD
Operations (GAO/AIMD-98-72, Apr.  30, 1998). 


      GCCS MANAGEMENT IS
      FRAGMENTED
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.3

A May 1995 report by DOD's Office of Inspector General expressed
concern about GCCS management and oversight and said that GCCS
management is scattered among the Joint Staff, DISA, and the
services.\21 It noted that although DISA is the project manager for
GCCS, it does not have the authority to provide overall direction and
control of the program.  A similar issue was raised in a 1997 study
commissioned by DISA on the technical foundation of GCCS.\22 That
study said that DOD had not established an adequate foundation for
enabling full interoperability among DOD computer systems because
DISA lacks resources and does not have the formal mission of
implementing a complete strategy to achieve interoperability.  The
study concluded that there is little likelihood of the pieces coming
together as envisioned for full interoperability. 

DOD recognizes that GCCS needs a more structured acquisition
management process and is considering ways to provide this structure,
including a strategy proposed in the September 1997 report by the
Institute for Defense Analysis.  Under this strategy, future GCCS
acquisitions would take place in phases so that resources would be
applied to meet mission requirements in discrete time periods.  Each
phase would be controlled by a contract that would describe cost,
performance, scheduling, testing, economic, and budgetary issues and
identify deliverable command and control capabilities.  However, the
strategy would still accept the current roles and missions of
organizations involved in GCCS. 


--------------------
\21 Management of the Global Command and Control System (DOD
Inspector General Report No.  95-201, May 24, 1995). 

\22 Defense Information Infrastructure Common Operating Environment
I&RTS Review and Assessment, prepared by GARTNER Consulting for the
Defense Information Systems Agency (Nov.  4, 1997). 


      ESTABLISHMENT OF JTRS
      PROGRAM
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.4

The Secretary's Defense Planning Guidance for fiscal years 1999-2003
directed the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I, in coordination
with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the services, to
define DOD-wide requirements for a high-capacity, next-generation,
digital, programmable tactical radio.  It also directed the Assistant
Secretary to establish a joint program for a family of radios that
would consolidate similar programs under development by the
services--the Army's Future Digital Radio, the Navy's Digital Modular
Radio, and the Air Force's Airborne Integrated Terminal. 

In response to this directive, DOD officially established the JTRS
Program in September 1997.\23 In December 1997, the Under Secretary
of Defense for Acquisition and Technology appointed the Army as the
program's permanent component acquisition executive and lead service
and directed that a joint program office be established to manage the
development of an evolutionary architecture and perform JTRS
management functions.  According to DOD officials, a joint program
manager has been appointed, and the services and the Office of the
Secretary have agreed on an organizational structure for the joint
program office.  However, according to the officials, the activation
of the program and joint program office are on hold pending
congressional approval of the program and reprogramming action to
fund it. 

DOD plans to begin fielding JTRS radios between 2002 and 2004.  In
addition, DOD has established the program's joint operational
requirements but, as with the GCCS and other systems, these have been
established without a fully established and approved C4ISR
Architecture.  To meet interim needs, the services plan to acquire
limited numbers of their own radios.  The Air Force told us it plans
to spend $133 million for 330 less expensive, reduced capability
Airborne Integrated Terminals needed for aircraft operating in Europe
to comply with European air traffic control requirements.  The Navy
told us it plans to spend $211 million for 352 digital modular radios
to comply with a Joint Staff directive to meet Demand Assigned
Multiple Access\24 standards for satellite communications terminals. 
The Army told us it plans to begin buying 3,157 radios in fiscal year
2000 to support its digitization program. 

The JTRS Program's objectives are to provide a family of digital,
modular, software-programmable radios that will allow military
commanders to communicate with their forces through voice, video, or
data formats as needed and that will range in configuration from a
low-cost joint tactical radio to a higher capability, joint
multiband, multimode radio.  This approach is being used to
accommodate the services' many individual requirements, including
space and size, and the many different conditions--airborne, ground
mobile, fixed station, maritime, and personal communications--in
which the radios will be used.  The concept is that the radios can be
programmed or configured to function in a number of modes and
frequencies to fit a user's specific needs.  By combining functions
and using common components, DOD believes the services will be able
to reduce unit costs and the number of radios needed. 


--------------------
\23 The program was originally named the Programmable Modular
Communications System.  It was renamed JTRS in December 1997. 

\24 This is a technology for gaining efficiency in the use of
ultra-high frequency satellite communication channels through
automated channel sharing by users. 


   CONCLUSIONS
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :5

DOD faces many challenges in achieving its information superiority
goals.  These challenges are exemplified by the difficulty DOD has
experienced in its efforts to develop and implement the C4ISR
Architecture, establish system requirements and operational
effectiveness for GCCS, and develop the JTRS Program.  DOD's C4ISR
architectural and other information superiority activities are
complex undertakings and involve considerable investments in C4ISR
systems.  In addition, they will require overcoming difficult and
long-standing institutional problems and organizational boundaries to
be successful.  Consequently, it may take many years of concerted
effort for DOD to reach its information superiority objectives. 

DOD's recent efforts to establish a C4ISR Architecture have begun to
show progress.  However, much work remains to be done.  In
particular, DOD needs to complete the C4ISR Architecture, follow
through with information assurance plans, ensure that efforts
resulting from those plans are linked to requirements established by
the Architecture, and make certain that established oversight
processes are effective in achieving C4ISR systems' compliance with
the Architecture.  Completion of these activities should enable DOD
to make cost-effective decisions for C4ISR systems development and
acquisition and make sure that the systems perform as expected. 

In our opinion the complexity, magnitude, and cost of DOD's
information superiority efforts warrant a comprehensive overview, to
be completed annually, of the state of the Department's management
and oversight of C4ISR acquisitions.  We believe that conveying such
an overview, describing to Congress DOD's progress toward achieving a
Department-wide C4ISR strategy and compliance with the C4ISR
Architecture, would enhance Congress' understanding of this important
subject as well as the basis on which decisionmakers consider future
C4ISR investment needs. 


   RECOMMENDATIONS
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :6

To enhance DOD's ability to achieve its information superiority goals
and objectives, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense (1)
establish milestones for completing the C4ISR Architecture and
information assurance program and (2) ensure the C4ISR management
structure has sufficient authority to enforce compliance with the
C4ISR Architecture and is effective in achieving that compliance.  A
consideration the Secretary should give to achieving that compliance
is to ensure that Architecture compliance is incorporated into DOD's
planning, programming, and budgeting process and C4ISR systems
funding decisions. 


   MATTERS FOR CONGRESSIONAL
   CONSIDERATION
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :7

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.  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.  Congress also may wish to take
DOD's progress into consideration when deliberating the authorization
and funding of C4ISR systems.  In discussions with us about these
suggestions, DOD officials acknowledged that such perspectives are
not available and agreed that such information may be useful to
Congress and DOD in overseeing C4ISR investments.  They stated that
DOD is working to establish such perspectives and could modify
existing reports to Congress to include them.  Rather than
establishing a separate reporting requirement, Congress may wish to
have DOD modify the reports it already provides to include the
information we suggest. 


   AGENCY COMMENTS
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :8

In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD generally concurred with
our recommendations.  It also affirmed its commitment to achieving
information superiority and stated that it is making significant
progress toward that goal.  For example, it noted that the Office of
the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I had recently been
reorganized to enhance visibility, support, and responsibility for
information technology architectures to achieve information
superiority.  It also cited the Defense-wide Information Assurance
Program as a recent step it has taken to focus attention on the
importance of information assurance and to establish a means for
achieving that assurance. 

DOD agreed with our recommendation that milestones be established for
completing the C4ISR Architecture and information assurance program. 
It also provided additional details on how it plans to complete the
development and implementation of the Architecture and Information
Assurance Program and pointed out that establishing and maintaining
them will be a continuous process involving all levels of the
Department.  Based on this information, we updated the estimated
completion date for the operational subarchitecture.  However, DOD
did not provide details of how or when the systems subarchitecture
would be completed. 

DOD also agreed with our recommendation that the Secretary take steps
to ensure that an effective management structure is in place with the
authority and responsibility to enforce compliance with the C4ISR
Architecture.  DOD described the oversight organizations and
processes it will rely on to achieve compliance with the C4ISR
Architecture Framework and its architectures.  We incorporated this
information and our evaluation of it into the report as appropriate. 

DOD also commented on our matters for congressional consideration. 
DOD stated that it already provides information to Congress on the
Department's progress toward milestones through documents such as
congressional justification books for C4ISR programs, which are
submitted in conjunction with annual oversight hearings.  In
reviewing the documents referred to by DOD, we found that they do not
provide a comprehensive overview of the progress DOD is making,
Department-wide, on the C4ISR Architecture and on C4ISR systems
within the context of the Architecture and information superiority
goals.  In further discussions with DOD officials about these
matters, the officials acknowledged that such a Department-wide
perspective is not available and agreed that such information may be
useful to Congress and DOD in overseeing C4ISR investments.  They
stated that DOD is working to establish such perspectives.  However,
these officials also stated that they were concerned that our
suggestion of the matters for congressional consideration would
require an additional reporting mechanism separate from annual budget
submissions and believed existing reports to Congress could be
modified to provide the information.  We have clarified that the
congressional reporting we are suggesting could be done within the
context of existing reports. 



   SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :9

To determine the progress of DOD's efforts in establishing an overall
C4ISR Architecture, we obtained and reviewed the initial documents
and latest drafts of DOD's C4ISR Architecture Framework and Joint
Technical Architecture.  To evaluate the issues DOD faces in
implementing the framework, we reviewed its C4ISR Integration Task
Force Executive Report (Dec.  23, 1996) and the Joint Chiefs of
Staff's Combat Support Agency Review of the Defense Information
Systems Agency (Dec.  30, 1996).  To confirm our analysis of these
documents and to determine the latest progress in implementing a
DOD-wide C4ISR Architecture, we interviewed senior officials of the
headquarters offices of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I;
the C4I Integration Support Activity, including the Director and
Deputy Director; and the Joint Staff, including the Director for C4
Systems.  We also relied on our previous reports on DOD's C4I
interoperability efforts for our analysis of DOD's past architectural
efforts.  In addition, we relied on information in our separate June
11, 1998, letter to the Subcommittee concerning DOD's information
assurance efforts for perspectives on these efforts.  The scope and
methodology of our efforts for that work are contained in the letter. 

To determine the progress of GCCS, we reviewed relevant reports,
briefings, and other documents from and interviewed appropriate
officials within the headquarters offices of the Assistant Secretary
of Defense for C3I; the Joint Staff; DISA's GCCS program office; and
the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Air Force.  We also
interviewed and received briefings from appropriate officials and
reviewed relevant program documents during visits to the U.S. 
Atlantic Command and U.S.  Central Command with respect to the
commands' experiences with GCCS and users' points of view on its
development and progress.  In addition, we observed the use of GCCS
in Unified Endeavor 98-1, a simulated joint task force war game
exercise at the U.S.  Atlantic Command's Joint Training, Analysis,
and Simulation Center in Suffolk, Virginia; in the U.S.  Central
Command war room; and in the Army's Task Force XXI Advanced
Warfighting Experiment in Fort Hood, Texas.  We also reviewed
relevant studies and reports from the Defense Science Board, the DOD
Inspector General, and the Institute for Defense Analysis.  Finally,
we interviewed a former Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I and a
former DISA director who were involved in GCCS conceptualization,
development, and initial implementation.  At the time of our
interviews, these two officials held executive positions with DOD
information technology contractors. 

To determine DOD's progress in developing and implementing JTRS, we
interviewed appropriate JTRS program officials within the
headquarters offices of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I;
the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller); and the Army, the Navy,
and the Air Force.  We reviewed relevant correspondence, cost and
schedule data, and other documents pertaining to the JTRS program. 

In addition to the work described above, we sought perspectives on
information superiority implementation management in general through
interviews with a former Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I; a
panelist and several staff members responsible for C4ISR issues on
the National Defense Panel; a former Joint Staff C4 Systems and DISA
director; and staff members of a National Research Council of the
National Academy of Sciences review of Department of Defense C4I
programs.  We received briefings and reviewed relevant documents from
appropriate senior and other officials within the headquarters
offices of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I, including the
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3 and the Director and
Deputy Director of the C4I Integration Support Activity; DISA; and
the Joint Staff, including the Director for C4 Systems.  We also
obtained and reviewed relevant studies and reports from the
Congressional Research Service, Defense Science Board, DOD Inspector
General, Institute for Defense Analysis, and National Defense Panel. 

We performed our review from July 1997 to June 1998 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards. 


---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :9.1

We are sending copies of this report to the Ranking Minority Member
of the Subcommittee; the Chairman and Ranking Minority Member of the
House Committee on National Security; other interested congressional
committees; and the Secretaries of Defense, the Army, the Navy, and
the Air Force.  We will also make copies available to others upon
request. 

This report was prepared under the direction of Allen Li, Associate
Director, Defense Acquisitions Issues, National Security and
International Affairs Division, and Jack L.  Brock, Jr., Director,
Governmentwide and

Defense Information Systems Issues, Accounting and Information
Management Division. 

Please contact Mr.  Li on (202) 512-4841 if you or your staff have
any questions concerning this report.  Other major contributors to
the report are listed in appendix II. 

Henry L.  Hinton, Jr.
Assistant Comptroller General
National Security and International
 Affairs

Gene L.  Dodaro
Assistant Comptroller General
Accounting and Information Management




(See figure in printed edition.)Appendix I
COMMENTS PROVIDED BY THE
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
============================================================== Letter 

and 5. 



(See figure in printed edition.)



(See figure in printed edition.)



(See figure in printed edition.)



(See figure in printed edition.)



(See figure in printed edition.)


The following are GAO's comments on the Department of Defense's (DOD)
letter dated July 29, 1998. 


   GAO COMMENTS
----------------------------------------------------------- Letter :10

1.  We have incorporated discussions of the reorganization into the
report. 

2.  In discussions with DOD officials about these statements, the
officials said that DOD was referring specifically to the
Congressional Justification Book for Command, Control, and
Communications; Information Technology Exhibit for the budget
submission (Exhibit 43); three volumes of congressional justification
books on joint military and tactical intelligence programs and
related activities; congressional budget justification books
submitted by the Director of Central Intelligence on national
intelligence programs; and Command C4ISR Architectures produced by
each unified command.  However, we reviewed these documents (with the
exception of the national intelligence-related document, which has
restricted access) and did not find the comprehensive overview of
DOD's C4ISR systems that we think would enable Congress to fully
understand and oversee the Department's information
superiority-related authorization and funding requests. 

For example, these submissions do not provide a Department-wide
overview of DOD's progress in developing, implementing, and achieving
compliance with the C4ISR Architecture; compliance is a key to
achieving and managing information superiority effectively and
efficiently.  In addition, the documents do not provide sufficient
information about (1) how the various C4ISR systems for which
authorizations and funding have been requested comply with the
Architecture, (2) how the C4ISR systems relate to one another in the
overall scheme of the C4ISR Architecture (providing a perspective on
potential system redundancies and relative need), or (3) how and to
what extent the systems comply with information assurance
requirements dictated by the Architecture and DOD's Defense-wide
Information Assurance Plan. 

Currently, the information provided by DOD is scattered among
multiple and voluminous documents.  Although we did not assess the
usefulness of these documents for other purposes, such as
command-wide guidance to system developers that may be provided by
the command architectures, we found that they do not provide a
comprehensive overview of the progress DOD is making,
Department-wide, on the C4ISR Architecture and on C4ISR systems
within the context of the Architecture and information superiority
goals.  For example, congressional justification books summarize
progress of individual systems.  In subsequent discussions with DOD
officials on the content and purpose of the documents referred to by
DOD, the officials acknowledged that a Department-wide perspective is
not available and agreed that such information may be useful to
Congress and DOD in overseeing C4ISR investments.  They stated that
DOD is working to establish such perspectives.  However, these
officials also stated that they were concerned that our suggestion of
the matters for congressional consideration would require an
additional reporting mechanism separate from annual budget
submissions and believed existing reports to Congress could be
modified to provide the information.  We recognize that current DOD
reports to Congress could form a viable framework within which to
incorporate our suggestion for a Department-wide overview and
progress description.  Consequently, we have clarified that the
congressional reporting we suggest could be accomplished within the
context of existing reports. 

3.  DOD continues to use the terms Joint Operational Architecture,
Joint Technical Architecture, and Joint Systems Architecture in
conjunction with the terms Joint Operational View, Joint Technical
View, and Joint Systems View.  We believe the use of both sets of
terms may be confusing to some readers.  Consequently, we have used
only the terms "architecture" or "subarchitecture" when referring to
the three architectural components in this report. 

4.  Based on the information provided, we updated the estimated
completion date for the operational subarchitecture.  However, DOD
did not provide details of how and when the systems subarchitecture
would be developed and completed.  Therefore, it remains to be seen
how DOD will develop and implement this portion of the Architecture. 

5.  We incorporated information DOD provided on Architecture
compliance mechanisms and recognized the reorganization initiatives. 
As stated in the report, it is not yet clear whether these mechanisms
and the reorganization will be effective in achieving compliance. 
For example, DOD has a long history of being unable to use its review
processes effectively to overcome service-unique priorities and
attain compliance with policies and decisions in joint C4ISR systems
matters.  While the organizational changes may enhance DOD's success
in achieving architectural compliance, we believe it is too early to
gauge their potential effectiveness in this regard. 


MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS REPORT
========================================================== Appendix II

NATIONAL SECURITY AND
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS DIVISION,
WASHINGTON, D.C. 

Charles F.  Rey, Assistant Director
Charles R.  (Randy) Climpson, Evaluator-in-Charge
Robert R.  Hadley, Senior Evaluator
Gregory K.  Harmon, Senior Evaluator
Bruce H.  Thomas, Senior Evaluator
Stefano Petrucci, Communications Analyst


   ACCOUNTING AND INFORMATION
   MANAGEMENT DIVISION,
   WASHINGTON, D.C. 
-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix II:1

Keith A.  Rhodes, Technical Director
Joseph T.  (Mickey) McDermott, Assistant Director
Joseph A.  DeBrosse, Senior Evaluator


*** End of document. ***