Military Operations

Status of DOD's Efforts to Develop Future Warfighting Capability Gao ID: NSIAD-99-64 March 31, 1999

The Pentagon is implementing a plan to meet the critical security challenges of the future by transforming the armed forces into a joint force capable of meeting the requirements of 21st century operations. A key element to this transformation is the conduct of joint warfighting experimentation, which involves assessing joint warfighting concepts that could lead to changes in doctrine, organization, training and education, materiel, leadership, and personnel. This report (1) describes the status of the Defense Department's (DOD) efforts to implement its joint experimentation program, (2) identifies some of the factors that GAO believes contribute to the success of a joint experimentation program, and (3) provides answers to the issues posed in a Senate Armed Services Committee report on the extent of DOD's support for future warfighting.

GAO noted that: (1) DOD is beginning to implement its future warfighting vision and joint experimentation, both of which are formidable efforts; (2) it has done a significant amount of work in establishing the processes to implement both efforts, but it is too early to assess their success; (3) Joint Vision (JV) 2010 is the conceptual template for future joint warfighting; (4) to provide joint policy and guidance for the implementation of JV 2010 in December 1998, the Joint Staff published the Joint Vision Implementation Master Plan; (5) the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, is responsible for JV 2010 implementation; (6) the U.S. Atlantic Command (USACOM), designated by the Secretary of Defense as the executive agent for joint experimentation, is responsible for concept development, assessment, and experimentation within the program to implement JV 2010; (7) USACOM's role as executive agent for joint experimentation is less than a year old; (8) in that time, it has developed a plan to implement its responsibilities, which includes a detailed joint experimentation process and an organization to implement it; (9) it also has developed its first Joint Experimentation Campaign Plan (CPLAN), which identifies the first advanced warfighting concepts and supporting experimentation events that will be undertaken during fiscal years 1999-2001; (10) a key early element of its CPLAN is the proof of process experiment, scheduled for completion in November 1999, which will be used to validate the experimentation process; (11) USACOM is still building its staff and the first experiment events are just beginning; (12) because it takes time to staff a new organization, USACOM officials report that in their first year of operation they have not been able to do as much as they had hoped to do; (13) since experiments are just beginning and the proof of process experiment will not be completed until late 1999, necessary data will not be available for at least a year for anyone to make a preliminary assessment of how well the joint experimentation process is working in practice and for several years to thoroughly assess whether joint experimentation is achieving the results envisioned by the Secretary of Defense and Congress; and (14) to aid the Senate Committee on Armed Services in its oversight of joint experimentation in the interim, GAO has identified what it believes are important initial factors in a successful joint experimentation program.

The Justia Government Accountability Office site republishes public reports retrieved from the U.S. GAO These reports should not be considered official, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Justia.