Defense Communications

Management Problems Jeopardize DISN Implementation Gao ID: AIMD-95-136 July 13, 1995

The Department of Defense initiated the Defense Information System Network (DISN) program in 1991 and a two-phase effort to improve its long-distance telecommunications services and reduce costs. In the near term, Defense envisioned that DISN would achieve these goals by consolidating and integrating about 100 existing communications networks into one network. For the long term, DISN would replace older telecommunications systems, such as the Defense Commercial Telecommunications Network (DCTN), and use new technology and improved acquisition strategies to provide a more cost-effective system. Asked to review implementation of DISN, GAO found that Defense has not effectively planned and managed its DISN program. Specifically, Defense has spent more than $100 million over the past 3-1/2 years on DISN's planning, implementation, operation, and management. In spite of this expenditure, DISN still lacks validated operational requirements, approved plans for network implementation, and guidelines needed to ensure efficient and effective end-to-end management of this important communications network. As a result, Defense's near-term DISN implementation is over 2 years behind schedule and DISN's objectives of improving Defense's communications services and reducing costs are at risk.

GAO found that: (1) DOD has not effectively managed its DISN program; (2) DOD has spent more than $100 million on DISN planning, implementation, operation, and management over the past 3 years; (3) DISN does not have validated operational requirements, approved plans for network implementation, or guidelines to ensure effective end-to-end management; (4) near-term DISN implementation is more than 2 years behind schedule and the program's objectives to improve DOD communications services and reduce costs are at risk; and (5) there is no assurance that the DOD approach to DISN implementation will meet long-standing DOD telecommunications needs.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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