JED - April 2011 - (Page 24)

washing t on repor t GAO: DOD SHOULD IMPROVE URGENT NEEDS PROCESS The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report titled, “Warfighter Support – DOD’s Urgent Needs Processes Need a More Comprehensive Approach and Evaluation for Potential Consolidation.” The report includes recommendations for how the Department can be more efficient meeting urgent needs requirements. The findings in the report are significant because many electronic warfare (EW) and signals intelligence (SIGINT) procurements are conducted on an urgent needs – or Quick Reaction – basis. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been fought against adversaries that have “exploited capability gaps in the technology, systems, and equipment used by U.S. forces,” according to the report. This has driven US warfighters to generate urgent needs requirements for a variety of equipment, especially counter improvised explosive device (counter-IED) and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. The GAO estimated that the DOD has spent more than $76 billion on urgent needs procurements over the past six years, and that 31 DOD entities manage urgent needs and develop solutions to meet them. These efforts raise multiple concerns, according to the report. The major issue is that the urgent needs process is responsive and the DOD can rapidly field equipment to meet urgent needs requests. Of the 23 urgent needs cases studied by the GAO, it found that all but one of them were fielded within two years of being requested or endorsed by a theater command. (Two years is the informal timeline for meeting joint urgent operational needs.) The GAO identified a variety of concerns, including the level of training provided to personnel who process urgent needs requests and sufficient available funding to develop a solution that meets a particular request. Another issue addressed by the report is the technical maturity of the solutions provided. In general, the GAO found cases of “fragmentation, overlap and potential duplications of efforts” among the DOD’s urgent needs processes and entities. “However,” the report added, “the department is hindered in its ability to identify key improvements to its urgent needs processes because it does not have a comprehensive approach to manage and oversee the breadth of its efforts. Further, DOD has not comprehensively evaluated opportunities for consolidation of urgent needs entities and processes across the department… Specifically, we found that DOD does not have (1) visibility over the total costs of its urgent needs efforts, (2) a comprehensive tracking system, (3) a universal set of metrics, and (4) a senior-level focal point.” In the report, the GAO makes two major recommendations to improve the DOD’s urgent needs management. It suggests that, “DOD develop and promulgate DOD-wide guidance across all urgent needs processes that establishes baseline policy for the fulfillment of urgent needs, clearly defines common terms, roles, responsibilities, and authorities, designates a focal point to lead DOD’s urgent needs efforts, and directs the DOD components to establish minimum urgent needs processes and requirements.” It also recommended that “DOD’s Chief Management Officer evaluate potential options for consolidation to reduce overlap, duplication, and fragmentation, and take appropriate action.” The DOD concurred with all of the GAO’s recommendations – something the Department rarely does in response to a GAO report – and stated that it would identify specific actions it will take in an upcoming report to Congress. – JED Staff IN BRIEF • Northrop Grumman (Rolling Meadows, IL) has completed the first round of flight testing of its Guardian System directed IR countermeasures suite onboard a KC-135 from the National Guard’s 190th Air Refueling Wing based in Topeka. KS. Planning for the Operational Utility Evaluation (OUE) began in early 2010, and additional OUE flights are scheduled through June, including tests at Eglin AFB, FL. In 2006, the Department of Homeland Security funded Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems to develop and flight test prototype antimissile systems for potential use on commercial airliners. • In January, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created a stir when it gave conditional approval to LightSquared Subsidiary LLC, a 4G LTE wireless broadband provider, to begin building its mobile network. Government and civilian organizations in GPS user community, including the DOD, have expressed concern that LightSquared’s towers, which will use an L-band signal that is immediately adjacent to the L1-band GPS signal, will cause widespread interference with GPS receiver equipment in areas where the company’s 4G LTE base stations operate. The FCC requested that the company form a working group with the GPS user community to address interference concerns. The working group is currently publishing monthly progress reports and will issue a final report by June 15. More information is available at a 24 The Journal of Electronic Defense | April 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - April 2011

JED - April 2011
Table of Contents
The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
Latin American EW
The US IR Decoy Industry: Planning for a Viable Future
AOC/Shephard EW 2011 Preview
Book Review
EW 101
AOC News
AOC Industry and Institute/University Members
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look

JED - April 2011