Services duplicate telecom efforts, GAO says

The Army, Navy, Air Force and Defense Department agencies continue to run
long-haul networks that undercut the Defense Information Systems Network, the General
Accounting Office concluded in a recent report.

The report, Defense Networks: Management Information Shortfalls Hinder Defense Efforts
to Meet DISN Goals, said that networks operated by the services and DOD agencies continue
to exist without the Defense Information Systems Agency’s knowledge.

“Our own survey found that the military services are operating at least 87
independent networks that support a variety of long-haul telecommunications
requirements,” GAO said. “The services reported costs on 68 of these networks
totaling more than $89 million annually.”

DISA has not developed a comprehensive inventory of telecommunications networks
departmentwide, the agency lacks the data to track traffic on these networks, and it has
not developed performance measures for the DISN program, the report said.

“Defense lacks the basic management controls to ensure that it can achieve its
goal of an interoperable and cost-effective telecommunications environment,”
GAO’s report said.

In a written response to GAO, Arthur Money, the senior civilian official in the Office
of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications and
Intelligence, agreed with the GAO criticisms.

But Money said the report may lead readers to believe that DOD has done nothing to
implement or enforce its long-haul comm policies. DISA officials have said that
establishing performance measures is an evolutionary process that fits with the
incremental nature of the DISN program.

But without hard guidelines, GAO said, Defense has no way of knowing if its wasting
billions of dollars on duplicative services.

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