GAO cites need for better management of GIG

Report criticizes stovepiped development, calls for new deputy secretary post

The transformational programs the Defense Department is using to build a private, Internet-like network are being managed in a stovepiped and bungled manner, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

The recent report on how DOD is managing the development of its Global Information Grid also concluded that no one is being held ultimately accountable for those programs. GAO recommended creating a deputy secretary position to manage development of the GIG and other strategic programs.

The GIG is a set of interconnected classified and unclassified programs and systems composed of communications satellites, next-generation radios, a bandwidth- expanded network, a group of net-centric core services and an information assurance layer.

In the report, auditors found that DOD will spend about $34 billion over the next five years developing the GIG, yet it has a decentralized management structure that could lead to cost and schedule overruns, disparate systems and a failure to meet key performance objectives.

'Clear leadership and the authority to enforce investment decisions across organizational lines are needed ... but no one entity is clearly in charge of the GIG or equipped with the requisite authority, and no one entity is accountable for results,' wrote Michael J. Sullivan, GAO's director of acquisition and sourcing management.
GAO pointed out that decentralized management structures across DOD have often lead to interoperability problems.

The report recommended the department create a senior-executive, chief management officer position to serve as deputy secretary of Defense for management. The appointee would oversee strategic planning, enterprise architecture development and implementation, IT and financial management within the department.

DOD agreed with GAO findings.

'DOD agrees that a management approach and specific measures are necessary to better assess and enforce GIG investment decisions that cut across organizational lines,' said Cheryl J. Roby, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for resources, in a prepared response.

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