Military Transformation:

Actions Needed by DOD to More Clearly Identify New Triad Spending and Develop a Long-term Investment Approach

GAO-05-962R: Published: Aug 4, 2005. Publicly Released: Aug 4, 2005.

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In response to a Congressional request, we issued a report in June 2005 on the Department of Defense's (DOD) progress in determining and allocating resources needed to implement the New Triad today and in the future. In that report, we made recommendations to the Secretary of Defense to provide greater visibility of the projected spending and future investments for DOD's efforts to create the New Triad and acquire future capabilities. On April 28, 2005, we provided DOD with a draft of that report for review and comment. DOD did not provide comments in time to incorporate them in that report, which went to printing on June 24, 2005. DOD provided its comments to us on June 30, 2005. To present DOD's comments and provide our perspective on them, this report briefly summarizes our June 2005 report's objectives, results, and recommendations, along with DOD's comments and our evaluation of the comments.

In our June 2005 report, we determined the extent to which DOD has (1) identified the projected spending for the New Triad in its Future Year Defense Program (FYDP) and (2) developed a long-term investment approach to identify and manage future investments needed to achieve the synergistic capabilities envisioned for the New Triad. We found that although DOD established its New Triad in 2001, it has not developed a way to fully identify projected spending for New Triad programs in its FYDP. We also found that despite the long lead time generally needed to develop and acquire new systems and the need to consider long-term affordability issues, DOD has not developed an overarching and integrated long-term investment approach for acquiring new capabilities and replacing some or all of its aging systems that provide New Triad capabilities. DOD did not concur with our three recommendations to develop and obtain approval of a comprehensive list of New Triad-related program elements in the FYDP; modify the FYDP to establish a virtual major force program; and report funding levels for the New Triad in the department's summary report to Congress, which DOD addressed as one recommendation in its comments. We continue to believe that each of these three recommendations have merit and, if implemented collectively, would provide DOD and congressional decision makers with the most complete accounting of the projected spending planned for the New Triad over the next several years as they deliberate the budget and make decisions on the affordability, sustainability, and trade-offs among efforts to develop and acquire capabilities. DOD concurred with our recommendation to develop an overarching and integrated long-term investment approach for the New Triad.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Matters for Congressional Consideration

    Matter: On the basis of DOD's comments on our recommendations regarding actions for DOD to take to provide greater visibility of projected New Triad spending in the FYDP, as discussed above, Congress may wish to consider requiring the Secretary of Defense to report each year the funding levels for New Triad activities and capabilities in the department's summary FYDP report to Congress.

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: In May 2005, the House Armed Services Committee included language in its report accompanying its markup of the 2006 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1815) requiring DOD, commencing with the FY 2007 budget, to modify the FYDP budget submission to establish a virtual major force program for the New Triad that identifies and aggregates relevant program elements associated with the activities and capabilities identified for the New Triad. This action is consistent with our matter for congressional consideration, and was credited to GAO -- see accomplishment report GAO-06-999A. However, the House Armed Services Committee action occurred before our correspondence, GAO-05-736R, was published in August 2005. More recently, our review of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee actions on the FY2007, FY2008, and FY2009 National Defense Authorization Acts did not identify any actions to implement this matter for congressional consideration.

    Matter: On the basis of DOD's comments on our recommendations regarding actions for DOD to take to provide greater visibility of projected New Triad spending in the FYDP, as discussed above, Congress may wish to consider requiring the Secretary of Defense to modify the FYDP to establish a virtual major force program for the New Triad by creating new data fields that would clearly identify and allow aggregation of New Triad-related program elements to provide increased visibility of the resources allocated for New Triad activities.

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: In May 2005, the House Armed Services Committee included language in its report accompanying its markup of the 2006 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1815) requiring DOD, commencing with the FY 2007 budget, to modify the FYDP budget submission to establish a virtual major force program for the New Triad that identifies and aggregates relevant program elements associated with the activities and capabilities identified for the New Triad. This action is consistent with our matter for congressional consideration, and was credited to GAO -- see accomplishment report GAO-06-999A. However, the House Armed Services Committee action occurred before our correspondence, GAO-05-736R, was published in August 2005. More recently, our review of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee actions on the FY2007, FY2008, and FY2009 National Defense Authorization Acts did not identify any actions to implement this matter for congressional consideration.

    Matter: On the basis of DOD's comments on our recommendations regarding actions for DOD to take to provide greater visibility of projected New Triad spending in the FYDP, as discussed above, Congress may wish to consider requiring the Secretary of Defense to develop and obtain approval of a comprehensive list of program elements in the FYDP, which support activities for developing, acquiring, and sustaining New Triad capabilities.

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: In May 2005, the House Armed Services Committee included language in its report accompanying its markup of the 2006 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1815) requiring DOD, commencing with the FY 2007 budget, to modify the FYDP budget submission to establish a virtual major force program for the New Triad that identifies and aggregates relevant program elements associated with the activities and capabilities identified for the New Triad. This action is consistent with our matter for congressional consideration, and was credited to GAO -- see accomplishment report GAO-06-999A. However, the House Armed Services Committee action occurred before our correspondence, GAO-05-736R, was published in August 2005. More recently, our review of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee actions on the FY2007, FY2008, and FY2009 National Defense Authorization Acts did not identify any actions to implement this matter for congressional consideration.

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider requiring DOD to complete these actions at or about the time when the President's budget for fiscal year 2007 is submitted to Congress.

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: In May 2005, the House Armed Services Committee included language in its report accompanying its markup of the 2006 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1815) requiring DOD, commencing with the FY 2007 budget, to modify the FYDP budget submission to establish a virtual major force program for the New Triad that identifies and aggregates relevant program elements associated with the activities and capabilities identified for the New Triad. This action is consistent with our matter for congressional consideration, and was credited to GAO -- see accomplishment report GAO-06-999A. However, the House Armed Services Committee action occurred before our correspondence, GAO-05-736R, was published in August 2005. More recently, our review of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee actions on the FY2007, FY2008, and FY2009 National Defense Authorization Acts did not identify any actions to implement this matter for congressional consideration.

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