New GAO Report on Electronic Warfare

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on July 9, 2012

DOD Actions Needed to Strengthen Management and Oversight, GAO-12-479, July 9, 2012

  • “DOD has taken steps to address a critical electronic warfare management gap, but it has not established a departmentwide governance framework for electronic warfare. GAO previously reported that effective and efficient organizations establish objectives and outline major implementation tasks. In response to a leadership gap for electronic warfare, DOD is establishing the Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Control Center under U.S. Strategic Command as the focal point for joint electronic warfare. However, because DOD has yet to define specific objectives for the center, outline major implementation tasks, and define metrics and timelines to measure progress, it is unclear whether or when the center will provide effective departmentwide leadership and advocacy for joint electronic warfare. In addition, key DOD directives providing some guidance for departmentwide oversight of electronic warfare have not been updated to reflect recent changes. For example, DOD’s primary directive concerning electronic warfare oversight was last updated in 1994 and identifies the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics as the focal point for electronic warfare. The directive does not define the center’s responsibilities in relation to the office, including those related to the development of the electronic warfare strategy and prioritizing investments. In addition, DOD’s directive for information operations, which is being updated, allocates electronic warfare responsibilities based on the department’s previous definition of information operations, which had included electronic warfare as a core capability. DOD’s oversight of electronic warfare capabilities may be further complicated by its evolving relationship with computer network operations, which is also an information operations-related capability. Without clearly defined roles and responsibilities and updated guidance regarding oversight responsibilities, DOD does not have reasonable assurance that its management structures will provide effective departmentwide leadership for electronic warfare activities and capabilities development and ensure effective and efficient use of its resources.”
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