Defense Acquisitions: Steps Needed to Ensure Interoperability of Systems That Process Intelligence Data   [open pdf - 770KB]

Making sure systems can work effectively together (interoperability) has been a key problem for the Department of Defense (DOD) yet integral to its goals for enhancing joint operations. Given the importance of being able to share intelligence data quickly, we were asked to assess DOD's initiative to develop a common ground-surface-based intelligence system and to particularly examine (1) whether DOD has adequately planned this initiative and (2) whether its process for testing and certifying the interoperability of new systems is working effectively. At times, these systems are not interoperable--either for technical reasons (such as incompatible data formats) and/or operational reasons. One multibillion-dollar initiative DOD has underway to address this problem is to pare down the number of ground-surface systems that process intelligence data and upgrade them to enhance their functionality and ensure that they can work with other DOD systems. The eventual goal is an overarching family of interconnected systems, known as the Distributed Common Ground-Surface System (DCGS). To date, planning for this initiative has been slow and incomplete. DOD is developing an architecture, or blueprint, for the new systems as well as an overarching test plan and an operational concept.

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Government Accountability Office (GAO): http://www.gao.gov/
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