July 19, 2011 globalsecuritynewswire.org/
The U.S. Defense Department should give an internal office power and responsibility for establishing plans to better coordinate exercises in use of the nation's missile defense assets, congressional investigators said in a report published on Monday (see GSN, April 14).
The Pentagon has "identified roles and responsibilities and developed training plans for individual ballistic missile defense elements and combatant commands, but has not developed a strategy for integrating training among ballistic missile defense organizations and elements in a manner that requires them to operate as they would in an actual engagement," the Government Accountability Office report states.
"Some training gaps" might persist despite coordination efforts by combatant commands and services, auditors said. "For example, although some exercises included more than one combatant command, few included multiple live elements."
"Without an overall strategy that includes requirements and standards for integrating training, DOD runs the risk that the organizations that need to work together may have limited opportunities to realistically interact prior to an actual engagement," the report warns.
The investigators also urged the Pentagon to establish a cutoff date for the preparation of training expense projections and financing arrangements and for declaring anticipated training costs for the U.S. missile defense system.
The department "lacks visibility over the total resources that may be needed to support ballistic missile defense training since the funds are currently dispersed across [the Missile Defense Agency] and the services, and some of the services' budget estimates do not separately identify ballistic missile defense training," the report's authors wrote.
The Pentagon "generally concurred with the merits of our recommendations but did not commit to a time frame for implementation," the report states (U.S. Government Accountability Office release, July 18).