level of information available to senior DOD leadership in assessing the potential risks associated with reliance on contractors. For example, combatant command officials told us that they were not aware of any assumptions specifically addressing the potential use or role of operational contract support in their base plans. Assumptions are used to focus attention of senior DOD leadership on factors that could present risks to mission success. DOD has made limited progress in incorporating operational contract support information in nonlogistics annexes of operation plans, such as the intelligence annex and the communications annex, based on our discussions with officials responsible for writing these annexes. DOD guidance for these annexes directs planners to identify the means or capabilities necessary for meeting mission requirements. Although this guidance does not specifically mention contractors, contractors provide significant support in these areas. The failure to include contract support requirements in nonlogistics annexes makes it more difficult for combatant commanders to understand their total reliance on contractors to execute a mission.
Without better integration of operational contract support throughout operation plans, it will be more difficult for combatant commanders to understand the extent to which their plans rely on contractors.
DOD has launched two initiatives in response to congressional direction to improve its capability to ensure that the operational contract support requirements are addressed in its operation plans, but these initiatives are still being refined and their future is uncertain. First, each combatant command has been allocated joint operational contract support planners to assist the combatant command in drafting Annex Ws. However, the concept of the contract support planners has not yet been institutionalized in DOD’s operational contract support guidance. Additionally, funding and staffing issues remain, creating uncertainty regarding the long-term vision for the program. According to officials responsible for the contract support planners, the planners were expected to be provided by contractors through September 2009, at which time the services were to provide a mix of military and civilian personnel to serve as planners. However, DOD declined to provide funding for these positions in the fiscal year 2010 budget, believing that the combatant commands could provide the planners using existing personnel, but several combatant command officials told us that the combatant commands would be unlikely to dedicate their own resources to operational contract support planning. As a result, the planners continue to be contractors who are funded under supplemental appropriations. According to officials responsible for the contract support planners, DOD has funded the planners in the fiscal year
GAO-10-472 Warfighter Support