Although this reference to guidance is an improvement over how contractors were previously addressed in the contingency planning process, DOD’s planning guidance includes an Annex W template that requires the annex to include a list of contracts likely to be used in theater and the capabilities they would provide. Moreover, Joint Publication 4-10 states that in developing Annex Ws, planners should identify military capability shortfalls that require contract solutions and ensure that combatant commanders are aware of the general scope and scale of contracted support to be utilized for an operation. We reviewed seven draft Annex Ws at various combatant commands and found that the annexes contained general information on what should be done in contingency operations, such as considering the use of external support contracts for logistics and selected nonlogistics support. However, those Annex Ws did not generally identify specific steps to be taken to determine when to use such contracts or who is responsible for making those determinations. We found that six of the seven Annex Ws we reviewed lacked details on contract support requirements, such as the number and type of contractors that would be needed to execute any given plan. For example:
One combatant command had a level 3 plan that provided details on the military forces expected to be used to support various aspects of the operation. However, the draft Annex W for this plan consisted largely of information from other DOD guidance and did not clearly spell out expected contract support for the operation or define specific contractor-related responsibilities. The draft Annex W for a level 4 plan with time-phased force and deployment data at another combatant command also consisted largely of references to existing guidance and lacked specific information on contract support needed to execute the mission.14 Planners acknowledged that while the plan provides details regarding military forces, they have not developed the same level of detail regarding contractors.
With regard to the broader set of draft Annex Ws, including but not limited to the annexes we were able to review, several planners told us that there is not much variance across the annexes they have developed or reviewed to date. Moreover, several combatant command officials stated that for almost all of their plans, the level of detail on operational contract support
14 The time-phased force and deployment data describes force requirements, how and when those forces are to be deployed, and the transportation assets needed to deploy them.
GAO-10-472 Warfighter Support