Limited Information Hinders DOD’s Ability to Include Details on Contract Support Requirements in Annex Ws
contained in an Annex W would not enable a combatant commander to identify for senior DOD leadership the extent to which an operation relied on contractors. As our previous work has shown, DOD’s lack of understanding of its reliance on contractors can hinder its ability to effectively manage and oversee contractors, raising the risks of fraud, waste, and abuse and potentially resulting in negative impacts on military operations and unit morale.15
In contrast, a few draft Annex Ws contain a detailed discussion of contract support. For example, we reviewed a detailed Annex W that U.S. Southern Command had developed for one operation plan that lays out expected contractor support by phase of operation and identifies several existing contracts that could be used to support the operation. According to officials at U.S. Southern Command, this detailed Annex W is useful to them because it helps them identify existing capabilities and shortfalls and to consider where contracts should be augmented or added. In addition, U.S. Central Command officials told us that they were identifying more detailed contract support requirements in the draft Annex W of one of their operation plans.
Combatant command planners told us that they are unable to identify specific contract support requirements as called for in Annex W guidance because of the limited amount of information contained in most operation plans. In order to identify the details on contracted services and capabilities needed to support an operation, planners need to know the size and capabilities of the military force involved and how the plan envisions that force being employed. For example, in order to make reasonable judgments on the contractor support required for base operating support (e.g., food and housing), planners told us that they would need to know the number of personnel to be supported and the base operating support capabilities the military force would provide. Engineers at U.S. Southern Command told us that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has developed standards for housing, latrines, dining facilities,
15 GAO, Military Operations: Implementation of Existing Guidance and Other Actions Needed to Improve DOD’s Oversight and Management of Contractors in Future Operations, GAO-08-436T (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 24, 2008); Military Operations: High- Level DOD Action Needed to Address Long-standing Problems with Management and Oversight of Contractors Supporting Deployed Forces, GAO-07-145 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 18, 2006); and Military Operations: Contractors Provide Vital Services to Deployed Forces but Are Not Adequately Addressed in DOD Plans, GAO-03-695 (Washington, D.C.: June 24, 2003).
GAO-10-472 Warfighter Support