discussion on what capabilities contractors might reasonably be expected to provide during an operation. Moreover, DOD has acknowledged that the department is highly likely to continue to rely on contractors to provide base operating support, maintenance for certain pieces of equipment, and communications support, underscoring the importance of a more detailed discussion of contract support in all of the department’s plans. ADUSD(PS) and Joint Staff J4 (Logistics) officials told us that as part of the ongoing revision of the Annex W template, they are considering including additional information in the guidance to determine the amount of information required based on the level of detail of the plan. In addition, Joint Staff J4 (Logistics) has created a task force to examine ways to improve operational contract support planning. According to officials responsible for this effort, the Annex W template is a good start, but additional tools and guidance are needed to ensure that contract support planners have the information they need to meet the requirements established in the template. For example, officials noted that planning factors might be developed to assist planners with estimating the number of contractor personnel needed to provide base support in a contingency. Until such actions are taken, senior DOD officials may continue to assume that contractor requirements are adequately addressed in a plan even though most Annex Ws lack this level of detail.
Further, DOD’s planning guidance leaves it to the combatant commanders to determine if certain annexes are required for their operation plans, including the Annex W.17 However, there is no specific guidance to guide the combatant commanders in determining which plans should include an Annex W. As a result, we found that some combatant commanders took a more expansive view than others regarding which plans require the annex. For example:
U.S. European Command officials decided to develop Annex Ws for as many plans as they could. U.S. Pacific Command officials are developing Annex Ws only for their level 4 operation plans. U.S. Central Command officials are developing Annex Ws for their operation plans on a case-by-case basis for their levels 2 and 3 plans.
17 As discussed in the Background section, the most detailed operation plans, level 4 plans, are required to have all annexes, including the Annex W. For all other plans, DOD’s planning guidance leaves it to the combatant commander to determine if a plan should include an Annex W.
GAO-10-472 Warfighter Support