In addition, DOD’s guidance on Annex Ws and operational contract support continues to evolve, resulting in inconsistencies in how contract support requirements are addressed in Annex Ws, depending on when an annex was written. Officials from ADUSD(PS) and the Joint Staff J4 (Logistics) have been working with the contract support planners over the past 2 years to develop a more detailed Annex W template that provides more specific guidance for planners developing these annexes. The current Annex W template requires planners to detail the contracted services and capabilities desired in theater, including a list of contracts likely to be used in theater, but it provides no additional guidance on how this information should be captured in the annex. The draft guidance, on the other hand, requires planners, among other things, to outline how contracting will support the operation, address how various contracts are integrated into each phase of the operation, and address the contract management command and control structure. However, DOD leadership has not yet finalized the revisions, which are expected to be completed sometime in fiscal year 2010, and therefore the current template remains in effect. Contract support planners told us that they are using both the existing template as well as different versions of the revised template based on when an Annex W was being written. As a result, we found that combatant command plans vary in how they present information on the potential use of contractors in executing those plans. For example, in describing two Annex Ws that they had prepared, planning officials at U.S. Pacific Command told us that many changes were made to the template after they drafted their first annex. As a result, their second Annex W was substantially different from the first and increased from about 7 to about 26 pages. In addition, contract support planners at U.S. Central Command told us that they considered the Annex Ws that were developed prior to their arrival to be insufficient in providing information on operational contract support. In DOD’s July 2009 Strategic Management Plan, the Deputy Secretary of Defense identified developing adequate Annex W guidance as a key initiative to ensure effective logistics support for current major contingency operations.18 Until the department finalizes the Annex W template, these varying formats for developing Annex Ws will continue to complicate efforts to ensure that operational contract support is being addressed consistently across the combatant commands. This will make it difficult for senior DOD leadership to acquire an overall view of the extent to which successful execution of DOD’s plans rely on contractors, which
18 Deputy Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense Strategic Management Plan (July 31, 2009).
GAO-10-472 Warfighter Support