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Base Plans Generally Lack Information on Operational Contract Support

U.S. forces in Iraq found that planners failed to identify the contract support required to facilitate drawdown.

According to ADUSD(PS) and Joint Staff J4 (Logistics) officials, the Annex W contains the overarching operational contract support plan, but contract support requirements should be discussed throughout the plan. As Joint Publication 4-10 states, planners often develop a mind-set that contracting is inherently a combat service support function. However, contract support for military operations not only includes logistics, but also may include combat support functions such as engineering, intelligence, and signal/communications. Similarly, several combatant command logistics officials voiced the opinion that given the department’s extensive reliance on contractors to provide a broad range of both logistics and nonlogistics services, it is important that operational contract support considerations be discussed both within and outside of the logistics community. ADUSD(PS) officials stated that taking the discussion of operational contract support beyond the logistics community will require a fundamental cultural change for DOD. They added that the department’s ongoing efforts to reform how it approaches operational contract support are, for the logistics community, as complex as the Goldwater-Nichols reforms were for training and other areas.20 As we have previously testified, many of the long-standing problems we have identified regarding the oversight and management of contractor support to deployed forces stem from DOD’s reluctance to plan for contractors as an integral part of the total force.21

In discussions with combatant command officials responsible for developing operation plans, we found that base plans generally lack information on operational contract support, limiting DOD’s ability to identify contract support requirements for future operations. The base plan establishes the combatant commander’s concept for how an operation will be executed and includes essential tasks to be accomplished, assumptions, major forces, and a discussion of the operation by phase. The base plan also serves as the foundation for

20 The Goldwater-Nichols Reorganization Act of 1986 was, in part, to reorganize DOD into a more unified military structure. Within that act, Congress included several provisions that specifically address the education of officers in joint matters, their assignment to joint organizations, and the promotion of officers serving in joint positions.



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GAO-10-472 Warfighter Support

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