this guidance to address the need to include such assumptions would be helpful in developing contractor-related assumptions in base plans. Despite this lack of guidance, planning officials at some combatant commands acknowledged the value in having such assumptions and told us that they were considering adding contractor-related assumptions to some of their base plans. For example:
A senior official at U.S. Southern Command endorsed the idea of including contractor-related assumptions in base plans and stated that the command would take steps to do this. Planning officials at U.S. Pacific Command told us that they were considering adding a contractor-related assumption to the base plan of one of their level 4 plans. U.S. Central Command contract support planners saw value in including operational contract support assumptions in their base plans. Moreover, the command included a contractor-related assumption in its Iraq drawdown plan.
In discussions with combatant command planning officials, we also found there is a lack of details on operational contract support in other parts of most base plans, although a few plans did contain such details. For example, planners at one combatant command told us that base plan references to operational contract support were mostly limited to designating component command responsibilities for command and control of contracting efforts. Similarly, officials at another combatant command told us that the extent to which operational contract support is discussed in base plans sometimes does not go beyond the word “contracting” in the section describing logistics and administration responsibilities. In addition, we found a similar lack of contractor-related details in the base plan section that describes the friendly forces that the commander anticipates relying on to execute the operation. DOD has long considered contractors part of the total force and recognized the importance of planning for contractors to the same level of detail it plans for military forces. However, the friendly forces sections of the three base plans we were able to review did not mention contractors, even though some of these plans did include other non-U.S. military sources of support, such as nongovernmental organizations.
As discussed above, the base plan establishes the combatant commander’s concept for how an operation will be executed and serves as the foundation for developing the rest of the operation plan. As a result, if the base plan contains only limited information on the use and role of contractors, this will restrict the level of information available to senior DOD leadership in assessing the potential risks associated with reliance on
GAO-10-472 Warfighter Support