The J-5 (Plans) directorate is responsible for taking steps to mitigate the risks associated with contractor support. The J-6 (Command, Control, Communications, and Computer Systems) directorate is responsible for assisting the J-3 (Operations) directorate in developing workable and reliable information-sharing and communication mechanisms.
In addition, although DOD’s planning guidance establishes Annex W as the focal point for operational contract support within an operation plan, this guidance requires other directorates to identify in their annexes the capabilities required to perform the mission described in the plan. For example, guidance for preparing the intelligence and communications annexes directs planners to identify the means or capabilities necessary for meeting mission requirements. Although this guidance does not specifically mention contractors, contractors provide significant capabilities in these areas in current operations. However, several planning officials responsible for the intelligence and communications annexes told us that they did not identify contract support requirements in their annexes. For example:
Officials responsible for the intelligence annexes at several combatant commands told us that they assume contractors will be used but do not identify them in the annex. At one combatant command, intelligence planning officials noted they had not received any training to direct them to include contractor-related issues or requirements in their annexes, adding they thought such training would be useful. One official responsible for writing communications annexes told us that because he already knew which contractors would be needed for the early phases of the operation, he did not include them in the annex. He acknowledged that additional operational contract support may be required in later phases of an operation, but that this was also not included in the annex. Similarly, officials responsible for developing the communications annexes at another combatant command told us that they did not include contract support requirements in their annexes and were not aware of any guidance requiring them to identify the use and role of operational contract support in their annexes.
According to Joint Publication 4-10, a key contract management area of concern is whether the combatant commanders and their staffs are aware of the general scope and scale of contracted support to be utilized for the operation. Although J4 (Logistics) is the lead directorate responsible for assembling this information, the other directorates are required to assist it. In our discussions with combatant command logistics planners, they stressed that this information should be in all appropriate annexes, not just the Annex W. As a result, the lack of information on contract support
GAO-10-472 Warfighter Support