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According to the officials, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics lacks the funds to pay for this program, and the officials are working with the DOD Comptroller to find an alternative funding source. In addition, these funding uncertainties have also complicated the ability of the contract support planners to carry out their responsibilities. For example, although the contract support planner memorandums of understanding call for ADUSD(PS) to fund travel to the semiannual operational contract support conferences, a lack of funding led to delaying the second 2009 conference to 2010.

Furthermore, we found concerns that changing who funds the contract support planners in the future may erode the department’s ability to retain a long-term organizational approach for requirements development. Currently, ADUSD(PS) provides the planners to the combatant commands to supplement their staffs. As described above, the expectation has been that the planners would become part of combatant command staff. However, several combatant command planners and officials responsible for the contract support planners told us that the combatant commands would be unlikely to dedicate their own resources to carry out the tasks currently being executed by these planners. For example, J4 (Logistics) officials from U.S. Pacific Command were concerned that if the funding for contract support planners was forced to come out of the combatant command budget, there was a danger that the planners would be redirected from the operational contract support focus to deal with other issues because of the manpower shortages the command faces. The officials added that unless the combatant command staff is expanded to add the planners, it is important that the planners retain their independent funding source so they can remain focused on contractor-related issues. The officials hoped ADUSD(PS) would continue to fund the planners through 2012. Nevertheless, officials at several combatant commands stated that the contract support planners provided valuable support and indicated that losing this planning capability would reduce the commands’ ability to ensure that operational contract support requirements are sufficiently incorporated into operation plans. According to ADUSD(PS) officials, the current plan is for the contract support planners to transition to military and civilian billets and become part of the JCASO while continuing to be under the operational control of the combatant commands as supplements to the commands’ staffs. This will enable the planners to retain their focus on operational contract support.

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GAO-10-472 Warfighter Support

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