Uncertainty regarding the Roles and Responsibilities of the Joint Contingency Acquisition Support Office
Uncertainty also exists regarding the roles and responsibilities of the JCASO—the second element of DOD’s organizational approach to requirements definition. The JCASO was established by the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness in a July 2008 memo, among other things, to review the combatant commanders’ operation plans continually to ensure early identification of and inclusion of contractor requirements. The JCASO will also lead the integration and synchronization of contract support in operation plans across the combatant commands. JCASO officials told us the JCASO is expected to maintain situational awareness of all combatant command operation plans, work closely with the contract support planners as they conduct operational contract support planning, and collect lessons learned from contingency operations to identify improvements. The JCASO is also expected to play a role in exercises and ensuring that operational contract support-related issues are incorporated in those exercises.
However the department has made little progress in finalizing JCASO guidance since we first reported on the JCASO’s planning roles in November 2008.28 Guidance for this office is still being developed, and existing guidance contains few details on the JCASO’s planning roles. For example:
The July 2008 memo establishing the JCASO did not discuss the organization’s planning responsibilities. The JCASO is only briefly identified as a future organizational option in Joint Publication 4-10, which establishes DOD’s doctrine for planning, conducting, and assessing operational contract support integration and contract management functions in support of joint operations. The JCASO is not mentioned at all in DOD Instruction 3020.41, the source of DOD’s policy and procedures concerning operational contract support. The planning responsibilities of the JCASO are only briefly mentioned in the draft concept of operations for operational contract support, one of the documents intended to explain how the department plans to implement the policies it is developing to meet congressional intent for an organization approach to requirements development.
The lack of specific guidance regarding the JCASO’s roles and responsibilities has led to confusion regarding the JCASO’s role in requirements definition. We found significant confusion among the
GAO-10-472 Warfighter Support