Results in Brief
allowed us to see, along with in-depth conversations with planners and other officials responsible for drafting or reviewing base plans and annexes, gave us adequate information with which to assess DOD’s progress in incorporating operational contract support into its plans.
We conducted this performance audit from October 2008 through February 2010 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. Further details on our scope and methodology are contained in appendix I.
Although DOD guidance has called for the integration of an operational contract support annex—Annex W—into combatant command operation plans since February 2006, the department has made limited progress in meeting this requirement. Planners identified 89 plans that may require an Annex W. As of February 2010, only four operation plans with Annex Ws have been approved by the Secretary of Defense or his designee, and planners have drafted Annex Ws for an additional 30 plans. According to combatant command officials, most of the draft Annex Ws developed to date restated broad language from existing DOD guidance on the use of contractors to support deployed forces but included few details on the type of contractors needed to execute a given plan, despite guidance requiring Annex Ws to list contracts likely to be used in theater. Several factors help explain the difficulties planners face in identifying specific contract support requirements in Annex Ws. For example:
According to combatant command planners, in order to identify the details on contracted services and capabilities needed to support an operation, planners need to know the size and capabilities of the military force involved and how the plan envisions that force being employed. However, most operation plans lack this level of detail, hindering the ability of the planners to include details on contract support requirements in Annex Ws. Current guidance complicates DOD’s efforts to consistently address contract support requirements in Annex Ws across the department. According to planning officials, the current Annex W template was created with DOD’s most detailed plans in mind even though less than 10 percent of the combatant commands’ operation plans are at this level of detail. Some planners told us that the template’s one-size-fits-all
GAO-10-472 Warfighter Support