Parts of DOD are well aware of a defense-wide problem in
exploiting rapidly changing information technologies, in using commercial
off-the-shelf products effectively, and in security. There are in place today a
DOD strategy and ongoing efforts to promote interoperability, resting on
technical standards such as the Joint Technical Architecture and the use of a
defense-wide common infrastructure. While much has been accomplished, the goal
of a C4I system of systems with assured interoperability for the U.S. military
continues to be unachieved. Progress has in many cases been slow, and past C4I
studies4 show that many documented C4I interoperability problems remain unresolved. Despite increased attention and management awareness, much more must be done before C4I interoperability is sufficient to provide adequate end-to-end support of military missions and cease being a major constraint on the execution of military operations.
Finding I-1: While the elements of DOD's current strategy for
achieving interoperability are positive, they are not being fully executed.
Both formulation and implementation have gaps and shortfalls.
DOD technical interoperability strategy (adopting an architectural approach,
building to standards defined by the Joint Technical Architecture, and
developing a common, defense-wide "public utility" infrastructure) builds on
the best practice in industry and is a very important step that promises to
significantly improve interoperability over time. At the same time, this
strategy is not being fully executed. There has been insufficient progress in
the development and implementation of the Joint Systems and Joint Operational
architectures, in ensuring compliance with the Joint Technical Architecture,
and in building and using a common infrastructure.
Finding I-2: Even full execution of the DOD strategy for
interoperability will not assure that joint mission needs for C4I will be
First, priorities must be set and the problem bounded in size to make
it more manageable. Second, interoperability must be built in throughout
the life cycle of C4I systems--in development, initial fielding, ongoing
assurance, and resolving problems faced by deployed forces. Third, there
must be a system to measure the interoperability of C4I systems, both for
assessing progress in development and acquisition and for assessing the
interoperability component of force readiness. Fourth, there must be
concrete guidance on technology evolution and the role of COTS technology.
Finally, neither the DOD-wide mandatory Enterprise Data Model Initiative5 nor the voluntary
collaboration approach to data interoperability embodied in the Shared Data
Environment (SHADE) program is likely to be