Recommendations: The General Accounting Office made the following recommendations:
- To make sure that critical systems do not proceed into production without consideration given to the certification requirement, the Secretary of Defense should "require the acquisition authorities to adhere to the requirement that C4I systems are tested and certified for interoperability prior to the production and fielding decision unless an official waiver has been granted."
- To improve the interoperability certification process, the Secretary of Defense, with advice from the Joint Chiefs, should direct the services to review the information in the Defense Integration Support Tool for verification and validation and compile a complete listing of all C4I systems that require certification. In addition, the Defense Information Systems Agency director should ensure that the status of a system's certification is incorporated into the Defense Integration Support Tool and that this database is "properly maintained to better monitor C4 systems for interoperability compliance."
- The Secretary of Defense should request that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs direct the Joint Staff, in collaboration with the DOD stakeholders, to develop processes (1) to prioritize C4I systems for testing and certification and (2) to formally follow up on and report to the stakeholders interoperability problems identified during joint exercises and inform stakeholders of systems that require interoperability testing.
- Finally, a system to monitor waivers should be established by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In addition, the report provided an appendix that briefly reviews the DOD initiatives currently under way that address aspects of interoperability: the C4I for the warrior concept; the C4ISR Architecture Framework; the Defense Information Infrastructure strategy; and the Levels of Information Systems Interoperability initiative.
Response: DOD generally concurred with the General Accounting Office findings and was firmly committed to improving its interoperability certification process by taking action to implement the General Accounting Office's recommendations.