The Defense Department’s (DoD) information system for tracking capability documents that identify new or enhanced capabilities in weapon systems doesn’t have reliable data on how many programs have gone through a revised process.

A new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that although DoD revised its process for reviewing and approving capability documents in 2018, DoD has difficulty tracking capability documents with reliable data on how many programs have been revised or how long it takes to review the documents.

“GAO found that the Joint Staff lacks reliable data on the total number of programs that have completed the revised process,” wrote GAO. “In addition, GAO found that Joint Staff data for the time to validate selected capability documents were also unreliable.”

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According to GAO, capability documents run through the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) process in the Joint Staff’s Knowledge Management and Decision Support (KM/DS) information system.

“GAO found discrepancies between KM/DS data and data from those that submit documents, known as sponsors,” GAO wrote. “Joint Staff officials stated that deficiencies with the KM/DS system are at the root of its data issues.”

GAO made two recommendations to ensure that DoD’s system collects data to help it evaluate its capability document process. DoD concurred with both recommendations made by GAO, which include:

  1. DoD should develop a plan to revise the JCIDS information system operational deficiencies; and
  2. DoD should establish a baseline based on reliable data and issues that affect the length of time to validate capability documents.
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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.