Highlights of GAO-09-175, a report to the Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces, Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives
The Department of Defense’s (DOD) use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) continues to increase. In 2000, DOD components had fewer than 50 unmanned aircraft in their inventory. By May 2008, they had more than 6,000. However, DOD faces challenges, such as UAS acquisition and the integration of UAS into joint combat operations. GAO has made a series of recommendations to address challenges, including the need for a UAS strategic plan. To improve upon the management and use of UAS, DOD has implemented several actions, such as establishing new task forces. GAO was asked to;
(2) assess the extent to which these efforts constitute an overarching organizational framework to guide and oversee UAS efforts. GAO reviewed DOD documents such as directives and memorandums, and interviewed agency officials.
What GAO Recommends
GAO recommends DOD designate a single entity accountable for integrating efforts related to UAS; define roles, responsibilities, and relationships among UAS-related entities; and develop a UAS strategic plan to align and integrate efforts and funding with long-term goals. DOD partially concurred with one recommendation and did not concur with two recommendations, citing actions it has already taken. GAO recognizes DOD’s efforts to date, but continues to believe additional actions are needed.