No Surprise Here

The Defense Department disagrees with a newly released Government Accountability Office report, in which GAO analysts again recommend that DOD establish a “single entity accountable for integrating efforts” with unmanned aerial systems. Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England last year stopped the Air Force push to become executive agent for higher-flying UAVs, opting instead to form a task force to lead the way, in part in response to concerns expressed by members of the House Armed Services Committee, who felt the Air Force had a point. In reviewing the Pentagon’s new task force-led UAV effort at the behest of the House Armed Services AirLand panel, the GAO listed as its lead recommendation that DOD should designate a single accountable entity. GAO also said, “DOD has not defined the roles, responsibilities, and relationships among the various UAS-related organizations.” The Congressional watchdog agency acknowledged the “several steps” DOD has taken toward management and operational improvements, however, it asserted that the Defense Department’s “approach lacks key elements of an overarching organizational framework needed to fully integrate efforts, sustain progress, and resolve long-standing challenges in acquiring and operating UAS in a joint environment.”