A Completed Comprehensive Strategy is Needed to Guide DOD's In-Transit Visibility Efforts

February 28, 2013

The Department of Defense (DOD) has taken steps to improve in-transit visibility of its assets through efforts developed by several of the defense components, but no one DOD organization is fully aware of all such efforts across the department, because they are not centrally tracked. In-transit visibility is the ability to track the identity, status, and location of DOD assets and personnel from origin to consignee or destination across the range of military operations. GAO has previously reported that it is important for organizations to have complete, accurate, and consistent data to inform policy, document performance, and support decision making. Managers striving to reach organizational goals must have information systems in place to provide them with needed information. Based on data from defense components--the Joint Staff, U.S. Transportation Command, U.S. Central Command, the Defense Logistics Agency, and the military services--that GAO reviewed, 34 in-transit visibility efforts are being conducted by the components. The department has obligated about $701 million for fiscal years 2009 through 2011 for these efforts and projected about $455.3 million in costs to be incurred for fiscal years 2012 through 2015--a total of approximately $1.2 billion. Currently, DOD conducts some informal coordination and information sharing regarding its in-transit visibility efforts, but information is not consistently shared through a formal mechanism.

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