Accession Number:



Close Air Support: Actions Needed to Enhance Friendly Force Tracking Capabilities and Fully Evaluate Training

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Congressional Report]

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The use of ordnance delivered by aircraft to support U.S. military forces that are in close proximity to enemy forces on the ground requires detailed planning, seamless communications, and effective training. Mistakes in communications or procedures used to identify and maintain an awareness of the positions of friendly forces on the battlefield during CAS can result in the loss of U.S. military personnel. Senate Report 116-48 and House Report 116-120, accompanying bills for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, included provisions for GAO to evaluate issues related to friendly-force identification capabilities in CAS missions. Among other things, this report evaluates the extent to which DOD has 1 implemented initiatives to enhance friendly-force identification capabilities during CAS, and 2 evaluated training for forces that participate in CAS. GAO analyzed documentation and interviewed officials regarding DOD efforts to develop and implement friendly force tracking capabilities for CAS reviewed CAS training programs and analyzed training data, including the number of hours that DOD used non-military contract aircraft for CAS training from 2017 through 2019. What GAO Recommends GAO is making 11 recommendations to DOD, including that DOD implement and assess initiatives to improve the interoperability of digital systems used in CAS and take additional steps to evaluate the training for certain forces that participate in CAS missions. DOD concurred with the recommendations.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Military Aircraft Operations

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]