United States General Accounting Office GAO Report to Congressional Committees June 1997 DEFENSE COMMUNICATIONS Federal Frequency Spectrum Sale Could Impair Military Operations GAO/NSIAD-97-131 United States GAO General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 National Security and International Affairs Division B-274244 June 17, 1997 Congressional Committees As part of our evaluation of the development of the Navy’s $3 billion Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) program, we reviewed the transfer of certain frequency spectrum, within which CEC operates, to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for reallocation to the private sector. Originally, the Department of Defense (DOD) did not concur with, but accepted this transfer. Recently, DOD officials have expressed concerns to the Department of Commerce and the Congress that the loss of specific frequency bands from exclusive military use could seriously impair how well CEC and other DOD systems will eventually operate. This report discusses our analysis of whether (1) the capabilities of the CEC program could be adversely affected by this transfer, (2) other systems could also be adversely affected by this transfer, and (3) DOD, FCC, and the Department of Commerce are taking appropriate and adequate steps to prevent or minimize such impairment. We also discuss potential actions that could more effectively achieve the intent of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 to minimize negative impacts of frequency reallocation on the federal government. This review was performed under our basic legislative responsibility and contains recommendations to the National Security Council, the Department of Commerce, FCC, and the Department of Defense. The report also includes a matter for congressional consideration. The Navy began developing the CEC system in the 1980s as part of general Background research on battle group self-defense but converted it to a regular acquisition program in 1993. The CEC program originated as an improvement in ship self-defense capabilities in an open ocean environment, but migrated to a self-defense capability for engagement in areas close to land. CEC is designed to distribute the same radar and other data to all ships and aircraft (cooperating units) in the battle group to provide each unit with the same near real-time composite picture of the battle space. Each ship and aircraft transmits its own sensor data to every other ship and aircraft within line of sight. In turn, each ship and aircraft receives sensor data from every other ship and aircraft and combines that data with its own data to form a composite picture. This capability is expected to Page 1 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 enhance performance against air threats to a battle group through longer intercept ranges and improved reaction time. CEC remains a Navy program, but in 1993 the Congress directed the Army and the Air Force to study CEC’s potential to perform joint air defense operations and theater ballistic missile defense missions. Figure 1 shows the complex environment of the littoral battlefield in which the CEC system is expected to operate. The environment includes friendly, hostile, and neutral forces; advanced cruise missile, electronic-warfare, and tactical ballistic missile threats; and a multitude of allied combatants with multiple sensors and weapons that must be closely coordinated. Page 2 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 Figure 1: Cooperative Engagement Capability System Source: Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Page 3 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 In 1993, the Congress passed title VI of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which requires the federal government to provide a span of frequencies aggregating to not less than 200 megahertz (MHz) for allocation to the public. The intent of the act was to benefit the public by promoting the development of new telecommunications technologies, products, and services that use the frequency spectrum and by increasing the sharing of frequencies by federal and nonfederal users. According to a Congressional Research Service report,1 the auction of federal spectrum2 is also viewed by lawmakers as a potential source of funds for the U.S. Treasury to help balance the federal budget. This is also the view of the administration. For example, the administration estimates it will receive about $8 billion in auction receipts from the auction of frequency spectrum licenses in fiscal year 1997 and about $9.4 billion in auction receipts in fiscal year 1998. To minimize negative impacts on the federal government, the act requires that the spectrum to be reallocated must not be “required for the present or identifiable future needs of the Federal Government” [emphasis added] and should not result in costs to the federal government that exceed the benefits gained. Title VI allowed federal agencies to provide justification showing why their frequencies should not be subject to reallocation. If a spectrum is found to be necessary after reallocation, the President has the authority to substitute alternate spectrum provided that the requirements of the 1993 Omnibus act are still met. Management of the frequency spectrum in the United States is divided between FCC and Commerce. The Communications Act of 1934 established FCC and gave it (1) authority to assign frequencies to all radio stations, except for those owned by the federal government and (2) broad regulatory powers in both wire-line and radio-based communications. The act reserved authority for assigning frequencies to federal government stations to the President. The President’s responsibilities for managing the federal spectrum have been delegated to the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, who is also the Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The NTIA Administrator is the principal advisor to the President on telecommunications policy. NTIA establishes policies concerning the use of federal spectrum based, in part, on input from the Interdepartment Radio 1 CRS Report for Congress, FCC Auctions: Legislation in the 104th Congress, (95-923 SPR, Oct. 11, 1996). 2 Federal spectrum refers to that portion of the frequency spectrum used primarily by federal agencies. Page 4 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 Advisory Committee and the Spectrum Planning and Policy Advisory Committee. The Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee consists of representatives from 20 major federal agencies who, when in committee, are supposed to function in the interest of the United States as a whole. In February 1995, NTIA identified 235 MHz of government spectrum (instead of the required 200 MHz) in its final spectrum reallocation report for transfer to the private sector. This 235 MHz included 50 MHz from within the CEC operating frequency band. The transfer of this 50 MHz may result in the loss of up to 200 MHz of CEC’s usable operating frequencies because the Navy may have to place guard bands3 of up to 75 MHz on each side of the 50 MHz commercialized frequencies to protect commercial systems from potential CEC interference. The size of the actual guard band needed will depend on technical and regulatory factors such as CEC deployment scenarios, design of the commercial receivers in the 50 MHz reallocated band, and applicable spectrum management regulations. The 200 MHz represents a significant portion of the frequencies CEC was originally designed to use. National security and cost implications of the federal frequency losses to Results in Brief CEC and other military systems were not fully considered in 1995 and have still not been adequately assessed. The loss of the portion of the frequency spectrum used by CEC could reduce its capability in peacetime training operations and make it incapable of joint (multiservice) operations similar in size to Operation Desert Storm. Other current systems could be adversely affected by an increase in mutual interference problems. In addition, new spectrum requirements for information warfare systems could suffer from a lack of needed frequency spectrum. However, the full DOD-wide cost and operational impact from the frequency loss has not been established because spectrum management planning in DOD is fragmented and inadequate. In some instances, prior NTIA assessments of requirements and availability of frequency spectrum for transfer to the public could be incomplete because of security issues. Security classifications restrict release of pertinent technical information about many DOD programs. As a result, transferred spectrum is threatened by potential interference problems. DOD has cleared key NTIA, FCC, and other federal spectrum personnel to promote better spectrum planning. However, we believe more effective 3 A guard band is a set of unused frequencies used to guard a system against interference to or from a system on adjacent frequency spectrum. Page 5 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 and cooperative actions to exchange data and establish commercial standards can be taken by DOD, FCC, and Commerce, thus ensuring that sufficient frequency spectrum is available to operate major national security systems with minimal interference to, and by, commercial systems. The licensing of frequencies affecting CEC and other DOD programs should not begin until DOD has completed an ongoing assessment of its total requirements and reported its findings to the Congress and the President. The Navy initiated the CEC program as an improved ship self-defense Frequency Transfer system. DOD and the Congress added joint and ballistic missile defense Could Impair CEC missions to the system during its development. These additional missions Operational Potential will require an increase in the number of frequencies over those needed for ship self-defense. However, according to DOD officials, the loss of up to 200 MHz4 required to protect non-DOD users could prevent CEC from functioning in a joint environment or against tactical ballistic missiles during a war similar to Desert Storm. Program Expanded The CEC program initially was developed to improve the Navy’s ship Beyond Initial Scope self-defense capability against air threats. Subsequently, in his testimony on the fiscal year 1997 budget, the Secretary of Defense singled CEC out as a high-priority program and directed its accelerated development because of its great potential for increasing the war-fighting capability of joint service operations. DOD has also received congressional direction to include theater air defense and theater missile defense as CEC missions. The conference report on the National Defense Authorization Act for 1997 urged the continued acceleration and expansion of joint service integration efforts between CEC and several Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps theater defense programs. The House Committee on Appropriations also directed the Secretary of Defense to submit a detailed joint service cruise missile defense master plan that specifically addresses the role CEC could play compared to the role of the Joint Tactical Intelligence Dissemination 4 According to DOD officials, recent data have shown that the size of the guard bands could be as small as 15 MHz. Therefore, the amount of useable frequency the CEC could lose ranges from 80 MHz to 200 MHz. DOD also said the President has the authority to permit CEC to operate over the 200 MHz without concern for interference to civil systems in the event of a national emergency in the United States. DOD said in an operation like Desert Storm, the host country will determine how much spectrum CEC uses. Page 6 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 System.5 In a 1995 memorandum to the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations also noted potential international interest in the CEC system. Limitations on Air and Our review indicated that as a Navy only, battle group sized system, CEC Missile Defense Roles could work in peacetime as it was originally planned, but with some limitations on the number of participants. However, Navy documentation shows that with a loss of up to 200 MHz, CEC most likely will not be a viable system in a joint environment or against tactical ballistic missiles during a war similar to Desert Storm. The Chief of Naval Operations, other Navy officials, and officials from the Office of the Secretary of Defense said that CEC probably would have difficulty supporting joint air defense missions under presently planned scenarios with the loss of up to 200 MHz. For example, the Navy expects about 100 CEC cooperating units on the East Coast by the year 2008, including battle group assets and air defense units. The Navy said about 39 units are required for joint air defense operations in a Desert Storm sized engagement, not including amphibious units engaged in self-defense operations. According to a CEC program official, CEC will not have enough spectrum to support 39 cooperating units after losing such a significant portion of its operating band. Navy officials said that this loss of frequency could be accommodated in normal Navy operations in the United States. But, they added that joint operations cannot be supported because such applications greatly expand the number of cooperating units required for training and tactical operations. These officials were concerned about premature licensing of frequencies under the 1993 act because, once licensed for nonfederal use, frequencies cannot easily be converted back to military use. They favored either delay or deferral of the licensing of the 50 MHz until the number of joint users was determined. However, FCC has begun the process of allocating and assigning frequencies transferred from the federal government, as required by the 1993 Omnibus act. It has completed a rule-making action to allocate the first 25 MHz transferred from the CEC operating frequency range to the General Wireless Communication Service. FCC officials said the Omnibus act requires FCC to have issued licenses by August 4, 1998, for at least 10 5 The Joint Tactical Information Distribution System is a communications system that supports the positive identification and precise location of all participating platforms, reducing the possibility of engagements on friendly units. Page 7 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 MHz of the total spectrum reallocated from the federal government to nonfederal use, and FCC has identified the subject spectrum (or some substitute) as necessary to fulfill that mandate. FCC officials said they need to know very soon what spectrum will be available to auction to meet this statutory requirement so that appropriate rule-making proceedings can be conducted, proper notice can be given, an auction conducted, and licenses issued. As FCC proceeds with auctioning and licensing commercial operations in the CEC operating band, Commerce officials believe the likelihood of the President initiating the reclaiming procedures outlined in the 1993 Omnibus act will become remote. Therefore, according to Commerce officials, since CEC system concepts have changed and new information is becoming available, it is prudent to consider a delay in the reallocation process until the results of an ongoing comprehensive DOD spectrum study are available. In the conference report on the National Defense Authorization Act for 1997, the Congress directed the Secretary of the Navy to prepare a detailed report on progress made in resolving CEC frequency spectrum interference resulting from loss of frequencies caused by title VI of the 1993 act. The Navy prepared a report in response to the congressional direction. However, our review indicated that the Navy’s report has significant deficiencies. First, it does not provide a detailed description of efforts underway to identify means to increase the number of operating units that could operate at any one time. At present, total bandwidth requirements depend on the number of users because each user requires its own specific bandwidth. Navy officials said they are investigating methods of using the same bandwidth more than once through power management and frequency scheduling techniques. Second, the Navy’s report does not reach any conclusions on what training restrictions would be imposed because of the lost frequencies. Assessing training impacts from the loss of frequencies is important because DOD believes it must train jointly in order to fight jointly. The Director of the Page 8 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 Joint Spectrum Center6 told us an approved joint training plan is required to fully analyze potential interference problems. As of March 31, 1997, DOD had not prepared a formal training program stipulating numbers of participants and training scenarios for joint operations because CEC is not an approved joint program. Navy officials expect joint program certification after a full production decision is reached. DOD also said the Navy’s report does not analyze which spectrum could be substituted for the 50 MHz in question without impairing other DOD spectrum dependent systems. Because the federal government identified 235 MHz for reallocation to the private sector, only 15 MHz would be needed to reach the legally mandated 200 MHz. DOD has indicated that current and future spectrum reallocations could Adverse Effects on result in significant degradations in the capabilities of many major weapon Other DOD Programs systems and cost DOD hundreds of millions of dollars to modify systems Likely and/or rent frequencies from the private sector or foreign governments. In his fiscal year 1998 posture statement before the House Committee on National Security, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff expressed a strong concern about reductions in the availability of frequency spectrum for DOD systems. He said: The military is also facing a new challenge from the commercial and international sectors over an issue no one anticipated 20 years ago: availability of the frequency spectrum. In the rush to provide ’bandwidth’ ... it is critical that future spectrum sales take the impact on defense systems into account. There is potentially a significant dollar impact involved in this issue. If DOD has to yield portions of the spectrum to new commerce, existing military equipment operating within these frequencies must be replaced with systems that can operate on other portions of the spectrum. Officials from the Air Force Frequency Management Agency said operational degradation must be accepted in many systems because no other frequencies are available to replace the transferred frequencies. For example, they anticipate the loss of test range frequencies (1452-1525 MHz) to constrain a wide range of DOD and civilian aircraft flight tests, potentially delaying the aircrafts’ development schedule. They also 6 The Joint Spectrum Center serves as the DOD center of excellence for electromagnetic spectrum matters in support of the Director for Command, Control, Communication and Computer Systems of the Joint Staff; the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence; the Unified Commands; military departments; and defense agencies. It also supports the electronic protect missions of information warfare as they relate to spectrum supremacy. Page 9 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 anticipate problems in high power, highly mobile, air defense radar operations caused by the loss of frequencies now used as guard bands to prevent interference with civilian users. According to DOD officials, this, in effect, moves the frequencies of widely deployed civilian and commercial systems closer to frequencies of these radars. They said this increases the likelihood of interference unless adequate steps are take by the private sector, such as establishing receiver selectivity standards. In commenting on our draft report, the National Security Council said the issue is potentially much broader in scope than the impact of the planned federal spectrum auction on the Navy CEC program. The Council said the U.S. armed forces are rapidly moving toward an information-intensive style of warfighting as described in Joint Vision 2010,7 which will generate much greater demands on the radio frequency spectrum through high communications connectivity requirements. The council said current problems could be but a prelude to much larger and more difficult problems in the future. Thus, a more critical problem for DOD is identification of frequencies needed to support new information warfare requirements. For example, Army spectrum management officials told us that frequency requirements for the Army digitized battlefield were not considered during the frequency reallocation review process in 1993 because this effort was not even a concept at that time. They said the Army is studying frequency availability issues for the digitized battlefield, but the results are not available at this time. Army frequency needs for the digitized battlefield could be significantly increased over prior requirements. An Army summary of the March 1997 Advanced Warfighting Experiment at the National Training Center said the Army used many new systems, which resulted in a 42-percent increase over normal requirements at the training center. The Army obtained sufficient spectrum by special, one-time arrangements with FCC and other federal agencies. DOD has not completed a comprehensive frequency spectrum requirements Full Effects of the analysis of its weapon systems to support its claims of adverse operational 1993 Act on DOD impact on these systems from loss of frequencies. Consequently, DOD’s Undetermined cost and operational impact estimates to implement changes resulting 7 Joint Vision 2010 is the conceptual framework intended to provide dominant battlespace awareness, mobility, and accelerated operational tempo. The basis for this framework is found in the improved command, control, communications, and intelligence that can be assured by information superiority. Information superiority is based upon the capability to collect, process, and disseminate an uninterrupted flow of information, while denying this capability to the energy. Page 10 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 from the act vary widely; however, even the lowest estimate is significant. In large part, this problem exists because DOD’s spectrum management is fragmented and inadequate. Full Implications Not Yet The 1993 act required the government to prepare a plan identifying which Known parts of the radio frequency spectrum could be made available to the public within 15 years. This plan was prepared by NTIA with input from DOD and other federal agencies and provided to the agencies, the Congress, and the public for comment. A Deputy Director for Communications in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence said DOD did not fully concur with the plan, but it dropped its objections even though it appeared inevitable that spectrum vital to the military would account for the majority of the spectrum transferred from the government sector to the private sector. DOD did not have an adequate planning and management process in place in 1993 to assess the full implications of the 1993 act. DOD still does not have an adequate planning and management process today to assess impacts of the 1993 act and prepare plans to mitigate negative impacts to operational readiness where they may occur. According to Joint Staff officials, DOD did not initiate a comprehensive spectrum requirements analysis until 1995 when the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff asked his staff what the impact of the lost spectrum would be on all systems, and they did not know. Joint Staff members told us the Joint Spectrum Center has a DOD-wide data collection effort underway to prepare a database that will be used as a “tool” to allow DOD management to make better decisions on operational impacts to DOD systems caused by frequency spectrum transfers. According to Joint Staff officials, the database will be used to identify frequencies that DOD (1) must retain for exclusive use, (2) can share with the private sector, or (3) can give up to the private sector. According to DOD officials, effective use of the database the Joint Spectrum Center is preparing could be very limited because DOD acquisition personnel are not generally aware of mandated DOD, national, and international spectrum management processes and policies. DOD officials also told us that the study was undertaken to respond to future legislation, not to measure the impact of the 1993 Omnibus act. However, our review of the data collection instrument showed the instrument can be used to examine the impacts of the 1993 act. As noted in our November 13, Page 11 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 1996, correspondence to DOD,8 the Joint Spectrum Center had identified 154 systems as key or representative (including CEC) out of over 2,000 systems operating in 15 frequency bands, during initial phases of this study. DOD officials said final policy decisions on the Joint Spectrum Center study will be made jointly between the military departments and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence. However, at the time of our review, DOD had not written a formal directive establishing the purpose of the study, who will implement any findings and recommendations, or when it will be completed. In addition, DOD is not coordinating ongoing studies by the Ballistic Missile Defense Office and the Navy with the Joint Spectrum Center effort. At the time of our review, the Navy report on CEC interference had not been coordinated with the Military Communications Electronics Board or the Joint Spectrum Center.9 According to DOD officials, the Spectrum Center should be involved in the deliberations about mutual interference between CEC and other Navy systems. The Joint Spectrum Center is responsible for the DOD joint electromagnetic compatibility program, which includes providing analyses to DOD components and other federal agencies on a reimbursable basis. In another example, the Navy has proposed reusing or sharing frequencies still available to CEC within a battle group using geographic separation and power management techniques. As of February 1997, Communications Board staff said the Navy was not working with them to develop any methods to resolve the spectrum sharing requirements for CEC, nor were they aware of the Navy’s proposals. For example, the Navy’s CEC program plan to reuse frequencies in separate geographical areas of the battle group and/or theater was not known to the Communications Board staff. Spectrum Center staff told us they had discussed this proposal with the Navy several years ago, but the Navy was not interested at that time. According to Communications Board and Spectrum Center staff, the proposal is a good idea if it can be properly managed. 8 Numbered correspondence to DOD regarding the CEC sale of frequency spectrum, GAO/NSIAD-97-40R, dated November 13, 1996. 9 The Military Communications Electronics Board, and its substructure, is the organization within the Joint Chiefs of Staff where the executive military Communications Electronics personnel determine joint operational spectrum policy. Page 12 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 A September 1996 Office of the Secretary of Defense message noted that many of DOD’s frequency spectrum management problems stem from the lack of compliance by the individual services with the frequency spectrum management and analysis requirements called for in the DOD acquisition directives. The message also stated that the information required in the certification process is critical to the defense of DOD frequency needs and requested that the Air Force and the Navy duplicate an Army action to ensure that frequency certification procedures were followed. DOD’s Estimated Costs Cost estimates within DOD to implement changes resulting from the 1993 Due to Reallocation Vary act vary widely, but even the lowest cost estimate is significant. For Widely but Are Potentially example, a Joint Staff official believes that the actual cost of implementing the act will be substantially more than the original DOD estimate of about Significant $240 million. The Commerce Department’s final spectrum reallocation report contains DOD-supplied data showing DOD’s direct costs to redesign system frequencies could be about $930 million. The report emphasized that these direct costs did not include costs associated with operational impact or program delays that might result from redesign of systems. An official from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence said the estimated cost to CEC could be $1 billion and could cause a 5-year delay in the program. DOD officials are reluctant to provide specific estimates because they believe the total cost of the frequency reallocations on DOD systems cannot be known accurately until the use of the frequencies is actually lost and the new commercial user is known. According to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence, problems with mutual interference between commercial and DOD systems will require that some DOD equipment be modified to accommodate new frequencies. In other cases, DOD might have to acquire new equipment because the old equipment cannot be modified. In addition to the equipment changes, logistical and training support must be changed and requirements to support new equipment must be added. DOD’s planning process is inadequate because it hinders development of accurate cost estimates for current or future frequency transfers. For example, we asked representatives of the Air Force Frequency Management Agency for information on the cost to comply with the 1993 act and actions taken to move affected systems to other frequencies beyond what was previously provided to NTIA. They said they did not have Page 13 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 documentation for much of the information requested concerning cost and schedules for changes to equipment that must be transferred to another frequency because it was not required under the 1993 Omnibus act. They said the frequencies of several systems had been transferred, but they only knew of some planning for other major defense systems because the systems are not scheduled to transfer until 1999. Potential actions by foreign countries to charge for use of their frequencies also complicate the development of accurate estimates. Military Communications Electronics Board staff characterized the issue of foreign restrictions and charges for their spectrum use as a minor problem today that could become much worse unless adequate measures are taken soon. These officials believe that if other countries also sell government spectrum to their commercial users, the United States may have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in charges for spectrum use worldwide. In a 1995 survey of military theater commanders, the Military Communications Electronics Board found several examples of foreign governments considering charging the United States for the use of the frequencies. A Joint Chiefs of Staff official said the United Kingdom and a number of other nations have proposed charging fees for use of their frequencies. These officials said that during Operation Joint Endeavor, the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization had to negotiate with the host nation to prevent being charged for frequency use. DOD Spectrum DOD must have a good planning process to document its requirements and Management present a coherent DOD-wide strategy to satisfy these requirements in the Responsibility Fragmented face of competing interests for available spectrum and introduction of new and more efficient technologies. Technological advances are fueling a and Inadequate worldwide demand by the private and commercial interests for increased use of the spectrum through such uses as entertainment broadcasts, wireless personal communications, and public health and safety devices. The Congress and the executive branch have responded to these demands, and, at the same time, are attempting to address the budget deficit by reallocating spectrum from the federal government and licensing it to nonfederal users. Page 14 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 However, a DOD study10 commissioned to the Institute for Defense Analysis concluded that DOD’s top-level spectrum management structure for planning, policy, and oversight was diffuse and weak. The study found no single high-level DOD point of contact for spectrum management matters. According to the study, the current management structure has many management organizations with complex interactions and inadequately documented procedures. It said that the Communications Board Frequency Panel should be the central authority for frequency matters but that most influence is vested within the individual services. The study said the current arrangement presents problems in coordinating and exercising oversight within DOD and interfacing with outside organizations because each service represents itself directly to NTIA and other organizations outside DOD. According to the study, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff also lack adequate staff and resources to implement long-range planning. The study said more communications, coordination, and cooperation are needed among the different spectrum organizations within DOD and between DOD and non-DOD organizations to develop and enhance spectrum sharing procedures. The study found that prior efforts to consolidate DOD spectrum organizations tried to do too much in one step. For example, in September 1994 the Joint Spectrum Center was established to consolidate DOD spectrum management activities. Service frequency management offices and resources were merged into the Center, with the Defense Information Service Agency designated as the executive agent. The study said, however, that while this consolidation was technically feasible, it was politically unattainable because of perceived unreconcilable differences among service approaches to spectrum management and opposition to joint management. Thus, in November 1995, spectrum management activities were “deconsolidated” because the chiefs of Army, Navy, and Air Force Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence organizations requested that each service retain its own frequency management office. The Center did retain responsibility for supporting theater commanders, developing a DOD-wide spectrum management information system, and maintaining a DOD electromagnetic effects program. 10 An unpublished study prepared by the Institute for Defense Analysis, entitled An Evaluation of DOD Spectrum Management Organizational Structures, August 16, 1996. The study was commissioned by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communication, Computers, and Intelligence to evaluate current spectrum management organization, identify any weaknesses, and recommend organizational solutions, but it was never officially published by DOD. Page 15 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 The study laid out an alternative, phased approach to full consolidation by establishing a series of steps directed to a long-range objective. Under this approach, the Communications Board frequency panel would be elevated in stature to a joint board within the Joint Staff and given more focus on long-range planning and policy development. A second step would consolidate service frequency management responsibilities in the United States. A third step would merge individual service organizations into a single DOD organization. A fourth step would merge this organization with the Joint Staff frequency board, and a fifth step would create a Defense Spectrum Management Agency. DOD told us that steps one and two are viable at this time, but did not indicate when action will be taken. DOD also did not specify exactly what authority and responsibility the new board will have or when and whether a full consolidation of individual service responsibilities was intended. The 1993 act requires the Department of Commerce and FCC to conduct Inadequate Actions joint spectrum planning for issuing licenses and sharing spectrum between Taken to Prevent or federal and nonfederal users. These agencies are specifically required to Minimize Impact on take actions necessary to promote the efficient use of the spectrum, including spectrum management techniques to promote increased shared Operations use that does not cause harmful interference as a means of increasing commercial access. Increased spectrum sharing is hindered by a lack of full cooperation among DOD, FCC, and Commerce. National security concerns in DOD programs have impeded a full evaluation of security implications in an unknown but significant number of major programs affected by the 1993 act. National security implications in future reallocations could be similarly affected. Steps to prevent or minimize negative impacts to DOD programs from frequency losses have been inadequate because (1) DOD, FCC, and Commerce have not fully cooperated with each other to exchange necessary technical data and (2) no consensus exists among these agencies about the need for performance standards for commercial receivers and how such standards should be established. National Security Specialized classification of programs and data within those programs can Restrictions Can Limit Full present impediments to a full assessment of national security concerns Evaluation of DOD during strategic frequency spectrum planning. For example, DOD and Commerce officials told us that the initial impact and costs of the Programs frequency loss on special access military systems were either Page 16 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 underestimated or not fully considered when DOD approved the 1995 NTIA reallocation plan. One reason this problem occurred, according to DOD officials, was that frequency managers were not aware of many “special” program frequency requirements. An Air Force frequency management official told us that in prior years, many spectrum managers were not properly cleared to discuss the technical issues of frequency management in classified programs and managers of these classified programs were reluctant to talk to spectrum managers about frequency use requirements. However, according to DOD officials, more DOD, FCC, and NTIA spectrum management personnel have been granted clearances to these classified programs, which has improved coordination among agencies. A Navy official told us CEC program officials did not initially identify their full spectrum requirements to the civilian agencies in 1993 because these frequencies were classified wartime requirements. The official is concerned that the same security concerns are also limiting a full review of other programs that are highly classified and whose frequencies cannot be reflected in public records. However, the Navy said it is important that wartime operations be taken into account to preclude disruption of any vital civil services that may be placed into the reallocated bands as a result of the 1993 act. Concerns with releasing classified or sensitive information to the public have affected FCC and NTIA studies of federal and nonfederal spectrum requirements. In a September 1996 report written by the Public Safety Wireless Advisory Committee11 on spectrum requirements for public safety, DOD objected to any reallocation of the 380-399 MHz band to public safety uses, even on a shared basis, because it is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization common use frequency band. DOD stated that this band is standardized with U.S. military allies throughout the world for interoperability during combined actions and that national security considerations preclude its use domestically. DOD also stated this spectrum supports many diverse and high-powered tactical requirements critical to DOD command and control operations and that it was concerned about the potential of electromagnetic interference to public safety users. In addition, public safety use could severely limit DOD’s ability to “train as it fights” due to concerns of interfering with public safety operations. The Public Safety Wireless Advisory Committee did not hold detailed discussions of this issue because some of the information 11 A joint federal advisory committee sponsored by FCC and NTIA. The committee is tasked with providing advice on specific wireless communications requirements of public safety agencies through the year 2010 and making recommendations for meeting these needs. Page 17 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 was classified. This committee recommended that representatives of the civilian agencies with appropriate security clearances discuss this issue further with DOD. Exchange of Technical The Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information of the Information Between Department of Commerce and the Chairman of FCC are required to Federal and Nonfederal conduct joint spectrum planning. These officials are charged to promote the efficient use of the spectrum, including spectrum management Users Is Ineffective techniques for increased shared use of the spectrum on a non-interference basis. Both Commerce and FCC acknowledge that a major cause of frequency interference between federal and nonfederal users is the lack of information sharing about the technology used in equipment and agree that this information should be collected and shared. Two key problems impair the ability to share this information. First, FCC and NTIA officials disagreed on what information is needed to minimize mutual interference and who is responsible for providing this information. NTIA officials said highly technical data on spurious emissions and harmonic outputs requiring special equipment and costly testing are required. FCC officials say only general data on emissions, such as power levels and geographical location of emissions, are required. With respect to who is responsible for collecting this data, DOD and NTIA officials indicated that frequency sharing between DOD’s systems and nonfederal systems would be more effective if DOD had more information on nonfederal licensees and the technical characteristics of their equipment. However, FCC took an opposite position and said, In most ... cases where military systems have caused interference to commercial systems there was inadequate information available to guide the commercial system designers with regards to signals from adjacent bands. We believe the timely information on the general nature and strength of (DOD) signals in adjacent bands will result in robust commercial system design. Second, no matter how they define it, FCC and NTIA agreed the information they seek is not available, and no mechanism exists to collect and transfer this information. Although NTIA collects some data on federal agencies’ requests for frequency use, which is made available to FCC, both agencies agreed that the data they deem necessary for FCC and NTIA coordination to reduce mutual interference is not collected for approval of federal frequency requests. Page 18 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 No Consensus on DOD and Commerce believe that effective receiver designs and standards Establishment of are needed to promote efficient use of the radio spectrum; there is, Commercial Receiver however, no clear consensus on how this should be accomplished. FCC lacks the specific authority to mandate commercial receiver standards, Standards and FCC officials believe that the disadvantages of imposing such standards outweigh the potential benefits. The Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology stated that for the CEC system, a 75-MHz guard band is required on both sides of the reallocated 50 MHz to prevent interference with new commercial users.12 However, he stated that most of these guard bands could be recaptured by initiating technologically feasible requirements for improved selectivity and spectral control for commercial receivers. According to the Undersecretary, the time to initiate these requirements is before or simultaneously with the allocation of a frequency band to new commercial users. DOD officials later said recent information indicated that the guard band might be as little as 15 MHz. However, the Commerce Department said the guard band required to limit interference to commercial receivers is a complex issue and has not been resolved. The Commerce Department said only minimal FCC regulations will apply in upcoming auctions, and worst case assumptions must be used in spectrum management decisions. Commerce also said one factor is the design of commercial receivers in reallocated bands. Commerce agreed with DOD that efficient spectrum use is predicated upon adopting effective receiver designs that reduce the need for large guard bands. According to the February 1995 NTIA spectrum reallocation final report, Several bands identified for reallocation in the final plan are adjacent to bands that will continue to be used for high-power Federal systems, including megawatt radars. Numerous case histories exist where commercial or consumer radio systems received interference and failed to operate properly because of inadequate receiver filtering. In order to achieve the goals set by Title VI for development of new technologies, adoption of effective receiver standards, either regulatory or established by industry, is essential for bands identified in the final plan that are adjacent to high-power Federal systems. Commerce said NTIA, in its spectrum management role for federal radio communications systems, has adopted stringent receiver standards applicable to most federal radio receiving equipment. Commerce said 12 Memorandum dated Jan. 27, 1996, to the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information at the Department of Commerce. Page 19 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 these standards have proved effective in ensuring efficient use of federal spectrum resources. Although the Communications Act of 1934 gave FCC broad authority to regulate radio transmitters, the Congress has acted to provide specific authority to FCC where the public interest required the regulation of nontransmitting receiving equipment. As the conference report on the Communications Amendments Act of 1982 observed: Many believe that the Commission does not now have authority to compel the use of protective devices in equipment that does not emit radio frequency energy sufficient in degree to cause harmful interference to radio communications. Manufacturers and retailers also believe that the Commission cannot require a label on equipment or the supplying of a pamphlet of the possibility of interference and outlining corrective measures. The Commission has thus far acted in consonance with this belief. The Conference Substitute would thus give the FCC the authority to require that home electronic equipment and systems be so designed and constructed as to meet minimum standards for protection against unwanted radio signals and energy.13 In this act, the Congress granted FCC specific authority to establish minimum radio frequency reception standards for electronic home entertainment equipment. Similarly, the Congress has granted FCC specific authority to regulate scanning receivers and require that televisions be able to receive all television frequencies, provide a closed captioning capability, and have the capability to block programs having a certain rating. There is, however, no similar provision in the Communications Act of 1934 that gives FCC specific authority to regulate commercial receivers. Moreover, FCC officials questioned why regulatory standards were needed. FCC believes that setting such standards would hinder flexibility and innovation in design and production, increase the cost to manufacturers and consumers, and reduce the number and scope of technically and economically feasible applications. As we noted in the preceding section, FCC officials said if adequate information about government systems were made available to commercial manufacturers, the private-sector industry could design systems to avoid interference without regulated standards. Implementation of the 1993 act by DOD, FCC, and the Department of Conclusions and Commerce leaves many risks and unanswered questions. First, DOD has a Recommendations study underway to determine its frequency requirements; but until that 13 H. R. Conf. Rept. 97-765, 1982 U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News 2261, 2266. Page 20 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 study is completed, it is not in a position to fully assess the implications of the 1993 act or future legislative actions to transfer additional federal spectrum to non-federal users. Most importantly, without the study DOD cannot fully assess the risks of inadequate frequency spectrum to support its central warfighting strategy—information dominance—through the year 2010. Second, DOD does not have an adequate planning process to evaluate study findings and translate them into a coherent DOD policy. Thus, DOD risks using a negotiation process between itself and the individual services that does not guarantee full protection of its high-priority requirements. Third, transfer of the federal spectrum under the 1993 act before FCC and Commerce have resolved their differences on key issues runs unnecessary risks of mutual interference between users, operational degradation of DOD communications systems, and unrealized potential for frequency sharing. For example, the FCC position is that government imposed standards on commercial receivers is bad public policy. This is in direct contrast to the Commerce position that, in the absence of industry standards, governmental standards are necessary to prevent mutual interference and to promote frequency sharing. We note that reduction of mutual interference and increased frequency sharing are key objectives of the 1993 act. A fourth, and overriding risk is that the above issues may not be subjected to a governmentwide evaluation that encompasses both national security issues and public benefits. The following recommendations are made to minimize these risks. Recommendations to the In our opinion, fragmented DOD management responsibilities have resulted Secretary of Defense in inadequate coordination within DOD on spectrum issues and preparation of long-range plans. We also believe DOD’s ongoing analysis of spectrum requirements for critical systems needs to address the extent operational effectiveness of these systems will be affected by loss of frequency spectrum from the 1993 act. Therefore, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense take the following actions: • Assign responsibility for overall DOD spectrum management to a specific organization. Page 21 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 • Expand and complete the ongoing DOD study. The study should include analyses on how (1) the transfer of the 50 MHz in the CEC band and other transfers of federal frequency spectrum to the commercial sector could affect CEC and the other critical military systems in its study and (2) DOD plans to modify CEC and other critical systems, including estimated costs and schedule, to compensate for operational degradation caused by the transferred spectrum. • Submit the results of the study to the President for his use in considering whether to reclaim the transferred 50 MHz spectrum. • Submit the results of the study to the Congress including, if necessary, proposals for legislative modifications. Recommendation to the We believe DOD should be permitted a reasonable time to complete its Chairman, FCC study and for the Congress to consider the study’s conclusions and recommendations before additional auctions of licenses for transferred frequencies continue. Therefore, we recommend that the Chairman, FCC, suspend plans for auctioning the 50 MHz from the CEC operating band and other transfers of spectrum until the Congress and the President have reviewed the DOD report transmitting the results from the ongoing review of its frequency requirements. Recommendation to the We believe FCC and Commerce need to resolve outstanding issues Secretary of Commerce concerning the exchange of technical information associated with and the Chairman, FCC lowering mutual interference and increasing frequency sharing with specific focus on the desirability of FCC having the authority to regulate commercial receivers. Therefore, we recommend that the Chairman, FCC, and the Secretary of Commerce submit a joint report to the Congress on their progress in implementing the 1993 act requirements on joint spectrum planning, any unresolved issues, and impediments to the resolution of these issues, including proposals for legislative modifications. Recommendation to the The single body able to provide a governmentwide overview of security National Security Council concerns and public benefits is the National Security Council. Therefore, we recommend that the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, in his role of integrating all aspects of national security policy (1) review actions taken as a result of the above recommendations for national security implications, and (2) on the basis of his findings, advise the President whether he should exercise his authority to recover the 50 Page 22 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 MHz in the CEC program for federal government use and how he should proceed with any future proposals for transfer of DOD-assigned federal spectrum. As expressed by the National Security Council, the problems discussed in Matter for this report could be a prelude to more problems in the future. The absence Congressional of a consensus by key federal agencies on spectrum management Consideration issues—most recently illustrated by the divergent views expressed in their comments to a draft of this report—suggests the need for a comprehensive evaluation on their part. Furthermore, full and complete consideration of technical options that could better achieve congressional objectives of increased frequency sharing and more efficient use of the frequency spectrum are perceived by some agencies as being hindered by legally required actions, and lack of authority. We are making recommendations in this report aimed at establishing agency consensus and identifying, if needed, any proposals for legislative modifications these agencies feel are necessary. Accordingly, to allow these agencies time to complete their evaluations, the Congress may wish to relax FCC’s deadline of August 4, 1998, for issuing licenses for 10 MHz of the reallocated 50 MHz of CEC spectrum. The National Security Council, FCC, and the Departments of Commerce Agency Comments and Defense were given the opportunity to comment on a draft of this and Our Evaluation report. Their comments indicated that the individual agencies have a wide range of views on how to deal with the problems we have identified and reflect the fact that they have not reached a consensus on what to do. The National Security Council fully concurred with our conclusions and recommendations and stated that the problems we identified could be a prelude to much larger and more difficult problems in the future. Commerce indicated that our report provided a thorough review of the issues and stated that it had no specific objections to any of our recommendations. DOD stated that it was “extremely concerned” with our recommendations and cited concerns about meeting the criteria in the 1993 act. FCC expressed concern that (1) the overall thrust of the report incorrectly implies that the primary problem was a result of its action or plans, (2) the report glosses over key elements of the 1993 act that require it to issue licenses for the use of at least 10 MHz of the spectrum by Page 23 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 August 1998, and (3) the report does not identify meaningful solutions to the fundamental problems of federal government spectrum management. Our analysis of the comments from DOD and FCC indicates that both agencies are concerned about complying with the 1993 act. DOD stated that it had considered recommending outright delay or deferral of the auction of the CEC band but decided that this would require the identification of another band that met the criteria of the 1993 act, an action that would impact other critical DOD programs. FCC also stated its concern about complying with the statutory requirement, indicating that delaying the decision on auctioning the spectrum would impair its ability to comply with the explicit language of the 1993 act. The following illustrates the differences in responses of DOD and FCC. DOD stated that it had an initiative underway to assess its spectrum requirements focusing on bands that may be targeted for future reallocation and that any further study of bands already reallocated would be nonproductive. However, FCC indicated that the option for the President to recover the spectrum according to the criteria and rules laid out in the 1993 act should be more fully analyzed in conjunction with the DOD study of its spectrum requirements. In another example, FCC indicated that (1) the benefits of new performance standards for commercial receivers would be outweighed by their disadvantages and (2) even if it were to determine that such standards were in the public interest, imposing them would do nothing to improve the management of the federal government system. DOD, on the other hand, asserted that it was working with FCC to recapture most of the CEC frequency spectrum as well as improve utilization across all frequencies by having FCC institute improved, stringent performance requirements for commercial receivers. To help identify the statutory obstacles that agencies may perceive as standing in the way of successfully resolving these issues, we have added a matter that the Congress may wish to consider. The comments from the four agencies are reprinted in appendixes I through IV, along with our evaluations of them. DOD, Commerce, and FCC also provided suggested technical and editorial changes, which we incorporated in the text where appropriate. Page 24 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 To determine if the capabilities of the CEC system would be affected by the Scope and transfer of 50 MHz to private users, we interviewed officials from the Office Methodology of the Secretary of Defense, the Navy, the Department of Commerce, FCC, the Joint Spectrum Center, the Military Communications Electronics Board, and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. We also examined pertinent documents on the specific impact of frequency reallocations on CEC operations. We discussed plans the program office was developing to mitigate the impact of the reduced frequency spectrum on the operational performance of the CEC system. To determine whether other combat-related military systems would be adversely affected by the transfer of frequencies under the 1993 act, we interviewed officials from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Department of Commerce, FCC, the Joint Spectrum Center, the Military Communications Electronics Board, and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. In addition, we met with frequency spectrum managers from all of the services to discuss the procedures followed during frequency reallocation discussions in 1993-1995, which led to the development of the final frequency reallocation plan produced by Commerce. We discussed the rationale for making the reallocation decisions, as reflected in the reallocation report. To determine what actions DOD, FCC, and NTIA were planning to minimize impairments to DOD systems, we interviewed officials from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Department of Commerce, FCC, the Joint Spectrum Center, the Military Communications Electronics Board, and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. We reviewed agency documents, statutes, regulations, and federal laws regarding frequency applications by military and commercial users. We discussed the impact of the reallocations on these systems and identified actions these programs intended to take to compensate for the frequency reallocations. We performed our work from July 1996 through May 1997 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. We are sending copies of this letter to other appropriate congressional committees; the Director, Office of Management and Budget; and the Secretaries of Commerce, Defense, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. Copies will also be made available to others upon request. Page 25 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 This report was prepared under the direction of Thomas J. Schulz, who can be reached at (202) 512-4841 if you or your staff have any questions. Other major contributors to this report were Allen Li, Charles F. Rey, Robert R. Hadley, Richard H. Yeh, and Keith A. Rhodes. Henry L. Hinton, Jr. Assistant Comptroller General Page 26 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 List of Congressional Committees The Honorable Strom Thurmond Chairman The Honorable Carl Levin Ranking Minority Member Committee on Armed Services United States Senate The Honorable Richard Shelby Chairman The Honorable Bob Kerrey Vice Chairman Senate Select Committee on Intelligence United States Senate The Honorable Ted Stevens Chairman The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye Ranking Minority Member Subcommittee on Defense Committee on Appropriations United States Senate The Honorable John McCain Chairman The Honorable Ernest Hollings Ranking Minority Member Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation United States Senate The Honorable Fred Thompson Chairman The Honorable John Glenn Ranking Minority Member Committee on Governmental Affairs United States Senate Page 27 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale B-274244 The Honorable Floyd Spence Chairman The Honorable Ronald V. Dellums Ranking Minority Member Committee on National Security House of Representatives The Honorable Porter J. Goss Chairman The Honorable Norm Dicks Ranking Minority Member Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence House of Representatives The Honorable Robert L. Livingston Chairman The Honorable David R. Obey Ranking Minority Member Committee on Appropriations House of Representatives The Honorable Thomas Bliley Chairman The Honorable John Dingell Ranking Minority Member Committee on Commerce House of Representatives The Honorable Dan Burton Chairman The Honorable Henry A. Waxman Ranking Minority Member House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight House of Representatives Page 28 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Page 29 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Contents Letter 1 Appendix I 32 Comments From the National Security Council Appendix II 33 Comments From the Department of Commerce Appendix III 35 Comments From the Federal Communications Commission Appendix IV 40 Comments From the Department of Defense Figure Figure 1: Cooperative Engagement Capability System 3 Abbreviations CEC Cooperative Engagement Capability DOD Department of Defense FCC Federal Communications Commission MHz megahertz NTIA National Telecommunications and Information Administration Page 30 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Page 31 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Appendix I Comments From the National Security Council Page 32 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Appendix II Comments From the Department of Commerce Page 33 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Appendix II Comments From the Department of Commerce Page 34 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Appendix III Comments From the Federal Communications Commission Note: GAO comments supplementing those in the report text appear at the end of this appendix. See Comment 1. See Comment 2. Page 35 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Appendix III Comments From the Federal Communications Commission See comment 3. See comment 4. See comment 5. See pp. 19-20. Page 36 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Appendix III Comments From the Federal Communications Commission See comment 6. Page 37 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Appendix III Comments From the Federal Communications Commission The following are GAO’s comments on the Federal Communications Commisson’s (FCC) letter dated May 9, 1997. 1. Our report is not intended to single out FCC as the cause for the GAO Comments problems identified in this report. As we point out on page 1 of the report, our objective was to determine whether each of the involved agencies was taking the appropriate steps to prevent or minimize adverse effects of the transfer of frequency bands to the private sector. We are making recommendations to others besides FCC and, subsequent to our analysis of comments from involved agencies, have added a matter for congressional consideration. 2. The information exchange problem, like others discussed in the report, revolves around the lack of agreement among the agencies involved. Currently, there is a lack of agreement on what data should be gathered and who should be responsible for gathering that data. We are recommending that FCC and Commerce report on their progress in implementing the joint planned requirements of the 1993 act and on any unresolved issues and impediments. 3. The title of the report, in our view, accurately portrays the issue. The report does not discuss FCC’s licensing process, as FCC asserts. 4. Our review of the legislative history of the 1993 act indicates that the act was intended to benefit the public by making spectrum available but not at the expense of national security or excessive costs to the government. Our recommendations are intended to prevent the reallocation of frequencies from the federal government to the private sector until all national security requirements for these frequencies are reviewed, thus avoiding excessive costs the government may incur in its recovery of any necessary frequencies. 5. The legal time limit set by the 1993 Omnibus act is August 1998 and the deadline imposed by FCC for the Department of Defense (DOD) to respond is September 1997. We believe FCC could allow DOD time to implement our recommendation for completion of its study after September 1997 and still comply with its statutory deadline. FCC could negotiate that date with DOD. Additionally, we are offering a matter for the Congress to consider with regard to relaxing the existing deadline. Page 38 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Appendix III Comments From the Federal Communications Commission 6. We are concerned that the lack of coordination between FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on frequency sharing may exacerbate the problem of potential interference between federal and nonfederal users of the frequency spectrum or, at a minimum, not serve to help overcome that problem. Page 39 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Appendix IV Comments From the Department of Defense Note: GAO comments supplementing those in the report text appear at the end of this appendix. See comment 1. Page 40 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Appendix IV Comments From the Department of Defense See p. 24 and comment 2. See p. 24. Page 41 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Appendix IV Comments From the Department of Defense Now on pp. 5 and 10. See comment 2. Now on pp. 5 and 14. See comment 1. Page 42 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Appendix IV Comments From the Department of Defense Now on p. 21. See comment 1. Page 43 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Appendix IV Comments From the Department of Defense Now on p. 22. See pp. 11 and 12 and comment 2. Now on p. 22. See pp. 11 and 24 and comment 2. Page 44 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Appendix IV Comments From the Department of Defense Now on p. 22. Now on p. 22. Page 45 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Appendix IV Comments From the Department of Defense The following are GAO’s comments on DOD’s letter dated May 19, 1997. 1. The 1996 DOD-commissioned study by the Institute for Defense Analysis GAO Comments corroborates our finding that DOD spectrum management was fragmented and inadequate. The study concluded that no single high-level DOD point of contact for spectrum management existed and that most influence resided within the services. According to the study, neither the Office of the Secretary of Defense nor the Joint Chiefs of Staff has official representatives to the Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee, the advisory body for spectrum planning and policy. Instead, each service has its own representative to that committee. The study also stated that the services primarily represent DOD in international frequency management matters. Further, the DOD-commissioned study stated weaknesses existed in carrying out some spectrum management functions, specifically, long-range planning. Our review also found these weaknesses. In addition, the study concluded that DOD needed to pay more attention to long-range planning and to provide more intercommunication, coordination, and cooperation among spectrum management organizations within DOD and between DOD and non-DOD organizations. Our work also convinced us that these long-range planning observations were valid. 2. We believe the study should include information on the impact of the 1993 act on the systems affected. Comments from the National Security Council and FCC fully suggest its inclusion. Moreover, Commerce had no objection to it. As we noted in our report, the 1993 act requires that the spectrum to be reallocated must not be “required for the present or identifiable future needs of the Federal Government and should not result in costs to the federal government that exceed the benefits gained.” The current DOD study is being done now because it was not done for the 1993 act. Information provided by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and officials from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence indicates that the Military Communications Electronics Board directed the Joint Spectrum Center in its current study to identify frequencies that DOD (1) must absolutely defend against reallocation, (2) can share with the private sector, and (3) can forfeit. Page 46 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Appendix IV Comments From the Department of Defense Additionally, Center officials told us that their initial assessment identified 15 frequency bands where DOD has exclusive use or is allocated priority use of the frequencies and that there are over 2,000 DOD systems operating in these bands now or planned by the year 2005. The officials said 154 of these systems, including CEC, were designated as key or representative systems and a more detailed technical analysis was required of each key system in the 15 bands to identify potential areas where government and private industry sharing can occur. (707182) Page 47 GAO/NSIAD-97-131 CEC Frequency Sale Ordering Information The first copy of each GAO report and testimony is free. Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the following address, accompanied by a check or money order made out to the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary. VISA and MasterCard credit cards are accepted, also. Orders for 100 or more copies to be mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. Orders by mail: U.S. General Accounting Office P.O. Box 6015 Gaithersburg, MD 20884-6015 or visit: Room 1100 700 4th St. NW (corner of 4th and G Sts. 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Defense Communications: Federal Frequency Spectrum Sale Could Impair Military Operations
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-06-17.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)