oversight

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)

                   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




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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.




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Figure 1: Cooperative Engagement Capability System




                                        Source: Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.




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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.



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                   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.



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                        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.



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                         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.



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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




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                     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.



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                      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.



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                            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,




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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.



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                             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



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                            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.




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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
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