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This report assesses the effects of using and sharing installations and environment geospatial data assets within and across the business, warfighting, and intelligence mission areas of the Department of Defense (DoD) Global Information Grid. The authors found that the assets have diverse beneficial effects and support a wide range of missions, including installation and environmental management, training, homeland security, military health, and warfighting operations and planning. Common benefits include time savings, cost savings, cost avoidance, improved situational awareness, more effective communications, and improved operations, planning, and decisionmaking. The authors also developed a methodology for assessing the effects of sharing these assets. Despite the many benefits of sharing these assets, significant barriers exist to doing so. These barriers include security concerns, different information technology systems, lack of communication between diverse functional organizations, and insufficient data sharing policies and standards. A comprehensive appendix presents more than 130 examples of how geospatial data assets enable missions at different organizational levels. Finally, the authors offer recommendations for ways to help DoD overcome barriers to geospatial data asset use and sharing.

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

This report is part of the RAND monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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