Military Transformation:

Army Actions Needed to Enhance Formation of Future Interim Brigade Combat Teams

GAO-02-442: Published: May 17, 2002. Publicly Released: May 17, 2002.

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In 1999, the Army announced its plans to transform its forces during the next 30 years to enable them to deploy more rapidly and operate more effectively during all types of military conflicts, from small-scale contingencies to major wars. The Army's goal is to be able to deploy a brigade anywhere in the world within 96 hours, a division within 120 hours, and five divisions within 30 days. The first step is to form and equip six interim brigade combat teams by 2008. Created to fill a gap in military capability, the teams are intended to be a lethal and survivable deterrent force that can be rapidly deployed around the world. The commanders in chief envision different uses for the teams according to the unique requirements of their respective regions. However, they generally agree that the teams should provide them with a broader choice of capabilities to meet their operational needs. The Army faces many challenges in assembling its first team. For example, some planned combat capabilities will not be present when the team is certified for deployment next year. In addition, the interim armored vehicle delivery schedule has compressed the time available for training. Army officials believe that the organization at Fort Lewis that was created to help assemble the brigades has been effective in dealing with day-to-day challenges. The Army is chronicling lessons learned in forming the teams, but this information is not readily available in a central source. As a result, the Army may be unaware of some best practices or may repeat mistakes in forming later teams.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department partially concurred with the recommendation. Based on the success of the Brigade Coordination Cell at Ft. Lewis, WA, the Army established an Army Transportation Team at each Stryker Brigade Combat Team fielding location. (Note: The IBCT later became known as the Stryker Brigade Combat Team.) The ATT provides the integrated management of unit and installation conversion, equipment fielding, individual and collective training, and eventual SBCT deployment.

    Recommendation: To assist subsequent installations where IBCTs will be formed in their planning, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to establish a Brigade Coordination Cell-type organization at subsequent IBCT locations to deal with day-to-day challenges.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department partially concurred with the recommendation. The Army estimated its installation requirements through the Program Objective Memorandum development process. The Army developed a draft Transformation Template for Installations to provide Army Major Commands and installations with a menu of facility requirements to support Interim Brigade Combat Team stationing, training, and sustainment. This template is the initial point whereby planners determine their facility shortfalls and develop a list of required projects to support an IBCT.

    Recommendation: To assist subsequent installations where IBCTs will be formed in their planning, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to estimate the extent and cost of facility improvements that will be needed at installations scheduled to accommodate the subsequent IBCTs to assist them in their planning.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department partially concurred with the recommendation. The Army tracks and manages personnel assignments and reassignments by the Personnel Command's career branches. The Army has a IBCT stabilization policy whereby personnel in Interim Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) units are stabilized until one year after the unit reaches Initial Operating Capability. There are exceptions to the stabilization policy, and that soldiers can reenlist and opt out of the IBCT unit to which they were assigned. Currently, the Army is closely managing the retention of soldiers assigned to IBCTs.

    Recommendation: To assist subsequent installations where IBCTs will be formed in their planning, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to collect and analyze data on why soldiers leave the IBCTs and take appropriate action to reduce personnel turnover.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department partially concurred with the recommendation, and said that the Army's Digital Training Strategy was approved on 10/9/03.The strategy addressed the majority of MACOM-defined critical and core requirements for Amy digitized equipment. The standard established a recognized standard to resource, train, and integrate the Army Battle Command System at all echelons. The Army's Training and Doctrine Command's (TRADOC) Collective Training Division serves as the Executive Agent, in close collaboration with HQDA-G-3, and at least anually reviews and revises the ADTS strategy to reflect changes in policy and operations.

    Recommendation: To assist subsequent installations where IBCTs will be formed in their planning, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to expedite development of a program to sustain personnel skills on digitized equipment so that it will be available for subsequent IBCTs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Department partially concurred with the recommendation, and said that the Army will continue to define mobility requirements to meet Interim Brigade Combat Team deployment goals. The warfighting CINCS are challenged by the priorization and availability of limited lift assests. IBCT deployment timelines are one of many considerations faced by the CINCs to fully realize the potential operational capability of the IBCTs. The Army dropped the 96-hour goal. In a follow-on report, we reported that the Army's 96-hour goal was not achievable.

    Recommendation: Because some mobility issues are beyond the Army's purview and a long lead time could be necessary to rectify any identified shortfalls, the Secretary of Defense should obtain the Army's specific IBCT mobility requirements to meet its goal for deploying a brigade anywhere in the world in 96 hours and determine how best to address any shortfalls.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department partially concurred with the recommendation, and said that the Army had analyzed and approved initial baseline logistics consumption estimates for the Interim Brigade Combat Teams. CINC planners continue to receive logistics data based on lessons learned from OEF and OIF. Army Service Component Commands are provided with IBCT sustainment planning guidance and as the logistics sustainment doctrine evolves, the Army will ensure that this is provided to the CINCS.

    Recommendation: To ensure that regional CINCs have the information they need to plan for mitigating any risks associated with shortfalls in IBCT combat capability as well as logistical requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to provide CINC planners with relevant logistics information as soon as possible so that they can adequately plan how best to support the IBCTs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department partially concurred with the recommendation, and said that the Army, through the CINC's Requirements Task Force, provides a successful forum to address CINC's concerns and to derive solutions. After additional collective training was completed and doctrine finalized, the Requirements Task Force continues to assist CINC planners in the employment of the IBCTs based on lessons learned from Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

    Recommendation: To ensure that regional CINCs have the information they need to plan for mitigating any risks associated with shortfalls in IBCT combat capability as well as logistical requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to estimate the combat capabilities that will exist at the time the IBCTs are certified as deployable and set milestones for providing this information to CINC planners.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department partially concurred with the recommendation. Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) began on-site collection of Stryker lessons learned in March 2000. Collection teams were established to develop initial impression reports. CALL publishes a monthly SBCT bulletin, hosts web-based Stryker/transformation discussion and established a transformation web site through the Army's Knowledge On Line account. The site contains numerous related lessons learned, articles, brefings etc. In May 2002, the Army published an Army-wide memo to reinforce CALL as the central repository of all SBCT and unit set fielding lessons learned. CALL, the BCC and G-8 made available web accessible forms whereby anyone can develop and electronically submit lessons learned. Once submitted, these lessons are validated, disseminated, and made available on the CALL website.

    Recommendation: To assist subsequent installations where IBCTs will be formed in their planning, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to provide a central collection point for IBCT lessons learned so as to make the information available to personnel throughout the Army.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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