Military Training:

Limitations Exist Overseas but Are Not Reflected in Readiness Reporting

GAO-02-525: Published: Apr 30, 2002. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 2002.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Sharon L. Pickup
(757) 552-8100
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Rigorous, realistic training is key to military readiness. All U.S. military forces conduct frequent training exercises to hone and maintain their war-fighting skills. Combat units stationed outside the continental United States are able to meet many of their training requirements but face constraints in such areas as (1) maneuver operations, (2) live ordnance practice, and (3) night and low altitude flying. Training constraints cause adverse effects, including (1) requiring workarounds that can breed bad habits affecting combat performance; (2) requiring military personnel to be away from home more often; and (3) preventing training from being accomplished. To address these concerns, military commands and services are negotiating with host governments to lessen restrictions on existing training areas, but such actions are often done at an individual-service level and sometimes create unforeseen problems for other services and for existing training capabilities.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In commenting on a draft of GAO's report, DOD agreed with this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the chiefs of the military services in conjunction with the Undersecretary of Defense, Personnel and Readiness, to develop a report that will accurately capture training shortfalls for senior DOD leadership. This document should objectively report a unit's ability to achieve its training requirements. It should include a description of efforts to capture training shortfalls in existing as well as developmental readiness reporting systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In commenting on a draft of GAO's report, DOD agreed with this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the chiefs of the military services in conjunction with the Undersecretary of Defense, Personnel and Readiness, to develop a report that will accurately capture training shortfalls for senior DOD leadership. This document should objectively report a unit's ability to achieve its training requirements. It should include a discussion of how training constraints affect the ability of units to meet training requirements and how the inability to meet those requirements is affecting readiness.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In commenting on a draft of GAO's report, DOD agreed with this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the chiefs of the military services in conjunction with the Undersecretary of Defense, Personnel and Readiness, to develop a report that will accurately capture training shortfalls for senior Department of Defense (DOD) leadership. This document should objectively report a unit's ability to achieve its training requirements. It should include all instances in which training cannot occur as scheduled due to constraints imposed by entities outside DOD as well as all instances when training substitutes are not sufficient to meeting training requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In commenting on a draft of GAO's report, DOD agreed with this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct that the war fighting commands, in concert with their service component commands, develop an overarching strategy that will detail the initiatives the command and each service plan to pursue to improve training, such as access to additional host government facilities, participation in bilateral and multilateral exercises, and acquisition of new technology. This strategy needs to be vetted throughout the services to ensure that all factors are taken into consideration and that actions taken to improve training opportunities for one service are not made to the detriment of another service's ability to train or that training capabilities are not lost unintentionally.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 22, 2016

Sep 21, 2016

Sep 19, 2016

Sep 12, 2016

Sep 8, 2016

Sep 7, 2016

Sep 6, 2016

Aug 25, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here