Contingency Operations:

Providing Critical Capabilities Poses Challenges

NSIAD-00-164: Published: Jul 6, 2000. Publicly Released: Jul 24, 2000.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Carol R. Schuster
(202) 512-3000
contact@gao.gov

 

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

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the services' ability to continuously meet the challenges posed by contingency operations, focusing on six military assets that have been heavily used in contingency operations in a series of case studies.

GAO noted that: (1) the military assets GAO examined in the case studies continue to be in high demand relative to their numbers; (2) this has resulted in deployments in excess of deployment goals; (3) to ease the strain on these assets, the Department of Defense and the military services are taking a number of actions, which are described below along with GAO's assessment of them; (4) four of the Army's 10 active divisions and 1 of its 8 National Guard divisions were being affected by operations in the Balkans as of January 2000; (5) the Army has begun to use National Guard divisions to relieve the strain on active divisions and allow them to focus on their primary mission of being prepared for major war; (6) however, preparing the first Guard division that deployed to Bosnia required considerable effort, including the conversion of substantial numbers of Guard personnel to full-time status; (7) the Army does not have enough active-duty civil affairs capability to meet current requirements with its one 208-person active-duty unit, and until recently, there were concerns about having enough reserve civil affairs personnel to meet requirements in the Balkans; (8) the Navy and the Marine Corps each have four land-based EA-6B squadrons; (9) however, these squadrons together are unable to meet all requirements without exceeding their deployment goal of having twice as much at home station as the amount of time deployed; (10) the Air Force could meet current requirements for Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft and crews without exceeding its 120-day annual deployment goal if all 40 of its staffed crews were fully trained and available for worldwide deployments; (11) however, only 27 of its 40 crews are fully trained, and increasing this supply is problematic because of inadequate simulator training capabilities; (12) the Air Force has only 40 of its 54 authorized U-2 pilots fully trained; (13) this shortage of fully trained pilots has led to historically high deployment rates; (14) the Air Force has relayed certain requirements to attract and keep its U-2 pilots, however challenges remain and continued careful management of the use of these aircraft will be needed; (15) F-16CJ squadrons, particularly those stationed in the United States, have been one of the most utilized fighter squadrons for the past few years; and (16) however due to its part-time nature, the F-16CJ reserve component squadron unit will be able to cover only about 30 days of the rotation between it and the older squadron of less capable aircraft.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD agrees that lessons learned during deployments should be studied by units preparing to deploy to contingency operations. Lessons learned will be used to assist other Army National Guard and active duty units preparing to deploy to Bosnia. At this time there are no plans to deploy Army National Guard units to Kosovo.

    Recommendation: To alleviate some of the strain on the military forces and assets used in contingency operations, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to carefully scrutinize the actions taken to ready the 49th Armored Division to deploy to Bosnia before deciding whether to expand the use of the National Guard forces to cover the mission in Kosovo. In making this assessment, the Secretary should consider the transfer of specialized personnel, equipment, training, and other resources that were necessary and whether the same level of support can be provided to cover both Bosnia and Kosovo missions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD continues to believe that no change is warranted.

    Recommendation: To alleviate some of the strain on the military forces and assets used in contingency operations, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy reexamine the Navy's policy of limiting the use of non-deployed carrier-based EA-6B aircraft to less than 90-day land missions in contingencies. Specifically, the Navy should consider the feasibility of expanding the use of squadrons for full 90-day land missions when their associated carriers are undergoing extended maintenance.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD continues to believe that no change is warranted.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should reexamine using AWACS crews from the Pacific to cover worldwide missions within the context of the Global Military Force Policy.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 28, 2016

Sep 27, 2016

Sep 26, 2016

Sep 23, 2016

Sep 21, 2016

Sep 7, 2016

Aug 30, 2016

Aug 11, 2016

Jul 22, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here