Measuring Military Capability:

Progress, Problems and Future Direction

NSIAD-86-72: Published: Feb 24, 1986. Publicly Released: Feb 24, 1986.

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GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) efforts to measure military capability to identify: (1) potential modifications to the Unit Status and Identity Reporting (UNITREP) system which provides one indication of military capability; and (2) initiatives in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the military services to develop analytical systems for assessing changes in military capability.

GAO found that the UNITREP information: (1) did not provide a comprehensive capability assessment; (2) did not measure military units' ability to accomplish combat missions; and (3) is not necessarily comparable from one unit to another or from one reporting period to the next. GAO also found that DOD attempts to develop improved tools for evaluating the impact of force structure and modernization changes on overall military capability have also proven a most difficult task. While several models which attempt to measure various aspects of war-fighting capability are being developed, the multiplicity of models and approaches suggests that there is no general consensus regarding what constitutes an acceptable measure. The current state of military capability forecasting is such that only inferences can be drawn from the variety of systems and models being used to forecast various aspects of military capability.

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