Army Training:

Need to Strengthen Internal Controls Over Troop Schools

NSIAD-88-208: Published: Aug 4, 1988. Publicly Released: Aug 4, 1988.

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GAO evaluated the Army's management of its contractor-operated troop schools, to determine whether the: (1) Army determined troop school courses and the number of soldiers attending them in accordance with Army regulations; (2) contractors taught courses that were consistent with Army standards and doctrine; and (3) Army established effective controls over the schools' operations.

GAO found that: (1) since none of the facilities conducted adequate needs assessments or considered training alternatives before contracting for courses, the Army did not know whether it needed the courses or how many soldiers should attend them; (2) although many installations had certification programs to test soldiers' proficiency in certain duty positions, they did not implement review procedures to ensure that the tests met Army standards or adequately measured soldier proficiency; (3) the facilities had no internal controls to ensure that contractors did not use the certification programs to create a false demand for courses; (4) the Army had no established criteria to determine cross-training requirements; (5) many troop schools taught tactical or combat-related and leadership courses that duplicated courses that Army personnel taught; (6) many troop school officials did not submit course programs of instruction to the Army for review and approval, resulting in course content varying from base to base and the use of outdated Army doctrine; and (7) the Army had not developed course monitoring and evaluation guidance.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: TRADOC has initiated a review of troop school programs of instruction and plans to make the revisions needed to comply with current Army doctrine.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should ensure that programs of instruction currently used in troop schools are reviewed and approved by TRADOC schools.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army has determined that certification tests should be continued. The Army has developed 6 tests and all 12 tests will be completed by January 1991. Army Regulation 351-41 now instructs TRADOC to update certification of courses.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should determine whether soldier certification tests should be continued in view of the Skill Qualification Test Program in place throughout the Army. If certification is found to be necessary, the Army should develop standardized tests for use in all troop school programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army plans to implement internal control measures to ensure that needs assessments are accurate and that the total program is monitored for effective training. Draft regulations contain internal controls to ensure proper monitoring and evaluation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should develop and implement internal control procedures to ensure that adequate needs assessments are conducted before installations contract for training and that troop school programs are properly monitored and evaluated.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army has drafted revisions to chapter 11, AR 351-1, which state that, for company-size units, no more than two soldiers attend troop schools for the purpose of being trained as backup. Soldiers selected for troop school will have minimum of 2 years retention in the unit after course completion. The program effectiveness will be evaluated by the Army's Troop School proponent.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should develop standardized criteria for commanders to use to: (1) determine the number of soldiers who should be cross-trained to provide adequate backup expertise; (2) establish entrance qualifications for enrollment in troop school courses; and (3) evaluate program effectiveness.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army has drafted revisions to chapter 11, Army Regulation (AR) 351-1, which provide guidance to commanders in conducting needs assessments. While publication of the revision has been delayed, Army major commands are aware of policy changes and have reduced contracted troop schools for fiscal year 1990 accordingly.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should develop guidance on factors that commanders should consider, including alternative training sources, in conducting needs assessments.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army has directed TRADOC to review and approve Programs of Instruction's training materials to ensure they are consistent with Army-wide doctrine instructional procedures and standards. Effective October 1, 1990, only 16 courses will be authorzied to be taught in troop school programs; exceptions must be approved by TRADOC.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should direct TRADOC to develop standardized programs of instruction as new requirements for troop school courses are identified.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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