Operation Desert Storm:

War Offers Important Insights Into Army and Marine Corps Training Needs

NSIAD-92-240: Published: Aug 25, 1992. Publicly Released: Sep 14, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the military ground forces' training and preparation for Operation Desert Storm, focusing on: (1) the focus of preparatory training; (2) factors accounting for the success of command and control of maneuver forces; and (3) what changes might be needed in future peacetime training.

GAO found that: (1) ground units varied greatly in their proficiency and cohesiveness when they were first deployed, but the delay in starting the ground war provided additional training time; (2) training focused on individual and small unit skills and built up to larger organizational levels; (3) resources constraints sometimes restricted the frequency and scope of training, but innovative approaches were used to make up for lack of supplies; (4) the Army and Marine Corps made more use than they had before of noncommissioned officers as primary trainers, as service training policies called for; (5) senior commanders credited their emphasis on battle staff training, including computer simulations, for the success of command and control of maneuver forces; (6) the desert war pointed out the need for additional peacetime training emphasis on joint training of ground, air and artillery forces in coordinating combat maneuvers, large-scale deployment training, and logistical support; and (7) because of time, personnel, and other resources contraints, training planners will have to closely examine training needs and priorities, and balance training methods, including innovative approaches that proved to be successful.

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