U.S. Corps of Engineers:

Better Management Needed for Mobilization Support

NSIAD-93-116: Published: Apr 29, 1993. Publicly Released: Jun 1, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army Corps of Engineers' mobilization support mission, focusing on: (1) whether the Corps' mobilization support planning reflects the likely types of conflicts U.S. forces will be involved in; and (2) the Corps' readiness to perform its mobilization support mission.

GAO found that: (1) the Corps has based its mobilization support planning on a full mobilization of forces in response to a global war, including vast installation construction and improvement; (2) the Persian Gulf War demonstrated that facility expansion or construction in the United States would not be needed for regional conflicts, the Corps could fill an overseas in-theater support role during troop build-up and actual hostilities, and limited Corps personnel are needed for the support role; (3) U.S. military engagements since World War II have been limited regional conflicts, which are the most likely type of conflict to occur in the future; (4) although the Corps has made several initiatives to address its role in regional conflicts, it has not revised its primary mobilization support planning guidance or its personnel requirements to include regional conflicts; (5) in response to criticism, the Corps has taken actions to improve its readiness, but its readiness is difficult to evaluate due to the lack of objective standards and a reliable evaluation methodology; and (6) Corps headquarters oversight is inadequate, since it does not follow up on poor-performing or non-reporting divisions.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur in this recommendation. DOD's position, in contrast to the GAO finding, was that planning guidance for full mobilization was adequate for mobilization scenarios for regional conflicts.

    Recommendation: To enhance the ability of the Army Corps of Engineers to provide effective mobilization support to U.S. forces, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to establish a timetable for revising key planning guidance, including personnel requirements, so that it is consistent with mobilization scenarios for regional conflicts.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD agreed with this recommendation. The Corps drafted Engineering Circular EC 500-1-26, which incorporates objective standards and includes overseas support activities. The circular is out for comment until September 15, 1995. A Corps official indicated that the circular should be in place on or before October 30, 1995.

    Recommendation: To enhance the ability of the Army Corps of Engineers to provide effective mobilization support to U.S. forces, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to revise the Readiness Evaluation System to: (1) use objective standards; and (2) include overseas support activities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD agreed with this recommendation. The Corps drafted Engineering Circular 500-1-26, which combines readiness evaluation and corrective action into a single program. The circular is out for comment until September 15, 1995. A Corps official indicated that the new circular should be in place on or before October 30, 1995.

    Recommendation: To enhance the ability of the Army Corps of Engineers to provide effective mobilization support to U.S. forces, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to include continuing deficiencies reported under the Evaluation System in the Corrective Action Program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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