Army National Guard:

Combat Brigades' Ability to Be Ready for War in 90 Days Is Uncertain

NSIAD-95-91: Published: Jun 2, 1995. Publicly Released: Jun 2, 1995.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Mark E. Gebicke
(202) 512-5140
contact@gao.gov

 

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

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army National Guard's combat brigades' war-readiness, focusing on whether: (1) the Bold Shift training strategy has enabled combat brigades to meet peacetime training goals; (2) the brigades' advisers are working effectively to improve training readiness; and (3) prospects of having the brigades ready for war within 90 days are likely.

GAO found that: (1) in general, none of the 7 enhanced brigades achieved the training proficiency required during the first 3 years of the Bold Shift training strategy; (2) in 1993, combat platoons mastered only 14 percent of their mission-essential tasks and less than one-third of the battalions met their gunnery goals; (3) the brigades could not meet staffing and personnel goals, since many personnel were not sufficiently trained in their individual job and leadership skills; (4) the brigades' training problems are long-standing and will be difficult to improve; (5) although training strategy revisions are under way, the improvements will take years to be effective; (6) the Army advisers' efforts to improve the Guard's training readiness have been limited by an ambiguous definition of the advisers' role, poor communications between the Army, advisers, brigades, and other Guard officials, particularly regarding training goals, and difficult working relationships between the Army and the state-run Guard; (7) it is highly uncertain whether the brigades could be ready to deploy 90 days after mobilization, since the Guard's peacetime training is inadequate; (8) the postmobilization model estimated that the brigades would need 68 to 154 days of postmobilization training before deployment, while another model estimated that the best trained brigades would need 102 days to deploy; and (9) brigade proficiency reports have generally overstated brigade readiness levels.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: All of the enhancements for the combat brigades are scheduled to be in place by FY 1999. At that time, the Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan will apportion the Enhanced Brigades to the warfighting CINCS and provide them with anticipated deployment times.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army, in consultation with National Guard leaders, should direct the Chief of Staff of the Army to estimate the timing of the brigades' availability for war based on the Army's plan.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Training and Doctrine Command has developed premobilization training strategies for both mechanized and light infantry forces.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army, in consultation with National Guard leaders, should direct the Chief of Staff of the Army to establish and document an Army plan for preparing the enhanced brigades to be ready to deploy to war that: (1) is based on realistic assessments of peacetime training proficiency and the resources available to support postmobilization training; and (2) stipulates the training steps involved, including when brigade-level training against an opposing force is not required.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Army does not plan to act on this recommendation because it believes that the requirements of the law--Section 1131, Title XI--do not permit deviation from responsibilities of the unit commander assigned to the active component.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army, in consultation with National Guard leaders, should direct the Chief of Staff of the Army to test additional steps to improve the integration of advisers assigned to the enhanced brigades by, for example: (1) providing the advisers with formal authority to review and agree or disagree with unit training plans and readiness reports; (2) including National Guard commanders as intermediate raters for all resident training detachment (RTD) advisers; (3) increasing enhanced brigade personnel authorizations to all RTD active duty officers to augment key brigade positions such as executive officers and training and operations officers; and (4) restructuring or increasing the size of adviser teams assigned to the brigades to provide for additional master gunners or other noncommissioned technical experts.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: FORSCOM published a resident training detachment memorandum of instruction in May 1995 that clarified training detachment members' role.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army, in consultation with National Guard leaders, should direct the Chief of Staff of the Army to reassess the role of advisers assigned to the enhanced brigades, clearly stipulate whether advisers are to identify and resolve training problems or only assist with training, ensure that advisers have the authority necessary to carry out their role, and document the advisers' role in memoranda of understanding with each state.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The goals are documented in FORSCOM/ARNG Regulation 350-2.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army, in consultation with National Guard leaders, should direct the Chief of Staff of the Army to document the training goals in guidance provided to the brigades.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: FORSCOM/ARNG Regulation 350-2, published in March 1995, includes the Enhanced Brigade pre-mobilization training strategy and goals.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army, in consultation with National Guard leaders, should direct the Chief of Staff of the Army to reassess premobilization training goals for the enhanced brigades to ensure that they are consistent with readiness requirements and achievable within available training time and resources.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army published the "Army Pamphlet on Operations Readiness", which provides unit commanders with guidance on the actual number of days required to perform specific events. The pamphlet also provides specific, objective measures for determining unit readiness.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army, in consultation with National Guard leaders, should direct the Chief of Staff of the Army to establish a training performance measurement system to provide: (1) objective measures of the enhanced brigade's peacetime training proficiency; (2) centralized oversight information about the status of training relative to those measures; and (3) criteria for commanders to follow when estimating postmobilization training time requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 22, 2016

Sep 21, 2016

Sep 19, 2016

Sep 12, 2016

Sep 8, 2016

Sep 7, 2016

Sep 6, 2016

Aug 25, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here