Army National Guard:

Validate Requirements for Combat Forces and Size Those Forces Accordingly

NSIAD-96-63: Published: Mar 14, 1996. Publicly Released: Mar 14, 1996.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Richard Davis
(202) 512-3504
contact@gao.gov

 

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

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the: (1) roles and missions of the Army National Guard's combat units; and (2) efforts by the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Army to redesign the Guard's combat divisions.

GAO found that: (1) despite reductions, the Army National Guard's combat units may still be too large for projected war requirements; (2) the Guard's eight remaining combat divisions and three separate combat units are not needed to meet the two-conflict strategy or any probable conflict scenarios; (3) DOD considers the excess Guard forces to be a strategic reserve that could be used as occupational and rotational forces, a deterrent against aggressive regimes, and support for civilian authorities, but it did not present any analytical support for the continued force levels; (4) DOD has not finalized plans for 15 enhanced Guard combat brigades, and fewer than 15 may be needed; (5) state missions often require more support skills and equipment than Guard combat forces, which usually supplement other state resources in emergencies; (6) over the last decade, states have needed only a fraction of the Guard's personnel to meet their emergency requirements; (7) the Army is studying ways that the Guard could meet critical shortages in its support capabilities; and (8) DOD believes that since Guard forces exceed combat needs, reserve components with lower priority tasks should be eliminated or reorganized to meet higher priorities.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The recently completed DOD Quadrennial Defense Review made an effort to assign missions to some National Guard combat forces. Another Army effort recommended redesigning some of the combat forces into support forces.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Army and the Director, Army National Guard, validate the size and structure of all of the Guard's combat forces.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The QDR made an effort to assign missions to some Guard combat forces. Another Army effort recommended redesigning some of the combat forces into support forces.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Army and the Director, Army National Guard, validate the size and structure of all of the Guard's combat forces.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The QDR made an effort to assign missions to some Guard combat forces. Another Army effort recommended redesigning some of the combat forces into support forces.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Army and the Director, Army National Guard, validate the size and structure of all of the Guard's combat forces.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: National Guard Bureau

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Quadrennial Defense Review determined that 45,000 total spaces could be cut from the National Guard and Army Reserve. As a result of further negotiations between the Reserve component and the Army, the Guard and Reserve agreed to cut 20,000 personnel--17,000 Guard and 3,000 Reserve. The cuts are to occur for the Guard as follows: 5,000 in 1998, 5,000 in 1999, and 7,000 in 2000. The cut for the Reserve will occur in 2000. It is unclear when and where the additional 25,000 personnel cuts will occur.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should prepare and execute a plan to bring the size and structure of the Army National Guard's combat forces in line with validated requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army and National Guard recently completed a study recommending the redesign of 12 National Guard combat brigades into support units. The Guard has begun this redesign. However, the effort will take considerable funding, most of which has not yet been provided, thus delaying the completion.

    Recommendation: If the Army study suggests that some Army National Guard combat forces should be converted to support roles, the Secretary of the Army should follow through with the conversion because it would satisfy shortages in its support forces and further provide the types of forces that state governors have traditionally needed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Quadrennial Defense Review determined that 45,000 total spaces could be cut from the National Guard and Army Reserve. As a result of further negotiations between the Reserve component and the Army, the Guard and Reserve agreed to cut 20,000 personnel--17,000 Guard and 3,000 Reserve. The cuts are to occur for the Guard as follows: 5,000 in 1998, 5,000 in 1999, and 7,000 in 2000. The cuts for the Reserve will occur in 2000. It is unclear when and where the additional 25,000 personnel cuts will occur.

    Recommendation: To the extent that there are Army National Guard forces that exceed validated requirements, the Secretary of Defense should consider eliminating them.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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