Military Readiness:

Current Indicators Need to Be Expanded for a More Comprehensive Assessment

T-NSIAD-94-160: Published: Apr 21, 1994. Publicly Released: Apr 21, 1994.

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GAO discussed the Department of Defense's (DOD) system for measuring U.S. military forces' readiness for traditional combat missions. GAO noted that: (1) the Status of Resources and Training System provides valuable data for assessing unit readiness, but the data is not comprehensive and cannot signal impending changes in readiness; (2) early warning indicators of readiness degradation include an increase in flying hour requirements to meet routine commitments, fund transfers to support increased operating costs, and the cancellation or deferment of planned training or logistics support activities; (3) the Persian Gulf War heightened DOD awareness of the importance of joint force training; (4) DOD has established an unified command responsible for joint military training for overseas deployments; (5) more precise measures of joint readiness depend on the availability of joint doctrine and training standards; (6) the frequency and length of deployments have increased for each service; (7) peacekeeping activities have both positive and negative effects on units' readiness to conduct traditional combat missions; (8) the future readiness system should focus on joint military training, have predictive capability, facilitate trend analyses, and provide more objective and candid assessments; and (9) simulation technology could help maintain and enhance units' warfighting capabilities in a resource constrained environment, but a balanced mix of simulation and traditional training is necessary to maintain a ready military force.

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