Improvements Still Needed in Assessing Military Readiness
T-NSIAD-97-107: Published: Mar 11, 1997. Publicly Released: Mar 11, 1997.
GAO discussed the military readiness assessment process, focusing on what: (1) disconnects are associated with readiness reporting and why they exist; (2) corrective actions have been proposed and taken to measure readiness; and (3) further actions are needed.
GAO noted that: (1) formal readiness reports provided by the Joint Chiefs of Staff's Status of Resources and Training System (SORTS) have sometimes indicated a higher state of readiness than appears warranted based on other information coming from military personnel in the field; (2) the implications are that the formal reporting system is overly optimistic in its readiness assessments, and questions can be legitimately raised about its credibility; (3) as GAO and others have reported, there are many shortcomings in SORTS that need to be addressed, including the: (a) lack of emphasis on readiness on a long-term basis, contrasted with the snapshot in time currently provided; (b) use of insufficient indicators to ensure a comprehensive assessment of readiness; and (c) inability to measure integrated readiness of joint operating forces; and (4) GAO's recommendations have been targeted toward helping the Department of Defense identify indicators most relevant to developing a more comprehensive readiness assessment and ensuring that comparable data are maintained by all services to allow the development of trends on the selected indicators.