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entitled 'Military Training: Funding Requests for Joint Urban 
Operations Training and Facilities Should Be Based on Sound Strategy 
and Requirements' which was released on December 8, 2005. 

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Report to Congressional Committees: 

December 2005: 

Military Training: 

Funding Requests for Joint Urban Operations Training and Facilities 
Should Be Based on Sound Strategy and Requirements: 

[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-06-193]: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-06-193, a report to congressional committees: 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

DOD emphasizes the need for joint training to prepare U.S. forces to 
conduct joint operations in urban terrain. It defines joint training as 
exercises involving the interaction of joint forces and/or joint staffs 
under a joint headquarters. To guide the servicesí plans to train 
forces for urban operations and construct related facilities, in May 
2002, the Senate Armed Services Committee directed DOD to establish 
facility requirements and, in May 2005, the committee directed DOD to 
complete its efforts and provide a requirements baseline for measuring 
training capabilities within the services and across DOD by November 1, 
2005. Due to DODís focus on joint urban operations and congressional 
interest in synchronizing service training and facility plans, GAO, on 
the authority of the Comptroller General, reviewed the extent to which 
(1) DOD has developed a joint urban operations training strategy and 
related requirements, (2) exercises offer opportunities for joint urban 
operations training, and (3) DOD has incorporated lessons learned from 
ongoing operations into its training. 

What GAO Found: 

Since 2002, DOD has made limited progress in developing an overall 
joint strategy for urban operations training and related facility and 
training requirements. In response to congressional direction, Joint 
Forces Command, designated as DODís executive agent for urban 
operations training, contracted for a study, completed in early 2005, 
to identify facility and training requirements. In May 2005, the 
Command began working with the services to review the studyís results 
and to develop the detailed facility and training requirements needed 
to form the basis for a joint training strategy. While the draft 
strategy identifies some facility needs, as of October 2005, the 
Command and services have not reached consensus on the level or types 
of joint training exercises needed to prepare troops for urban 
operations. As a result, the Command has been unable to finalize the 
strategy or the facility and joint training requirements that will form 
the baseline for measuring capabilities within each service and across 
DOD. DOD officials told us they will not be able to deliver the 
required baseline on time and instead plan to provide criteria for the 
Congress to use in evaluating service facility plans. Until the Command 
develops an overall strategy for joint urban operations training and 
related requirements, neither the Secretary of Defense nor the Congress 
will have a sound basis for evaluating service training and facility 
plans, and related funding requests. 

Despite DODís increasing emphasis on the importance of training for 
joint urban operations before deployment, few opportunities currently 
exist for training that places troops from different services on the 
ground working under a joint headquarters. Joint and service doctrine 
both require forces to be prepared to operate jointly across the full 
range of military operations. Various factors account for the lack of 
joint training opportunities, such as the servicesí focus on service-
specific skills, and the lack of an overall strategy requiring joint 
urban operations training, specific training requirements, and a formal 
mechanism to schedule joint training at service facilities. Without a 
strategy, defined requirements, and a joint scheduling mechanism, DOD 
cannot be assured that joint urban operations training will occur or 
that it will maximize the joint usage of training facilities. 

While DOD has taken steps to incorporate lessons learned from ongoing 
operations into its training program, training and troop personnel GAO 
interviewed offered suggestions, based on their own operational 
experience, for further enhancing training. One of DODís training goals 
is to train as it expects to fight. Based on feedback from ongoing 
operations, DOD has made several adjustments, including constructing 
urban structures, using civilian role players, and adding training on 
techniques to counter emerging enemy tactics. Persons GAO interviewed 
cited the need for more live-fire capability, larger numbers of role 
players, information gathering and cultural awareness training, and 
training with newly fielded equipment. While DOD plans more 
improvements, until it develops a strategy and specific requirements as 
discussed above, it lacks a solid basis to evaluate suggestions, and 
guide its improvement efforts and investment decisions. 

What GAO Recommends: 

GAO is making recommendations to improve DODís approach to joint urban 
operations training. In written comments on a draft report, DOD did not 
concur with one of GAOís two recommendations. After reviewing DODís 
comments, GAO continues to believe that both its recommendations are 
still valid. 

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-06-193. 

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
the link above. For more information, contact Sharon Pickup at (202) 
512-9619 or PickupS@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

Contents: 

Letter: 

Results in Brief: 

Background: 

Consensus Has Not Been Reached on DOD's Joint Urban Operations Training 
Strategy: 

Despite DOD's Goals, Few Opportunities Exist for Forces to Train 
Together for Joint Urban Operations: 

While DOD Has Incorporated Lessons Learned, Troops and Training 
Personnel Suggested Further Training Enhancements: 

Conclusions: 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

Appendixes: 

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology: 

Appendix II: Major Ongoing and Planned Urban Operations Training 
Facility Enhancements: 

Appendix III: Comments from the Department of Defense: 

Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

Related GAO Products: 

Tables: 

Table 1: Current Training Facilities that Can Support Joint Urban 
Operations Training: 

Table 2: Organizations and Locations Included on This Assignment: 

Figures: 

Figure 1: Army Urban Operations Training Site at Fort Campbell, Kentucky

Figure 2: Marines Execute a Helicopter-Borne Raid Exercise Using Flat-
top Roofs

Figure 3: Army Troops Practice Communicating with Role Players as Part 
of Their Training Exercise in Hohenfels, Germany

Figure 4: Army Live-Fire Convoy Training Exercise in Germany: 

Letter December 8, 2005: 

Congressional Committees: 

Recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have highlighted the 
challenges facing U.S. forces as they conduct military operations in 
urban environments, typically referred to as urban operations. These 
challenges include the presence of large numbers of noncombatants, a 
high density of buildings that complicate the coordination of firing 
weapons, a diminished effectiveness of communications equipment, and an 
increased ability of insurgents or guerrilla fighters to conceal their 
whereabouts. Based on ongoing operations, which often require U.S. 
forces to conduct urban operations, military commanders have 
increasingly called for more training in this area. In response, the 
Department of Defense (DOD) and the military services have begun 
placing a higher priority on urban operations training. DOD has also 
increasingly emphasized the importance of joint training, including 
exercises to prepare U.S. forces to conduct joint urban operations. DOD 
defines a joint exercise as the interaction of joint forces or joint 
staffs conducted under a joint headquarters according to joint doctrine 
that prepares forces/staffs to respond to operational requirements. DOD 
has designated the Joint Forces Command as the command responsible for 
joint training, and in particular, to act as the executive agent, for 
urban operations training. 

As the military services continue to develop plans for urban operations 
training and to construct or upgrade training facilities, and submit 
related funding requests, the Senate Armed Services Committee has 
directed DOD to develop requirements to guide the services' plans. 
Specifically, in May 2002, Senate Report 107-151, accompanying the 
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003, directed DOD 
to establish facility requirements and, in May 2005, Senate Report 109-
69, accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 
2006, directed DOD to complete its efforts and provide a requirements 
baseline for measuring training capabilities within each service and 
across DOD by November 1, 2005. In the latter report, the Senate Armed 
Services Committee noted the services will continue to address urban 
operations training requirements and expend resources independently 
with minimal coordination and cooperation until a comprehensive joint 
training plan and investment strategy are approved and implemented 
within the department. In response, the Joint Forces Command has been 
working with the military services to develop an overall training 
strategy that addresses the need for troops to train jointly for urban 
operations, and related facility and training requirements. According 
to Joint Forces Command, this strategy and the related requirements, 
once complete, is intended to satisfy the baseline required by Senate 
Report 109-69. 

Because of DOD's focus on joint urban operations and congressional 
interest in synchronizing service training and facility plans, we, on 
the authority of the Comptroller General, reviewed the extent to which 
(1) DOD has developed a joint urban operations training strategy and 
related requirements, (2) exercises offer opportunities for joint urban 
operations training, and (3) DOD has incorporated lessons learned from 
ongoing operations into its training. 

To address these objectives, we interviewed knowledgeable DOD 
officials, and analyzed relevant documents including DOD training 
doctrine, the draft urban operations training strategy, and the results 
of joint urban operations working group meetings. Additionally, we 
visited several service training installations and combat training 
centers in the United States as well as overseas, observed exercises, 
and analyzed training documents to identify the extent of joint 
participation in exercises and improvements made to urban operations 
training as a result of lessons learned from ongoing operations. We 
also conducted interviews with training personnel and troops recently 
returned from Iraq and Afghanistan to obtain their views on the type of 
urban operations training needed to realistically train troops as they 
will fight. We determined that the data we analyzed were sufficiently 
reliable for the purposes of this review. We performed our work in 
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards from 
January 2005 through September 2005. More details on our scope and 
methodology are presented in appendix I. 

Results in Brief: 

Since 2002, DOD has made limited progress in developing an overall 
joint strategy for urban operations training and related facility and 
training requirements. In response to congressional direction, the 
Joint Forces Command contracted for a study, completed in early 2005, 
to identify facility and training requirements. In May 2005, the Joint 
Forces Command began working with the services to review the study's 
results and develop the detailed facility and training requirements 
needed to form the basis for a joint training strategy. While the 
services have identified some facility needs, Joint Forces Command and 
service representatives have been unable to reach consensus on the 
level or types of joint training necessary to prepare troops for urban 
operations. As a result, Joint Forces Command has been unable to 
finalize the strategy or the facility and joint training requirements 
that will form the baseline for measuring capabilities within each 
service and across DOD. DOD officials told us they will not be able to 
deliver the required baseline by November 1, 2005, and instead plan to 
provide criteria for the Congress to use in evaluating service facility 
plans. Until Joint Forces Command develops an overall strategy for 
joint urban operations training and related requirements, neither the 
Secretary of Defense nor the Congress will have a sound basis for 
evaluating service facility and training plans, and related funding 
requests. As a result, we are recommending that DOD finalize 
development of its joint urban operations training strategy, including 
development of training and facility requirements, before approving 
service plans to construct or upgrade training facilities to support 
urban operations training. 

Despite DOD's increased emphasis on the importance of training for 
joint urban operations before deployment, few opportunities currently 
exist for joint urban operations training that places troops from 
different services on the ground working under a joint headquarters. 
Joint and service doctrine both require forces to be prepared to 
operate as a joint team across the full range of military operations. 
Furthermore, DOD guidance calls for transforming military training to 
better enable joint force operations by increasing the level of joint 
context in military training. Many existing urban operations training 
exercises include some joint aspects, such as training on coordination 
between ground forces and the Air Force, and a few exercises have also 
incorporated the use of a joint headquarters to train its battle staff 
on joint command and control. However, most urban operations training 
events fall short of the definition of a joint exercise as articulated 
in DOD's joint training policy--the interaction of joint forces or 
joint staffs conducted under a joint headquarters in a manner that 
prepares forces/staffs to respond to operational requirements. Various 
factors account for the lack of joint urban operations training 
opportunities, such as the services' focus on service-specific skills, 
and the lack of an overall strategy requiring joint urban operations 
training, specific joint urban operations training requirements, and a 
formal mechanism for the services to schedule joint urban operations 
training at each other's facilities. Without a strategy, defined 
requirements, and a joint scheduling mechanism, DOD cannot be assured 
that joint urban operations training will occur or that it will 
maximize the joint usage of training facilities. To increase the 
opportunities for joint urban operations training, we are recommending 
that DOD establish a mechanism for joint scheduling of joint urban 
operations training at major training centers. 

While DOD has taken steps to incorporate lessons learned from ongoing 
operations into its training program, training and troop personnel we 
interviewed offered suggestions, based on their own operational 
experience, for further enhancing training. One of DOD's training goals 
is to train as it expects to fight. On the basis of feedback from 
ongoing operations, DOD has made several adjustments to its urban 
operations training, including expanding and upgrading its urban 
training structures to more closely reflect urban conditions that 
troops can expect to face in current operations, using civilian role 
players to a greater extent to simulate the presence of urban 
populations, building convoy operations training courses, and training 
troops in techniques to counter emerging enemy tactics such as the use 
of improvised explosive devices. Discussions held with troops and 
training personnel revealed additional items that they believed could 
further enhance training, such as the need for additional live-fire 
capability, a larger number of civilian role players and more cultural 
awareness training to prepare troops for the required interaction with 
a large civilian populace once in theater, and training with newly 
fielded equipment such as the High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled 
Vehicle, the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight, and the Blue Force 
Tracker. While DOD plans additional improvements to current training, 
until it develops specific training requirements, it will lack a solid 
basis to evaluate suggestions and make improvements and investment 
decisions. 

DOD concurred with our recommendation on finalizing the joint urban 
operations training strategy and related requirements. DOD did not 
concur with our recommendation for establishing a mechanism to schedule 
joint urban operations training at major training centers. Our report 
shows that the lack of a formal mechanism for scheduling joint urban 
operations training at major training centers is one of the key factors 
accounting for the limited number of joint urban operations training 
opportunities. Our recommendation is intended to facilitate increased 
multi-service participation in urban operations training events. 
Without implementing this recommendation, DOD will continue to rely on 
the current service-centric scheduling systems that have resulted in 
few joint urban operations training opportunities that meet DOD's 
definition of a joint exercise. Therefore, we continue to believe our 
recommendation has merit. The department also provided technical 
clarifications, which we incorporated as appropriate. 

Background: 

Half the world's population lives in urban areas, and the trend towards 
global urbanization is continuing. Within the last 40 years, the United 
States military has conducted urban operations in locations such as 
Saigon, Hue, Beirut, Panama City, Kuwait City, Mogadishu, and the 
villages of the Balkans. Recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have 
highlighted the trend towards urban operations and the many challenges 
they present U.S. forces. Military planners recognize this trend and 
acknowledge the likelihood that enemies will continue to draw U.S. 
forces into cities to degrade U.S. military advantages. According to 
DOD, in the future, U.S. forces will likely conduct military operations 
in urban areas, which are characterized by multiple structures, 
numerous noncombatants, and complex infrastructure. These areas are 
also political, cultural, and economic centers, as well as hubs for 
transportation, information, and manufacturing. Thus, the urban 
environment constrains many of the advantages that U.S. forces 
currently enjoy in open environments, increasing the risks of high 
casualties to friendly forces and noncombatants, and extensive 
collateral damage. 

Moreover, once deployed, forces generally find themselves part of joint 
operations. In testimony the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for 
Readiness reiterated comments made earlier by the Secretary of Defense: 

"The wars and the conflicts of the 21st century will not be fought by 
individual services. Rather, they will be fought by joint forces, and 
more often than not, by combined forces. Therefore, we will have to 
think, train, and exercise jointly and combined, because let there be 
no doubt that is the way that we will fight."[Footnote 1] 

As part of its Training Transformation Program, DOD is attempting to 
provide more of a joint context to its training.[Footnote 2] DOD 
defines a joint exercise as the interaction of joint forces and/or 
joint staffs conducted under a joint headquarters according to joint 
doctrine that prepares forces/staffs to respond to operational 
requirements. To develop a stronger program of joint training, DOD 
designated the Joint Forces Command as the joint trainer for DOD to 
support the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as senior 
commanders worldwide in meeting joint training objectives. In 2002, DOD 
published its Doctrine for Joint Urban Operations[Footnote 3] and, 
recognizing the need to place a stronger emphasis on urban operations 
training, assigned the role of joint urban operations executive agent 
for training to Joint Forces Command. While the Office of the Secretary 
of Defense for Personnel and Readiness has overall responsibility for 
training policies, Joint Forces Command, as DOD's executive agent, is 
the "primary DOD point of contact and proponent for joint urban 
operations doctrine, training, and equipment," and is to lead, 
coordinate, and integrate the activities of the other DOD components on 
such matters. In this role, Joint Forces Command has conducted 
experiments on concepts of operations for joint urban operations and 
monitored lessons learned from ongoing urban operations. 

The training of U.S. forces for urban operations is primarily the 
responsibility of the services. Both the Army and Marine Corps, the 
services that conduct most urban operations, have developed fairly 
robust urban operations training programs for their ground forces. 
Figure 1 shows an Army training facility at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, 
with structures built to train troops in conducting urban operations. 

Figure 1: Army Urban Operations Training Site at Fort Campbell, 
Kentucky: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

The services train ground forces for urban operations based on a 
building-block approach beginning with specialty-focused individual 
training at their assigned installation, which normally focuses on 
individual basic skills needed to successfully conduct operations in 
urban terrain. Then they progress through collective training that 
sometimes includes other services on a limited basis. Training ends 
with a culminating exercise at a major training center, such as the 
Joint Readiness Training Center or Twenty-Nine Palms, and is based on 
real-time scenarios that troops may encounter in the urban environment. 
The Army and Marine Corps currently have plans to construct new or 
upgrade existing facilities to support urban operations training. 

Consensus Has Not Been Reached on DOD's Joint Urban Operations Training 
Strategy: 

Since 2002, DOD has made limited progress in developing an overall 
joint strategy for urban operations training and related facility and 
training requirements. In response to direction from the Senate Armed 
Services Committee in May 2002, Joint Forces Command, designated as 
DOD's executive agent for urban operations training, contracted for a 
study, completed in early 2005, to identify facility and training 
requirements. In May 2005, the committee directed DOD to establish 
joint urban operations facility requirements and a training 
requirements baseline by November 1, 2005. In May 2005, Joint Forces 
Command began working with the services to review the study's results 
and develop the detailed facility and training requirements needed to 
form the basis for a joint training strategy. While the services have 
identified some facility needs, Joint Forces Command and service 
representatives have been unable to reach consensus on the level or 
types of joint training necessary to prepare troops for urban 
operations. As a result, Joint Forces Command has been unable to 
finalize the strategy or the facility and joint training requirements 
that will form the baseline for measuring capabilities within each 
service and across DOD. DOD officials told us they will not be able to 
deliver the baseline as required by November 1, 2005, and instead plan 
to provide criteria for the Congress to use in evaluating service 
facility plans. Until Joint Forces Command develops an overall strategy 
for joint urban operations training and related requirements, neither 
the Secretary of Defense nor the Congress will have a sound basis for 
evaluating service facility and training plans, and related funding 
requests. 

DOD Directed to Develop Urban Operations Training and Facility 
Requirements: 

In the committee report accompanying the Fiscal Year 2003 National 
Defense Authorization Act,[Footnote 4] the Senate Armed Services 
Committee required a report by the Secretary of Defense that would 
establish requirements for facilities that support urban operations 
training within DOD. In response to the committee's direction, the 
Office of the Secretary of Defense and the joint urban operations 
executive agent, Joint Forces Command, contracted for a study that 
would examine urban operations training requirements and the resulting 
facilities that would be needed to conduct the necessary training. 

The study was completed in early 2005. According to DOD officials, 
while the study results have helped to inform the process, the detailed 
training and facility requirements contained in the study have not been 
formally adopted because there was not enough agreement among the 
services as to the usefulness or veracity of the identified urban 
operations training requirements in that study. Consequently, in May 
2005 Joint Forces Command convened a working group to develop joint 
urban operations training and facilities requirements on which to base 
a joint urban operations training strategy. 

In the committee report accompanying the Fiscal Year 2006 National 
Defense Authorization Act,[Footnote 5] the Senate Armed Services 
committee directed DOD to complete its efforts to establish the 
requirements for facilities and also directed it to establish, by 
November 1, 2005, a training requirements baseline against which the 
ability to train for urban operations within the services and across 
DOD could be measured. In the report, the committee expressed concern 
that the services would otherwise continue to address urban operations 
training requirements and expend resources independently with minimal 
coordination and that a critical opportunity to develop capabilities 
for joint training in urban operations was not being effectively 
pursued. In response to congressional direction, Joint Forces Command 
began working with the services to develop an overall strategy for 
joint urban operations and related facility and training requirements. 
According to DOD, this effort is intended to meet the congressional 
directive for a requirements baseline. 

Current Strategy Focuses on Need for Facilities: 

To date, the draft Joint Urban Operations Training Strategy, as 
currently drafted, primarily focuses on the need to enhance training 
facilities to accommodate larger, more realistic joint urban operations 
training events. The current draft strategy's focus is to identify the 
necessary locations for joint urban operations training for two 
audiences: (1) troops executing urban operations at the tactical level 
and (2) officers serving on the staffs of commanders conducting urban 
operations. As envisioned, the troops that execute the operations would 
undergo training that places members of different services together to 
learn to operate together and to overcome differences in standard 
practices, terms, and organizational cultures that can limit the 
effectiveness of operations. The draft strategy also envisions using 
three training range complexes comprised of existing training 
facilities in the western, central, and eastern United States, as well 
as improvements and expansions planned for some of these training 
facilities. 

For its second audience, the strategy suggested building new facilities 
in order to train staff officers in the skills associated with serving 
on a joint staff of a commander conducting urban operations. According 
to DOD, officers serving on a joint staff rarely receive significant 
and realistic training for this complex role in which they are called 
upon to make recommendations to the joint task force commander based on 
a myriad of facts and assumptions in a limited time frame. The draft 
strategy notes that many officers often spend more time in the course 
of their careers working on command staffs than they do in command of 
troops. In order to establish staff training, the strategy proposes 
building four new joint staff training centers large enough to handle 
battalion or combatant-command-level staffs to replicate the sort of 
command and control arrangements and joint staff processes they will 
encounter while serving as staff officers under a joint force 
commander. According to a Joint Forces Command official, these centers 
can provide adequate throughput for staff training if used in 
conjunction with the current Joint Operations Centers in Grafenwoehr, 
Germany, and at Joint Forces Command in Suffolk, Virginia. 

Lack of Consensus on Joint Training Requirements Stalls Strategy: 

The services have identified their respective facility needs to support 
urban operations training. However, the Joint Forces Command has not 
been able to finalize a draft joint urban operations training strategy 
because command officials and service representatives have not been 
able to agree upon joint urban operations training requirements. 
Specifically, there is a lack of agreement on the need for joint urban 
operations training events that place significant numbers of troops 
from different services together in urban settings. As Joint Forces 
Command officials continue to develop the draft strategy, they have 
pledged to continue working with the services and combatant commands to 
develop the joint urban operations training requirements through the 
working group process. To date, Joint Forces Command has provided only 
a very broad, overarching statement of the tasks that are unique to or 
significantly challenged by urban environments, with a focus on 
conducting joint urban operations at the operational level. 

Representatives from the Army and Marine Corps in attendance at the 
second session of the joint urban operations training strategy working 
group in August 2005 repeatedly emphasized the need for more 
specifically defined training requirements for joint urban operations 
before they could evaluate the draft joint urban operations training 
strategy and assess their services' commitment to it. Given the key 
role the services and combatant commands play in training forces--both 
troops on the ground and staff personnel--consensus on joint urban 
operations training requirements is necessary for the implementation of 
a joint urban operations training strategy. 

Because of the lack of consensus in the draft joint urban operations 
training strategy and related requirements, DOD has not yet developed 
joint training requirements to use as a baseline against which to 
measure capabilities within and across the services. As a result, DOD 
officials told us they will not be able to deliver the requirements 
baseline to the Congress by the November 1, 2005, deadline. DOD 
officials stated that, instead, they plan to provide a set of questions 
for the Congress to use as interim criteria in considering service 
funding requests for urban operations training facilities. These 
questions are intended to assist the Congress in evaluating the 
potential for joint usage of proposed facilities. Until Joint Forces 
Command develops an overall strategy for joint urban operations 
training and related requirements, neither the Secretary of Defense nor 
the Congress will have a sound basis for evaluating service facility 
and training plans, and related funding requests. 

Despite DOD's Goals, Few Opportunities Exist for Forces to Train 
Together for Joint Urban Operations: 

Despite DOD's increasing emphasis on the importance of training for 
joint urban operations before deployment, few opportunities currently 
exist for joint urban operations training that places troops from 
different services on the ground working under a joint headquarters. 
Various factors account for the lack of joint urban operations 
training, such as the services' focus on training service-specific 
skills, and the lack of an overall strategy requiring joint urban 
operations training, specific joint urban operations training 
requirements, and a formal mechanism for scheduling joint urban 
operations training at service-owned facilities. Without a training 
strategy, defined requirements, and a joint scheduling mechanism, DOD 
cannot be assured that joint urban operations training will occur or 
that DOD will maximize the joint usage of urban operations training 
facilities. 

Few Urban Operations Training Opportunities Exist that Meet DOD's 
Definition of Joint Training: 

DOD's Joint Training Policy, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 
Instruction 3500.01B, defines a joint exercise as a joint military 
maneuver, simulated wartime operation, or other Chairman of the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff/combatant commander-designated event involving 
planning, preparation, execution, and evaluation in which forces of two 
or more services interact as joint forces and/or joint staffs and the 
event is conducted based on approved joint doctrine that prepares joint 
forces or staffs to respond to operational requirements established by 
the combatant commander. Although there is often some level of 
jointness incorporated into Marine Corps and Army urban operations 
training events, these efforts fall short of DOD's definition of a 
joint training event because they do not include a joint headquarters 
and focus on service, rather than joint, training objectives. Marine 
Corps officials said that the Marine Corps includes some joint 
scenarios in its events and incorporates to some extent other service 
participation in performing certain specialty roles, such as air-ground 
coordination. The Army simulates some of the joint aspects of a 
battlefield in its training as well, such as the joint command and 
control structures troops are expected to encounter in theater, and it 
incorporates special operations forces when possible. According to 
Joint Forces Command officials, the Joint Operations Center at Joint 
Forces Command in Suffolk, Virginia, and the Joint Multinational 
Training Center in Grafenwoehr, Germany,[Footnote 6] are used to 
provide some officers with the type of joint staff officer training 
called for in the draft strategy. We observed the Joint Operations 
Center, which is used to provide officers with command and control 
training, at the Joint Multinational Training Center. Officers we spoke 
with stated that this was a great addition that increased the level of 
joint urban operations training. 

Although the services are taking these actions to increase jointness, 
training exercises are still primarily focused on service-derived, 
rather than joint, training objectives and for the most part do not 
include a joint headquarters to command the exercise. For example, an 
Air Force representative who was involved in supporting the Army's Air 
Warrior II training exercise at Fort Polk, Louisiana, which was 
designed to prepare troops for urban operations before they deployed, 
stated that the value of the training was limited for the Air Force 
because the training was designed around the accomplishment of Army 
training objectives. Additionally, an Air Force representative in 
Germany experienced similar difficulties in getting Air Force training 
objectives added to Army exercises. Furthermore, the troops and 
training personnel we interviewed, many of whom had recent operational 
experience in ongoing operations, emphasized the importance of training 
jointly for urban operations in order to maximize familiarity with the 
services' respective ways of operating and overall interoperability. 

Several Factors Contribute to the Lack of Joint Urban Operations 
Training: 

One important factor contributing to the lack of joint urban operations 
training is the services' focus on service-specific skills training. 
The two services that perform the bulk of urban operations training, 
the Army and Marine Corps, are proactively working to ensure that their 
troops are trained in the individual skills needed for operations in 
urban terrain. Soldiers and Marines are exposed to individual urban 
tasks in their basic training and specialty schools. The Army and 
Marine Corps primarily concentrate their urban operations training on 
enhancing the capabilities of individual soldiers and small units--
primarily squads, platoons, and companies. As noted in our June 2005 
report,[Footnote 7] historically, service training has focused on 
individual service competencies or mission-essential tasks, with less 
emphasis on joint operations. While this has allowed the services to 
meet their core training responsibilities, it has also contributed to 
the problem of forces often entering combat without prior experience or 
training in joint urban operations. 

Second, in the absence of a joint urban operations training strategy, 
there is currently no specific requirement for the services to train 
jointly for urban operations. While it is not urban-specific, the DOD 
Directive 1322.18, which advocates joint training, states: "To the 
maximum extent possible, the DOD components shall conduct joint 
training in accredited events at certified facilities, and shall 
synchronize schedules to integrate training events." However, the 
directive does not define what is meant by "to the maximum extent 
possible" and therefore provides the services much leeway in how much 
they participate in joint training. Absent a directive requiring the 
services to train for joint urban operations tasks at a specified level 
and specific joint urban operations training requirements, the services 
are likely to continue to focus their training on service-specific 
skills and tasks for which they are held accountable. As discussed 
earlier, Joint Forces Command expects the joint urban operations 
training strategy it is developing to include such requirements. 

Lastly, the services own the facilities used to conduct urban 
operations training and are currently using them primarily for service-
specific training requirements. While the services agree that joint 
urban operations training is needed, there is no formal mechanism in 
place to ensure that joint training requirements are incorporated into 
the different services' training schedules. Urban training that 
involves placing two or more battalions together is usually reserved 
for the combat training centers and these training centers are limited 
in throughput capacity. For example, the Joint Readiness Training 
Center normally sponsors 10 training rotations per year and is limited 
in its ability to expand the amount of rotations it can host per year 
to increase joint usage. Even though Joint Forces Command is the 
executive agent for joint urban operations, it does not have the 
authority to direct the services or combatant commands to modify their 
training plans to accommodate joint urban operations training. It is 
the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness that 
has overall authority over DOD training policies. Table 1 lists those 
facilities that can currently support large joint urban operations 
training exercises and staff officer training. 

Table 1: Current Training Facilities that Can Support Joint Urban 
Operations Training: 

Facility: Joint Readiness Training Center; 
Location: Fort Polk, Louisiana; 
Facilitates joint urban operations training for troops (battalions from 
different services): Yes; 
Facilitates urban operations training for officers on joint staffs: 
Yes. 

Facility: Twenty-Nine Palms; 
Location: Twenty-Nine Palms, California; 
Facilitates joint urban operations training for troops (battalions from 
different services): Yes; 
Facilitates urban operations training for officers on joint staffs: 
Yes. 

Facility: National Training Center; 
Location: Fort Irwin, California; 
Facilitates joint urban operations training for troops (battalions from 
different services): Yes; 
Facilitates urban operations training for officers on joint staffs: 
Yes. 

Facility: Joint Multinational Training Center; 
Location: Grafenwoehr/Hohenfels, Germany; 
Facilitates joint urban operations training for troops (battalions from 
different services): Yes; 
Facilitates urban operations training for officers on joint staffs: 
Yes. 

Facility: Joint Warfighting Center; 
Location: Suffolk, Virginia; 
Facilitates joint urban operations training for troops (battalions from 
different services): No; 
Facilitates urban operations training for officers on joint staffs: 
Yes. 

Facility: Sites with ability to link into Joint Training and 
Experimentation Network; 
Location: Various service installations; 
Facilitates joint urban operations training for troops (battalions from 
different services): No; 
Facilitates urban operations training for officers on joint staffs: 
Yes. 

Source: Joint Forces Command. 

Note: We are using the definition of Joint Training from DOD's joint 
training policy--the training event includes two or more forces and/or 
joint staffs, is conducted according to joint doctrine, and is run by a 
joint headquarters. 

[End of table] 

In a June 2002 report,[Footnote 8] we recommended that DOD create a 
database that identifies all ranges available to the department and 
what they offer, regardless of service ownership, so that commanders 
can schedule the best available resources to provide required training. 
Without a mechanism to schedule joint urban operations training at each 
other's facilities, DOD cannot be assured that joint urban operations 
training will occur or that DOD will maximize the joint usage of urban 
operations training facilities. 

While DOD Has Incorporated Lessons Learned, Troops and Training 
Personnel Suggested Further Training Enhancements: 

While DOD has taken steps to incorporate lessons learned from ongoing 
operations into its training program, training and troop personnel we 
interviewed offered suggestions, based on their own operational 
experience, for further enhancing training. One of DOD's training goals 
is to train as it expects to fight. The services have been using both 
formal and informal means to collect and disseminate lessons learned 
from ongoing operations to be incorporated into their training events. 
Based on this feedback, during the site visits we made, we observed 
that the services have made many improvements in their urban operations 
training such as: expanding and upgrading their urban training 
structures, using role players to a greater extent to simulate the 
presence of urban populations, building convoy operations training 
courses, and training troops in techniques to counter emerging enemy 
tactics such as the use of improvised explosive devices. Our 
discussions held with troops and training personnel revealed additional 
items that they believed could further enhance training to better 
reflect current operating conditions such as the need for additional 
live-fire capability, adding larger numbers of role players and 
providing more cultural awareness training to adequately prepare troops 
for the required interaction with a large civilian populace once in 
theater, and training with newly fielded equipment. While DOD plans 
additional improvements to current training, until it develops a 
strategy and specific facility and training requirements as discussed 
previously, it will lack a solid basis to guide its improvement 
efforts. 

The Services Use Both Formal and Informal Means to Collect and 
Disseminate Lessons Learned from Ongoing Operations: 

The Army and Marine Corps utilize both formal and informal means for 
capturing and disseminating lessons learned. According to service 
officials, to obtain information from ongoing operations, they send 
subject matter experts into theater with deploying units and capture 
lessons learned from troops returning from recent ongoing operations. 
Both services maintain databases, which are used to disseminate lessons 
learned information within and among the services. These databases 
include numerous lessons learned related to ongoing urban operations. 
For example, the Marine Corps database contains lessons learned on 
urban operations including basic Arabic language training, information 
on convoy operations tactics, and search techniques. Additionally, 
Joint Forces Command also sends subject matter experts into theater and 
its Joint Center for Operational Analysis maintains a database of 
lessons learned and helps facilitate the sharing of joint lessons among 
the services. Both the Army and Marine Corps formally disseminated the 
information collected through publications such as handbooks, 
newsletters, and official Web sites. For example, the Army's Center for 
Lessons Learned issued a tactical convoy operations handbook that was 
also used by the Marine Corps and the Special Operations Command, 
according to Army Center for Lessons Learned officials. Another formal 
method the Army uses to disseminate information is the "smart card," 
which is a compact card that easily fits in a soldier's pocket, thus 
providing quick access to information. The Army recently issued a smart 
card that served as a guide for knowledge about Iraqi culture. 

The services also utilize informal mechanisms for capturing and 
disseminating lessons learned. Officials we spoke with from the Army's 
Joint Multinational Training Center in Germany indicated that they rely 
more heavily on informal mechanisms, such as electronic messages from 
troops in the field and the "right seat/left seat" transition program. 
Under this program, incoming commanders learn the latest urban tactics 
by shadowing outbound individuals conducting urban operations. For 
example, incoming company commanders shadow outgoing commanders to 
learn about the intricacies of the local operating area and what 
practices have proved useful in conducting missions. Further, training 
center officials and troops we talked with indicated that they shared 
information on ongoing operations via available DOD databases. 

Integration of Lessons Learned Is Improving Urban Operations Training: 

The Army and the Marine Corps have recently made significant 
improvements in urban operations training curriculum and facilities 
based on lessons learned from ongoing operations and training events. 
Specifically, these services have adjusted their training curriculum to 
place greater emphasis on urban operations. While the Marine Corps 
introduced its revised combined arms exercise and security and 
stabilization operations training in 2003, it was not mandatory 
predeployment training until the summer of 2005, according to Marine 
Corps officials. The Army recently incorporated urban operations tasks 
into its Advanced Individual Training Program to ensure that soldiers 
receive predeployment training on warrior tasks and battle drills 
regardless of their occupational specialties, according to officials 
from the Army's Collective Training Directorate. Further, in June 2004, 
the Army issued guidance stating that it intends to provide all 
deploying brigade and battalion commanders and staff training on urban 
stability and support operations through its Battle Command Training 
Program. 

At training sites in Germany we visited, we found that Army trainers 
incorporated real-time scenarios from ongoing operations in their 
exercises to provide troops with training that realistically reflects 
the urban environment. For example, they incorporated Iraqi elections 
into the mission rehearsal exercise in July 2005 in anticipation of the 
conditions they would face once deployed. Other examples of curriculum 
changes that services had made to provide troops with more of the 
skills necessary to effectively face urban challenges included: 

* developing mobile training teams that deploy to training sites to 
provide instruction to Marines on the handling of detainees at 
detention operations; 

* placing more emphasis on search procedures related to dwellings, 
caves, and vehicles to locate insurgents or weapons; 

* delivering training on how to respond to improvised explosive device 
incidents;[Footnote 9] and: 

* training troops on how to conduct convoy operations. 

During our visits to training sites, we also observed that the 
facilities used for urban operations training had been expanded and 
upgraded to more closely reflect urban conditions troops can expect to 
face in current operations. For example, we observed small towns that 
had been enhanced to replicate urban terrain by including mosques, open 
markets, and flat-roofed dwellings. Figure 2 depicts Marines practicing 
raid procedures on flat-top roofs to simulate the type of buildings 
they would encounter in current urban operational environments. 

Figure 2: Marines Execute a Helicopter-Borne Raid Exercise Using Flat-
top Roofs: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Both services have populated these urban training facilities with role 
players that portray government officials, tribal leaders, religious 
leaders, and officials from interagency organizations. For example, the 
Joint Multinational Training Center has increased the total number of 
civilian role players to up to 600 participants, though not all are 
used in each training event. Our discussions with soldiers who had 
returned from operations in Iraq, however, stated that exercises need 
to include a larger number of role players to more realistically 
represent the urban environment. We noted that the Joint Readiness 
Training Center replicates the media and incorporates nongovernmental 
organizations and civilian role players in its training. Figure 3 shows 
an Army exercise that incorporates civilian role players to simulate 
local inhabitants in a Middle Eastern environment. 

Figure 3: Army Troops Practice Communicating with Role Players as Part 
of Their Training Exercise in Hohenfels, Germany: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Furthermore, we observed that the Marine Corps and Army have included 
newly built live-fire or simulated convoy courses in some of their 
urban operations facilities. Those with live-fire courses are 
emphasizing the importance of training troops on them at night and in 
adverse weather. Figure 4 shows training on a live-fire convoy 
operations training course in Germany. The services are also updating 
training to reflect changes to enemy tactics such as the use of 
improvised explosive devices. We saw incorporation of simulated 
improvised explosive devices at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and observed 
the newly developed training site for explosive devices at the Joint 
Multinational Training Center in Germany. 

Figure 4: Army Live-Fire Convoy Training Exercise in Germany: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

In addition to recent improvements, the services are currently planning 
further enhancements to existing training facilities. For instance, the 
Marine Corps is requesting funds to construct a large-scale urban 
training facility at Twenty-Nine Palms, California. The new facility 
will have up to 1,500 buildings, including live-fire capability, and 
outlying components such as an airfield, port, and villages. According 
to Marine officials, the facility will be large enough to accommodate 
joint training exercises with the Army. It is also expected to provide 
a venue from which to experiment, develop, and exercise 
joint/interagency urban operations with the Joint National Training 
Capability. The Marine Corps also plans to add a night driving course 
to pre-deployment training. Additionally, the Marines plan to add shoot 
houses at Camp Pendleton, Camp Lejeune, and Marine Corps Base Quantico. 
Likewise, the Army is in the process of improving its combat training 
centers by adding more buildings and instrumentation, and its major 
installations by providing shoot houses, urban assault courses, breach 
facilities, and combined arms collective training facilities. Army 
officials at the Joint Multinational Training Center have initiated an 
effort to enhance training through the development of an Expeditionary 
Instrumentation System, which is a new mobile instrumentation 
capability that provides feedback to the battalion at any training site 
that lacks instrumentation. According to its developers, the mobile 
nature of the system will also help alleviate capacity concerns 
throughout the Army, turning any location into an instrumented range. 
See appendix II for a description of major ongoing and planned urban 
operations training facility enhancements. 

Troops and Training Personnel Identified Further Training Enhancements 
That They Believe Would Better Reflect Current Operating Conditions: 

One of DOD's training goals is to train as it expects to fight and 
discussions held with troops and training personnel revealed additional 
items that they believe could further enhance training to better 
reflect current operating conditions. Personnel identified enhancements 
such as the need for additional live-fire capability, adding more 
civilian role players in exercises and providing additional information 
gathering and cultural awareness training, and having newly fielded 
equipment available to train with at the training centers. 

Additional Live-Fire Training: 

The troops we spoke with stated that the live-fire training they 
received prior to deployment was infrequent and did not sufficiently 
prepare them to use their weapons in an urban setting. Training 
personnel at facilities we visited stated that the facilities' live-
fire capability is limited due to environmental issues and concerns 
about safety when training in urban operations training sites with role 
players. In lieu of live-fire training, urban operations facilities 
have simulated shooting drills, including video and target 
instrumentation, to provide the experience of live-fire urban 
operations. 

More Role Players and Greater Emphasis on Cultural Awareness Training: 

Further, although we observed role players included in the training 
exercises we visited, troops noted that more were needed and additional 
cultural awareness training would be beneficial. They noted operating 
in an urban environment, against an elusive enemy with the ability to 
hide among the civilian population, requires troops to be able to work 
more closely with local people, in many cases on an individual basis, 
to conduct stability and support operations, peacekeeping, humanitarian 
missions, and the gathering of information. Troops we spoke with 
indicated that the number of role players included in exercises is not 
sufficient to adequately prepare them for the density and level of 
persistent contact that is typical of noncombatants in the urban 
environment. In addition, troops and training personnel we interviewed 
wanted the role players to more actively engage the troops during the 
exercises to better replicate operational conditions. The troops and 
trainers also indicated that more cultural awareness training, which 
would include basic language training, would be helpful to establish 
and maintain communication with local civilians so that they could 
better interact with civilians and minimize civilian interference with 
military operations. Currently, training exercises contain some level 
of cultural awareness and civil affairs training by including role 
players that interact with troops, and exercises that we observed 
emphasized the use of translators when working with the local 
population. However, access to translators in training is limited, and 
officials and troops agreed that translators were not often available 
for everyday interaction with civilians and so further training would 
be beneficial. Both the Marine Corps and Army have taken steps to 
improve this training; the Marine Corps has established an advanced 
cultural awareness center and according to an Army official, the Army 
continually updates its cultural awareness training to reflect 
conditions in current operations. 

New Equipment Available for Training Prior to Deployment: 

Troops and training personnel identified a third area for further 
enhancement: the ability to train with newly fielded equipment prior to 
deployment. Troops we interviewed who had returned from ongoing 
operations stated that there were several pieces of equipment that they 
used in theater that had not been available to train with prior to 
deployment. These items had been developed to help alleviate the 
difficulties of conducting urban operations by addressing the 
adversaries' tactics, such as improvised explosive devices, and the 
adversaries' ability to conceal themselves in an urban environment. 
According to training personnel and DOD officials, limited production 
quantities and the need for the items in theater to respond to rapidly 
changing operational environments makes it difficult for the training 
centers to initially have the items. Some examples of newly fielded 
equipment that are in limited supply but DOD believes will improve 
troops' ability to conduct urban operations include the following. 

* Up-armored High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV). These 
vehicles are not available at some training facilities and only the 
soft-top HMMWVs were on hand for training exercises, according to 
officials at the Joint Multinational Training Center in Hohenfels and 
Twenty-Nine Palms. Traveling in the up-armored HMMWVs provides greater 
protection from improvised explosive devices while maintaining 
transport mobility for forces, civil affairs teams, and engineers 
operating in urban areas. However, Army and Marine Corps officials and 
troops that we interviewed stated that the up-armored HMMWVs used in 
theater were top-heavy, difficult to maneuver, and required different 
tactical procedures from the soft-top HMMWVs when used in combat. 

* The Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight. This gunsight is another piece 
of equipment used in conducting urban operations that has been quickly 
fielded into theater, but limited quantities prevented its use in 
training prior to deployment. Officials stated that this item greatly 
enhanced troops' ability to precisely target long-distance hostile 
forces in all lighting conditions, which is critical to an urban 
setting where lighting plays a key role. 

* New improvised explosive device detection and disabling equipment. 
These devices were not at some training facilities we visited, and some 
troops noted that their absence hampered the troops' use of the items 
in theater because the instructions were difficult to understand. 
Officials at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Joint Multinational 
Training Center, and Camp Lejeune stated that more specific training on 
the use of improvised explosive device detection equipment would 
facilitate its use in theater. 

* Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below System, also known as 
Blue Force Tracker. Blue Force Tracker is a satellite-based tracking 
and communication system that gives an all-weather, near real-time 
picture of the battlefield. Troops we interviewed stated that they were 
not exposed to Blue Force Tracker in training, although it has been 
essential in conducting urban operations in Iraq because of its ability 
to distinguish friendly forces from adversaries. 

Officials and troops agreed that exposure to these items before 
arriving in theater would have better prepared them to operate in the 
urban environment. Training center and other DOD officials stated that 
they would like to see a greater priority given to placing high-demand 
items like the ones mentioned at the training centers to increase the 
troops' level of exposure to this equipment before deployment. While 
DOD plans additional improvements, until it develops a strategy and 
specific facility and training requirements, it will lack a solid basis 
to evaluate suggestions and make improvements and investment decisions. 

Conclusions: 

DOD has continually emphasized the importance of joint training, 
including to prepare U.S. forces to conduct joint military operations 
in urban environments. The inherent complexities of operating in urban 
environments, DOD's expectation that urban environments will play a 
significant role in future military operations, and that most of these 
operations will be conducted jointly, coupled with the combatant 
commanders' interest in ensuring U.S. forces are sufficiently prepared, 
are significant incentives for Joint Forces Command and services to 
develop and implement an overall joint training strategy and related 
requirements. In addition, the fact that U.S. forces are currently 
involved in urban operations adds a tangible sense of urgency for joint 
training. Notwithstanding these incentives, current training exercises 
offer few opportunities for U.S. forces to train jointly for urban 
operations. An overall strategy requiring joint urban operations 
training and clearly defined facility and training requirements, and a 
mechanism for scheduling joint training at training facilities, would 
provide a framework to assign accountability, synchronize the services' 
training efforts to ensure they include joint training, and maximize 
the joint usage of training facilities. In the absence of this 
framework, DOD risks that the services will continue to pursue their 
respective service-specific training and facility plans. Until DOD 
develops an overall strategy for joint urban operations training and 
related requirements, neither the Secretary of Defense nor the Congress 
will have a sound basis for evaluating service training and facility 
plans, and related funding requests. To its credit, DOD and the 
services have actively sought to incorporate lessons learned during 
ongoing operations and made several adjustments to make the training 
environment more reflective of operational conditions. To further 
enhance training, the troops and training personnel we interviewed 
identified several additional adjustments that they believed would 
further enhance urban operations training. However, until DOD develops 
a strategy and related requirements, it lacks a solid basis to evaluate 
suggestions, and make improvements and investment decisions. 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

To improve DOD's approach to joint urban operations training, we are 
recommending that the Secretary of Defense direct the Commander, Joint 
Forces Command to: 

* Finalize development of the joint urban operations training strategy 
and related requirements including joint training tasks and standards, 
level and types of joint training exercises to be conducted, and 
facility needs. Once established, we envision this framework would be 
used to guide the review and approval of service training and facility 
plans, and to guide efforts to make additional improvements to existing 
urban operations training curriculum, including evaluating any 
suggestions from training and troop personnel. 

To increase opportunities for joint training and maximize the joint 
usage of training facilities, we are recommending that the Secretary of 
Defense: 

* direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to 
establish a mechanism for scheduling joint urban operations training at 
major training centers to facilitate increased multiservice 
participation in urban operations training. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD concurred with our first 
recommendation and did not concur with the second. DOD concurred with 
our first recommendation that the Secretary of Defense direct the 
Commander, Joint Forces Command, to finalize development of the joint 
urban operations training strategy and related requirements including 
joint training tasks and standards, levels, and types of joint training 
exercises to be conducted. DOD stated that current efforts, when 
completed, will adequately address this recommendation without further 
direction from the Secretary of Defense. DOD also noted its view that 
we seemed to blur the distinction between what it characterized as two 
separate actions--Joint Forces Command's efforts to develop a joint 
training strategy for urban operations and DOD's efforts to develop 
criteria for evaluating service plans to construct training facilities. 
We note that efforts to develop the joint strategy have been underway 
for some time and continue to believe that the lack of consensus within 
DOD regarding the draft strategy may delay the completion of this 
effort without further emphasis and monitoring from the Secretary of 
Defense. Furthermore, we believe that the strategy and evaluation 
criteria should not be viewed as separate actions, but rather must be 
clearly linked. As discussed in our report, until Joint Forces Command 
develops an overall strategy for joint urban operations training and 
related requirements, neither the Secretary of Defense nor the Congress 
will have a sound basis for evaluating service facility and training 
plans, and related funding requests. 

DOD did not concur with our second recommendation that the Secretary of 
Defense direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and 
Readiness to establish a mechanism for scheduling joint urban 
operations training at major training centers to facilitate increased 
multiservice participation in urban operations training. In its 
response, DOD stated that it remains strongly committed to a 
decentralized training ranges and facilities management solution in 
supporting the services' Title 10 responsibilities. DOD also noted the 
Office of the Secretary of Defense is providing planning support, 
oversight, and policy guidance to ensure all its training resources 
support service, cross-service, and joint needs and goals. DOD further 
stated that it is committed to maximizing system integration, sharing 
of data, and facilitation of the services' scheduling processes to 
better leverage all assets for the full benefit of military readiness. 
However, we note that, to date, DOD has not given sufficient leadership 
attention to ensuring necessary coordinated action among the services 
to accomplish these goals. We believe the lack of progress is more an 
issue of leadership to ensure coordinated action among the key 
stakeholders than an issue of usurping the services' Title 10 
responsibilities. Our report shows that the lack of a formal mechanism 
for scheduling joint urban operations training at major training 
centers is one of the key factors accounting for the limited number of 
joint urban operations training opportunities. Our recommendation is 
intended to facilitate increased multiservice participation in urban 
operations training events. Without focused leadership efforts on the 
part of DOD to ensure coordinated action among the services to 
establish a mechanism to schedule joint training, we believe that DOD 
will perpetuate the current situation in which few exercises are joint 
according to its definition. Therefore, we continue to believe our 
recommendation has merit. 

DOD's comments are reprinted in appendix III. DOD also provided 
technical clarifications, which we incorporated as appropriate. 

We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Defense, 
Undersecretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness), and the Commander, 
U.S. Joint Forces Command. We will also make copies available to others 
upon request. In addition, the report will be available at no charge on 
the GAO Web site at http://www.gao.gov. 

Should you or your staff have any questions regarding this report, 
please contact me at (202) 512-9619. Contact points for our Offices of 
Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last 
page of this report. Key contributors to this report are listed in 
appendix IV. 

Signed by: 

Sharon L. Pickup, Director: 
Defense Capabilities and Management: 

List of Congressional Committees: 

The Honorable John Warner: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Carl Levin: 
Ranking Minority Member: 
Committee on Armed Services: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Duncan L. Hunter: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Ike Skelton: 
Ranking Minority Member: 
Committee on Armed Services: 
House of Representatives: 

[End of section] 

Appendixes: 

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology: 

To determine DOD's overall approach to training for urban operations, 
we reviewed relevant DOD plans, policies, and guidance, and other 
documentation related to urban operations training. We discussed urban 
operations training with a variety of officials from the Office of the 
Secretary of Defense, service headquarters, Joint Forces Command, 
operational units of the Army and Marine Corps, training organizations, 
and other related organizations. Specifically, we did the following: 

* To determine the extent to which DOD has made progress in 
establishing a strategy for joint urban operations training, we 
discussed with officials at Joint Forces Command and the Office of the 
Secretary of Defense the process and associated timelines for strategy 
development and approval. We attended meetings of the joint urban 
operations training working group and reviewed the draft strategy as it 
evolved to monitor progress towards strategy development and gaining 
buy-in from the services and combatant commanders. Further, we analyzed 
DOD's draft strategy and assessed to what extent it included defined 
joint urban operations training requirements and identified who needed 
to accomplish the requirements. Lastly, we reviewed legislation 
pertaining to this issue and determined whether DOD's draft strategy 
would address the congressional directive that DOD establish joint 
urban operations facility requirements and a training requirements 
baseline by November 1, 2005. 

* To determine the extent to which current exercises provide 
opportunities for joint urban operations training, we analyzed joint 
and service urban operations training doctrine and policy to determine 
how joint urban operations training exercises are defined, and the 
level of joint training that is required by those documents. We 
interviewed officials from Joint Forces Command and Office of the 
Secretary of Defense to determine the number of joint urban operations 
training exercises that have occurred this year. In addition, we 
interviewed troops who had returned from operations in Afghanistan and 
Iraq to determine how much joint urban training they receiving before 
deploying and how they felt the training prepared them for conducting 
urban operations they took part in. Lastly, we interviewed service 
trainers and observed some exercises to determine the level of joint 
urban operations training incorporated into current training events. 

* To determine the extent to which DOD has incorporated lessons learned 
into its urban operations training to reflect current operational 
conditions, we observed Army and Marine Corps urban operations 
training, reviewed changes made to course curriculum to incorporate 
real-time scenarios troops could expect to encounter in theater, 
discussed with officials from the Army and Marine Corps lessons learned 
offices and training centers the means of collecting and disseminating 
lessons learned, and obtained documentation on changes made to training 
curriculum and facilities based on these lessons. Further, we reviewed 
lessons learned publications and databases to assess the type and 
amount of information dealing with urban operations that are readily 
available to troops. Lastly, we interviewed troops who had returned 
from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, many of whom were readying for 
a second deployment, to assess how lessons learned were shared in 
theater and the extent to which training had been updated since their 
first deployment. 

Table 2: Organizations and Locations Included on This Assignment: 

Organizations: Army; 
Locations: 
* Headquarters, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C; 
* Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, LA; 
* Headquarters, Forces Command, Fort McPherson, GA; 
* Center for Army Lessons Learned, Fort Leavenworth, KS; 
* Combat Training Center Directorate, Fort Leavenworth, KS; 
* Battle Command Training Program, Fort Leavenworth, KS; 
* 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, TX; 
* 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, KY; 
* 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, NY; 
* Joint Multinational Command Training Center, Grafenwoehr, Germany. 
* Joint Multinational Readiness Group, Hohenfels, Germany. 

Organizations: Marine Corps; 
Locations: 
* Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps Training and Education Command, 
Quantico, VA; 
* Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, VA; 
* Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, Quantico, VA; 
* Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned, Quantico, VA; 
* March Air Reserve Base, CA[A]; 
* Marine Corps Base, Twenty-Nine Palms, CA. 
* 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, NC. 

Organizations: Air Force; 
Locations: 
* Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base, VA. 

Organizations: Joint Organizations; 
Locations: 
* The Office of the Secretary of Defense, Programs and Readiness; 
* Joint Training and Ranges Office, Washington, D.C. 
* Joint Forces Command, Suffolk, VA: 
- Joint Urban Operations Office; 
- Joint Warfighting Center, Capabilities Group; 
- Joint Center for Operational Analysis and Lessons Learned. 

Source: GAO. 

[A] As of September 2005, Marine Corps training at March Air Reserve 
Base was moved to Twenty-Nine Palms. 

[End of table] 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: Major Ongoing and Planned Urban Operations Training 
Facility Enhancements: 

ARMY: Enhancement: Shoot house[A]; 
Description: The shoot house is a single story, multiroom building with 
multiple points of entry designed for individual, squad, and platoon 
live-fire training. 

Enhancement: Urban assault course[A]; 
Description: The urban assault course is a five-station training 
facility that is designed to train individuals, squads, and platoons. 
It includes a two-story offense/defense building, grenadier gunnery, an 
underground trainer, and two individual-through-platoon task/technique 
training ranges. 

Enhancement: Breach facility[A]; 
Description: The breach facility includes wall, door, and window breach 
locations and provides training for individuals, teams, and squads in 
breaching techniques and procedures. 

Enhancement: Combined arms collective training facility[A]; 
Description: A complex of 20-26 buildings that provides combined arms 
collective training for platoon and company situational exercises and 
battalion task force field training exercises. 

Enhancement: Instrumentation; 
Description: Shoot houses and urban assault courses have limited video 
capture and targetry control capability for enhanced safety monitoring 
and rapid training feedback (after action reviews). Combined arms 
collective training facilities have limited exterior and interior 
video, targetry control, and a more comprehensive after action review 
capability. 

Enhancement: Additional buildings; 
Description: Installations plan to add structures (shanty towns) and 
debris (salvage cars) to the combined arms collective training facility 
for increased realism. These are added at little or no additional cost 
and require no sustainment. There is no dedicated funding for 
additional buildings at this time. 

Source: U.S. Army: 

[A] The Army plans to have these structures at every Brigade Combat 
Team home station, at the Combat Training Centers, and at installations 
identified as Power Projection Platforms and Power Support Platforms as 
prioritized by the Army Campaign Plan and the Army Training and 
Doctrine Command. 

[End of table] 

Marine Corps: 

Enhancement: Shoot houses; 
Description: The Marine Corps is installing shoot houses to provide 
Marines with training on tactics, techniques, and procedures involved 
with urban shooting. The shoot houses will be installed at Camp 
Lejeune, Camp Pendleton, and Quantico Marine Corps bases. 

Enhancement: Convoy operations range; 
Description: The live-fire convoy operations range is designed to 
simulate and provide live-fire convoy and counter-ambush training. The 
Marine Corps has installed a live-fire convoy range at Twenty-Nine 
Palms and Camp Lejeune Marine Corps bases. 

Enhancement: Non-live-fire urban operations training facilities; 
Description: The non-live-fire urban operations training facilities are 
designed to support maneuver training, basic urban skills training, and 
security and stability training for battalion-sized units and below. 
The Marine Corps plans to install live-fire urban operations training 
facilities at Twenty-Nine Palms and Camp Lejeune Marine Corps bases. 

Enhancement: Live-fire urban operations training facility; 
Description: The live-fire urban operations training facility is 
designed to provide live-fire and maneuver training for company-sized 
units and below. The Marine Corps plans to install a live-fire urban 
operations training facility, consisting of 15-30 buildings, at Camp 
Lejeune Marine Corps base. 

Enhancement: Instrumentation; 
Description: Adding capability at training sites to capture and record 
training events and to use the data for after action reviews, enabling 
the review of training events and the capture of lessons learned. 

Enhancement: Additional buildings; 
Description: Increasing the number of buildings at training sites to 
more realistically replicate the urban environment where density of 
buildings complicates military maneuver. 

Source: U.S. Marine Corps. 

[End of table] 

[End of section] 

Appendix III: Comments from the Department of Defense: 

OFFICE OF THE UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: 
PERSONNEL AND READINESS: 
4000 DEFENSE PENTAGON: 
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20301-4000: 

DEC 01 2005: 

Ms. Sharon L. Pickup: 
Director, Defense Capabilities and Management: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, N.W. 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 

Dear Ms. Pickup: 

This is the Department of Defense (DoD) response to the Government 
Accountability Office Draft Report, "MILITARY TRAINING: Funding Request 
for Joint Urban Operations Training and Facilities Should be Based on a 
Sound Strategy and Requirements," dated October 31, 2005 (GAO Code 
350617/GAO-06-193). 

The Department appreciates the opportunity to comment on this draft. We 
agree with GAO's first recommendation to complete the Joint Urban 
Operations study in order to identify Joint requirements for Urban 
Operations. Given Service Tide 10 responsibilities, we non-concur with 
the GAO's recommendation to develop a centralized scheduling capability 
for Joint Urban Operations facilities. The Department's comments to the 
GAO draft recommendations are enclosed. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

Paul W. Mayberry: 
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Readiness): 

Enclosure: As stated: 

GAO DRAFT REPORT-DATED OCTOBER 31, 2005 GAO CODE 350617/GAO-06-193: 

"MILITARY TRAINING: Funding Request for Joint Urban Operations Training 
and Facilities Should Be Based on a Sound Strategy and Requirements" 

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE COMMENTS TO THE RECOMMENDATIONS: 

RECOMMENDATION 1: The GAO recommended that the Secretary of Defense 
direct the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff to direct Joint Forces 
Command to finalize development of the joint urban operations training 
strategy and related requirements including joint training tasks and 
standards, level and types of joint training exercises to be conducted, 
and facility needs. (Page 27/GAO Draft Report): 

DOD RESPONSE: Concur with comment. Current efforts, when complete, 
should adequately address this recommendation and will include facility 
capacity and location, as well as training content, without further 
direction from the Secretary of Defense. GAO's report seems to blur the 
distinction between two separate DoD actions. The first is Joint Forces 
Command's Joint Urban Operations strategy, and the second is the Office 
of the Secretary of Defense's (OSD's) effort to establish evaluation 
criteria to apply to the Services Joint Urban Operations training 
facility military construction (MILCON) submissions. 

RECOMMENDATION 2: The GAO recommended that the Secretary of Defense 
direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to 
establish a mechanism for scheduling joint urban operations training at 
major training centers to facilitate increased multi-service 
participation in urban operations training. (Page 28/GAO Draft Report): 

DOD RESPONSE: Non-concur. DoD remains strongly committed to a 
decentralized training ranges/facilities management solution in 
supporting Service Title 10 responsibilities. OSD is providing planning 
support, oversight and policy guidance to ensure all DoD training 
resources support service, cross-service and joint needs and goals. We 
are, however, committed to maximizing system integration, sharing of 
data, and facilitation of the Services' scheduling processes to better 
leverage all assets for the full benefit of military readiness. 

[End of section] 

Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

Contact: 

Sharon Pickup (202) 512-9619: 

Acknowledgments: 

In addition to the person named above, Laura Durland, Assistant 
Director, John Beauchamp, Jonathan Clark, Gina Ruidera, Susan Tindall, 
Cheryl A. Weissman, and Tracy Whitaker made key contributions to this 
report. 

[End of section] 

Related GAO Products: 

Military Training: Some Improvements Have Been Made in DOD's Annual 
Training Range Reporting but It Still Fails to Fully Address 
Congressional Requirements. 
[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-06-29R] 
Washington, D.C. October 25, 2005. 

Military Training: Actions Needed to Enhance DOD's Program to Transform 
Joint Training. 
[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-05-548] 
Washington, D.C. June 21, 2005. 

Defense Infrastructure: Issues Need to Be Addressed in Managing and 
Funding Base Operations and Facilities Support. 
[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-05-556] 
Washington, D.C. June 15, 2005. 

Military Training: Better Planning and Funding Priority Needed to 
Improve Conditions of Military Training Ranges. 
[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-05-534] 
Washington, D.C. June 10, 2005. 

Chemical and Biological Defense: Army and Marine Corps Need to 
Establish Minimum Training Tasks and Improve Reporting for Combat 
Training Centers. 
[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-05-8] 
Washington, D.C. January 28, 2005. 

Military Transformation: Clear Leadership, Accountability, and 
Management Tools Are Needed to Enhance DOD's Efforts to Transform 
Military Capabilities. 
[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-05-70] 
Washington, D.C. December 17, 2004. 

Combating Terrorism: DOD Efforts to Improve Installation Preparedness 
Can Be Enhanced with Clarified Responsibilities and Comprehensive 
Planning. 
[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-04-855] 
Washington, D.C. August 12, 2004. 

Military Training: DOD Report on Training Ranges Does Not Fully Address 
Congressional Reporting Requirements. 
[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-04-608] 
Washington, D.C. June 4, 2004. 

Military Training: DOD Lacks a Comprehensive Plan to Manage 
Encroachment on Training Ranges. 
[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-02-614] 
Washington, D.C. June 11, 2002. 

Military Capabilities: Focused Attention Needed to Prepare U.S. Forces 
for Combat in Urban Areas. 
[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO/NSIAD-00-63NI] 
Washington, D.C. February 25, 2000. 

Military Training: Potential to Use Lessons Learned to Avoid Past 
Mistakes is Largely Untapped. 
[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO/NSIAD-95-152] 
Washington, D.C. August 9, 1995. 

(350617): 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] Testimony of Dr. Paul W. Mayberry, Deputy Under Secretary of 
Defense (Readiness), before the Subcommittee on Readiness and the 
Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities, 
House Armed Services Committee, regarding Joint National Training 
Capability (Mar. 18, 2004). 

[2] This program is intended to enhance training to better enable joint 
force operations in the new strategic environment, calling for dynamic, 
capabilities-based training in support of national security 
requirements across the full spectrum of service, joint, interagency, 
intergovernmental, and multinational operations. 

[3] Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Publication 3-06, Doctrine for Joint 
Urban Operations (Sept. 16, 2002). 

[4] S. Rep. No. 107-151, at 427-28 (2002). 

[5] S. Rep. No. 109-69, at 456 (2005). 

[6] This facility was formerly known as the Combat Maneuver Training 
Center. 

[7] GAO, Military Training: Actions Needed to Enhance DOD's Program to 
Transform Joint Training, GAO-05-548, (Washington, D.C. June 21, 2005). 

[8] GAO, Military Training: DOD Lacks a Comprehensive Plan to Manage 
Encroachment on Training Ranges, GAO-02-614, (Washington D.C. June 11, 
2002). 

[9] This issue had received attention from all services and the Joint 
Improvised Explosive Device Defeat task force was formed to identify 
enemy tactics for explosive devices and recommend servicewide 
solutions. The task force, in addition to fielding detection and 
disabling equipment, also established mobile training teams to provide 
training on how to respond to ever-changing enemy tactics, techniques, 
and procedures related to improvised explosive devices. 

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