Problems in Implementing the Army's CAPSTONE Program To Provide All Reserve Components With a Wartime Mission

FPCD-82-59: Published: Sep 22, 1982. Publicly Released: Sep 22, 1982.

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Kenneth J. Coffey
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The Army's CAPSTONE Program is designed to aline all Army Reserve component units, which include the Army National Guard and Army Reserves, under gaining-commands; these commands will employ Reserve units in wartime and provide detailed information concerning their wartime mission. GAO reviewed the CAPSTONE program to determine whether Reserve components are focusing unit training on their specific wartime mission as it relates to the NATO-Warsaw Pact scenario.

GAO found that the U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) is the coordinating authority for the overall implementation of the CAPSTONE organizational structure. CAPSTONE designates for each unit the wartime chain of command, probable wartime mission, and probable area of employment. Aligning the units with other component units is aimed at improving planning and execution as well as identifying training for wartime requirements. Joint training exercises are performed to foster training improvements and complement CAPSTONE. However, progress in implementing CAPSTONE has been slow, and many units still have not been contracted by their gaining-commands. In addition, some units have not received information that could affect the type of training that is conducted. There is no systematic monitoring for assessing progress in implementing CAPSTONE. FORSCOM does not require that units submit implementation status reports and does not know the extent to which Reserve component units are receiving the required training and planning guidance from gaining-commands. For the program to work, officials responsible for implementing CAPSTONE must, at the very least, know what problems are occurring in the program and must take action when the problems are reported. Headquarters, U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) officials said that CAPSTONE is the single management tool they have to prepare for a smooth transition to wartime operations. It is believed that it will provide a number of benefits for the Reserve components, including improved training programs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Alternative action by the Army meets the objectives of this recommendation. Since CAPSTONE implementation has become a special interest item in all Command Readiness and Inspector General inspections, information on how the Army is managing the program should be generated by these reporting mechanisms. This should enable the Army to be responsive in discussing CAPSTONE status.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should develop and implement a reporting system that will provide information on the implementation status of CAPSTONE; FORSCOM and USAREUR should use this information to identify implementation problems and to correct them.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should systematically monitor the overall implementation progress of CAPSTONE and discuss its status with congressional oversight hearings and appropriations requests.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army


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