Defense Budget:

Need to Better Inform Congress on Funding for Army Division Training

GAO-01-902: Published: Jul 5, 2001. Publicly Released: Jul 5, 2001.

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Congress has expressed concern about the extent to which the Department of Defense has moved funds that directly affect military readiness, such as those that finance training, to pay for other subactivities within its operation and maintenance (O&M) account, such as real property maintenance and base operations. This report reviews the (1) Army's obligation of O&M division training funds and (2) readiness of the Army's divisions. GAO found that the Army continued to use division training funds for purposes other than training during fiscal year 2000. However, the reduced funding did not interfere with the Army's planned training events or exercises. The Army's tank units also reported that, despite the reduced funding and their failure to meet their tank mileage performance goal, their readiness remained high. Specifically, many tank units reported that they could be fully trained for their wartime mission within a short time period. Units that reported that they would need more time to become fully trained generally cited personnel issues rather than the lack of training funds as the reason. Even so, starting in fiscal year 2001, the Army has taken action to restrict moving training funds by exempting unit training funds from any Army headquarters' adjustments and requiring prior approval before Army commands move any training funds.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In its budget submission for fiscal year 2002, DOD recommends increasing funding for base operations and real property maintenance, to be financed by a reduction in Army tank training miles and associated funds.

    Recommendation: To better reflect Army funding needs and more fully portray all its tank training, the Secretary of the Army should reexamine the Army's proposed use of funds in its annual O&M budget submission, particularly with regard to the funds identified for division training and for other activities such as base operations and real property maintenance.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The President's June 2001 budget submission for DOD contains more detailed information on the composition of tank miles, including tanks miles achieved at units' home stations, on simulators, and at the National Training Center. In addition, in DOD's comments on a draft of GAO's report, DOD stated that it is developing standard reporting business rules that will address each of the points referenced in GAO's recommendation.

    Recommendation: To better reflect Army funding needs and more fully portray all its tank training, the Secretary of the Army should improve the information contained in the Army's budget documentation by identifying more clearly the elements discussed in this report, such as (1) all funds associated with tank mile training, (2) the type of training conducted, (3) the training that could not be undertaken due to Balkan and any future deployments, (4) the budget subactivities within its O&M account that fund the training, and (5) the training conducted in and paid for in part by Kuwait.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of GAO's report, DOD stated that methods to more accurately represent and report tank mileage execution are already underway and the Army's proposed business reporting rules are expected to resolve any data presentation issues. In its March 2001 Government Performance and Results Act report, DOD clarified the composition of tank mile execution in fiscal year 2000 and prior fiscal years. In a related report on DOD's compliance with the Results Act, GAO reported that DOD is becoming more consistent with the Army's tank mile reporting.

    Recommendation: To provide Congress with a clearer understanding of tank training, the Secretary of Defense, in concert with the Secretary of the Army, should develop consistent tank training performance goals and tank mile reporting for use in Army budget submissions and under the Government Performance and Results Act.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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