Army Training:

National Training Center's Potential Has Not Been Realized

NSIAD-86-130: Published: Jul 23, 1986. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 1986.

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Richard Davis
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GAO reviewed the Army's National Training Center (NTC) to determine whether the Army was: (1) using the information it collected from NTC exercises to analyze deficiencies in unit performance, determine their causes, and initiate solutions; and (2) developing Army-wide lessons learned from exercise results.

NTC objectives are to: (1) provide individual soldiers and units a training environment which closely parallels that of actual warfare; and (2) enable the Army to objectively measure the effectiveness and efficiency of organizations and weapon systems. GAO found that the Army has: (1) achieved its objective of providing training under realistic conditions; (2) been unable to use the objective data it collected for overall assessments of its organizations and weapons systems; and (3) been unable to identify causes of Army-wide problems demonstrated during NTC exercises and initiate solutions. GAO also found that: (1) the Army has not identified the types of data it needs to assess unit performance over the long term; (2) the data that the NTC instrumentation system collected were too unreliable and incomplete for overall analysis because the system was unable to monitor and record battlefield vehicle activities during movement along valleys and trenches; and (3) the Army used some of the data collected as a training aid to provide immediate feedback on unit performance. The Army has awarded a contract to solve its data analysis problems in measuring unit and weapon system effectiveness; however, the loss of battlefield data due to instrumentation shortcomings is a continuing problem. The Army is also developing a new system to identify lessons learned from a number of sources at an estimated cost of $3.4 million through fiscal year (FY) 1991.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army identified user needs and the availability of information required to meet these needs. Also, it has determined that needed data could be technologically and economically collected by upgrading the current NTC data collection system.

    Recommendation: Once the contractor has determined the data requirements necessary for measuring unit and weapon system effectiveness at NTC, the Secretary of the Army should determine the technological and economic feasibility of collecting such data in order to ensure that the data needed for analyses are available before resources are committed to data collection.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Several improvements to the NTC instrumentation systems for data collection and analysis are currently underway. Most improvements were funded in the FY 1986 and 1987 budgets, with full implementation of the upgraded data collection system expected in 1988.

    Recommendation: If objective data can be economically collected, the Secretary of the Army should establish a target date for implementing a system for data collection and analysis.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: HQ DA approved TRADOC plans to upgrade the current NTC data collection and analysis system, within existing fiscal constraints, to address GAO concerns.

    Recommendation: If objective data collection is not technologically or economically feasible, the Secretary of the Army should determine whether the current data collection system is the most cost-effective system for obtaining the information currently used or needed for units' after-action reviews.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army


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