Force Structure:

Army Needs To Further Test the Light Infantry Division

NSIAD-88-115: Published: Apr 12, 1988. Publicly Released: Apr 18, 1988.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the Army's assessment of its light infantry division operational concept and organizational design, focusing on the: (1) standards the Army used; (2) deficiencies it identified; (3) solutions it proposed; (4) Army's plans to resolve remaining deficiencies; and (5) implications of the evaluation results for light infantry divisions.

GAO found that the Army evaluation: (1) covered combat, combat-support, and combat service-support operations; (2) identified 27 significant deficiencies involving equipment needs, organizational structure, weapons, doctrine, and training; (3) recommended about 4,000 changes to the division's equipment and personnel; (4) did not test the support demands placed on non-divisional units or the capability of newly formed non-divisional units to meet the division's requirements; and (5) did not test the deployment capability of divisions partially or totally composed of reservists. GAO also found that the Army: (1) accepted about 2,000 of the evaluation recommendations and rejected the rest as inappropriate or unrealistic; (2) plans to test the division changes during regular training and testing programs; and (3) is currently unable to equip all five of its light infantry divisions in accordance with the approved design because of equipment shortages.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) stated that evaluation of light infantry divisions and their capabilities will continue. One light division will participate in Reforger 90 providing information on support needs in Europe. Since testing of light divisions will continue indefinitely, this recommendation should be closed.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should conduct testing of non-divisional support units to assess their capability to adequately support the light division.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD stated that the 29th division and reserve elements of the 6th and 10th divisions have been assigned missions that either do not require rapid deployment or do not require simultaneous deployment of all division elements. Accordingly, this recommendation is no longer applicable.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should determine how long it will take light divisions comprised totally or partially of reserve units to mobilize and deploy and whether these divisions can effectively fulfill the light division concept.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army


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