Army Training:

Various Factors Create Uncertainty About Need for More Land

NSIAD-91-103: Published: Apr 22, 1991. Publicly Released: May 10, 1991.

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Mark E. Gebicke
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army's training land acquisition plans and procedures, focusing on: (1) existing maneuver training deficiencies, and the extent to which land shortfalls caused them; (2) how land shortages affected training and readiness; (3) the effects of the Army's future training plans on land needs; (4) whether the Army could develop a training land requirement standard; and (5) whether combat training centers could compensate for limited home-station land.

GAO found that a number of factors created uncertainty regarding the Army's need for more training land, including: (1) training deficiencies for which the lack of land did not appear to be the principal cause; (2) the need for a greater focus on less land-intensive small-unit training; (3) resource constraints that often limited the amount and scope of training at existing installations; (4) commanders' assessments indicating that most maneuver units were highly trained and ready to perform their missions; (5) the Army's stated plan to place greater reliance on computer simulations; and (6) impending force reductions. GAO also found that: (1) such subjective factors made it difficult to establish a practical uniform standard for specifying training land needs; and (2) the Army's combat training centers provided an important complement to home-station training and helped to offset home-station training limitations.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A final comprehensive training land acquisition strategy, including ranges, ammunition, device, and operating funds, has been developed and Army regulations have been revised. Issuance is pending on FY93 funding. A combined Arms Training Strategy, including resource requirements and training strategies, has been developed and will be issued shortly.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should develop a comprehensive, integrated training strategy that addresses the key factors affecting training and land use. Such a strategy should: (1) outline the Army's approach to addressing the recurring training problems identified at the combat training centers and recognize the need for greater emphasis on small-unit training; (2) outline the Army's plans for addressing various other constraints, including funding priorities and personnel turnover, that are apt to restrict training and the use of land; and (3) define the relationship of training land to long-range plans for greater reliance on training devices, including computer simulations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A combined Arms Training strategy has been developed and will be issued shortly. The Strategy included a strategy for acquiring training land.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should base requests for additional training land on the completed training strategy.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army


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