DOD Training:

Opportunities Exist to Reduce the Training Infrastructure

NSIAD-96-93: Published: Mar 29, 1996. Publicly Released: Mar 29, 1996.

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GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) efforts to reduce its formal training infrastructure, focusing on: (1) the size of the active forces' formal training infrastructure; and (2) planned, completed, or ongoing plans to reduce this infrastructure.

GAO found that: (1) the formal military training and education cost per student increased about $4,200 between fiscal years (FY) 1987 and 1995; (2) despite a decrease in the training workload, training costs have increased about $745 million more than normal inflation between FY 1987 and 1995; (3) DOD officials reported that the main reason for the increase is the use of private-sector and civilian instructors; (4) planned or ongoing actions to reduce training infrastructure include reducing the number of locations at which a service teaches a particular course, increasing interservice training for similar curricula, increasing the number of private-sector instructors, courses, and training facilities, and closing or realigning bases that provide formal training; (5) DOD lacks an overall plan to guide and measure training infrastructure reduction (6) the number of locations that provide training decreased from 265 to 172 between FY 1987 and 1995; (7) DOD estimated that increases in interservice training have resulted in about $300 million in savings and that future course consolidations and collocations would result in one-time savings of about $4.4 million and annual recurring savings of about $7.28 million; and (8) despite expected base closures and mission realignments, DOD expects that excess training infrastructure will continue to exist.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: This was not a recommendation to Congress. Therefore, no specific action was intended.

    Matter: Because DOD has indicated that it will not take action to correct the problems GAO has identified and the problems are significant, Congress may wish to ensure that DOD addresses the identified problems.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD will continue to improve its financial accounting systems to capture cost data on training. However, it does not plan to include the specific cost categories mentioned in the report. In GAO's opinion, it is highly unlikely that DOD will implement the recommendation as specified.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the DOD Comptroller, as part of the Department's efforts to improve its finance and accounting systems, to provide for the centralized accumulation and tracking of information on institutional training costs. As a minimum, such information should capture and report the costs in each category in terms of military and civilian instructors, student stipends, facilities, contractor-provided services, and base operation and maintenance for the training facilities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD believes that it already provides the centralized top-down approach for managing its training infrastructure matters. For that reason, it does not plan to implement the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should develop a long-range plan to guide and measure the services' efforts to reduce the training infrastructure. The plan should identify: (1) how much the training infrastructure should be reduced; (2) how the reductions will be achieved; (3) what it will cost to achieve the reductions; and (4) when the reductions will be accomplished.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD does not believe that it is necessary to establish a process for identifying excess training infrastructure. It believes that the services are always looking for opportunities to reduce it training infrastructure and therefore, does not plan to establish a separate process.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should develop a plan that identifies how DOD will deal with excess installations and facilities that are being funded by the training account after the Base Closure and Realignment Commission process is completed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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