Military Readiness: New Reporting System Is Intended to Address Long-Standing Problems, but Better Planning Is Needed

GAO-03-456 Published: Mar 28, 2003. Publicly Released: Mar 28, 2003.
Jump To:
Skip to Highlights
Highlights

The Department of Defense's (DOD) readiness assessment system was designed to assess the ability of units and joint forces to fight and meet the demands of the national security strategy. In 1998, GAO concluded that the readiness reports provided to Congress were vague and ineffective as oversight tools. Since that time, Congress added reporting requirements to enhance its oversight of military readiness. Therefore, the Chairman asked GAO to examine (1) the progress DOD made in resolving issues raised in the 1998 GAO report on both the unit-level readiness reporting system and the lack of specificity in DOD's Quarterly Readiness Reports to the Congress, (2) the extent to which DOD has complied with legislative reporting requirements enacted since 1997, and (3) DOD's plans to improve readiness reporting.

Skip to Recommendations

Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense To improve the information available to Congress for its use in its oversight role, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (OUSD P&R) to improve the quality of information contained in the quarterly reports. Specifically, DOD's reports should explain (in the unclassified section) the most critical readiness issues that are of greatest concern to the department and the services. For each issue, DOD's reports should include an analysis of the readiness deficiencies, including (1) a clear explanation of how the issue affects units' readiness, (2) a statement of the specific remedial actions planned or implemented, and (3) clear statements of the funding programmed to implement each remedial action.
Closed – Not Implemented
DOD did not agree with this recommendation in its comments on the the then-draft report, and is not likely to take the recommended action.
Department of Defense To be able to assess progress in developing the new readiness system, the Secretary of Defense should direct the OUSD P&R to develop an implementation plan that identifies (1) performance goals that are objective, quantifiable, and measurable; (2) the cost and personnel resources needed to achieve the goals, including an identification of the new system's development and implementation costs in the President's Budget beginning in fiscal year 2005 and Future Years Defense Plan; (3) performance indicators to measure outcomes; (4) an evaluation plan to compare program results with established goals; and (5) milestones to guide development to the planned 2007 full capability date.
Closed – Not Implemented
DOD did not agree with this recommendation in its comments on the the then-draft report, and is not likely to take the recommended action.
Department of Defense To assist Congress in its oversight role, the Secretary of Defense should give annual updates to the Congress on the new readiness reporting system's development to include (1) performance measures; (2) progress toward milestones; (3) comparison to progress with established goals; and (4) remedial actions, if needed, to maintain the implementation schedule.
Closed – Not Implemented
DOD did not agree with this recommendation in its comments on the the then-draft report, and is not likely to take the recommended action.

Full Report