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Military Training: Funding Requests for Joint Urban Operations Training and Facilities Should Be Based on Sound Strategy and Requirements

GAO-06-193 Published: Dec 08, 2005. Publicly Released: Dec 08, 2005.
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DOD emphasizes the need for joint training to prepare U.S. forces to conduct joint operations in urban terrain. It defines joint training as exercises involving the interaction of joint forces and/or joint staffs under a joint headquarters. To guide the services' plans to train forces for urban operations and construct related facilities, in May 2002, the Senate Armed Services Committee directed DOD to establish facility requirements and, in May 2005, the committee directed DOD to complete its efforts and provide a requirements baseline for measuring training capabilities within the services and across DOD by November 1, 2005. Due to DOD's focus on joint urban operations and congressional interest in synchronizing service training and facility plans, GAO, on the authority of the Comptroller General, reviewed the extent to which (1) DOD has developed a joint urban operations training strategy and related requirements, (2) exercises offer opportunities for joint urban operations training, and (3) DOD has incorporated lessons learned from ongoing operations into its training.


Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense To improve DOD's approach to joint urban operations training, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Commander, Joint Forces Command to finalize development of the joint urban operations training strategy and related requirements including joint training tasks and standards, level and types of joint training exercises to be conducted, and facility needs. Once established, we envision this framework would be used to guide the review and approval of service training and facility plans, and to guide efforts to make additional improvements to existing urban operations training curriculum, including evaluating any suggestions from training and troop personnel.
Closed – Implemented
DOD concurred with this recommendation and indicated in its most recent DAMIS report, dated May 2006, that a directive had been given to JFCOM to finalize the joint urban operations training strategy. On July 23, 2007, the Joint Requirements Oversight Council approved the Joint Urban Operations Joint Integrating Concept. This document responds to the intent of our recommendation. As cited in the document, one of its objectives is to provide a common intellectual framework for all developmental efforts with respect to joint capabilities for urban operations, including performing a capabilities-based assessment, conducting experimentation into future urban operational methods and capabilities, and making programmatic budgetary, organizational, and other force planning decisions. The capabilities based assessments will define capability gaps and be used to evaluate Service and COCOM solutions. The document's Appendix C specifically identifies desired capabilities, individual tasks, and measures of achievement. The document's Appendix D lays out an assessment plan in which Joint Forces Command is planning to conduct a capabilities based assessment. This assessment will examine the capabilities in Appendix C through a detailed series of analyses and experiments and identify doctrinal, organizational, training, material, leader development, personnel, facilities and policy changes required to improve joint capabilities for conducting urban operations in the 2015-2027 timeframe.
Department of Defense To increase opportunities for joint training and maximize the joint usage of training facilities, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to establish a mechanism for scheduling joint urban operations training at major training centers to facilitate increased multiservice participation in urban operations training.
Closed – Not Implemented
DOD non-concurred with this recommendation. On February 13, 2008, we followed up with our Joint Forces Command Point of Contact for this review to determine the status of this recommendation. According to him, DOD is not planning to develop a joint urban operations training scheduling mechanism. We should consider the matter closed.

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