Since September 11, 2001, U.S. military forces have sought to adapt to an expanded battlefield--one in which rear areas are no longer considered safe and secure. As a result, both the Navy and the Air Force determined that, in order to prepare to operate more effectively in combat, servicemembers in specific occupations required additional standardized combat skills training in such areas as land navigation, first aid, and weapons qualification. The Navy has developed and implemented the Expeditionary Combat Skills (ECS) course for select Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) personnel. Through ECS, NECC intended to standardize the training curricula and eliminate inefficiencies and wide divergences in existing combat skills training. To provide similar training to designated enlisted personnel, the Air Force began planning the Common Battlefield Airmen Training (CBAT) program, but decided to cancel the program in August 2008, which was during the course of our work. Despite the Air Force's decision, we included in this report an analysis of CBAT to identify lessons learned applicable to ongoing and future Air Force efforts to establish new training programs.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||1. To facilitate the development of training courses, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to (1) establish guidance that mandates creating an implementation strategy with a timeline to fully achieve program goals when developing new training programs, and (2) ensure in consultation with the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations N1 (Navy Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education) and Fleet Forces Command, that the Naval Education and Training Command apply this guidance and establish milestones and identify resources needed to fully implement the ECS program goal of training active and reserve component personnel as required by NECC.|
|Department of Defense||2. To facilitate the development of training courses, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to develop guidance that requires clear goals to guide and monitor the development of new training programs; in addition, the Air Force should ensure that it validates the need for future training programs, such as the Battlefield Airmen Screening Course.|