The Army's strategy for training its reserve component calls for units to conduct training on the primary missions for which they were organized and designed as well as the missions units are assigned in support of ongoing operations. The training is to be conducted over a 5-year cycle with a focus on primary missions during the early years and assigned missions during the later years. In response to mandates, GAO assessed the extent to which (1) the Army is able to execute its strategy for training reserve component forces for their primary and assigned missions; (2) mobilization and deployment laws, regulations, goals, and policies impact the Army's ability to train and employ these forces; and (3) access to military schools and skill training facilities and ranges affects the preparation of reserve component forces. To address these objectives, GAO analyzed relevant training strategies and policies, laws, and data and surveyed 22 Army reserve component units returning from deployments in the past 12 months.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||1. To improve the Army's training strategy and DOD's mobilization policy for Army reserve component personnel, and to better ensure the Army has an executable strategy for effectively training its reserve component forces, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to reevaluate and adjust its reserve component training strategy to fully account for the factors that limit the effectiveness of unit training for primary missions in the early years of the 5-year cycle. Elements that should be considered in re-evaluating the training strategy should include: (1) Whether the total training days allotted for reserve component training are adequate to train units for both primary and assigned missions, which may require significantly different resources and skill. (2) Whether consolidating collective training later in the training cycle, as opposed to spreading it through the cycle, would enhance the effectiveness of the training and increase predictability.|
|Department of Defense||2. To improve the Army's training strategy and DOD's mobilization policy for Army reserve component personnel, and to better ensure DOD's mobilization policy is having the intended effect of providing reserve component personnel with predictable training, mobilization, and deployment schedules while also improving DOD's ability to effectively train and employ its reserve component forces, the Secretary of Defense should reevaluate DOD's mobilization policy for Army reserve component personnel and consider whether a more flexible policy that allows greater variations in the length of mobilizations or which establishes deployment goals based on occupational specialty or unit type would better meet DOD's goals to reduce stress on the force and improve predictability for personnel.|
|Department of Defense||3. To improve the Army's training strategy and DOD's mobilization policy for Army reserve component personnel, and to better ensure that the Army has a reserve component training strategy that it is able to execute, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to determine the range of resources and support that are necessary to fully implement the strategy. Elements that should be accounted for include: (1) the personnel, equipment, and facilities required to fully support individual training requirements; (2) the range space required to fully support individual and collective training requirements; and (3) the full support costs associated with the Army reserve component training strategy-- including personnel, equipment, and facilities.|