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Over the past decade, Army and Marine Corps forces have deployed repeatedly with limited time between deployments. At their home stations, combat training centers, and other locations, units have focused their limited training time on training for counterinsurgency operations. Prior to deploying, units also conduct a large-scale exercise referred to as a culminating training event. With the drawdown of forces in Iraq, the services have begun to resume training for a fuller range of offensive, defensive, and stability missions. The House report to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 directed GAO to report on the Army's and Marine Corps' abilities to complete training requirements. GAO assessed the extent to which the services' (1) active component forces are completing training prior to the culminating training event and (2) leaders are positioned to plan and manage training as forces resume training for a fuller range of missions. GAO analyzed training requirements and unit training documentation, and interviewed headquarters and unit personnel during site visits between July 2010 and July 2011.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense As the Army and Marine Corps continue to develop and implement programs to restore and develop leaders' training management skills, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army and the Commandant of the Marine Corps to develop results-oriented performance metrics that can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of these training management initiatives and support any adjustments that may be needed.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

Both the Army and the Marine Corps agreed with the GAO recommendation to develop results-oriented performance metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of training management initiatives and have taken action to address them. According to the Army, it has developed tools to support unit level training management such as the Digital Training Management System (DTMS) and the Army Training Network (ATN). According to the Army, metrics were collected in 2011 to measure the performance and functionality of DTMS through a survey of more than 60 locations. The Army also stated that ATN, which is a website that allows trainers to access the latest training publications, products, and techniques, further addresses GAO's recommendation. According to the Marine Corps, unit training management is now included in its formal professional military education and several of its officer training programs. The ability to qualify and quantify the success of these programs through performance metrics is included through a feedback process. As of 2012, an information management system is being developed to assist commanders to better plan, conduct, and track training. Marine Corps officials noted that it continues to instruct the Unit Training Management system through a train-the-trainer process at Camp Johnson, NC.

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