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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the effect of declining defense budgets on military readiness, focusing on whether: (1) the definition and indicators of readiness adequately reflect the many complex components that contribute to overall military readiness; and (2) there are readiness indicators that can predict positive or negative changes in readiness.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense 1. The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop a more comprehensive readiness measurement system to be used DOD-wide. As part of this effort, the Under Secretary should: (1) review the indicators that have been identified as being critical to predicting readiness and select the specific indicators most relevant to a more comprehensive readiness assessment; (2) develop criteria to evaluate the selected indicators and prescribe how often the indicators should be reported to supplement SORTS data; and (3) ensure that comparable data are maintained by all services to allow the development of trends in the selected indicators.
Closed - Implemented
DOD reviewed the indicators in the GAO report and selected a subset as having the greatest potential for predicting readiness trends. The "Readiness Baseline," a system of indicators to provide trends in the resources required to maintain force readiness, is being developed. The initial indicators have been identified and will be automated and institutionalized as the preliminary "Readiness Baseline" for use by the services and OSD staff.

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