oversight

Military Readiness: New Reporting System Is Intended to Address Long-Standing Problems, but Better Planning Is Needed

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-03-28.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

             United States General Accounting Office

GAO          Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee
             on Readiness, Committee on Armed
             Services, House of Representatives


March 2003
             MILITARY
             READINESS
             New Reporting
             System Is Intended to
             Address Long-
             Standing Problems,
             but Better Planning Is
             Needed




GAO-03-456
                                               March 2003


                                               MILITARY READINESS

                                               New Reporting System is Intended to
Highlights of GAO-03-456, a report to the
Chairman, Subcommittee on Readiness,
                                               Address Long-Standing Problems, but
Committee on Armed Services, House of
Representatives
                                               Better Planning is Needed



The Department of Defense’s                    Since 1998, DOD has made some progress in improving readiness
(DOD) readiness assessment                     reporting—particularly at the unit level—but some issues remain. For
system was designed to assess the              example, DOD uses readiness measures that vary 10 percentage points or
ability of units and joint forces to           more to determine readiness ratings and often does not report the precise
fight and meet the demands of the              measurements outside DOD. DOD included more information in its
national security strategy. In 1998,
GAO concluded that the readiness
                                               Quarterly Readiness Reports to the Congress. But quality issues remain—in
reports provided to Congress were              that the reports do not specifically describe readiness problems, their effects
vague and ineffective as oversight             on readiness, or remedial actions to correct problems. Nor do the reports
tools. Since that time, Congress               contain information about funding programmed to address specific remedial
added reporting requirements to                actions. Although current law does not specifically require this information,
enhance its oversight of military              Congress could use it for its oversight role.
readiness. Therefore, the Chairman
asked GAO to examine (1) the                   DOD complied with most, though not all, of the legislative readiness
progress DOD made in resolving                 reporting requirements enacted by Congress in the National Defense
issues raised in the 1998 GAO                  Authorization Acts for Fiscal Years 1998-2002. For example, DOD
report on both the unit-level
readiness reporting system and the
lack of specificity in DOD’s                       •   is now listing the individual units that have reported low readiness
Quarterly Readiness Reports to the                     and reporting on the readiness of prepositioned equipment, as
Congress, (2) the extent to which                      required by the fiscal year 1998 Act;
DOD has complied with legislative                  •   is reporting on 11 of 19 readiness indicators that commanders
reporting requirements enacted                         identified as important and that Congress required to be added to
since 1997, and (3) DOD’s plans to                     the quarterly reports in the fiscal year 1998 Act, but is not reporting
improve readiness reporting.                           on the other 8 readiness indicators; and
                                                   •   has not yet implemented a new comprehensive readiness reporting
                                                       system as required in the fiscal year 1999 Act.
GAO made recommendations to
improve readiness reporting and to             As a result, Congress is not receiving all the information mandated by law.
develop an implementation plan to
allow DOD and the Congress to                  DOD issued a directive in June 2002 to establish a new comprehensive
gauge progress in developing                   readiness reporting system that DOD officials said they plan to use to
DOD’s new readiness reporting                  comply with the reporting requirements specified by Congress. The new
system. DOD did not agree with                 system is intended to implement many of the recommendations included in a
our recommendations. After                     congressionally directed independent study for establishing such a system.
reviewing its comments, we                     However, the extent to which the new system will actually address the
modified one recommendation but                current system’s shortcomings is unknown, because the new system is
retained the others as originally              currently only a concept, and full capability is not scheduled until 2007.
stated.
                                               As of January 2003, DOD had not developed an implementation plan
                                               containing measurable performance goals, identification of resources,
                                               performance indicators, and an evaluation plan to assess progress in
                                               developing the new reporting system. Without such a plan, neither DOD nor
                                               the Congress will be able to fully assess whether the new system’s
www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-456.
                                               development is on schedule and achieving desired results.
To view the full report, including the scope
and methodology, click on the link above.
For more information, contact Neal P. Curtin
at (757) 552-8100 or curtinn@gao.gov.
Contents


Letter                                                                                                   1
              Results in Brief                                                                           2
              Background                                                                                 4
              Some Progress in Readiness Reporting, but Some Issues Remain                               7
              DOD Has Not Fully Complied with All Legislative Requirements                              12
              Lack of Implementation Plan Could Hinder Development of New
                Readiness Reporting System                                                              15
              Conclusions                                                                               21
              Recommendations for Executive Action                                                      21
              Agency Comments and our Response                                                          22

Appendix I    Scope and Methodology                                                                     26



Appendix II   Comments from the Department of Defense                                                   28



Figures
              Figure 1: DOD’s Readiness Assessment Process, as of January 2003                          6
              Figure 2: Timeline of Recommended, Required, and Planned
                       Readiness Reporting Changes Since 1994                                           19




              Abbreviations

              ACTD             Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration
              GSORTS           Global Status of Resources and Training System
              OUSD P&R         Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and
                               Readiness



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              Page i                                                    GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
United States General Accounting Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   March 28, 2003

                                   The Honorable Joel Hefley
                                   Chairman
                                   Subcommittee on Readiness
                                   Committee on Armed Services
                                   House of Representatives

                                   The Department of Defense’s (DOD) readiness assessment system was
                                   designed to assess the ability of units and joint forces to fight and meet the
                                   demands of the national security strategy. For more than a decade ending
                                   in 1998, various audit and oversight organizations questioned the
                                   thoroughness and reliability of DOD reports on the readiness of U.S.
                                   forces. Since 1998, Congress has added reporting requirements to enhance
                                   its oversight of military readiness. In doing so, Congress expressed
                                   concern over contradictions between assessments of military unit
                                   readiness in reports and observations made by military personnel in the
                                   field.1

                                   DOD provides Congress a quarterly report that contains readiness
                                   information from several sources: the unit-level readiness assessment
                                   system; results of scenario-based assessments; and summaries of
                                   information briefed to senior DOD officials. We reviewed DOD’s readiness
                                   assessment and reporting system in 1998 and concluded that the readiness
                                   reports provided Congress offered a vague description of readiness
                                   problems and remedial actions and therefore were not effective as
                                   oversight tools.2

                                   Considering the concerns raised in our 1998 report, reporting
                                   requirements added by Congress since 1998, and the new national security
                                   strategy, you asked us to provide an updated assessment of DOD’s
                                   readiness reporting. As agreed with your office, we examined (1) the
                                   progress DOD has made in resolving issues raised in our prior report on



                                   1
                                    Public Law 105-261, Oct. 17, 1998; H.R. Rep. No. 105-532, at 281 (1998); H.R. Conf. Rep.
                                   No. 105-736, at 644 (1998).
                                   2
                                    U.S. General Accounting Office, Military Readiness: Reports to Congress Provide Few
                                   Details on Deficiencies and Solutions, GAO/NSIAD-98-68 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 30,
                                   1998).



                                   Page 1                                                     GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
                   both the unit level readiness reporting system and the lack of specificity in
                   the Department’s Quarterly Readiness Reports to the Congress, (2) the
                   extent to which DOD has complied with legislative reporting requirements
                   enacted since 1997, and (3) DOD’s plans to improve readiness reporting. In
                   conducting this analysis, we compared current reported readiness data
                   with legislative requirements and with data reported in 1998. We also
                   identified DOD initiatives for improving readiness reporting. We
                   conducted our review from June 2002 through January 2003 in accordance
                   with generally accepted government auditing standards. (For a complete
                   description of our methodology, see app. I.)


                   Since our 1998 report identifying limitations in readiness reporting, DOD
Results in Brief   has made some progress in improving readiness reporting, such as adding
                   information on equipment cannibalization rates in its reports to Congress.
                   Some issues, however, remain. Although DOD has improved its unit-level
                   readiness reporting system, it still uses readiness measures that vary 10
                   percentage points or more to determine readiness ratings and often does
                   not widely report the precise measurements outside DOD. Since 1998,
                   DOD has included more information in its Quarterly Readiness Reports to
                   the Congress, such as an annex presenting equipment cannibalization
                   rates. However, some degradation in these reports has occurred. For
                   example, DOD eliminated some previously provided information—such as
                   the joint force readiness assessments—and the reports still contain very
                   broad statements of readiness issues and the remedial actions taken or
                   planned to address readiness problems. Even though some report annexes
                   contain data, the data are not adequately explained or related to the broad
                   statements of readiness issues mentioned in the reports. Also, the reports
                   do not contain information about funding that is programmed to address
                   specific remedial actions. Although this information is not required by law,
                   we believe it would be useful for Congress to understand the significance
                   of the information in these reports for use in its oversight role.

                   DOD has complied with most, though not all, of the legislative readiness
                   reporting requirements enacted by Congress in the National Defense
                   Authorization Acts for Fiscal Years 1998-2002. For example, as directed by
                   the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998, DOD is now
                   reporting on the readiness of prepositioned equipment and DOD is listing
                   individual units that have reported low readiness.3 For some provisions of


                   3
                       10 U.S.C. sec. 482(d)(7)(B) and (e)(added by section 322 of Pub.L. 105-85, Nov. 18, 1997).




                   Page 2                                                        GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
the National Defense Authorization Acts for the period we examined, DOD
provided some of the information specified in the acts. For example, DOD
reports on some but not all of the readiness indicators Congress, in the
fiscal year 1998 act, required be added to the quarterly reports.4 For a few
requirements, DOD has yet to comply. For example, DOD has not
implemented a new readiness reporting system, which the National
Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999 required to be
implemented by April 1, 2000.5 As a result, Congress is not receiving all the
information mandated by law.

DOD’s main effort to improve readiness reporting is to develop and
implement a new comprehensive readiness reporting system in response
to the aforementioned legislation. However, the system’s completion is
still several years away. DOD issued a directive in June 2002 to establish
this new system.6 Officials from the Office of the Under Secretary of
Defense for Personnel and Readiness (OUSD P&R) responsible for
developing the system stated they plan to use the new system to comply
with the reporting requirements contained in the National Defense
Authorization Acts and that the new system is intended to implement
many of the recommendations included in a congressionally directed
independent study for establishing a comprehensive readiness reporting
system. However, the extent to which the new system will actually address
the current system’s shortcomings is unknown. This is because the new
system is currently only a concept and full capability is not scheduled until
2007—some 7 years after a new comprehensive system was legislatively
mandated to be implemented.7 As of January 2003 DOD had not developed
an implementation plan to assess progress in developing the new reporting
system. We believe that an implementation plan containing measurable
performance goals, identification of resources, performance indicators,
and an evaluation plan could help DOD as well as the Congress assess
whether the new system’s development is on schedule and achieving
desired results.




4
    10 U.S.C. sec. 482(d)(added by section 322 of Pub. L. 105-85, Nov. 8, 1997).
5
 10 U.S.C. sec. 117 (added by Pub.L. 105-261, sec.373(a)(1), Oct. 17, 1998 and as amended
by Pub.L. 106-65, sec. 361(d)(2), Oct. 5, 1999.)
6
 Department of Defense Readiness Reporting System (DRRS), DOD Directive 7730.65,
June 3, 2002.
7
    10 U.S.C. sec. 117 note.




Page 3                                                         GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
             We are making recommendations to improve readiness reporting and to
             develop an implementation plan to allow DOD and the Congress to gauge
             DOD’s progress in developing its new readiness reporting system.

             In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD did not agree with our
             recommendation to improve readiness reporting, saying that the quarterly
             reports are comprehensive and spending more time on the report would
             be counterproductive. Although the quarterly reports contain voluminous
             data, the reader cannot assess its significance since the data are explained
             inadequately. However, between 1998 and mid-2001, DOD did include an
             unclassified summary of issues for each service in the quarterly reports
             addressing several topics, including personnel and equipment. Since DOD
             has highlighted key issues in past quarterly reports, we believe that
             improving these reports by again including a summary that highlights key
             readiness issues would be beneficial. In doing so, DOD could focus on the
             most critical issues that are of greatest concern to the services. Therefore,
             we have modified our recommendation that DOD improve the quality of
             readiness reporting to focus on issues deemed to be critical by the
             Secretary and the services, including analyes and planned remedial actions
             for each issue.

             DOD also did not agree with our recommendations to develop an
             implementation plan for the new readiness system and to provide
             Congress annual updates on the new system’s development. DOD said that
             it is developing better tools for assessing readiness and had established
             milestones and expected outcomes. Thus, DOD believes that further
             planning and providing an annual update to Congress is unnecessary.
             Considering that Congress expressed concern about DOD’s lack of
             progress in developing a comprehensive system and that DOD does not
             plan for the new system to be fully capable until 2007, we retained these
             two recommendations. A detailed discussion of DOD’s comments and our
             response is contained in the body of this report.


             DOD’s readiness assessment and reporting system was designed to assess
Background   and report on military readiness at three levels—(1) the unit level; (2) the
             joint force level; and (3) the aggregate, or strategic, level. Unit-level
             readiness is assessed with the Global Status of Resources and Training
             System (GSORTS), which is an automated system that assesses the extent
             to which military units possess the required resources and training to
             undertake their wartime missions. To address joint readiness, the
             Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff established the Joint Monthly
             Readiness Review (now called the Joint Quarterly Readiness Review or


             Page 4                                           GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
JQRR), that compiles readiness assessments from the combatant
commands, the combat support agencies, and the military services. The
Joint Staff and the services use these assessments to brief DOD’s
leadership on the Senior Readiness Oversight Council—an executive-level
forum for monitoring emerging readiness issues at the strategic level. The
briefings to the council are intended to present a view of readiness at the
aggregate force level. From these briefings to the council, DOD prepares a
legislatively mandated quarterly readiness report to Congress.8 Figure 1
provides an overview of DOD’s readiness assessment process.




8
 DOD is required under 10 U.S.C. sec. 482 to submit a quarterly readiness report to
Congress. Under 10 U.S.C. sec. 482(b), each report is to specifically describe (1) each
readiness problem and deficiency identified; (2) planned remedial actions; and (3) the key
indicators and other relevant information related to each identified problem and
deficiency. The quarterly reports provided to Congress are to be based on readiness
assessments provided during that quarter to any DOD body that has responsibility for
readiness oversight and whose membership includes at least one civilian officer in the
Office of the Secretary of Defense at the level of Assistant Secretary or higher; by senior
civilian and military officers of the military departments and commanders of the unified
and specified commands; and as part of any regularly established process of periodic
readiness reviews for the Department of Defense as a whole.




Page 5                                                     GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
Figure 1: DOD’s Readiness Assessment Process, as of January 2003




                                       Page 6                      GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
                       We have issued several reports containing recommendations for
                       improving readiness reporting. In 1994, we recommended DOD develop a
                       more comprehensive readiness system to include 26 specific readiness
                       indicators.9 In 1998, we reported on shortcomings in DOD’s readiness
                       assessment system. At that time, we stated GSORTS’ limitations included
                       lack of precision in measurements, late reporting, subjective input, and
                       lack of standardization. Secondly, we reported that while the Quarterly
                       Readiness Reports to the Congress accurately reflected briefs to the
                       Senior Readiness Oversight Council, they lacked specific details on
                       deficiencies and remedial actions and thus did not meet the requirements
                       of 10 U.S.C. 482 (b). DOD concurred with our recommendation that the
                       Secretary of Defense take steps to better fulfill the legislative reporting
                       requirements under 10 U.S.C. 482 by providing (1) supporting data on key
                       readiness deficiencies and (2) specific information on planned remedial
                       actions. Finally, we reported that deficiencies identified as a result of the
                       Joint Monthly Readiness Reviews remained open because the solutions
                       require funding over the long term. In 2002, we issued a classified report
                       on DOD’s process for tracking the status of deficiencies identified in the
                       Joint Monthly Readiness Reviews. We made recommendations to improve
                       DOD’s deficiency status reporting system and for DOD to develop funding
                       estimates for correcting critical readiness deficiencies. In its comments,
                       DOD generally agreed with the report’s findings and recommendations.


                       Although DOD has made progress in resolving readiness reporting issues
Some Progress in       raised in our 1998 report, we found that some of the same issues still exist
Readiness Reporting,   today. For example, DOD has added information to its Quarterly
                       Readiness Reports to the Congress (hereafter referred to as the quarterly
but Some Issues        reports). However, we found that the reports still contain vague
Remain                 descriptions of readiness problems and remedial actions. Even though
                       some report annexes contain detailed data, the data as presented are not
                       “user friendly”—it is largely unevaluated and is not linked to readiness
                       issues mentioned in the report plus the report text does not explain how
                       the data relates to units’ readiness. Thus, as we reported in 1998, these
                       reports do not specifically describe readiness problems or remedial
                       actions as required under 10 U.S.C. 482 (b). We believe that this kind of




                       9
                        U.S. General Accounting Office, Military Readiness: DOD Needs to Develop a More
                       Comprehensive Measurement System, GAO/NSIAD-95-29 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 27,
                       1994).




                       Page 7                                                 GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
                            information would be useful for Congress to understand the significance
                            of the information in these reports for use in its oversight role.


Some Improvements in        DOD has improved some aspects of its unit-level reporting system, the
Unit-Level Reporting, but   Global Status of Resources and Training System (GSORTS). For example,
Some Issues Unchanged       in 1998 GSORTS’ data were maintained in multiple databases and data
                            were not synchronized. As of September 2002, the data are reported to a
Since 1998                  central site, and there is one database of record. Also in 1998, U.S. Army
                            GSORTS review procedures delayed submission of Army data, and all the
                            services’ data entry was manual. As of September 2002, Army reporting
                            procedures require reporting consistent with GSORTS’ requirements, and
                            all the services have automated data entry, which reduces errors. In 1998,
                            combat units only reported on readiness for wartime missions. As of
                            September 2002, combat units report on assigned mission readiness in
                            addition to wartime mission readiness.

                            Conversely, DOD has not resolved some issues we raised in 1998. For
                            example, readiness ratings are still reported in broad bands and actual
                            percentages of required resources are not externally reported. These
                            issues remain because the manual specifying readiness reporting rules has
                            not changed in these areas.10 The manual’s definition of readiness levels for
                            personnel has not changed since our 1998 report—it still defines readiness
                            levels in bands of 10 percentage points or more and does not require
                            external reporting of actual percentages. For example, the highest
                            personnel rating can range from 90 percent to 100 percent, and there is no
                            requirement to report the actual percentage outside of DOD. We have also
                            reported that GSORTS does not always reflect training and equipment
                            deficiencies. For example, we reported in April and June 2002 that
                            readiness data do not reflect the effect of training range restrictions on




                            10
                              Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Manual 3150.02, Global Status of Resources and
                            Training System (GSORTS), (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 2000).




                            Page 8                                                    GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
                             unit readiness.11 We have also reported that GSORTS does not include
                             whether a unit’s chemical/biological equipment is usable.12

                             In commenting on our analysis, the OUSD P&R office responsible for
                             readiness reporting stated that it recognized the imprecision of the current
                             measurements. According to that office, an effort to develop the planned
                             new readiness reporting system, which is discussed later in this report,
                             includes working with the DOD components to enhance and expand
                             readiness reporting.


Some Information Added       Since our 1998 report, the quarterly reports improved in some areas, but
to Quarterly Reports Since   degraded in others. Although some information was added, we found that
1998, but Other              some of the same quality issues remain—namely, that the reports do not
                             specifically describe readiness problems, their effects on readiness, or
Information Eliminated       remedial actions.

                             DOD has added information to the quarterly reports in response to
                             legislative direction. For example, DOD added information on the services’
                             cannibalization rates.13 Also, DOD added annual reports on infrastructure
                             and institutional training readiness.14 However, some information was
                             eliminated from the quarterly reports. For example, the law requires
                             results of joint readiness reviews to be reported to Congress.15 DOD
                             included these results until the July-September 2001 Quarterly Readiness
                             Report to the Congress. Since that report, four quarterly reports have been
                             issued without the joint force assessments. Defense officials responsible



                             11
                               U.S. General Accounting Office, Military Training: DOD Lacks a Comprehensive Plan
                             to Manage Encroachment on Training Ranges, GAO-02-614 (Washington, D.C.: June 11,
                             2002); and U.S. General Accounting Office, Military Training: Limitations Exist
                             Overseas but Are Not Reflected in Readiness Reporting, GAO-02-525, (Washington, D.C.:
                             Apr. 30, 2002).
                             12
                               U.S. General Accounting Office, Chemical and Biological Defense: Units Better
                             Equipped, but Training and Readiness Reporting Problems Remain, GAO-01-27,
                             (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 14, 2000); and U.S. General Accounting Office, Chemical and
                             Biological Defense: Emphasis Remains Insufficient to Resolve Continuing Problems,
                             GAO/NSIAD-96-103, (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 29, 1996).
                             13
                                  10 U.S.C. sec. 117(c)(7).
                             14
                                  10 U.S.C. sec. 117(c)(2) and (3).
                             15
                               10 U.S.C. sec. 117(d) and (e). Also as explained in footnote 8, 10 U.S.C. sec. 482(c),
                             requires that the quarterly reports be based on readiness assessments provided during that
                             quarter as part of certain senior-level readiness assessments for DOD as a whole.



                             Page 9                                                    GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
                           for readiness reporting said that the joint readiness reviews were not
                           included because the scenarios were based on the former national security
                           strategy of two major wars. The officials stated they plan to include results
                           from the joint readiness reviews in future reports.

                           In commenting on our analysis the OUSD P&R office responsible for
                           readiness reporting stated that it continues to seek better ways to provide
                           concise, quality information.


Quarterly Reports Do Not   As we reported in 1998, we found that the quarterly reports still contain
Adequately Explain         broad statements of readiness issues and remedial actions, which are not
Readiness Issues           supported by detailed examples and are not related to data in the reports’
                           annexes. Among other things, the law requires the quarterly reports to
                           specifically describe each readiness problem and deficiency as well as
                           planned remedial actions.16 The reports did not specifically describe the
                           nature of each readiness problem or discuss the effects of each on unit
                           readiness. Also, the reports included only broad statements of remedial
                           actions that lacked details on timelines, objectives, or funding
                           requirements. For example, one report said that the Air Force continued to
                           experience shortages in critical job skills that affected the service’s ability
                           to train. The report did not refer the reader to data in annexes showing
                           training readiness ratings; it did not state which skills were short, which
                           training was not accomplished, or whether this shortage had or was
                           expected to affect units’ readiness ratings. Further, the report did not
                           explain the remedial actions taken or planned to reverse the skill shortage,
                           how long it would take to solve this problem, or what funding was
                           programmed to implement remedial actions. Defense readiness officials
                           agreed, stating that information in the quarterly reports is summarized to
                           the point that there are no details on readiness deficiencies, remedial
                           actions, or funding programmed to implement remedial actions. We
                           believe the Congress needs this type of information to understand the
                           significance of the information reported.

                           Although some of the quarterly report annexes contain voluminous data,
                           the data are not adequately explained or related to units’ readiness. The
                           law does not mandate specific explanations of these “readiness
                           indicators,” but we believe it is essential for Congress to understand the
                           significance of the information in these reports for use in its oversight role.


                           16
                                10 U.S.C. sec. 482(b).




                           Page 10                                           GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
For example, DOD is required to report on the maintenance backlog.17
Although the report provides the quantity of the backlog, it does not
explain the effect the backlog had on readiness. Specifically, the report did
not explain whether units’ readiness were affected because maintenance
was not accomplished when needed. In addition, DOD is required to report
on training commitments and deployments.18 The Expanded Quarterly
Readiness Report to Congress Implementation Plan dated February 1998
stated that “either an excessive or a reduced level of commitment could be
an indicator of potential readiness problems.” However, OUSD P&R did
not define what kind of “readiness problems” this data may indicate would
occur as a result of “excessive or reduced” levels of training and
deployments, such as degraded equipment or training. The data reported
are the amount of training away from home station and the amount of
deployments. However, these data are not explained or related to a unit’s
equipment or training ratings. Further, criteria have not been established
to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable levels of the training
and deployment data reported. As a result, the reader does not know
whether the data reported indicate a problem or the extent of the problem.
In commenting on our analyses, OUSD P&R acknowledged “the
Department would be better served by providing more information as to
how various data relates to readiness.”

Generally, the quarterly reports also do not contain information on funding
programmed to implement specific remedial actions. For example, one
quarterly report included the statement that budgets were revised “to
address readiness and capabilities issues,” but no examples were
provided. Also, the report lacked statements explaining how this “budget
revision” would improve readiness. Although not required by law, we
believe it would prove useful for Congress to understand how DOD
addresses specific readiness problems.

In commenting on our analysis, OUSD P&R officials stated that they would
continue to work with the services to provide more fidelity with the
information presented in the quarterly report annexes. However, they also
said that detailed examples require significant staff effort throughout DOD
and that the added time for more detailed analysis could render the report
a historical document. They further said that complete information would
certainly be desired and agreed it is important for the Congress to


17
     10 U.S.C. sec. 482(d)(6)(A).
18
     10 U.S.C. sec. 482(d)(4)(D).




Page 11                                          GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
                            understand the significance of the information in the quarterly reports for
                            use in its oversight role.


                            DOD has complied with most, but not all, of the readiness reporting
DOD Has Not Fully           requirements added by Congress in the National Defense Authorization
Complied with All           Acts for Fiscal Years 1998 through 2002.19 Congress added readiness
                            reporting requirements out of concern over contradictions between
Legislative                 assessment of military unit readiness in official readiness reports and
Requirements                observations made by military personnel in the field.20 In a review of these
                            acts, we identified both recurring readiness reporting requirements that
                            were added to existing law and one-time reporting requirements related to
                            military readiness. We compared current readiness reporting to the
                            requirements in these acts to make an overall judgment on the extent of
                            compliance. We did not develop a total count of the number of reporting
                            requirements because the acts included a series of sections and
                            subsections that could be totaled in various ways. Because DOD is not
                            reporting on all the requirements added over the past several years, the
                            Congress is not receiving all the information mandated by law.


DOD Is Complying with       Our analysis showed that DOD has complied with most of the
Most of the New             requirements added in the National Defense Authorization Acts for Fiscal
Requirements                Years 1998-2002. For example, DOD took the following actions in response
                            to legislative requirements:

                        •   DOD is now reporting on the readiness of prepositioned equipment and is
                            listing individual units that have reported low readiness as required by the
                            National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998.21
                        •   DOD is reporting on infrastructure and institutional training readiness as
                            required by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999.22
                        •   DOD contracted for an independent study of requirements for a
                            comprehensive readiness reporting system and submitted the study report



                            19
                              Our review of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 (Pub.L. 107-
                            107, Dec. 28, 2001) disclosed no new readiness reporting requirements.
                            20
                              Pub.L. 105-261, Oct. 17, 1998; H.R. Rep. No. 105-532, at 281 (1998); H.R. Conf. Rep. No.
                            105-736, at 644 (1998).
                            21
                                 See note 3.
                            22
                                 10 U.S.C. sec. 117(c)(2), (3), and (5).




                            Page 12                                                     GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
                              to the Congress as required by the National Defense Authorization Act for
                              Fiscal Year 2000.23
                          •   DOD has added quarterly information on the military services’
                              cannibalization rates as required by the National Defense Authorization
                              Act for Fiscal Year 2001.24



DOD Is Not Reporting on       DOD is reporting on some, though not all, of the items Congress required
All Items Required            be added to the quarterly readiness reports. For example, the National
                              Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998 required 19 specific items
                              be reported that are consistent with our previously cited 1994 report on
                              readiness reporting.25 The 1994 report included a list of 26 readiness
                              indicators that DOD commanders said were important for a more
                              comprehensive assessment of readiness. A 1994 DOD-funded study by the
                              Logistics Management Institute found that 19 of the 26 indicators could
                              help DOD monitor critical aspects of readiness. The 19 items listed in the
                              National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998 are very similar to
                              those identified in the 1994 Logistics Management Institute study. DOD is
                              reporting on 11 of the 19 items and is not reporting on the other 8. The
                              eight items are (1) historical personnel strength data and trends, (2)
                              personnel status, (3) borrowed manpower, (4) personnel morale, (5)
                              operations tempo, (6) training funding, (7) deployed equipment, and (8)
                              condition of nonpacing equipment26 as required in the Act.27 In an
                              implementation plan setting forth how it planned to comply with reporting
                              on the 19 items, which was also required by the National Defense
                              Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998,28 DOD stated that it would not
                              report on these eight indicators for the following reasons:




                              23
                                   Pub.L. 106-65, sec. 361(a) and (c), Oct. 5, 1999.
                              24
                                   10 U.S.C. sec. 117(c)(7).
                              25
                                10 U.S.C. sec. 482(d)(added by Pub.L. 105-85, sec. 322(a)(1), Nov. 18, 1997). The Act
                              included seven “readiness indicators,” each of which included from one to five specific
                              reportable items, for a total of 19 specific items.
                              26
                                Nonpacing equipment is equipment not reported in GSORTS but nevertheless necessary
                              for mission accomplishment.
                              27
                                   10 U.S.C. sec. 482(d)(1)(A) and (B), 2(B), 3(A), 4(B) and (C), 5(A) and (E).
                              28
                                   Pub.L. 105-85, sec. 322(b), Nov. 18, 1997.




                              Page 13                                                        GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
•   Deployed equipment was considered part of the status of prepositioned
    equipment indicator.
•   Historical personnel strength data and trends were available from the
    annual Defense Manpower Requirements Report.
•   Training funding and operations tempo were believed to be represented
    adequately in the budget requests as flying hours, steaming days, or
    vehicle miles and were not considered good measures of readiness output.
•   Personnel strength status was considered to be part of the personnel
    rating, but DOD agreed to investigate other ways to evaluate the effect of
    service personnel working outside the specialty and grade for which they
    were qualified.
•   Borrowed manpower data was only captured in a limited sector of the
    deployable force and may not be meaningful until a better method is
    developed to capture the data.
•   Personnel morale had no existing data sources.
•   The condition of nonpacing equipment had no reasonable measurement to
    use as an indicator.

    Notwithstanding the reasoning that DOD stated, these eight indicators
    continue to be required by law, and we saw no indication in our work that
    DOD is working to develop data for them.

    Also, DOD is not complying with some of the requirements in the National
    Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999. Examples are as follows:

•   The act required DOD to establish and implement a comprehensive
    readiness reporting system by April 2000.29 As of January 2003, DOD had
    not implemented a new system, and officials said it is not expected to be
    fully capable until 2007 or 7 years later than required.
•   The act also required DOD to develop implementing regulations for the
    new readiness reporting system.30 DOD had not developed implementing
    regulations as of January 2003.
•   The act required DOD to issue regulations for reporting changes in the
    readiness of training or defense infrastructure establishments within 72
    hours.31 Although DOD has provided some guidance, officials stated they
    have not issued regulations because no mechanism exists for institutional



    29
      Pub.L. 105-261, sec. 373(b) and (c), Oct. 17, 1998 as amended by Pub.L. 106-65, sec.
    361(d)(2), Oct. 5, 1999.
    30
         10 U.S.C. sec. 117(f).
    31
         10 U.S.C. sec. 117 (b)(2)and(f).




    Page 14                                                     GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
                            training or defense infrastructure establishments to report changes and
                            because these entities are not part of an established readiness reporting
                            system.


                            In commenting on our analyses, DOD officials acknowledged “the
                            Department is not in full compliance” and stated that they plan to achieve
                            compliance with the new readiness reporting system under development.
                            OUSD P&R officials said that the shortfalls in reporting are unwieldy
                            under the current system; OUSD P&R intends to correct these shortfalls
                            when the new system is functional. However, as noted above, DOD does
                            not plan to implement its new system until 2007. As of January 2003, DOD
                            also had not targeted incremental improvements in readiness reporting
                            during the period in which the new system is being developed. Until then,
                            Congress will receive less readiness information than it mandated by law.


                            DOD issued a directive in June 2002 to establish a new readiness reporting
Lack of                     system. The Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness is to
Implementation Plan         oversee the system to ensure the accuracy, completeness, and timeliness
                            of its information and data, its responsiveness, and its effective and
Could Hinder                efficient use of modern practices and technologies. Officials in the OUSD
Development of New          P&R readiness office responsible for developing the new system said that
                            they plan to use the new system to comply with the requirements in the
Readiness Reporting         National Defense Authorization Acts and to address many of the
System                      recommendations contained in a congressionally directed independent
                            study. However, as of January 2003, there are few details of what the new
                            system would include. Although the new system may have the potential to
                            improve readiness reporting, as of January 2003, it is only a concept
                            without detailed plans to guide development and monitor implementation.
                            As a result, the extent to which the new system will address existing
                            shortcomings is unknown.


DOD Directive Establishes   The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999 required DOD
a New Readiness             to establish a comprehensive readiness reporting system.32 In doing so, the
Reporting System            Congress expressed concern about DOD’s lack of progress in developing a
                            more comprehensive readiness measurement system reflective of
                            operational realities. The Congress also noted that past assessments have


                            32
                                 10 U.S.C. sec. 117(a).




                            Page 15                                          GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
suffered from DOD’s inability to create and implement objective and
consistent readiness reporting criteria capable of providing a clear picture
to senior officials and the Congress.33 Subsequently, the August 2001
Defense Planning Guidance for Fiscal Years 2003-2007 called for the
development of a strategic plan for transforming DOD readiness reporting.

In June 2002, DOD issued a directive establishing the Department of
Defense Readiness Reporting System.34 The system will measure and
report on the readiness of military forces and the supporting infrastructure
to meet missions and goals assigned by the Secretary of Defense. All DOD
components will align their readiness reporting processes in accordance
with the directive.

The directive assigns oversight and implementing responsibility to the
Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. The
Undersecretary is responsible for developing, fielding, maintaining, and
funding the new system and scenario assessment tools. The
Undersecretary—in collaboration with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Services,
Defense Agencies, and Combatant Commanders—is to issue implementing
instructions. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Service
Secretaries, the commanders of the combatant commands, and the heads
of other DOD components are each assigned responsibilities related to
readiness reporting.

OUSD P&R established a timetable to implement the new readiness
reporting system. OUSD P&R plans to achieve initial capability in 2004 and
reach full capability in 2007. OUSD P&R officials involved in developing
the system said that they have been briefing the concept for the new
reporting system since October 2002. As of January 2003 these officials
stated that they are continuing what they have termed the “concept
demonstration” phase, which began in October 2002. This phase consists
of briefing various offices within DOD, the Joint Staff, and the services to
build consensus and refine the new system’s concept. These officials also
said that the new system will incorporate many, but not all, of the
recommendations contained in a legislatively mandated independent study
of readiness reporting, which concluded that improvements were needed
to meet legislatively mandated readiness reporting requirements and


33
 Public Law 105-261, Oct. 17, 1998; H.R. Rep. No. 105-532, at 281 (1998); H.R. Conf. Rep.
No. 105-736, at 644 (1998).
34
     See note 6 above.




Page 16                                                    GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
                         included numerous recommendations for what a new system should
                         include.35 For example, the study recommended that (1) DOD report on all
                         elements essential to readiness, such as depots, combat support agencies,
                         and Defense agencies; (2) reporting should be in terms of mission essential
                         tasks; and (3) DOD should measure the capability to carry out the full
                         range of National Security Strategy requirements—not just a unit’s
                         wartime mission.


An Implementation Plan   We believe that successfully developing and implementing a large-scale
Would Help Gauge         effort, such as DOD’s new readiness reporting system, requires an
Program Progress         implementation plan that includes measurable performance goals,
                         identification of resources, performance indicators, and an evaluation
                         plan. As discussed earlier, full implementation of DOD’s new readiness
                         reporting system is several years away, and much remains to be done. In
                         January 2003 the OUSD P&R office responsible for developing the new
                         system said that the new readiness reporting system is a large endeavor
                         that requires buy-in from many users and that the development of the
                         system will be challenging. This office also wrote that it had just been
                         given approval to develop the new readiness reporting system, was
                         targeting development of an implementing instruction in the March 2003
                         time frame, and had not developed an implementation plan to assess
                         progress in developing and implementing the new reporting system. The
                         directive establishing the new reporting system requires the
                         Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration
                         with others, to issue implementing instructions for the new system.

                         DOD has experienced delays in implementing smaller readiness
                         improvements than envisioned in the new readiness reporting system. One
                         such effort involved development of an interface to query the existing
                         readiness data base (GSORTS). In a July 2002 report, the DOD Inspector
                         General reported that the planned implementation of this interface slipped
                         44 months, or just over 3.5 years.36 Also, history has shown it takes DOD
                         time to make changes in the readiness reporting system. As illustrated in
                         figure 2, DOD began reporting on specific readiness indicators 4 years



                         35
                          This study was directed by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000.
                         Pub.L. 106-65 sec. 361(a), Oct. 5, 1999.
                         36
                           Department of Defense Inspector General, Information Technology: Global Command
                         and Control System Readiness Assessment System Output Tool, D-2002-133 (Washington,
                         D.C: July 24, 2002).




                         Page 17                                                  GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
after it agreed with GAO recommendations to include them in readiness
reporting (see fig. 2).




Page 18                                       GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
Figure 2: Timeline of Recommended, Required, and Planned Readiness Reporting
Changes Since 1994




Other DOD development efforts recognize the need for effective planning
to guide development. For example, DOD is working to transform military
training as directed by the Defense Planning Guidance for Fiscal Years



Page 19                                           GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
2003-07. A March 2002 Strategic Plan for Transforming DOD Training
developed by a different office within OUSD P&R discusses a training
transformation road map with major tasks subdivided into near-, mid-, and
long-term actions. The plan includes a list of near-term actions to be
completed by October 2003 and definition of mid- and long-term actions in
a comprehensive implementation plan that will identify specific tasks,
responsibilities, timelines, resources, and methods to assess completion
and measure success. The May 2002 Defense Planning Guidance update
for fiscal years 2004-2009 directs OUSD P&R, working with other DOD
components, to develop a comprehensive program to implement the
strategic training transformation plan and provide it to the Deputy
Secretary of Defense by April 1, 2003.

Since the directive for creating a new readiness reporting system
established broad policy with no specifics and since DOD has not
developed an implementation plan, the extent to which the new system
will address the current system’s shortcomings will remain unknown until
the new system is fully capable in 2007. Until then, readiness reporting will
continue to be based on the existing system.

Commenting on its plans for the new system, OUSD P&R said that it is in
the process of creating an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration
(ACTD) structure for the new system and will produce all necessary
planning documents required within the established ACTD process.
However, this process is intended to provide decision makers an
opportunity to understand the potential of a new concept before an
acquisition decision. We do not believe the ACTD process will necessarily
result in an implementation plan to effectively monitor development and
assess whether the new system is being implemented on schedule and
achieving desired results.

DOD’s ACTD guidelines state the principal management tool for ACTDs is
a management plan, which provides a top-level description of the
objectives, critical events, schedule, funding, and measures of evaluation
for the project. We reported in December 2002 that these guidelines
contain advice and suggestions as opposed to formal directives and
regulations.37 DOD’s guidelines state that the ACTD should plan exercises



37
  U.S. General Accounting Office, Defense Acquisitions: Factors Affecting Outcomes of
Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations GAO-03-52 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 2,
2002).




Page 20                                                 GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
                      or demonstrations to provide an adequate basis for utility assessment. We
                      also reported in December 2002 that DOD lacks specific criteria to
                      evaluate demonstration results, which may cause acquisition decisions to
                      be based on too little knowledge. Therefore, we still believe an
                      implementation plan is necessary since the ACTD process does not require
                      a detailed implementation plan and does not always include specific
                      criteria to evaluate effectiveness.


                      While DOD has made some improvements in readiness reporting since
Conclusions           1998, some of the same issues remain unresolved today. Although DOD is
                      providing Congress more data than in 1998, the voluminous data are
                      neither evaluated nor explained. The quarterly reports do not link the
                      effects of “readiness issues” or deficiencies to changes in readiness at the
                      unit level. Also, as in 1998, the reports contain vague descriptions of
                      remedial actions not linked to specific deficiencies. Finally, the quarterly
                      reports do not discuss funding that is programmed to implement specific
                      remedial actions. As a result, the information available to Congress is not
                      as effective as it could be as an oversight tool.

                      Even though DOD directed development of a new readiness reporting
                      system, it has not yet developed an implementation plan identifying
                      objective and measurable performance goals, the resources and personnel
                      needed to achieve the goals, performance indicators, and an evaluation
                      plan to compare program results with goals, and milestones to guide
                      overall development of the new readiness system. Even though the new
                      system may have the potential to improve readiness reporting, without an
                      implementation plan little assurance exists that the new system will
                      actually improve readiness assessments by the time full capability is
                      planned in 2007. Without such a plan, it will also remain difficult to gauge
                      progress toward meeting the 2007 target date. This concern is reinforced
                      in light of the (1) years-long delays in implementing other readiness
                      reporting improvements and (2) the deficiencies in existing reporting that
                      OUSD P&R plans to rectify with the new system. Furthermore, without an
                      implementation plan neither senior DOD leadership nor the Congress will
                      be able to determine if the resources spent on this system are achieving
                      their desired results.


                      To improve the information available to Congress for its use in its
Recommendations for   oversight role, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct the
Executive Action      OUSD P&R to improve the quality of information contained in the
                      quarterly reports. Specifically, we recommend that DOD’s reports explain


                      Page 21                                           GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
                       (in the unclassified section) the most critical readiness issues that are of
                       greatest concern to the department and the services. For each issue, we
                       recommend that DOD’s reports include

                   •   an analysis of the readiness deficiencies, including a clear explanation of
                       how the issue affects units’ readiness;
                   •   a statement of the specific remedial actions planned or implemented; and
                   •   clear statements of the funding programmed to implement each remedial
                       action.


                       To be able to assess progress in developing the new readiness system, we
                       recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct the OUSD P&R to develop
                       an implementation plan that identifies

                   •   performance goals that are objective, quantifiable, and measurable;
                   •   the cost and personnel resources needed to achieve the goals, including an
                       identification of the new system’s development and implementation costs
                       in the President’s Budget beginning in fiscal year 2005 and Future Years
                       Defense Plan;
                   •   performance indicators to measure outcomes;
                   •   an evaluation plan to compare program results with established goals; and
                   •   milestones to guide development to the planned 2007 full capability date.


                       To assist Congress in its oversight role, we recommend that the Secretary
                       of Defense give annual updates to the Congress on the new readiness
                       reporting system’s development to include

                   •   performance measures,
                   •   progress toward milestones,
                   •   comparison of progress with established goals, and
                   •   remedial actions, if needed, to maintain the implementation schedule.



                       In written comments on a draft of this report, which are reprinted in
Agency Comments        appendix II, the Department of Defense did not agree with our
and our Response       recommendations.

                       In response to our recommendation that DOD improve the quality of
                       information contained in its quarterly readiness reports, DOD said that the
                       Quarterly Readiness Report to the Congress is one of the most



                       Page 22                                           GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
comprehensive and detailed reports submitted to the Congress that
discusses serious readiness issues and ways in which these issues are
being addressed. DOD further stated that the department presents
briefings on specific readiness issues to the Congress and that spending
more time and resources expanding the existing written report would be
counterproductive.

We recognize that the Quarterly Readiness Reports to the Congress
contain voluminous data. However, as discussed in this report, we found
that the quarterly reports’ annexes are large and mostly consist of charts
or other data that are not adequately explained and are not related to
units’ readiness. In some cases, criteria have not been established to
enable the reader to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable
levels of the data reported. As a result, the reader cannot assess the
significance of the data because it is not at all clear whether the data
reported indicate a problem or the extent of the problem. Considering that
the quarterly reports contain inadequately explained data and that much of
the information is not “user friendly,” we continue to believe the quality of
information in the quarterly reports can be improved. In fact, we reviewed
all the quarterly reports provided to Congress since 1998 and found that
through the January-June 2001 report38 the reports did include an
unclassified summary of readiness issues for each service addressing four
topics—personnel, equipment, training, and enablers (critical units or
capabilities, such as specialized aircraft, essential to support operations).
However, the reports did not include supporting data or a discussion of
remedial actions. Since that time, these summaries have been eliminated
from the quarterly reports. For example, the unclassified narrative of the
last two reports available at the time we performed our work—January-
March 2002 and April-June 2002—were less than two pages long and
neither discussed readiness issues nor ways in which these issues are
being addressed. One report discussed the new readiness reporting
system, and the other discussed a review of seven environmental laws.
Given that DOD has highlighted key issues in the past, we believe that
improving the quarterly reports would be beneficial if DOD were to focus
on the most critical readiness issues that are of greatest concern to the
services and includes supporting data and a discussion of remedial
actions. Therefore, we have modified our recommendation that DOD
improve the quality of readiness reporting to focus on readiness issues
deemed to be critical by the Secretary and the military services and to


38
     The January-June 2001 report covered two quarters.




Page 23                                                   GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
provide more detailed data and analyses of those issues and the remedial
actions planned for each one.

DOD did not agree with our recommendations that it (1) develop an
implementation plan with, among other things, performance goals that are
objective, quantifiable, and measurable and (2) provide annual updates to
the Congress on the new readiness reporting system’s development. DOD
said that it had undertaken an initiative to develop better tools for
assessing readiness and that it intended to apprise Congress on its efforts
to develop tools for readiness assessment. DOD further stated that the
effort to improve readiness reporting is in its infancy, but that it has
established milestones, cost estimates, functional responsibilities, and
expected outcomes. DOD believes that further planning and a prescriptive
annual update to the Congress is unnecessary.

We agree that the new readiness reporting system may have the potential
to improve readiness reporting. However, as discussed in this report, the
directive establishing the new system contains very broad, high-level
statements of overall functional responsibilities and outcomes, but no
details on how these will be accomplished. Further, DOD has established
two milestones—initial capability in 2004 and full capability in 2007. DOD
does not have a road map explaining the steps needed to achieve full
capability by 2007, which is seven years after Congress mandated a new
system be in place. In addition, as discussed earlier in this report, DOD has
experienced delays in implementing much smaller readiness
improvements. While DOD has undertaken an initiative to develop better
tools for assessing readiness and intends to routinely and fully apprise the
Congress on its development efforts, tools are the mechanics for
evaluating readiness data. As such, tools are not the same thing as the
comprehensive readiness reporting system mandated by Congress that
DOD has said will include new metrics and will evaluate entities within
DOD that currently do not report readiness. Considering that Congress
expressed concern about DOD’s lack of progress in developing a
comprehensive system, that developing and implementing DOD’s planned
new system is scheduled to take 4 more years, and that delays have been
experienced in earlier efforts to make small improvements in readiness
reporting, we continue to believe that it is important for DOD to develop
an implementation plan to gauge progress in developing and implementing
the new readiness reporting system and to provide annual updates to the
Congress. Such a plan would be consistent with DOD’s approach to other
major initiatives such as transforming training. We have therefore retained
these two recommendations.



Page 24                                          GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
DOD also provided technical corrections and we have modified the report
where appropriate.


We are sending copies of this report to the Ranking Minority Member,
Subcommittee on Readiness, House Committee on Armed Services; the
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee on Readiness and
Management Support, Senate Committee on Armed Services; other
interested congressional committees; Secretary of Defense; and the
Director, Office of Management and Budget. We will also make copies
available to others on request. In addition, the report will be available at
no charge on the GAO Web site at http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staff have any questions, please call me on (757) 552-8111 or
by E-mail at curtinn@gao.gov. Major contributors to this report were
Steven Sternlieb, Brenda Waterfield, James Lewis, Dawn Godfrey, and
Herbert Dunn.

Sincerely yours,




Neal Curtin
Director
Defense Capabilities and Management




Page 25                                          GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
             Appendix I: Scope and Methodology
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology


             To assess the progress the Department of Defense (DOD) has made in
             resolving issues raised in our prior report concerning both the unit level
             readiness reporting system and the lack of specificity in DOD’s Quarterly
             Readiness Reports to the Congress, we met with DOD officials and
             reviewed regulations and quarterly reports. Specifically, we met with
             officials of the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and
             Readiness (OUSD P&R) responsible for readiness reporting, the Joint
             Staff, and the military services to discuss their individual progress in each
             of these areas. To assess progress regarding unit level readiness reporting,
             we reviewed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff manual governing
             this system and the related service implementing instructions to determine
             if these documents had changed since our 1998 report or if the manual and
             service instructions continued to allow reporting in the same manner as
             reflected in our earlier report. Through a comparison of the current and
             prior documents, discussions with pertinent officials, and our analysis, we
             determined whether the readiness reporting issues we raised in 1998 had
             been resolved. We also reviewed the content of quarterly reports to assess
             their quality and usefulness, and assess whether the problems we reported
             in 1998 had been rectified. We discussed our analysis with OUSD P&R
             officials and provided them with our analyses in order that they could fully
             consider and comment on our methodology and conclusions. We did not
             assess the accuracy of reported readiness data.

             To determine the extent to which DOD has complied with legislative
             reporting requirements enacted since our prior report, we compared a
             complete listing of these requirements to DOD’s readiness reporting. First,
             we identified the legislatively mandated readiness reporting requirements
             enacted since our 1998 report. To accomplish this, we reviewed the
             National Defense Authorization Acts for Fiscal Years 1998-2002 to list the
             one-time and recurring reporting requirements related to military
             readiness. We also requested congressional staff and OUSD P&R to review
             the list, and officials from both offices agreed it was accurate. We did not
             develop a total count of the number of reporting requirements because the
             acts included a series of sections and subsections that could be totaled in
             various ways. Once we obtained concurrence that this listing was
             complete and accurate, we compared this list to current readiness
             reporting to make an overall judgment on the extent of compliance.

             To assess how DOD plans to improve readiness reporting, we reviewed the
             June 2002 DOD directive establishing a new readiness reporting system
             and a progress update briefing on the new system. We also obtained
             readiness briefings from each of the services, OUSD P&R, and Joint Staff
             officials. We performed several electronic searches of the Deputy Under


             Page 26                                          GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




Secretary of Defense (Readiness) electronic Web site to determine the
status of readiness reporting. To assess how smoothly other readiness
improvements progressed, we reviewed DOD audit reports. We discussed
our findings with OUSD P&R officials and worked proactively with them
in conducting our analyses. Specifically, we provided them drafts of our
analyses for their comments and corrections.

We conducted our review from June 2002 through January 2003 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.




Page 27                                        GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
             Appendix II: Comments from the Department
Appendix II: Comments from the Department
             of Defense



of Defense




             Page 28                                     GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
                    Appendix II: Comments from the Department
                    of Defense




Now on pp. 20-21.




                    Page 29                                     GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
                    Appendix II: Comments from the Department
                    of Defense




Now on pp. 20-21.




Now on pp. 20-21.




(350222)
                    Page 30                                     GAO-03-456 Military Readiness
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