oversight

Army Readiness: Progress and Challenges in Rebuilding Personnel, Equipping, and Training

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2019-02-06.

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

                              United States Government Accountability Office

                              Testimony
                              Before the Subcommittee on Readiness
                              and Management Support, Committee
                              on Armed Services, U.S. Senate

                              ARMY READINESS
For Release on Delivery
Expected at 2:30 p.m. ET
Wednesday, February 6, 2019



                              Progress and Challenges
                              in Rebuilding Personnel,
                              Equipping, and Training




                              Statement of John H. Pendleton, Director,
                              Defense Capabilities and Management




GAO-19-367T
                                              February 6, 2019

                                              ARMY READINESS
                                              Progress and Challenges in Rebuilding Personnel,
                                              Equipping, and Training
Highlights of GAO-19-367T, a testimony
before the Subcommittee on Readiness and
Management Support, Committee on Armed
Services, U.S. Senate




Why GAO Did This Study                        What GAO Found
The 2018 National Defense Strategy            In GAO’s prior and ongoing work, GAO found that the Army has made progress
emphasizes that restoring and                 in rebuilding readiness and projects that it will reach its readiness goals by 2022.
retaining readiness across the entire         While the Army continues to make progress, it faces challenges in staffing its
spectrum of conflict is critical to           evolving force structure, repairing and modernizing its equipment, and training its
success in the emerging security              forces for potential large-scale conflicts (see table).
environment. The top priority for Army
leadership is readiness. The Army has         Army’s Progress and Challenges in Rebuilding Readiness
undertaken a variety of efforts since          Area             Progress made                             Selected challenges
2016 to prepare for potential large-           Personnel and •      The Army has reversed planned         •   Difficulty in expanding force due
scale combat operations against major          force structure      reductions, and is now increasing         to missed recruiting targets
                                                                    personnel in order to fully man       •   Shortfalls in key skills, such as
adversaries. This statement provides                                units.                                    civilian flight test pilots in depots
information on the Army’s progress                              •   The Army has added force              •   Staffing new cyber and security
and challenges in readiness rebuilding                              structure to prepare for potential        force assistance units
in the areas of (1) force structure and                             large-scale combat. For example, •        Tracking and managing
personnel, (2) equipment repair and                                 the Army is activating new Mobile         personnel time away from home
modernization, and (3) training for                                 Short Range Air Defense
                                                                    battalions by fiscal year 2022, and
potential large-scale conflict. Also,                               is also creating new cyber and
GAO summarizes recommendations to                                   electronic warfare units.
address these challenges and actions           Equipment        •   The Army is developing new            •   Repairing heavily-used Patriot air
taken by the Army to address them.             repair and           warfighting concepts to address           defense equipment
                                               modernization        future threats.                       •   Evaluating the costs and
This statement is based on previously                           •   The Army is modernizing its               effectiveness of near-term
published GAO work since 2016. This                                 equipment through updates and             modernization efforts
prior work related to, among other                                  upgrades, which the service           •   Applying leading practices for
things, Army readiness, skills                                      believes is critical to future            technology development
                                                                    readiness.
shortages, equipment maintenance               Training for     •   The Army has made progress in         •   Ensuring adequate facilities and
and modernization, acquisition,                potential large-     training for decisive-action              airspace for training unmanned
training, force structure. GAO also            scale conflict       operations, including multiple            aerial system (UAS) pilots
updated information and incorporated                                rotations through training centers. •     Enhancing the UAS pilot
preliminary observations from ongoing                           •   The Army has implemented GAO              selection approach
work related to warfighting concepts.                               recommendations to better             •   Fully training personnel in new
                                                                    incorporate its use of virtual            units under accelerated
What GAO Recommends                                                 training devices into its operational
                                                                    training.
                                                                                                              schedules

GAO has made 44 recommendations               Source: GAO analysis. | GAO-19-367T
in prior unclassified work described in
this statement. DOD and the Army              Looking to the future, the Army plans to grow its forces, provide them with
have generally concurred with them,           modernized equipment, and train units to conduct large-scale, decisive-action
have implemented seven, and have              operations. All of these efforts are underway as the Army contemplates the
actions underway to address others.           implications of future warfare—which it reports is likely to require operations in
Continued attention to these                  multiple domains, especially cyber. As a result, it is important for the Army to
recommendations can assist and guide          balance its efforts to rebuild and sustain the operational readiness of its existing
the Army moving forward as it seeks to        force with its preparations for future threats.
rebuild the readiness of its force and
transforms for the future.


View GAO-19-367T. For more information,
contact John H. Pendleton at (202) 512-3489
or pendletonj@gao.gov.

                                                                                                United States Government Accountability Office
Letter
         Letter




         Chairman Sullivan, Ranking Member Kaine, and Members of the
         Subcommittee:

         Thank you for the opportunity to be here today to discuss issues related
         to Army readiness.

         In June 2017, we issued a report highlighting five key mission challenges
         facing the Department of Defense (DOD). 1 In that report, we noted that
         the United States faces an extremely challenging national security
         environment. At the same time, it is grappling with addressing an
         unsustainable fiscal situation in which DOD accounts for approximately
         half of the federal government’s discretionary spending. As DOD faces
         this environment, it is working both to rebuild the readiness of its current
         forces and to modernize to meet future threats. Since we issued that
         report in 2017, DOD released a new National Defense Strategy in
         January 2018 that prioritizes the long-term challenges posed by highly
         capable adversaries and emphasizes the need to rebuild readiness. 2

         This statement provides information on the Army’s progress in rebuilding
         readiness and some of the challenges it faces in the areas of (1) force
         structure and personnel, (2) equipment repair and modernization of the
         force, including warfighting concepts, and (3) training for potential large-
         scale conflict. We also summarize our recommendations to address these
         challenges and actions the Army has taken to implement them. 3

         This statement is based on our body of prior work published from 2016
         through 2019, as well as preliminary observations from our ongoing work.
         The prior work that we drew from examined a range of issues related to
         Army readiness, including the Army’s sustainable readiness process,
         force structure changes, cyber training, the Patriot missile system, depot



         1
          This included a detailed discussion of our priority recommendations to DOD. Since
         August 2015, we have identified priority recommendations in letters to the Secretary of
         Defense – recommendations that we have made to DOD that we believe the department
         should give a high priority to addressing. See GAO, Department of Defense: Actions
         Needed to Address Five Key Mission Challenges, GAO-17-369 (Washington, D.C.: June
         13, 2017). As of April 2018, 85 priority recommendations remained open.
         2
          Department of Defense, Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United
         States of America (Washington, D.C.: January 2018).
         3
          The status of our recommendations cited in this statement is provided in appendix I.




         Page 1                                                                        GAO-19-367T
             maintenance, acquisition, and requirements development. 4 To perform
             our prior work, we analyzed Army readiness, personnel, maintenance,
             acquisition, and training data, and interviewed cognizant Army officials
             involved in operations and requirements development. In addition, we
             issued several classified reports since 2016 examining some of these
             issues and made recommendations to the Army. The statement also
             includes updates to information as of February 2019 as appropriate,
             based on Army documentation and discussions with Army officials. In
             addition, we drew from ongoing work relating to our review of the Army’s
             efforts to develop new warfighting concepts and force structure. The
             reports cited throughout this statement contain more details on the scope
             of the work and the methodology used to carry it out.

             We have been performing the work on which this statement is based from
             2016 to February 2019 in accordance with generally accepted
             government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan
             and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide
             a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit
             objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable
             basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.


             DOD has reported that more than a decade of conflict, budget
Background   uncertainty, and reductions in force structure have degraded military
             readiness. In response, DOD has made rebuilding the readiness of the
             military forces a top priority. The 2018 National Defense Strategy states
             that the central challenge to U.S. prosperity and security is the
             reemergence of long-term, strategic competition with China and Russia.
             Further, the strategy stresses that restoring and retaining readiness for
             large-scale combat is critical to success in this emerging security
             environment. Nevertheless, DOD reported that readiness of the total
             military force remains low and has remained so since 2013. In June 2017,
             we found that Army readiness goals and timelines for rebuilding
             readiness are not clear for all portions of the force, especially for the
             reserve component, although the Army is making progress in these
             areas. 5

             4
              A list of related classified and unclassified GAO products is provided in Related GAO
             Products at the end of this statement.
             5
              GAO-17-369. The reserve component includes the Army National Guard of the United
             States and Army Reserve.




             Page 2                                                                        GAO-19-367T
Across the department, DOD has made progress in developing a plan to
rebuild the readiness of the military force, with the military services
providing regular input on the status of their readiness recovery efforts. 6
In August 2018, we reported that the Office of the Secretary of Defense
developed a Readiness Recovery Framework that the department is
using to guide the services’ efforts, and plans and to regularly assess,
validate, and monitor readiness recovery. 7 The Office of the Secretary of
Defense and the services have recently revised readiness goals and
accompanying recovery strategies, metrics, and milestones to align with
the 2018 National Defense Strategy and Defense Planning Guidance.
According to The Army Strategy, the Army projects that it will reach its
readiness goals by 2022, at which point its priority is expected to shift to
modernization. We have ongoing work assessing DOD’s progress in
achieving its overall readiness goals in each of five warfighting domains:
ground, sea, air, space, and cyberspace. 8

The number one stated goal of Army leadership is readiness, including
recovering the readiness lost from years of sustained conflict while
preparing for potential large-scale combat operations against a global
competitor such as Russia or China. These efforts are occurring in a
challenging context that requires DOD to make difficult decisions
regarding how best to address continuing operational demands while
preparing for future challenges. An important aspect of this, across all of
the military services, is determining an appropriate balance between
maintaining and upgrading legacy weapon systems currently in
operational use, and modernizing to ensure the ability to outpace
advancing competitors. Our work has shown that the Army has improved

6
 In September 2016, we reviewed DOD and the military services’ plans to rebuild
readiness and reported that the efforts may be at risk without a department-wide plan for
moving forward. We made five recommendations on implementing and overseeing
readiness rebuilding efforts. See GAO, Military Readiness: DOD’s Readiness Rebuilding
Efforts May Be at Risk without a Comprehensive Plan, GAO-16-841 (Washington, D.C.:
Sept. 7, 2016).
7
 GAO, Military Readiness: Update on DOD’s Progress in Developing a Readiness
Rebuilding Plan, GAO-18-441RC (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 10, 2018). The Readiness
Recovery Framework identifies primary readiness issues that each of the military services
face, actions to address identified issues, and milestones and metrics to assess progress
in addressing identified issues.
8
 Section 333 of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year
2019, Pub. L. No. 115-232 (2018), includes a provision for us to report annually until 2022
on the readiness of the armed forces to conduct full spectrum operations in the five
domains. We plan to provide our first report in the spring of 2019.




Page 3                                                                        GAO-19-367T
ground force readiness in recent years; however, the Army has also
identified capability shortcomings in its weapon systems and platforms
that have yet to be addressed through its modernization efforts.

In an effort to achieve higher, more consistent levels of readiness over
longer time periods, the Army is implementing a redesigned way to
generate forces called the sustainable readiness concept. 9 A key part of
the concept includes determining readiness objectives by unit type, which
are developed by comparing the numbers of key unit types against
planned and potential warfighting demands. In addition, since 2014 the
Army has invested significantly in stocks of warfighting equipment that are
being stored in Europe, and has begun deploying armored formations to
the continent on a continuous basis for training and exercises to enhance
its readiness against potential Russian aggression. 10

As the Army works to rebuild and sustain higher readiness of its current
force, the service is moving to update its doctrine, equipment, and
formations to conduct operations in a more complex warfighting
environment. The Army believes that it must be able to operate not only
on land against potential adversaries, but also have the capability to act
against them in other domains, namely air, sea, cyber, and space. The
new Army Operating Concept, published in December 2018, describes
how the Army would operate in a “multi-domain” environment. It identifies
readiness as being key to deterring aggression from potential adversaries
and, should conflict occur, addresses how Army forces would operate in




9
 Force generation is the Army’s core process of structured unit readiness progression
over time to produce trained, ready, and cohesive units prepared on a rotational basis for
operational deployment in support of combatant command and other Army requirements.
For the purposes of this report, we define the sustainable readiness concept as the Army’s
collective efforts to revise its force generation processes, to include the sustainable
readiness model (which provides a readiness framework), the sustainable readiness
process (which provides the underlying processes and synchronization necessary for
generating forces), and the operational demand model (which projects known demands
and contingency demands over a 4-year period).
10
  GAO, European Reassurance Initiative: DOD Needs to Prioritize Posture Initiatives and
Plan for and Report Their Future Cost, GAO-18-128 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 8, 2017).




Page 4                                                                       GAO-19-367T
                           multiple domains to penetrate anti-access and area denial systems. 11 To
                           support this concept, the Army’s modernization strategy aims to build the
                           next generation of weapon systems and platforms that are more agile,
                           lethal, resilient, and sustainable on the future battlefield. We have
                           ongoing work reviewing the Army’s efforts to develop its multi-domain
                           operations concept and to field capabilities to support such operations. 12


                           The Army is growing slightly from a previously-planned size of 980,000
The Army Has               uniformed personnel to just over 1 million personnel. The Army is also
Increased Personnel        adjusting its force structure to address increasing operational risks as it
                           prepares for potential combat operations against a major adversary.
and Force Structure,       However, our work shows that the Army faces challenges in filling and
but Manning and            maintaining key skills in a number of areas, and in managing the time
                           Army personnel spend away from their home station.
Management
Challenges Remain

The Army Is Adding End     In 2016, we reported that the Army was planning to reduce its end
Strength and Capacity to   strength from a high of about 1.11 million uniformed personnel in fiscal
                           year 2011 to an end strength of 980,000 by fiscal year 2018. 13 The Army
Its Force, Reversing a
                           stated that at this level it could execute the National Defense Strategy,
Planned Decline            but at significant risk. Army leadership testified in March 2015 that if there
                           were further end strength reductions, the Army would not be able to
                           execute the defense strategic guidance. We reported in 2016 that the
                           Army needed to assess the risks associated with the planned reductions
                           and better document its force-planning process. The Army concurred with




                           11
                             Department of the Army, U.S. Training and Doctrine Command Pamphlet 525-3-1, The
                           U.S. Army in Multi-Domain Operations 2028 (Dec. 6, 2018). The Joint Staff defines “anti-
                           access” as those capabilities, usually long-range, designed to prevent an advancing
                           enemy from entering an operational area. “Area denial” refers to those capabilities, usually
                           of shorter range, designed not to keep the enemy out but to limit their freedom of action
                           within the operational area. Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff . Office of
                           the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Operational Access Concept, v.1.0 (Jan.
                           17, 2012).
                           12
                            See H.R. Rep. No. 115-200, at 108-109 (2017).
                           13
                             GAO, Army Planning: Comprehensive Risk Assessment Needed for Planned Changes
                           to the Army’s Force Structure, GAO-16-327 (Washington, D.C.: Apr. 13, 2016).




                           Page 5                                                                         GAO-19-367T
both of our recommendations, changed the way it assessed risk, and
made adjustments to its force structure based on these assessments. 14

After our 2016 report, Congress partly reversed these planned reductions
by authorizing end-strength increases in fiscal years 2017 through 2019.
The principal increase occurred in 2017, when Congress authorized an
end strength of 1.018 million uniformed personnel, or 28,000 more than
the Army had planned for that year. 15 The Army’s authorized end strength
since 2011, including planned end strength in 2017 and 2018, are
summarized in figure 1.

Figure 1: Authorized Army End Strength, Fiscal Year 2011, and Fiscal Years 2015
through 2019




Note: 2017 and 2018 planned end strengths were not authorized by Congress.




14
  GAO-16-327.
15
  Pub. L. No. 114-328, §§ 401(1), 411(a)(1)-(2) (2016).




Page 6                                                                       GAO-19-367T
                           Additionally, as we found since our 2016 report was published, the Army
                           has added or plans to add capacity, including converting two infantry
                           brigades into armored brigades and activating two new Mobile Short
                           Range Air Defense battalions by fiscal year 2022, to better prepare the
                           force for large-scale combat against major adversaries. 16 Also, to support
                           combat forces during a conflict, the Army is activating additional combat
                           sustainment formations that are responsible for supply, distribution, and
                           transportation. Our ongoing work has found that over the next few years
                           the Army is building or plans to build several new cyber and electronic
                           warfare units to operate at various levels within the force to make the
                           Army more effective in contested environments.


The Army Faces             According to the Chief of Staff of the Army, in a January 2019 speech, the
Challenges in Meeting      Army has used its end strength increases to increase the manning of
                           combat units. The goal of Army leadership is to fill operational units to
Authorized End Strength,
                           100 percent by the end of fiscal year 2019, and 105 percent by the end of
Filling Key Skills         fiscal year 2020. 17 However, in preparing this statement we found that, in
Shortages and Managing     three of the past four years, the Army has fallen short of meeting its
Personnel Time Away from   overall end strength authorizations. Army officials told us that these
Home                       differences from the authorized end strength fall under the Secretary of
                           Defense’s authority to reduce the end strengths by a certain amount.
                           Moreover, these officials added that in 2015 and 2016, the Army was
                           drawing down end strength and planning further reductions. However, the
                           Army fell short of its end strength authorization by 0.38 percent in 2017,
                           and fell short again by 2.56 percent in 2018. The percentage differences
                           between authorized and actual end strength for the total Army, from 2015
                           through 2018, are summarized in figure 2.




                           16
                            GAO, Army Modernization: Actions Needed to Measure Progress and to Fully Identify
                           Near-Term Costs, GAO-18-604SU (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 28, 2018).
                           17
                             Assigning extra personnel helps ensure units are fully manned after accounting for any
                           non-deployable personnel.




                           Page 7                                                                       GAO-19-367T
Figure 2: Percentage Differences Between Authorized and Actual End Strength for
the Total Army, from 2015 through 2018




As we prepared this statement, Army officials told us that the primary
reason why it has struggled to meet its authorized end strength is
because it has had difficulty meeting recruiting goals, which have
negatively affected the Army’s ability to expand the force. For example,
Army officials told us the Army was short of its goal for 2018 by 6,500
new recruits for the regular Army. Army officials told us that the Army
does not expect to be able to achieve its authorized end strength for fiscal
year 2019. Looking ahead, the Army is considering revisions to its
expansion plans and now expects to reach a new end strength goal by
2025.

In addition to challenges in meeting authorized end strength, our past and
ongoing work indicates that the Army faces challenges in filling and
maintaining key skills in a number of areas, and in managing the time
Army personnel spend away from their home station. Both of these
challenges can negatively affect readiness. For example:

•   Accelerated activation of Security Force Assistance Brigades led
    to manning challenges. In December 2018, we reported that the




Page 8                                                               GAO-19-367T
     Army’s decision to deploy the first security force assistance brigade 8
     months earlier than planned posed challenges to manning the unit. 18
     The Army currently plans to activate up to six of these brigades (one
     in the U.S. Army National Guard) by the end of fiscal year 2019. The
     Army views the Security Force Assistance Brigades to be critical to
     restoring the readiness of its combat forces. Prior to their formation,
     the Army met security force assistance missions by, among other
     things, pulling senior leaders and other personnel with specific ranks
     and skills from active-duty brigades, which compromised their
     readiness for large-scale combat.
•    The Army has had difficulty filling new cyber and electronic
     warfare units. During our ongoing work, we have found that the Army
     has had difficulty filling new formations with personnel to conduct
     operations in the cyber domain, including electronic warfare. In
     October 2018, the Army activated part of a Multi-Domain Task Force,
     which is focused on intelligence, information, cyber, electronic
     warfare, and space missions and is being used in major exercises in
     the Pacific region. However, Army headquarters officials told us that
     the Army activated the unit as a pilot, or a test, unit and with an
     accelerated timeline to learn how the new formation should be
     structured, equipped, and trained. Based on our ongoing work, filling
     the unit with personnel with the right skills has been a slow process.
     Near the end of January 2019 the unit was staffed at 50 percent, and
     the Army projects it will reach 75 percent by August 2019, according
     to Army headquarters officials. The officials added that many of the
     shortages are in senior level and cyber positions. Meanwhile, Army
     documentation obtained during our ongoing work shows that the
     service is considering options for creating more task forces for other
     regions. 19 Additionally, there are plans for new cyber and electronic
     warfare force structure supporting Brigade Combat Teams. Army
     officials stated that these will be fielded in an accelerated manner as
     well, adding that filling these units could be challenging because cyber
     personnel are in high demand. Army headquarters officials said they
     are exploring options to address the challenges.
•    Army depots have had difficulty filling and maintaining critical
     skills in their workforces. For our December 2018 report, officials
18
  GAO, Security Force Assistance: U.S. Advising of Afghan National Army Has Expanded
since 2015, and the U.S. Army Has Deployed a New Advising Unit, GAO-19-251R
(Washington, D.C.: Dec. 19, 2018).
19
  The exact makeup of each Multi-Domain Task Force may differ depending on the
specific security issues in each geographic region.




Page 9                                                                  GAO-19-367T
     told us that Army depots experienced consistent challenges in hiring
     critical personnel. Also, we reported that workload fluctuations usually
     resulted in too little workload to maintain proficiency in certain skills. 20
     For example, we reported that a hiring freeze at Corpus Christi Army
     Depot in 2017 caused shortages of civilian flight test pilots, who are
     responsible for test flights before returning aircraft to service after
     maintenance. The Army, however, had not assessed how effective
     the depots have been at hiring, training, and retaining the critical skills
     of their workforce. We recommended that the Army do this, as
     personnel challenges such as these have affected depots’ ability to
     meet mission requirements and created maintenance delays for some
     equipment. The Army concurred with our recommendation and stated
     that it would assess the effectiveness of the depots’ hiring, training,
     and retention programs to ensure Army requirements are met and
     critical skills are maintained.
•    The Army has had difficulty manning ballistic missile defense
     units. As we reported in October 2017, the Army’s Patriot and
     Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ballistic missile
     defense forces have been in high demand for many years. 21 Army
     officials told us at the time that with reductions in end strength, the
     Army in 2016 stopped its practice of assigning extra personnel to
     these units to ensure operational requirements would be met. 22 Army
     officials stated that the high aptitude standards and specialized nature
     of operating Patriot and THAAD systems reduced the number of
     eligible recruits. Officials also stated that enlistment shortfalls could
     have long-term effects on these forces’ operations and career
     development. Since we issued our report, Army officials told us that
     fewer-than-expected new recruits had advanced into Patriot and
     THAAD career fields in 2018, but the Army was forecasting
     improvements.
•    High personnel tempos can negatively affect personnel. In 2018,
     we reported that the pace of operations has had a negative effect on
     Army readiness, including Brigade Combat Teams and Combat

20
  GAO, DOD Depot Workforce: Services Need to Assess the Effectiveness of Their
Initiatives to Maintain Critical Skills, GAO-19-51 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 14, 2018).
21
  GAO, Military Readiness: Personnel Shortfalls and Persistent Operational Demands
Strain Army Missile Defense Units and Personnel, GAO-18-168SU (Washington, D.C.:
Oct. 5, 2017).
22
  Previously, the Army had assigned extra personnel to these units to account for any
non-deployable personnel.




Page 10                                                                        GAO-19-367T
     Aviation Brigades. 23 We also reported that managing personnel
     tempo—the amount of time that individual service members spend
     away from home on official duties—had been a persistent challenge
     for the Army. 24 In 2015, the Army issued a regulation identifying a
     personnel tempo threshold for its service members, but officials told
     us that the threshold is not enforced and stated the regulation was
     published only to emphasize that personnel tempo data was a priority.
     We found that personnel tempo data collected by DOD was
     incomplete. However, we estimated from the data that at least 41
     percent of Army service members who were away from their home
     station in fiscal year 2016 were away for more than 7 months.
     Because time away from home can stress the force, we
     recommended that DOD or the Army take steps to clarify and follow
     personnel tempo guidance on thresholds, and also take steps to
     emphasize the collection of complete and reliable personnel tempo
     data to allow monitoring. 25 DOD concurred with both
     recommendations.




23
  GAO, Military Readiness: Clear Policy and Reliable Data Would Help DOD Better
Manage Service Members’ Time Away from Home, GAO-18-253 (Washington, D.C.: Apr.
25, 2018).
24
  Personnel tempo is subject to thresholds set in law, but in October 2001, DOD exercised
a provision in the law to waive these thresholds. 10 U.S.C. § 991.
25
  In GAO-18-168SU, we also recommended that the Army collect reliable and
comprehensive data on individual deployments of Patriot and THAAD personnel to assess
the impact of continued deployments. The Army concurred with the recommendation, but
as of April 2018 had not implemented it.




Page 11                                                                     GAO-19-367T
The Army Is
Developing New
Warfighting Concepts
and Modernizing
Equipment, but Faces
Challenges in
Maintenance
Timeliness and
Managing
Modernization Efforts
The Army Is Developing     The Army is in the process of updating and developing new concepts and
Concepts for Future        equipment to deal with a future environment that will be increasingly
                           lethal, competitive, complex, and dynamic. The Army anticipates that it
Warfare and Modernizing
                           will have to contend with a resurgent Russia and a rising China, as well
Its Equipment to Support   as regional challenges from North Korea and Iran. 26 According to the
Future Readiness           Army, these adversaries have improved their military capabilities, in
                           particular their ability to prevent U.S. forces from massing close to the
                           potential battlefield, thereby eroding advantages that the Army has
                           enjoyed for decades. Once deployed, the Army stated it expects that its
                           forces will be constantly under surveillance and potentially under attack.

                           To counter the adversaries’ threats, the Army is focusing on updating
                           warfighting concepts and modernizing the force. In December 2018, the
                           Army published a new Army Operating Concept that is specifically
                           designed to deter and defeat China and Russia, and addresses large-
                           scale ground combat. 27 The concept emphasizes that the Army must
                           demonstrate its readiness to conduct multi-domain operations—such as
                           ground, air, and cyber—as a key part of deterring adversaries from
                           escalation.


                           26
                             Department of the Army, Report on the U.S. Army Modernization Strategy Directed by
                           Section 1061 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (Apr. 30,
                           2018).
                           27
                            U.S. Training and Doctrine Command Pamphlet 525-3-1.




                           Page 12                                                                    GAO-19-367T
                                                              To support its readiness for future missions in this complex environment,
                                                              the Army has begun to update or upgrade multiple weapon systems. In
                                                              April 2018, the Army published its Army Modernization Strategy, which
                                                              identified six priorities that are key to operationalizing multi-domain
                                                              operations, including long-range precision fires and next generation
                                                              combat vehicles, as shown in table 1. 28 All six of these priorities involve
                                                              modernizing equipment and/or acquiring new equipment with improved
                                                              capabilities.

Table 1: Description of Modernization Priorities Reported by the Army

Army priority                                             Description of priority
Long-Range Precision Fires                                Capabilities, including munitions that restore Army dominance in range, lethality, and target
                                                          acquisition.
Next Generation Combat Vehicle                            Manned and unmanned combat vehicles with modern firepower, protection, mobility, and
                                                          power generation.
Future Vertical Lift                                      Manned and unmanned platforms capable of attack, lift, and reconnaissance missions on
                                                          modern and future battlefields.
Army Network                                              A mobile system of hardware, software, and infrastructure that can be used to fight cohesively
                                                          in any environment where the electromagnetic spectrum is denied or degraded.
Air and Missile Defense                                   Capabilities that ensure future combat formations are protected from modern and advanced
                                                          air and missile threats.
Soldier Lethality                                         Capabilities, equipment, and training for all fundamentals of combat—shooting, moving,
                                                          communicating, protecting, and sustaining. This includes an expansion of simulated training.

Source: GAO review of Army documentation. | GAO-19-367T

                                                              The Army has identified the need to make changes to how it develops
                                                              and acquires new weapons systems. To that end, the Army established
                                                              the Army Futures Command to provide unity of command, accountability,
                                                              and modernization at the speed and scale required to prevail in future
                                                              conflicts.




                                                              28
                                                               The six priorities were first introduced in an October 2017 memorandum from the then-
                                                              Acting Secretary of the Army and the Army Chief of Staff. See GAO-19-132.




                                                              Page 13                                                                        GAO-19-367T
The Army Faces             Our prior work has found that the Army has faced challenges with
Equipping Challenges Due   managing maintenance efforts and developing requirements for future
                           weapon systems. Some of the challenges include the following:
to Maintenance and
Modernization              •    The Army lacks an implementation plan to guide its retrograde
Management Issues               and reset activities, which could lead to inconsistent reset
                                efforts. 29 As we reported in May 2016, officials from different Army
                                entities disagreed about which documents constituted their guidance
                                for implementing retrograde and reset, suggesting that there was
                                confusion about the Army’s strategies for these activities. 30 We
                                recommended that the Army develop an implementation plan for its
                                retrograde and reset efforts. In August 2018, however, we reported
                                that the Army did not have plans to act on this recommendation.
                                According to one official, this was because guidance and plans are
                                adjusted based on the unique circumstances of each situation. 31
                                Given the Army’s drawdown of equipment used during operations in
                                Iraq and Afghanistan is coming to a close, we continue to believe that
                                an implementation plan for retrograde and reset of equipment used
                                during any future operations would help ensure that the Army more
                                consistently and effectively budgets for and distributes resources.
                           •    The Army has not comprehensively assessed the causes of reset
                                maintenance delays for Patriot equipment, which can limit unit
                                training time. In June 2018, we reported that of seven Patriot
                                battalions undergoing reset in fiscal years 2014 through 2017, only




                           29
                             “Retrograde” refers to the process for the movement of non-unit equipment and materiel
                           from a forward location to a reset program or to another directed area of operations to
                           replenish unit stocks or to satisfy stock requirements, while “reset” refers to a set of
                           actions to restore equipment to a desired level of combat capability commensurate with a
                           unit’s future mission. The Army restores the readiness of equipment being retrograded
                           from deployment to U.S. Central Command through reset maintenance. Office of the
                           Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms
                           (as of November 2018).
                           30
                             GAO, Military Readiness: DOD Needs to Incorporate Elements of a Strategic
                           Management Planning Framework into Retrograde and Reset Guidance, GAO-16-414
                           (Washington, D.C.: May 13, 2016).
                           31
                             GAO, Military Readiness: DOD Has Not Yet Incorporated Leading Practices of a
                           Strategic Management Planning Framework in Retrograde and Reset Guidance,
                           GAO-18-621R (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 10, 2018).




                           Page 14                                                                     GAO-19-367T
     one received all of its equipment back from depot maintenance within
     the Army’s policy of 180 days, as shown in figure 3. 32

Figure 3: Patriot Equipment Reset Timeliness for Units Completed in Fiscal Years
2014 through 2017




Note: Air Defense Artillery (ADA) is used as a designator in the names of Patriot units.
a
 Reset of the 2-43 ADA and 4-3 ADA in fiscal years 2016-2017 included concurrent upgrades of
equipment that added, according to officials, 60 days to their reset periods.


Since delays in returning equipment to units can reduce units’ training
time, we recommended that the Army analyze the various factors
affecting reset delays—such as equipment arriving late to the depot,
supply chain delays, and worker errors—to identify their relative
importance and inform corrective actions. The Army concurred with our
recommendation, stating that it will identify and address factors that may
affect reset timeliness.




32
  GAO, Military Readiness: Analysis of Maintenance Delays Needed to Improve
Availability of Patriot Equipment for Training, GAO-18-447 (Washington, D.C.: June 20,
2018). The Army planned to lengthen the reset period for two of these battalions in order
to allow for concurrent modernization upgrades.




Page 15                                                                                    GAO-19-367T
•     The Army’s near-term modernization efforts face management
      challenges. In September 2018, we reported that the Army had not
      established processes for evaluating its modernization efforts against
      its overarching objective of outpacing rapidly advancing competitors,
      such as Russia or China. Also, we found that the Army had not fully
      estimated the costs of its near-term modernization efforts. 33 Further,
      we found that the Army’s April 2018 modernization strategy report set
      near-term goals for closing critical capability gaps and a longer term,
      overarching objective of being able to decisively defeat major
      adversaries. The strategy also identified the cost of key modernization
      investments through fiscal year 2023, but did not discuss tens of
      billions in already-programmed modernization-related investments, or
      describe how the funding would support upgrades for existing weapon
      systems. Moreover, the strategy did not disclose the extent to which
      the Army had relied on Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)
      appropriations for upgrading weapon systems. Army officials told us at
      the time that the Army had been preparing to analyze its efforts to
      address specific warfighting capability gaps, but had not decided on
      an overall evaluation approach. Additionally, officials told us that the
      Army planned to reflect its analysis of near-term modernization
      investments in the fiscal year 2020 budget submission. We
      recommended that the Army (1) develop a plan to finalize the
      processes for evaluating how its near-term investments contribute to
      the Army’s ability to decisively defeat a major adversary, and (2)
      finalize its cost analysis of near-term investments and report those
      costs to Congress. The Army concurred with our recommendations.
•     The Army has been unable to ensure that requirements for new
      warfighting capabilities are feasible. In June 2017, we reported that
      the Army had prioritized combat readiness and rebuilding force
      structure over resourcing its requirements development process to
      meet future readiness needs. 34 We reported that even though the
      Army made some improvements in this area, officials were unable to
      ensure requirements for major defense acquisition programs were
      well-informed and feasible because of workforce constraints. For
      example, we found that the Army’s requirements development
      workforce declined by 22 percent from 2008 to 2017, with some
      requirements development centers reporting more significant
      reductions. In that report, we recommended that the Army assess the
33
    GAO-18-604SU.
34
 GAO, Army Weapon System Requirements: Need to Address Workforce Shortfalls to
Make Necessary Improvements, GAO-17-568 (Washington, D.C.: June 22, 2017).




Page 16                                                              GAO-19-367T
                               resources necessary for the requirements development process and
                               determine whether shortfalls can be addressed given other funding
                               priorities. The Army concurred with our recommendation. In 2018,
                               Army officials told us that the Army plans to implement this
                               recommendation once Army Futures Command is fully operational
                               and key Army development entities are reorganized under its
                               command.
                          •    The Army has not fully applied leading practices for technology
                               development in its modernization efforts. We reported in January
                               2019 that while the Army has generally applied leading practices
                               identified by GAO to its modernization efforts, it may be beginning
                               weapon systems development at a lower level of maturity than what
                               leading practices recommend. 35 As we concluded in that report,
                               establishing Army Futures Command creates unique opportunities for
                               the Army to improve its modernization efforts. However, proceeding
                               into weapon systems development before technology is sufficiently
                               mature raises the risk that the resulting systems could experience
                               cost increases, delivery delays, or failure to deliver desired
                               capabilities. The Army concurred with our four recommendations to
                               apply leading practices and lessons learned as it moves forward with
                               its modernization efforts. In its response to our January 2019 report,
                               the Army stated that it would conduct operational technology
                               demonstrations and was exploring a train-the-trainer program, among
                               other actions.

                          Our prior work has shown that the Army has made progress in preparing
The Army Has Made         the force for large-scale combat operations by increasing training
Progress                  exercises and reducing mandatory training requirements. It also has
                          addressed past issues we reported on, including making better use of
Implementing Its          virtual training devices and accounting for the training needs of supporting
Training Priorities and   units in its Pacific Pathways exercises. Moreover, our prior and ongoing
                          work has shown that the Army faces implementation challenges in
Addressing Past           training new units that the Army plans to field on shortened schedules.
Issues, but Faces
Some Implementation
Challenges

                          35
                           GAO, Army Modernization: Steps Needed to Ensure Army Futures Command Fully
                          Applies Leading Practices, GAO-19-132 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 23, 2019).




                          Page 17                                                             GAO-19-367T
The Army Has Made           •     Army units are receiving more frequent training for large-scale
Progress Implementing Its         combat. Our prior work has shown that the Army has made progress
                                  in preparing the force for large-scale combat by increasing training
Training Priorities and           exercises. After a decade of focusing its training on counterinsurgency
Addressing Past                   operations, the Army assessed that opportunities to train thousands of
Challenges                        company commanders, field-grade officers, and battalion
                                  commanders on tasks related to large-scale combat were lost. 36
                                  However, in August 2016, we reported that the Army increased the
                                  number of brigades that had completed a decisive-action exercise
                                  from one brigade combat team in fiscal year 2011 to 14 brigade
                                  combat teams in fiscal year 2015, while at the same time decreasing
                                  training for counterinsurgency. 37 We noted in a September 2016
                                  report that a key part of the Army’s plan to rebuild readiness was to
                                  ensure that soldiers have repeated training experience on their core
                                  competencies. 38 Since we completed our work, the Army is funding up
                                  to 26 brigade combat teams to go through a decisive-action training
                                  event at its combat training centers in fiscal year 2019.
                            •     Mandatory training and directed tasks have been reduced. In
                                  August 2016, we also reported that the Army had determined that
                                  mandatory training requirements and directed tasks were too
                                  numerous and were creating challenges for commanders in balancing
                                  their units’ training time with these other requirements. 39 Additionally,
                                  we identified steps the Army had taken to make these requirements
                                  less burdensome. We reported, for example, that the Army had
                                  delegated authority to two-star commanders to exempt units, as
                                  needed, from certain mandatory training. We reported that the Army
                                  had begun to lock in a unit’s planned training six weeks in advance, in
                                  an effort to protect units from external tasks that could affect training
                                  schedules of brigades and their subordinate units. The early setting of
                                  training schedules was intended to prevent an external task from
                                  interfering with that training. We did not make any recommendations
                            36
                                GAO-16-841.
                            37
                              GAO, Army Training: Efforts to Adjust Training Requirements Should Consider the Use
                            of Virtual Training Devices, GAO-16-636 (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 16, 2016). The Army
                            defines decisive action as the continuous, simultaneous combinations of offensive,
                            defensive, and stability or defense support of civil authorities’ tasks. Counterinsurgency
                            training focuses mostly on stability tasks, with less emphasis on offensive and defensive
                            tasks.
                            38
                              GAO-16-841. A core competency is a wartime or primary mission for which a unit is
                            organized or designed.
                            39
                                GAO-16-636.




                            Page 18                                                                       GAO-19-367T
      related to reducing mandatory training; however; since we completed
      our work, the Secretary of the Army has directed the elimination of
      numerous individual training requirements, such as eliminating certain
      requirements to train in avoiding accidents, and other administrative
      tasks, such as maintaining a physical reference library of corrosion
      prevention and control publications.
•     The Army is making better use of virtual devices to train and
      prepare units. In the same 2016 report, we identified a number of
      challenges the Army faced in using virtual training devices to help
      units prepare for major conflict. 40 Using such devices is important
      because of the challenges of training for combat in a live environment,
      such as limited range availability and resource constraints. We
      reported that the Army had taken some steps to improve the
      integration of virtual training devices into its operational training.
      However, our work identified several factors that limited the Army’s
      ability to conduct training with virtual training devices, including
      outdated virtual training policies, a lack of guidance for analyzing the
      effectiveness of virtual training devices, and the need to better
      integrate devices in training strategies. As of January 2019, the Army
      has implemented two of the three recommendations we made in our
      report. Specifically, the Army published a training analysis best-
      practices guide, analyzed virtual training devices’ effectiveness, and
      analyzed regular Army formations’ readiness training models, among
      other steps to implement these recommendations. Additionally, the
      Army further plans to modify its policy on virtual training devices in
      2021, which would require that training developers consider the
      amount of time available to train with or expected usage rates of new
      virtual training devices. Further, in preparing this statement, Army
      officials told us that the Army has used acquisition authorities
      provided by Congress to prototype new technologies to replace
      existing simulators. It is investing in these prototypes based on the
      usage rates of the older training equipment, and at the same time
      involving operational forces in the prototyping for their feedback and
      to help inform requirements.
•     The Army is taking some steps to improve its Pacific Pathways
      initiative. In November 2016, we reported on an initiative, known as
      Pacific Pathways, intended to strengthen relationships with allies and




40
    GAO-16-636.




Page 19                                                            GAO-19-367T
                                  build readiness by combining certain exercises with partner nations. 41
                                  The Army began the Pacific Pathways initiative—which deploys a
                                  battalion-size task force to the Asia-Pacific region to conduct multiple
                                  exercises over 90 days—as a way of building the readiness of its
                                  participating units. We found that the size and complexity of the
                                  operations under Pacific Pathways created potentially unique training
                                  opportunities for supporting units—such as transportation units—to
                                  exercise the capabilities they would be required to provide in a
                                  contingency. However, we found that the Army could improve its
                                  approach by fully synchronizing Army plans, stakeholders, and
                                  objectives into the exercises. The Army has implemented two of the
                                  recommendations that we made in our report to modify processes and
                                  guidance so that stakeholders are integrated into the planning, and
                                  also to seek and incorporate the training objectives of supporting
                                  units. U.S. Army Pacific officials have stated that they do not plan to
                                  implement the recommendation to perform a cost-benefit analysis of
                                  Pacific Pathways because it is not required.

The Army Faces               Our prior and ongoing work has identified some challenges that the Army
Challenges with Training     faces in training personnel in particular specialties, especially as it stands
                             up new units on shortened schedules. These include:
Pilots for Unmanned Aerial
Systems (UAS), and           •    A lack of training facilities and airspace creates challenges for
Personnel for New Cyber           UAS pilot training and further steps could be taken to enhance
Units                             pilot candidate selection. In January 2017, we reported that the
                                  Army’s UAS pilot training strategy did not account for some
                                  challenges the Army faced, such as a lack of adequate training
                                  facilities and limited available airspace. 42 The Army used flexibilities to
                                  overcome some of these challenges, but at the time of our report it
                                  was too early to tell whether these flexibilities would be enough to
                                  overcome training shortfalls. In addition, we found that the way the
                                  Army assessed whether service members were good candidates for
                                  UAS pilot training could have been improved. For example, we
                                  reported that the Army used only 3 of the 78 identified competencies
                                  that an Army-Air Force research team identified as “moderately,”
                                  “highly,” or “extremely important” for UAS pilots. We made

                             41
                               GAO, Army Pacific Pathways: Comprehensive Assessment and Planning Needed to
                             Capture Benefits Relative to Costs and Enhance Value for Participating Units,
                             GAO-17-126 (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 30, 2016).
                             42
                              GAO, Unmanned Aerial Systems: Air Force and Army Should Improve Strategic Human
                             Capital Planning for Pilot Workforces, GAO-17-53 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 31, 2017).




                             Page 20                                                                GAO-19-367T
    recommendations on these issues, and DOD partially concurred,
    stating that although the actions we recommended were prudent or
    already an integral part of workforce management, additional Army
    guidance would be unnecessary.
•   Fielding and deploying new types of units can pose challenges
    to training. The accelerated pace at which the Army is creating new
    units can pose challenges to training and readiness. As previously
    discussed, the Army is activating new units to sustain readiness and
    to operate in a more complex environment. However, the Army’s
    approach can pose training challenges, and negatively affect
    readiness. Also, our ongoing work indicates that the Army is fielding
    new cyber units at an accelerated pace, resulting in the units not
    having either fully trained personnel or the equipment to conduct
    training, according to Army officials. For example, the Army is
    planning to add uniformed personnel who specialize in cyber
    operations to its combat units and as part of newly established Multi-
    Domain Task Forces, but there is not yet a clear understanding of the
    tasks they will have to perform or an updated training strategy to
    support them, according to Army officials. Army officials stated that
    this will affect the readiness of the units to perform their missions, but
    they are taking steps to clarify and update these issues.
                                        -----

In sum, while the Army has made progress in rebuilding readiness, it
continues to face challenges meeting its goals. Moreover, the Army will
need to balance the readiness of its existing force with plans to grow and
modernize. We have made 44 recommendations that the Army has
generally concurred with; the Army has implemented 7 of them, and taken
actions to begin implementing many others. These recommendations
provide a partial roadmap to address important readiness challenges, and
implementing our recommendations to improve the management of
personnel, equipment maintenance, and training would help the Army
meet current threats and assist it as it refocuses on readiness for large-
scale combat operations. In addition, sustained management attention
and continued congressional oversight will be needed to ensure that the
Army demonstrates progress in addressing its personnel, equipment, and
training challenges.

Chairman Sullivan, Ranking Member Kaine, and Members of the
Subcommittee, this concludes my prepared statement. I would be
pleased to respond to any questions you may have at this time.




Page 21                                                            GAO-19-367T
                  If you or your staff have questions about this testimony, please contact
GAO Contact and   John H. Pendleton, Director, Defense Capabilities and Management at
Staff             (202) 512-3489 or pendletonj@gao.gov.
Acknowledgments   Contact points for our offices of Congressional Relations and Public
                  Affairs may be found on the last page of this statement. GAO staff who
                  made key contributions to this testimony are Kevin O’Neill (Assistant
                  Director), Matthew Spiers (Analyst In Charge), Steven Bagley, Rebecca
                  Beale, Cynthia Grant, Kris Keener, Alberto Leff, Amie Lesser, Jon R.
                  Ludwigson, Shahrzad Nikoo, Marcus Oliver, Richard Powelson, James A.
                  Reynolds, Cary Russell, Michael Silver, Matthew Ullengren, Nicole
                  Volchko, Erik Wilkins-McKee, Matthew Young, and Delia Zee.




                  Page 22                                                         GAO-19-367T
Appendix I: Implementation Status of Prior
                                           Appendix I: Implementation Status of Prior
                                           GAO Recommendations Related to Army
                                           Readiness


GAO Recommendations Related to Army
Readiness
                                           Over the past 4 years, we issued several reports related to Army
                                           readiness that are cited in this statement. Table 2 summarizes the status
                                           of key GAO recommendations related to Army and DOD components in
                                           coordination with the Army since 2016, which include a total of 44
                                           recommendations. The Department of Defense has implemented 7 of
                                           these recommendations to date. For each of the reports, the specific
                                           recommendations and their implementation status are summarized in
                                           tables 3 through 19.

Table 2: Status of Recommendations That GAO Has Made Since 2016 on Army Readiness Cited in This Report

                                                                                                     Number of recommendations
Product date         Product title and number                                                               Open       Implemented
January 23, 2019     Army Modernization: Steps Needed to Ensure Army Futures Command                            4                0
                     Fully Applies Leading Practices (GAO-19-132)
                                                                                                                   a
December 14, 2018    DOD Depot Workforce: Services Need to Assess the Effectiveness of                         1                 0
                     Their Initiative to Maintain Critical Skills [Reissued with revisions on Dec.
                     26, 2018.] (GAO-19-51)
September 28, 2018   Army Modernization: Actions Needed to Measure Progress and to Fully                        2                0
                     Identify Near-Term Costs (GAO-18-604SU)
Jun 20, 2018         Military Readiness: Analysis of Maintenance Delays Needed to Improve                       1                0
                     Availability of Patriot Equipment for Training (GAO-18-447)
October 2017         Military Readiness: Personnel Shortfalls and Persistent Operational                        1                0
                     Demands Strain Army Missile Defense Units and Personnel (GAO-18-
                     168SU)
June 22, 2017        Army Weapon Systems Requirements: Need to Address Workforce                                1                0
                     Shortfalls to Make Necessary Improvements (GAO-17-568)
June 8, 2017         Army Readiness: Progress Made Implementing New Concept, but Actions                        2                0
                     Needed to Improve Results (GAO-17-458SU)
                                                                                                                   a
January 31, 2017     Unmanned Aerial Systems: Air Force and Army Should Improve Strategic                      6                 2
                     Human Capital Planning for Pilot Workforces (GAO-17-53)
November 14, 2016    Army Pacific Pathways: Comprehensive Assessment and Planning                               1                2
                     Needed to Capture Benefits Relative to Costs and Enhance Value for
                     Participating Units [Reissued on November 30, 2016] (GAO-17-126)
August 25, 2016      Patriot Modernization: Oversight Mechanism Needed to Track Progress                        2                0
                     and Provide Accountability (GAO-16-488)
August 16, 2016      Army Training: Efforts to Adjust Training Requirements Should Consider                     1                2
                     the Use of Virtual Training Devices (GAO-16-636)
April 13, 2016       Army Planning: Comprehensive Risk Assessment Needed for Planned                            1                1
                     Changes to the Army’s Force Structure (GAO-16-327)
Subtotal                                                                                                       23                7
Status of recommendations that GAO has made to DOD components in coordination with the Army
April 25, 2018       Military Readiness: Clear Policy and Reliable Data Would Help DOD                          2                0
                     Better Manage Service Members’ Time Away from Home (GAO-18-253)




                                           Page 23                                                                      GAO-19-367T
                                                    Appendix I: Implementation Status of Prior
                                                    GAO Recommendations Related to Army
                                                    Readiness




                                                                                                                   Number of recommendations
Product date                    Product title and number                                                                      Open      Implemented
December 8, 2017                European Reassurance Initiative: DOD Needs to Prioritize Posture                                   3                  0
                                Initiatives and Plan for and Report their Future Cost (GAO-18-128)
June 21, 2017                   Supply Chain Management: DOD Could More Efficiently Use Its                                        1                  0
                                Distribution Centers (GAO-17-449)
September 7, 2016               Military Readiness: DOD’s Readiness Rebuilding Efforts May Be at Risk                              5                  0
                                without a Comprehensive Plan (GAO-16-841)
May 13, 2016                    Military Readiness: DOD Needs to Incorporate Elements of a Strategic                               3                  0
                                Management Planning Framework into Retrograde and Reset Guidance
                                (GAO-16-414)
Subtotal                                                                                                                          14                  0
Total                                                                                                                             37                  7
Source: GAO analysis. I GAO-19-367T

                                                    Note: This table does not include classified recommendations made in classified reports, reports
                                                    without recommendations, or reports in which we directed recommendations exclusively to the Office
                                                    of the Secretary of Defense or the Departments of the Air Force or Navy.
                                                    a
                                                     This report also included one or more recommendations directed to the Secretaries of the Air Force
                                                    and Navy, and Commandant of the Marine Corps—which are not counted here.



Table 3: Status of Recommendations from Army Modernization: Steps Needed to Ensure Army Futures Command Fully
Applies Leading Practices (GAO-19-132)

Recommendation #1:
The Secretary of the Army should ensure that the Commanding General of                   Status: Open
Army Futures Command applies leading practices as they relate to                         Concurrence: Yes
technology development, particularly that of demonstrating technology in an
operational environment prior to starting system development.                            Comments: none
Recommendation #2:
The Secretary of the Army should ensure that the Commanding General of                   Status: Open
Army Futures Command takes steps to incorporate the experiences of the                   Concurrence: Yes
cross-functional teams in applying leading practices for effective cross-
functional teams                                                                         Comments: None
Recommendation #3:
The Secretary of the Army should ensure that the Commanding General of                   Status: Open
Army Futures Command executes a process for identifying and                              Concurrence: Yes
incorporating lessons learned from cross-functional team pilots into the new
command.                                                                                 Comments: None
Recommendation #4:
The Secretary of the Army should ensure that the Commanding General of                   Status: Open
Army Futures Command fully applies leading practices for mergers and                     Concurrence: Yes
organizational transformations as roles, responsibilities, policies and
procedures are finalized for the new command.                                            Comments: None
Source: GAO analysis. | GAO-19-367T




                                                    Page 24                                                                               GAO-19-367T
                                               Appendix I: Implementation Status of Prior
                                               GAO Recommendations Related to Army
                                               Readiness




Table 4: Status of Recommendations from DOD Depot Workforce: Services Need to Assess the Effectiveness of Their
Initiative to Maintain Critical Skills [Reissued with revisions on Dec. 26, 2018.] (GAO-19-51)

Recommendation #1:
The Secretary of the Army, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Materiel              Status: Open
Command, should assess the effectiveness of the Army depots’ hiring,               Concurrence: Yes
training, and retention programs.
                                                                                   Comments: None
Source: GAO analysis. | GAO-19-367T

                                               Note: This table does not include three recommendations that were directed to the other military
                                               services—the Secretaries of the Air Force and Navy and the Commandant of the Marine Corps—and
                                               did not relate to the Army.



Table 5: Status of Recommendations from Army Modernization: Actions Needed to Measure Progress and to Fully Identify
Near-Term Costs (GAO-18-604SU)

Recommendation #1:
The Secretary of the Army should ensure that Army Futures Command, as it Status: Open
works toward becoming fully established in 2019, develops a plan to finalize Concurrence: Yes
evaluation methods and processes that enable the Army to evaluate how its
near-term investments contribute to its ability to decisively defeat an      Comments: None
adversary with advanced capabilities.
Recommendation #2:
The Secretary of the Army should ensure that the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, Status: Open
in coordination with Army Futures Command, finalizes the Army’s cost          Concurrence: Yes
analysis of near-term investments related to the Army’s modernization
strategy, and report complete information on the results, including plans, if Comments: None
any, to rely on overseas contingency operations appropriations, to Congress
with its fiscal year 2020 budget request.
Source: GAO analysis. | GAO-19-367T



Table 6: Status of Recommendations from Military Readiness: Analysis of Maintenance Delays Needed to Improve Availability
of Patriot Equipment for Training (GAO-18-447)

Recommendation #1:
The Secretary of the Army should ensure that Army Materiel Command, in             Status: Open
coordination with its subordinate and other Army organizations as
                                                                                   Concurrence: Yes
appropriate, conducts a comprehensive analysis of the primary factors
affecting timeliness to identify their relative importance in the Army’s Patriot   Comments: When we confirm actions the agency has
reset program and develops and implements appropriate corrective actions.          taken in response to this recommendation, we will
                                                                                   provide updated information.
Source: GAO analysis. | GAO-19-367T




                                               Page 25                                                                            GAO-19-367T
                                            Appendix I: Implementation Status of Prior
                                            GAO Recommendations Related to Army
                                            Readiness




Table 7: Status of Recommendations from Military Readiness: Personnel Shortfalls and Persistent Operational Demands
Strain Army Missile Defense Units and Personnel (GAO-18-168SU)

Recommendation #1:
To ensure that the Army obtains the quality information needed to         Status: Open
manage its Patriot and the Army’s Patriot and Terminal High Altitude      Concurrence: Yes
Area Defense (THAAD) force, the Secretary of Defense should direct
the Secretary of the Army to collect reliable and comprehensive data on   Comments: In comments on GAO’s draft report, the Army
individual deployments of Patriot and THAAD personnel to assess the       stated that it planned to establish and implement a written
impact of continued deployments on its personnel.                         policy to ensure that commanders are monitoring individual
                                                                          deployments and dwell time by December 2017. The Army
                                                                          noted that it would reemphasize requirements to use
                                                                          existing tracking systems for this purpose. The Army stated
                                                                          that these steps would provide the Army with greater fidelity
                                                                          on the information for multiple uses, including the impacts of
                                                                          continued deployments on Army personnel. In December
                                                                          2017 an Army official told GAO that the Army staff was
                                                                          preparing guidance that would require Army commanders at
                                                                          the appropriate level of command to track the personnel
                                                                          tempo of individual soldiers, and report the results on a
                                                                          monthly basis as part of the unit’s standard readiness report.
                                                                          The official added that the Army had also created a working
                                                                          group to consider ways of implementing the policy
                                                                          consistently across the Army, and not only with Patriot and
                                                                          THAAD units. The policy was expected to be issued during
                                                                          the second quarter of FY2018 and implementation to follow.
Source: GAO analysis. | GAO-19-367T



Table 8: Status of Recommendations from Army Weapon Systems Requirements: Need to Address Workforce Shortfalls to
Make Necessary Improvements (GAO-17-568)

Recommendation #1:
The Secretary of the Army should conduct a comprehensive assessment to        Status: Open
better understand the resources necessary for the requirements                Concurrence: Yes
development process and determine the extent to which the shortfalls can
be addressed given other funding priorities.                                  Comments: In 2018, Army officials told GAO that it
                                                                              plans to implement this recommendation. However,
                                                                              implementation will not occur until 2019, after the new
                                                                              Army Futures Command—which will lead Army
                                                                              modernization efforts—is fully operational. Key
                                                                              requirements development entities, such as the Army
                                                                              Capabilities integration Center and the Capability
                                                                              Development and Integration Directorates are expected
                                                                              to transfer from the Army Training and Doctrine
                                                                              Command (TRADOC) to the new Futures Command.
                                                                              Officials stated that when the command is established,
                                                                              the U.S. Army Manpower Analysis Agency will work
                                                                              with TRADOC and the Army Futures Command to
                                                                              evaluate the capabilities development workforce.
Source: GAO analysis. | GAO-19-367T




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Table 9: Status of Recommendations from Army Readiness: Progress Made Implementing New Concept, but Actions Needed
to Improve Results (GAO-17-458SU)

Recommendation #1:
To ensure that the Department of the Army’s sustainable readiness concept        Status: Open
has repeatable, sustainable, and consistent procedures and processes, the        Concurrence: Yes
Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to adequately
document in guidance the analytical procedures used to set readiness             Comments: Since our report was issued, the Army has
objectives in the operational demand model.                                      taken several steps to document the sustainable
                                                                                 readiness concept. The Army had drafted an updated
                                                                                 Army regulation codifying the process, and prepared a
                                                                                 leader reference book to define the concept’s
                                                                                 processes and procedures in more detail. The Army
                                                                                 also developed training modules to ensure that the
                                                                                 procedures for developing readiness objectives were
                                                                                 repeatable, sustainable, and consistent from one year
                                                                                 to the next, and held a day-long training session in
                                                                                 August 2018, prior to setting readiness objectives for
                                                                                 Fiscal Year 2020. As of August 2018, many of these
                                                                                 products were still in draft format, however, and
                                                                                 therefore we are leaving this recommendation open.
Recommendation #2
To better inform the Department of the Army’s decisions in setting readiness     Status: Open
objectives, and to ensure that the Army does not build ready forces that         Concurrence: Yes
could not be mobilized and transported into theater within required timelines,
the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army, in             Comments: Following the issuance of our report, the
coordination with U.S. Transportation Command, to reassess and develop,          Army has convened an Army mobilization forum with
as appropriate, more analytically-based assumptions regarding the capacity       the intention of identifying the resources, authorities,
of mobilization installations and ground, air, and sea transportation.           and plans that need to be in place in order to generate
                                                                                 a significant portion of the reserve component in order
                                                                                 to meet operational timelines. If implemented, this
                                                                                 mobilization effort would help bring into line the Army’s
                                                                                 readiness objectives with its force generation
                                                                                 capabilities. However, the Army has not been able to
                                                                                 elicit an assessment from US Transportation Command
                                                                                 of the underlying assumptions about the ability to move
                                                                                 mobilized forces into theater, and told us that they are
                                                                                 continuing to set readiness objectives based on
                                                                                 warfighting requirements rather than transportation
                                                                                 capacity. Additional steps by the Army to improve the
                                                                                 analytical basis of its assumptions needed to fully meet
                                                                                 the intent of this recommendation.
Source: GAO analysis. | GAO-19-367T




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Table 10: Status of Recommendations from Unmanned Aerial Systems: Air Force and Army Should Improve Strategic Human
Capital Planning for Pilot Workforces (GAO-17-53)

Recommendation #1:
To help the Army in its effort to address Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)          Status: Open
unit training shortfalls, and to help the Army identify challenges that UAS      Concurrence: Yes
pilots face in completing their training, the Secretary of Defense should
direct the Secretary of the Army to collect feedback from UAS pilots in UAS      Comments: In its initial comments, the Department of
units, such as by surveying, or conducting focus groups with them.               Defense (DOD) stated that incorporating feedback from
                                                                                 the field is already an element of the Army’s strategy for
                                                                                 improving the sustainability, maturity, and health of its
                                                                                 UAS workforce. DOD stated that our findings will
                                                                                 reinforce the importance of using feedback to improve
                                                                                 and refine the Army’s overall strategy. In July 2018,
                                                                                 Army Headquarters officials stated that the Army has
                                                                                 multiple agencies and systems that gather feedback to
                                                                                 refine and improve UAS programs. The officials listed a
                                                                                 number of the systems in place to gather feedback on
                                                                                 UAS units. However, the Army did not describe any
                                                                                 efforts to collect feedback from UAS pilots in UAS units
                                                                                 such as by surveying them or conducting focus groups
                                                                                 with them.
Recommendation #2:
To help the Army in its effort to address UAS unit training shortfalls, and to   Status: Open
help the Army identify challenges that UAS pilots face in completing their       Concurrence: Yes
training, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to
incorporate such feedback into the Army’s strategy to address UAS training       Comments: DOD partially concurred with this
shortfalls.                                                                      recommendation, and in its initial comments, DOD
                                                                                 stated that incorporating feedback from the field is
                                                                                 already an element of the Army’s strategy for improving
                                                                                 the sustainability, maturity, and health of its UAS
                                                                                 workforce. DOD stated that our findings will reinforce
                                                                                 the importance of using feedback to improve and refine
                                                                                 the Army’s overall strategy. In July 2018, Army
                                                                                 Headquarters officials stated that the Army has multiple
                                                                                 agencies and systems that gather feedback to
                                                                                 incorporate and improve UAS programs. The officials
                                                                                 listed a number of the systems in place to gather
                                                                                 feedback on UAS units. However, the Army did not
                                                                                 describe any efforts to collect feedback from UAS pilots
                                                                                 in UAS units such as by surveying them or conducting
                                                                                 focus groups with them.
Recommendation #3:
To help the Army in its effort to address UAS unit training shortfalls, and to   Status: Open
help ensure that Army Shadow units meet minimum training requirements,           Concurrence: Yes




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                                                GAO Recommendations Related to Army
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the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to revise            Comments: DOD partially concurred with our
its strategy to address UAS training shortfalls to ensure that it is fully tailored   recommendation that the Army revise its strategy to
to address training issues and address factors such as lack of adequate               address UAS training shortfalls to ensure that it is fully
facilities, lack of access to airspace, and the inability to fly more than one        tailored to address training issues and address factors
UAS at a time.                                                                        such as lack of adequate facilities, lack of access to
                                                                                      airspace, and the inability to fly more than one UAS at a
                                                                                      time. DOD stated that the Army has already taken steps
                                                                                      to continuously improve its training strategy and that our
                                                                                      findings will underline the importance of those
                                                                                      initiatives, but that additional direction related to our
                                                                                      recommendation is not necessary. In their July 2018
                                                                                      written update, Army officials responded to this
                                                                                      recommendation by discussing a regulation regarding
                                                                                      readiness reporting; however, the response did not
                                                                                      clarify how the regulation might address our
                                                                                      recommendation.
Recommendation #4:
To help the Army in its effort to address UAS unit training shortfalls, and to        Status: Open
help the Army ensure that it is basing its decisions to select individuals for
                                                                                      Concurrence: Yes
UAS pilot training on sound evidence and to help it take advantage of the
key benefits associated with effective personnel selection that could include         Comments: DOD partially concurred with our
reducing training costs, improving job performance, improving retention of            recommendation that the Army validate that the Armed
qualified personnel, enabling leadership development, and enhancing                   Services Vocational Aptitude Battery is an effective
organizational effectiveness, the Secretary of Defense should direct the              predictor of UAS pilot candidate performance in UAS
Secretary of the Army to validate that the Armed Services Vocational                  pilot training and job performance. DOD stated that it
Aptitude Battery is an effective predictor of UAS pilot candidate performance         believes that the current graduation rate of soldiers from
in UAS pilot training and job performance.                                            its UAS pilot school of 98 percent is an indication that
                                                                                      the existing personnel resource predictors and practices
                                                                                      are sufficient. It also stated that periodic revalidation is
                                                                                      prudent, but specific direction to do so is not necessary.
                                                                                      In its July 2018 written update about this
                                                                                      recommendation, Army officials stated that the
                                                                                      successful graduation rate from UAS Advanced
                                                                                      Individual Training and suggested that this graduation
                                                                                      rate may indicate that the existing Army approach is
                                                                                      adequate. As we stated in our report, Army officials told
                                                                                      us that senior Army leaders pressure officials at the
                                                                                      Army UAS pilot schoolhouse to ensure that UAS pilot
                                                                                      candidates make it through training. As a result,
                                                                                      graduation rates may not provide the Army with reliable
                                                                                      evidence that its approach to selecting personnel to
                                                                                      serve as UAS pilots is providing the Army with
                                                                                      personnel who have the aptitude for this career.
                                                                                      Validating that the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude
                                                                                      Battery is an effective predictor of training and job
                                                                                      performance of UAS pilot is an important step that
                                                                                      would help the Army ensure that it is basing its
                                                                                      decisions to select individuals for the UAS pilot career
                                                                                      field on sound evidence.
Recommendation #5:
To help the Army in its effort to address UAS unit training shortfalls, and to        Status: Open
help the Army ensure that it is basing its decisions to select individuals for        Concurrence: Yes




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UAS pilot training on sound evidence and to help it take advantage of the        Comments: DOD partially concurred with our
key benefits associated with effective personnel selection that could include    recommendations that the Army assess existing
reducing training costs, improving job performance, improving retention of       research that has been performed that identifies UAS
qualified personnel, enabling leadership development, and enhancing              pilot competencies. In its comments, DOD stated that
organizational effectiveness, the Secretary of Defense should direct the         incorporating findings regarding UAS pilot
Secretary of the Army to assess existing research that has been performed        competencies is already an integral part of both
that identifies UAS pilot competencies.                                          workforce and community management and that
                                                                                 effective and efficient resource management, as well as
                                                                                 force shaping and management processes, will help
                                                                                 ensure that the Army’s selection of candidates is
                                                                                 consistent with the findings of existing research in this
                                                                                 area. DOD stated that it does not believe it is necessary
                                                                                 to provide additional direction or guidance to the Army
                                                                                 to leverage existing research that identifies UAS pilot
                                                                                 competencies. In its July 2018 written update about this
                                                                                 recommendation, Army officials indicated that the Army
                                                                                 will assess existing research on UAS operator
                                                                                 competencies to improve UAS operator selection.
Recommendation #6:
To help the Army in its effort to address UAS unit training shortfalls, and to   Status: Open
help the Army ensure that it is basing its decisions to select individuals for   Concurrence: Yes
UAS pilot training on sound evidence and to help it take advantage of the
key benefits associated with effective personnel selection that could include    Comments: DOD partially concurred with our
reducing training costs, improving job performance, improving retention of       recommendations that the Army incorporate relevant
qualified personnel, enabling leadership development, and enhancing              findings from such research into the Army’s approach
organizational effectiveness, the Secretary of Defense should direct the         for selecting UAS pilot candidates, as appropriate. DOD
Secretary of the Army to incorporate relevant findings from such research        stated that incorporating findings regarding UAS pilot
into the Army’s approach for selecting UAS pilot candidates, as appropriate.     competencies is already an integral part of both
                                                                                 workforce and community management and that
                                                                                 effective and efficient resource management, as well as
                                                                                 force shaping and management processes, will help
                                                                                 ensure that the Army’s selection of candidates is
                                                                                 consistent with the findings of existing research in this
                                                                                 area. DOD stated that it does not believe it is necessary
                                                                                 to provide additional direction or guidance to the Army
                                                                                 to leverage existing research that identifies UAS pilot
                                                                                 competencies. In its July 2018 written update on this
                                                                                 recommendation, Army officials indicated that the Army
                                                                                 will consider a cost benefit analysis on techniques that
                                                                                 would potentially improve a process, product, or result
                                                                                 related to selecting UAS pilot candidates. Officials went
                                                                                 on to state that once the assessment is complete, the
                                                                                 Army will incorporate relevant findings into the
                                                                                 approach for selecting UAS pilot candidates.
Recommendation #7:
To help address personnel shortages and meet mission needs cost                  Status: Closed - Implemented
effectively, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, through the Under
                                                                                 Concurrence: Yes




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Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness) should direct the Air Force       Comments: In December 2017, the Assistant Secretary
and the Army to evaluate the workforce mix and the use of federal civilians    of Defense (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) issued a
for UAS pilot positions.                                                       memo to the Air Force and the Army requesting
                                                                               implementation of actions to meet the
                                                                               recommendations from this GAO report on UAS Human
                                                                               Capital Planning. As part of that memo, the Air Force
                                                                               and the Army were requested to provide an assessment
                                                                               of current UAS workforce mix and plans and of potential
                                                                               modifications to that mix to be included in their program
                                                                               plans for fiscal year 2020. More specifically, they were
                                                                               instructed to include an assessment of the current
                                                                               military manpower allocations for UAS operations,
                                                                               evaluating military essentiality and identifying
                                                                               opportunities for military to civilian conversion when
                                                                               military essentiality does not exist and when such
                                                                               conversions would not compromise desired operational
                                                                               performance. Further, the Air Force and the Army were
                                                                               instructed to provide a detailed assessment of current
                                                                               UAS missions performed by contractors to evaluate if
                                                                               the work is inherently governmental, closely associated
                                                                               with inherently governmental, or should otherwise be
                                                                               performed by government personnel consistent with
                                                                               determining workforce mix procedures in accordance
                                                                               with DOD Instruction 1100.22. Because of the direction,
                                                                               the Air Force and the Army submitted their evaluation of
                                                                               their UAS workforce mix in May and June of 2018,
                                                                               respectively, and are in a better position to determine
                                                                               the most efficient combination of resources to meet
                                                                               their mission needs.
Recommendation #8:
To help address personnel shortages and meet mission needs cost                Status: Closed - Implemented
effectively, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, through the Under         Concurrence: Yes




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Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness) should direct the Air Force         Comments: In December 2017, the Assistant Secretary
and the Army to conduct cost analyses consistent with DOD guidance to            of Defense (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) issued a
inform their workforce decisions and ensure cost effectiveness of the UAS        memo to the Air Force and the Army requesting
pilot workforce mix.                                                             implementation actions to meet the recommendations
                                                                                 from this GAO report on UAS Human Capital Planning.
                                                                                 As part of that memo, the Air Force and the Army were
                                                                                 requested to submit, where military essentiality is
                                                                                 proven, consideration of adjusting military manpower
                                                                                 mix that is informed by a cost analysis consistent with
                                                                                 DOD Instruction 7041.04, and a detailed assessment of
                                                                                 current UAS missions performed by contractors to
                                                                                 evaluate, among other things, where civilian
                                                                                 performance would represent a more cost effective
                                                                                 method of accomplishing the work, also consistent with
                                                                                 cost analyses procedures in accordance with DOD
                                                                                 Instruction 7041.04. Because of this direction, the Air
                                                                                 Force and the Army submitted their evaluations of their
                                                                                 UAS workforce mix in May and June of 2018,
                                                                                 respectively, and are in a better position to determine
                                                                                 the most efficient combination of resources to meet
                                                                                 their mission needs. This action meets the intention of
                                                                                 the GAO recommendation.
Source: GAO analysis. I GAO-19-367T

                                            Note: This table does not include three recommendations that were directed to the Secretary of Air
                                            Force and did not relate to the Army.



Table 11: Status of Recommendations from Army Pacific Pathways: Comprehensive Assessment and Planning Needed to
Capture Benefits Relative to Costs and Enhance Value for Participating Units [Reissued on November 30, 2016] (GAO-17-126)

Recommendation #1:
To assess and enhance the value of Pacific Pathways, and to fully                Status: Open
determine the value of Pacific Pathways and communicate it to decision           Concurrence: Yes
makers, the Secretary of the Army direct the Commander of U.S. Army
Pacific to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the benefits of Pacific           Comments: As of March 2018, a U.S. Army Pacific
Pathways relative to its costs. Such an analysis could both: (1) incorporate     (USARPAC) memorandum and subsequent
financial and non-financial costs and benefits of the initiative, to include     conversations with command officials reiterated the
readiness benefits for logistics and sustainment units, any training             position that USARPAC does not plan to conduct a
efficiencies or cost avoidance resulting from Pacific Pathways, and non-         deliberate analysis of the costs of Pacific Pathways
financial costs, such as decreased equipment readiness rates; and (2)            relative to its benefits, because Headquarters, Army
compare the costs with the benefits of training conducted under the Pacific      has determined that such an analysis is not required.
Pathways initiative against that conducted through other Army training, such     However, USARPAC is currently studying the impacts
as home station training, combat training centers, or other exercises.           of Pacific Pathways on sustainable readiness.
                                                                                 Headquarters, Department of the Army has requested
                                                                                 the results of this study by September 2018. Pending
                                                                                 completion of that study or other related actions, this
                                                                                 recommendation remains open.
Recommendation #2:
To assess and enhance the value of Pacific Pathways, and to better       Status: Closed - Implemented
synchronize planning across all commands and units and thereby achieve a Concurrence: Yes




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more cohesive operation, the Secretary of the Army direct the Commander          Comments: As of June 2018, USARPAC has taken
of U.S. Army Pacific to modify existing USARPAC and I Corps planning             steps to improve the processes and guidance through
processes and clarify guidance, as appropriate, that integrates all              which it plans for and executes Pacific Pathways
stakeholders and clearly identifies the objectives, assumptions, and level of    operations with key stakeholders. Specifically, a
authority appropriate for key decisions prior to the exercise planning cycle     USARPAC official said that the command now holds
for each Pathway operation.                                                      two different weekly meetings—Pacific Pathways
                                                                                 Working Groups—with all of the key commands, units,
                                                                                 and support elements to discuss operational and
                                                                                 logistics issues for the Pathways operations. These
                                                                                 working groups provide significant opportunities to
                                                                                 synchronize planning across key stakeholders, clarify
                                                                                 assumptions and provide guidance. USARPAC and I
                                                                                 Corps have also improved their mission command
                                                                                 processes, by issuing earlier planning and operational
                                                                                 orders to guide units’ planning and execution of the
                                                                                 Pathways. To address concerns regarding the need for
                                                                                 earlier planning, USARPAC has been utilizing its semi-
                                                                                 annual training and exercise conferences, and will be
                                                                                 holding a Pacific Pathways Workshop in August 2018,
                                                                                 as venues for planning and synchronizing Pacific
                                                                                 Pathways operations for future years. Taken together,
                                                                                 these improvements to the planning and guidance
                                                                                 process address the intent of our recommendation. As
                                                                                 a result, USARPAC and its supporting commands will
                                                                                 be able to more efficiently execute Pacific Pathways as
                                                                                 cohesive operations.
Recommendation #3:
To assess and enhance the value of Pacific Pathways, and to more fully           Status: Closed - Implemented
leverage the theater-wide training value of Pacific Pathways for all             Concurrence: Yes
participating units, the Secretary of the Army direct the Commander of U.S.
Army Pacific to seek and incorporate supporting units’ training objectives, as   Comments: As of June 2018, USARPAC has taken
appropriate, into the Pacific Pathways planning process.                         steps to more fully incorporate supporting units into the
                                                                                 Pacific Pathways planning process and operations,
                                                                                 thereby increasing opportunities to identify and
                                                                                 incorporate their training objectives into the operations.
                                                                                 Specifically, supporting units now attend weekly Pacific
                                                                                 Pathways working groups where operational and
                                                                                 logistics issues related to the operations are discussed.
                                                                                 A USARPAC official said that these working groups
                                                                                 provide an opportunity for units to discuss and propose
                                                                                 their training objectives. Pacific Pathways planning
                                                                                 documentation and after-action reviews also show an
                                                                                 increasing focus on incorporating supporting commands
                                                                                 into Pathways exercise design and the logistical
                                                                                 elements of the operations as a way to exercise these
                                                                                 units’ capabilities. Taken together, USARPAC ‘s actions
                                                                                 meet the intent of our recommendation and will assist
                                                                                 the command in more fully leveraging some of the
                                                                                 unique training benefits of the Pacific Pathways
                                                                                 operations.
Source: GAO analysis. | GAO-19-367T




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Table 12: Status of Recommendations from Patriot Modernization: Oversight Mechanism Needed to Track Progress and
Provide Accountability (GAO-16-488)

Recommendation #1:
In the event that operational test results for the Post-Deployment Build 8     Status: Open
(PDB-8) and PDB-8.1 Patriot missiles reveal performance shortfalls that        Concurrence: Yes
require additional development of the near and mid-term upgrades tested,
the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to            Comments: Operational testing for PDB-8 was
establish mechanisms for overseeing those upgrades commensurate with           completed in 2017 and results show some performance
other major defense acquisition programs, to include an initial report—        shortfalls although DOD asserts that there is no
similar to a Selected Acquisition Report—as soon as practical following        additional development required. DOD plans to
operational testing for both PDB-8 and PDB-8.1, on the near and mid-term       reassess the need for any additional action after
upgrades evaluated during these tests, including: (1) cost, schedule, and      operational testing for PDB-8.1, currently planned for
performance estimates for any additional development that is needed; and       August 2022, is complete.
(2) an estimate of the amount of development costs it has incurred since
2013 for near- and mid-term Patriot upgrades operationally tested along with
PDB-8 and PDB-8.1.
Recommendation #2:
In the event that operational test results for PDB-8 and PDB-8.1 reveal        Status: Open
performance shortfalls that require additional development of the near and     Concurrence: Yes
mid-term upgrades tested, the Secretary of Defense should direct the
Secretary of the Army to establish mechanisms for overseeing those             Comments: Operational testing for PDB-8 was
upgrades commensurate with other major defense acquisition programs, to        completed in 2017 and results show some performance
include annual updates to Congress comparing the latest cost and schedule      shortfalls although DOD asserts that there is no
estimates against the initial estimates and providing explanations for any     additional development required. DOD plans to
major deviations until development is complete.                                reassess the need for any additional action after
                                                                               operational testing for PDB-8.1, currently planned for
                                                                               August 2022, is complete.
Source: GAO analysis. | GAO-19-367T




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Table 13: Status of Recommendations from Army Training: Efforts to Adjust Training Requirements Should Consider the Use
of Virtual Training Devices (GAO-16-636)

Recommendation #1:
In order to better integrate virtual training devices into operational training,   Status: Open
the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to specify        Concurrence: Yes
in Army guidance for developing virtual training device requirements that
training developers consider and document the time available to train with         Comments: As of June 2018, the Army had taken
the devices and intended usage rates to achieve training tasks and                 some steps to improve its guidance, as GAO
proficiency goals during operational training.                                     recommended in August 2016, but did not plan to fully
                                                                                   address the recommendation until 2021. Officials stated
                                                                                   that the Army established target usage rates for existing
                                                                                   virtual training devices and issued guidance and
                                                                                   tracking tools for recording device usage. However, the
                                                                                   Army had not modified the guidance, cited in GAO’s
                                                                                   August 2016 report, to require that training developers
                                                                                   consider the amount of time available to train with, or
                                                                                   expected usage rates of, new virtual training devices.
                                                                                   According to Army officials, they will implement GAO’s
                                                                                   recommendation in a planned update to guidance on
                                                                                   the justification and validation of new virtual training
                                                                                   devices scheduled for 2021. By updating this guidance,
                                                                                   the Army will have the information it requires to
                                                                                   evaluate the amount of virtual training capabilities
                                                                                   needed to achieve training tasks and proficiency goals
                                                                                   during operational training.
Recommendation #2:
In order to better integrate virtual training devices into operational training,   Status: Closed - Implemented
the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to modify         Concurrence: Yes
its policies to define how post-fielding training effectiveness analysis should
be conducted and the process for selecting existing virtual training devices       Comments: DOD reported that the Army has taken
for such analysis to better prioritize Army resources for conducting such          steps to address it. Specifically, the Army published a
analyses.                                                                          Training Effectiveness Analysis Best Practices Guide in
                                                                                   March 2017 to define how post-fielding training
                                                                                   effectiveness analysis should be conducted. Army
                                                                                   officials stated that virtual training devices are selected
                                                                                   for post fielding training effectiveness analysis based on
                                                                                   a variety of factors that are considered by senior Army
                                                                                   leaders, to include trends in the usage of fielded virtual
                                                                                   training devices and the availability of manpower and
                                                                                   resources to accomplish the analysis. These officials
                                                                                   further stated that the Army goal is to perform one or
                                                                                   two training effectiveness analyses of virtual training
                                                                                   devices per year. By more clearly defining the types of
                                                                                   qualitative and quantitative analytical techniques used
                                                                                   to analyze the training effectiveness of its virtual training
                                                                                   devices and the process used to select devices for
                                                                                   analysis, the Army is better positioned to assess the
                                                                                   value of these devices in meeting unit training needs,
                                                                                   as GAO recommended in August 2016.
Recommendation #3:
In order to better integrate virtual training devices into operational training,   Status: Closed - Implemented




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                                              GAO Recommendations Related to Army
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the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to provide        Concurrence: Yes
additional guidance on how to use virtual non-system training devices in
                                                                                   Comments: DOD reported that the Army had taken
operational training and explore opportunities to incorporate virtual training
devices more fully into training strategies.                                       steps to address the recommendation. Specifically,
                                                                                   during calendar year 2017, Headquarters, Department
                                                                                   of the Army, led an in-depth analysis of active duty
                                                                                   Army formations’ readiness training models, which
                                                                                   included a consideration of the training events that
                                                                                   could be conducted using a virtual training device. The
                                                                                   outcome of this analysis included the development of
                                                                                   “task event matrices,” which specify the use of virtual
                                                                                   training devices for certain training events. By
                                                                                   developing the training task matrices, the Army has
                                                                                   provided additional guidance to more fully integrate
                                                                                   virtual training devices into operational training
                                                                                   strategies, as GAO recommended in August 2016.
Source: GAO analysis. I GAO-19-367T



Table 14: Status of Recommendations from Army Planning: Comprehensive Risk Assessment Needed for Planned Changes
to the Army’s Force Structure (GAO-16-327)

Recommendation #1:
To identify and mitigate risk associated with the Army’s planned force             Status: Closed – Implemented
structure and improve future decision making, the Secretary of Defense             Concurrence: Yes
should direct the Secretary of the Army to conduct a mission risk
assessment of the Army’s planned enabler force structure and assess                Comments: In June 2016, the Army addressed this
mitigation strategies for identified mission risk before Total Army Analysis for   recommendation through the Total Army Analysis by
Fiscal Years 2019 through 2023 is concluded and implement those                    conducting a mission risk assessment of its enabler and
mitigation strategies as needed.                                                   combat forces during pre-surge, surge, and post-surge
                                                                                   periods. Further, the Army identified strategies for
                                                                                   mitigating mission risk caused by planned changes to
                                                                                   its enabler force structure. In October 2016, the Army
                                                                                   completed the Total Army Analysis for fiscal years 2019
                                                                                   through 2023 and made force adjustments that
                                                                                   managed its risk to meet the Defense Strategic
                                                                                   Guidance. It incorporated the results of that analysis
                                                                                   into an Army Structure Memorandum for fiscal years
                                                                                   2019 through 2023, which outlined the inactivation of
                                                                                   particular units, such as its long-range surveillance and
                                                                                   pathfinder companies, among other things. As a result
                                                                                   of these actions the Army has fully addressed our
                                                                                   recommendation and estimates it will achieve total cost
                                                                                   avoidance of approximately $746 million through 2021.
Recommendation #2:
To identify and mitigate risk associated with the Army’s planned force             Status: Open
structure and improve future decision making, the Secretary of Defense             Concurrence: Yes




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                                                 GAO Recommendations Related to Army
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should direct the Secretary of the Army to expand the Army’s Total Army                Comments: The Army stated it would update the
Analysis process to routinely require a mission risk assessment for the                guidance for its Total Army Analysis process. Draft
Army’s combat and enabler force structure and an assessment of mitigation              copies of a revision to the Army’s force development
strategies for identified risk prior to finalizing future force structure decisions.   regulation (Army Regulation 71-32) and a new Army
                                                                                       Pamphlet were provided to GAO in January 2017.
                                                                                       Collectively, officials said that these documents will
                                                                                       codify the Army’s approach to assessing mission risk
                                                                                       and mitigation strategies for its force structure and
                                                                                       require that these assessments be completed prior to
                                                                                       finalizing future force structure decisions. The
                                                                                       recommendation remains open, however, because the
                                                                                       Army has not officially published the updated regulation
                                                                                       and pamphlet.
Source: GAO analysis. | GAO-19-367T



Table 15: Status of Recommendations from Military Readiness: Clear Policy and Reliable Data Would Help DOD Better
Manage Service Members’ Time Away from Home (GAO-18-253)

Recommendation #1:
The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Under Secretary of          Status: Open
Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of
                                                                            Concurrence: Yes
the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force; the Commandant of the Marine
Corps; and the Commanding General of U.S. Southern Command                  Comments: None
(SOCOM), clarify its guidance on personnel tempo (PERSTEMPO)
thresholds as long as the statutory thresholds are waived by either
establishing specific and measurable department-wide PERSTEMPO
thresholds in Department of Defense (DOD) policy or ensuring that the
Army, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps establish and follow their own
service-specific guidance on thresholds.
Recommendation #2:
The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Under Secretary of          Status: Open
Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in conjunction with the Secretaries of Concurrence: Yes
the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force; the Commandant of the Marine
Corps; and the Commanding General of Special Operations Command             Comments: None
(SOCOM), take steps to emphasize the collection of complete and reliable
PERSTEMPO data so that the Department of Defense (DOD), the services,
and SOCOM can monitor PERSTEMPO.
Source: GAO analysis. | GAO-19-367T




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                                              GAO Recommendations Related to Army
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Table 16: Status of Recommendations from European Reassurance Initiative: DOD Needs to Prioritize Posture Initiatives and
Plan for and Report their Future Cost (GAO-18-128)

Recommendation #1:
To better ensure that the Department of Defense (DOD) can target                 Status: Open
resources to its most critical initiatives and establish priorities across its   Concurrence: Yes
base budget and overseas contingency operations budget, we recommend
that the Secretary of Defense prioritize posture initiatives under the           Comments: DOD stated that it will continue to prioritize
European Reassurance Initiative (ERI) relative to those funded in its base       the negotiation of international agreements through the
budget as part of its established posture-planning processes.                    Global Posture Executive Council, and that an ongoing
                                                                                 Strategic Review will inform and guide both U.S.
                                                                                 European Command and the services in their program
                                                                                 planning efforts. However, DOD also stated it will
                                                                                 continue to adjudicate its ERI-funded force
                                                                                 requirements through its global force management
                                                                                 process so long as the initiative is funded through
                                                                                 overseas contingency operations appropriations.
Recommendation #2:
To better enable decision makers to evaluate the full long-term costs of         Status: Open
posture initiatives under ERI, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense        Concurrence: Yes
direct EUCOM and the military services to develop estimates for the
sustainment costs of prepositioned equipment and other infrastructure            Comments: DOD stated that its components will
projects under ERI and ensure that the services plan for these long-term         continue to estimate the sustainment costs for
costs in future budgets.                                                         prepositioned stocks and other infrastructure projects
                                                                                 during DOD’s annual program and budget review
                                                                                 process, but adding that without additional topline base-
                                                                                 budget funding, some portion of the associated
                                                                                 sustainment costs will need to be financed with
                                                                                 Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds.
Recommendation #3:
To support congressional decision making, we recommend that the                  Status: Open
Secretary of Defense provide to Congress, along with the department’s            Concurrence: Yes
annual budget submission, estimates of the future costs for posture
initiatives funded under ERI and other enduring costs that include               Comments: DOD stated that it factors in host nation
assumptions such as those pertaining to the level of host nation support and     support and burden sharing when preparing budget
burden sharing.                                                                  estimates for Congress, but does not currently prepare
                                                                                 a formal 5-year Future Years Defense Program for
                                                                                 OCO-related costs. Moreover, DOD did not indicate
                                                                                 whether it will begin to provide Congress future
                                                                                 estimates and any underlying assumptions with its
                                                                                 budget submission. As of April 2018, DOD officials
                                                                                 stated that DOD was committed to addressing this
                                                                                 recommendation, but did not report further actions that
                                                                                 do so.
Source: GAO analysis. | GAO-19-367T




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                                             GAO Recommendations Related to Army
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Table 17: Status of Recommendations from Supply Chain Management: DOD Could More Efficiently Use Its Distribution
Centers (GAO-17-449)

Recommendation #1:
To minimize unnecessary overlap and duplication and more efficiently use         Status: Open
the Department of Defense’s (DOD) U.S. distribution centers, the Secretary       Concurrence: Yes
of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition,
Technology, and Logistics (or the subsequent Under Secretary for                 Comments: DOD began reviewing its secondary item
Acquisition and Sustainment), in conjunction with the Director of DLA, and       inventory warehousing in July 2017 to consolidate
the Secretaries of the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy, to assess and          underused distribution centers. In February 2018, DOD
direct the implementation of actions, as appropriate, that can be taken using    officials stated that the department will conduct three
existing authorities to close, realign, or dispose of existing infrastructure.   site studies by fiscal year 2019 to assess the viability
                                                                                 and any potential savings from consolidation at these
                                                                                 locations.
Source: GAO analysis. | GAO-19-367T




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                                              GAO Recommendations Related to Army
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Table 18: Status of Recommendations from Military Readiness: DOD’s Readiness Rebuilding Efforts May Be at Risk without a
Comprehensive Plan (GAO-16-841)

Recommendation #1:
To ensure that the department can implement readiness rebuilding          Status: Open
efforts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the    Concurrence: Yes
Departments of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force to establish
comprehensive readiness rebuilding goals to guide readiness               Comments: In our draft, we recommended that the Secretary
rebuilding efforts and a strategy for implementing identified goals, to   of Defense provide direction to the U.S. Marine Corps, in
include resources needed to implement the strategy.                       addition to the Secretary of the Navy; the Department of
                                                                          Defense (DOD) stated that separate guidance to the U.S.
                                                                          Marine Corps was unnecessary because the U.S. Marine
                                                                          Corps is part of the Department of the Navy. We agreed, and
                                                                          revised our recommendation as we finalized our report for
                                                                          publishing. Otherwise, in its comments on this
                                                                          recommendation, DOD noted that the department was
                                                                          currently working to define the “ready for what” for the military
                                                                          services which would provide the target for their readiness
                                                                          recovery goals. Since that time, the military services have
                                                                          taken steps to establish both comprehensive goals to guide
                                                                          readiness rebuilding efforts and a strategy for implementing
                                                                          identified goals, to include the resources needed to implement
                                                                          the strategy. The military services have defined their readiness
                                                                          rebuilding goals and, in some cases, extended these goals
                                                                          since we reported in 2016. Further, through the department’s
                                                                          Readiness Recovery Framework that is currently under
                                                                          development, the military services have identified key
                                                                          readiness issues that their respective forces face and actions
                                                                          to address these issues, as well as metrics by which to assess
                                                                          progress toward achieving overall readiness recovery goals.
                                                                          For the Fiscal Year 2017 Request for Additional Appropriations
                                                                          and the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Request, the military
                                                                          services identified resources needed to improve readiness and
                                                                          achieve overall readiness recovery goals. Moreover, the Office
                                                                          of the Secretary of Defense continues to work with the military
                                                                          services to ensure that the services’ actions and metrics
                                                                          clearly align with readiness recovery goals in an executable
                                                                          strategy.
Recommendation #2:
To ensure that the department can implement readiness rebuilding          Status: Open
efforts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the    Concurrence: Yes




                                              Page 40                                                                         GAO-19-367T
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                                              GAO Recommendations Related to Army
                                              Readiness




Departments of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force to develop            Comments: In our draft, we recommended that the Secretary
metrics for measuring interim progress at specific milestones against      of Defense provide direction to the U.S. Marine Corps, in
identified goals for all services.                                         addition to the Secretary of the Navy; DOD stated that
                                                                           separate guidance to the U.S. Marine Corps was unnecessary
                                                                           because the U.S. Marine Corps is part of the Department of
                                                                           the Navy. We agreed, and revised our recommendation as we
                                                                           finalized our report for publishing. Otherwise, in its comments
                                                                           on this recommendation, DOD noted that the department
                                                                           would continue to work with the military services to refine the
                                                                           metrics and milestones required to implement and track their
                                                                           readiness recovery strategies. The military services have
                                                                           taken steps to develop metrics for measuring interim progress
                                                                           at specific milestones against identified readiness recovery
                                                                           goals. Through the Readiness Recovery Framework process,
                                                                           the military services have identified key readiness issues that
                                                                           their respective forces face and actions to address these
                                                                           issues, as well as metrics to assess progress toward readiness
                                                                           recovery goals that include quantifiable deliverables at specific
                                                                           milestones. The Office of the Secretary of Defense continues
                                                                           to work with the military services to ensure that the services’
                                                                           metrics and milestones clearly align with readiness recovery
                                                                           goals.
Recommendation #3:
To ensure that the department can implement readiness rebuilding           Status: Open
efforts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the
                                                                           Concurrence: Yes
Departments of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force to identify
external factors that may impact readiness recovery plans, including       Comments: In our draft, we recommended that the Secretary
how they influence the underlying assumptions, to ensure that              of Defense provide direction to the U.S. Marine Corps, in
readiness rebuilding goals are achievable within established time          addition to the Secretary of the Navy; DOD stated that
frames. This should include, but not be limited to, an evaluation of the   separate guidance to the U.S. Marine Corps was unnecessary
impact of assumptions about budget, maintenance time frames, and           because the U.S. Marine Corps is part of the Department of
training that underpin the services’ readiness recovery plans.             the Navy. We agreed, and revised our recommendation as we
                                                                           finalized our report for publishing. Otherwise, DOD noted that
                                                                           the department would continue to work with the military
                                                                           services to refine their readiness recovery goals and the
                                                                           requisite resources needed to meet them. To ensure that the
                                                                           department can implement readiness rebuilding efforts, the
                                                                           Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the
                                                                           Departments of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force to
                                                                           identify external factors that may impact readiness recovery
                                                                           plans as part of the Readiness Recovery Framework process,
                                                                           including how they influence the underlying assumptions, to
                                                                           ensure that readiness rebuilding goals are achievable within
                                                                           established time frames. This should include, but not be limited
                                                                           to, an evaluation of the impact of assumptions about budget,
                                                                           maintenance time frames, and training that underpin the
                                                                           services’ readiness recovery plans. GAO will continue to
                                                                           monitor the progress of DOD’s Readiness Recovery
                                                                           framework before it closes this recommendation as
                                                                           implemented.
Recommendation #4:
To ensure that the department has adequate oversight of service            Status: Open
readiness rebuilding efforts and that these efforts reflect the
                                                                           Concurrence: Yes




                                              Page 41                                                                          GAO-19-367T
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                                             GAO Recommendations Related to Army
                                             Readiness




department’s priorities, the Secretary of Defense should validate the   Comments: The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) has
service-established readiness rebuilding goals, strategies for          taken steps to validate the service-established readiness
achieving the goals, and metrics for measuring progress, and revise     rebuilding goals, strategies for achieving the goals, and
as appropriate.                                                         metrics for measuring progress through the Readiness
                                                                        Recovery Framework. OSD officials have developed a
                                                                        common framework and template for each of the military
                                                                        services by which to evaluate their goals, strategies, metrics,
                                                                        and milestones, and has met with each of the military services
                                                                        to refine and validate their readiness rebuilding plans, to align
                                                                        with the 2018 National Defense Strategy. GAO will continue to
                                                                        monitor the progress of DOD’s Readiness Recovery
                                                                        Framework before it closes this recommendation as
                                                                        implemented.
Recommendation #5:
To ensure that the department has adequate oversight of service         Status: Open
readiness rebuilding efforts and that these efforts reflect the
                                                                        Concurrence: Yes
department’s priorities, the Secretary of Defense should develop a
method to evaluate the department’s readiness recovery efforts          Comments: OSD has taken steps to develop a Readiness
against the agreed-upon goals through objective measurement and         Recovery Framework, with which OSD officials can evaluate
systematic analysis.                                                    the department’s readiness recovery efforts against the
                                                                        agreed-upon goals through objective measurement and
                                                                        systematic analysis. OSD has established a timeline and
                                                                        oversight process to validate, monitor, and evaluate the
                                                                        military services’ readiness recovery efforts and report
                                                                        progress against goals biannually in the Quarterly Readiness
                                                                        Report to Congress. Officials told us that OSD has also drafted
                                                                        a memorandum to guide the military services in their readiness
                                                                        recovery efforts and aims to issue further guidance that
                                                                        institutionalizes the Readiness Recovery Framework process
                                                                        after further developing and refining it.
Source: GAO analysis. | GAO-19-367T




                                             Page 42                                                                        GAO-19-367T
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                                           GAO Recommendations Related to Army
                                           Readiness




Table 19: Status of Recommendations from Military Readiness: DOD Needs to Incorporate Elements of a Strategic
Management Planning Framework into Retrograde and Reset Guidance (GAO-16-414)

Recommendation #1:
The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for    Status: Open
Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to establish a strategic policy that   Concurrence: Yes
incorporates key elements of leading practices for sound strategic
management planning, such as a mission statement and long-term goals, to     Comments: Although in its comments to that report
inform the military services’ plans for retrograde and reset to support      DOD agreed that it should establish a strategic policy
overseas contingency operations and to improve the Department of             that incorporates key elements of leading practices for
Defense’s (DOD) response to section 324 of the National Defense              sound strategic management planning to inform the
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014.                                      military services’ plans for retrograde and reset to
                                                                             support overseas contingency operations, DOD did not
                                                                             agree with identifying the Under Secretary of Defense
                                                                             for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics as the lead for
                                                                             this recommendation. In our August 2018 update (GAO-
                                                                             18-621R) we found that DOD had not yet developed a
                                                                             strategic policy, had not yet determined which DOD
                                                                             organization would lead that effort, and that there was
                                                                             no consensus among officials we spoke with regarding
                                                                             which organization should lead that effort. In its
                                                                             comments to this update, DOD generally concurred with
                                                                             these findings and stated that it had established
                                                                             standardized terms and definitions for the services to
                                                                             use to assess the cost of contingency operations and
                                                                             that the Air Force had recommended the Office of the
                                                                             Secretary of Defense form a working group to develop a
                                                                             unified strategic implementation plan and standard
                                                                             terminology, to include a common operating picture. We
                                                                             agree that these are steps in the right direction, but until
                                                                             the department establishes a strategic policy for the
                                                                             retrograde and reset of equipment that incorporates key
                                                                             elements of leading practices for sound strategic
                                                                             management as we recommended in May 2016, it will
                                                                             not be positioned to effectively manage the retrograde
                                                                             and reset of equipment.
Recommendation #2:
To enhance the accuracy of budget reporting to Congress, the Secretary of    Status: Open
Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition,        Concurrence: Yes




                                           Page 43                                                                          GAO-19-367T
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                                             GAO Recommendations Related to Army
                                             Readiness




Technology and Logistics, in coordination with the DOD Comptroller, to         Comments: In December 2017, DOD updated the
develop and require the use of consistent information and descriptions of      relevant chapter of its Financial Management
key terms regarding retrograde and reset in relevant policy and other          Regulation (DOD 7000.14-R) to include definitions of
guidance.                                                                      “reset” and “retrograde.” However, in our August 2018
                                                                               update (GAO-18-621R) we found that despite this
                                                                               action, the terms retrograde and reset were not being
                                                                               used or defined consistently by the department and the
                                                                               military services. Specifically, while some services were
                                                                               using the term reset as defined in the regulation, others
                                                                               were not. In commenting on our 2018 update, DOD
                                                                               noted that the Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller
                                                                               had established standardized terms and definitions for
                                                                               the services to use to assess the cost of contingency
                                                                               operations, which allows for a common budget
                                                                               framework, while retaining service flexibility to fulfill their
                                                                               Title 10 responsibilities to man, train, and equip. DOD
                                                                               further stated that the Air Force recommended the
                                                                               Office of the Secretary of Defense form a working group
                                                                               to develop a unified strategic implementation plan and
                                                                               standard terminology, to include a common operating
                                                                               picture. We believe that these actions would be a step
                                                                               in the right direction, but to fully meet the intent of our
                                                                               May 2016 recommendation, DOD needs to take action
                                                                               to ensure that these terms are uniformly defined and
                                                                               consistently used throughout the services.
Recommendation #3:
To improve Army, Navy, and Air Force planning, budgeting, and execution        Status: Open
for retrograde and reset efforts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the
                                                                               Concurrence: Yes




                                             Page 44                                                                            GAO-19-367T
                                             Appendix I: Implementation Status of Prior
                                             GAO Recommendations Related to Army
                                             Readiness




Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to develop service-specific        Comments: DOD stated that the department would
implementation plans for retrograde and reset that incorporate elements of      determine the appropriate Principal Staff Assistant to
leading practices for sound strategic management planning, such as              lead the development and application of service-related
strategies that include how a goal will be achieved, how an organization will   implementation plans. However, in our August 2018
carry out its mission, and the resources required to meet goals.                update (GAO-18-621R) we found that DOD had not yet
                                                                                identified a lead for this effort, and that the Army, Navy,
                                                                                and Air Force had not yet developed implementation
                                                                                plans for the retrograde and reset of their equipment.
                                                                                Navy and Air Force officials further cited the need for a
                                                                                DOD-wide policy before they can establish service-
                                                                                specific plans for resetting equipment for contingency
                                                                                operations while Army officials told us that the Army
                                                                                relies on multiple guidance documents for the reset of
                                                                                equipment and does not currently have plans to
                                                                                develop a unified reset implementation plan. In its
                                                                                response to GAO-18-621R, DOD notes that detailed
                                                                                guidelines and processes for the rotation of personnel
                                                                                in contingency and non-contingency operations are in
                                                                                place, and that if a strategic policy is developed for the
                                                                                retrograde and reset of equipment, consideration
                                                                                should be given to the Under Secretary of Defense
                                                                                (Acquisition and Sustainment) as the lead. We continue
                                                                                to believe that our recommendation remains valid and
                                                                                that DOD also needs to establish a strategic policy
                                                                                consistent with leading practices on sound strategic
                                                                                management planning to guide and inform the services’
                                                                                plans, as we also recommended in 2016.
Source: GAO analysis. | GAO-19-367T




                                             Page 45                                                                          GAO-19-367T
Related Prior GAO Work
             Related Prior GAO Work




             Army Modernization: Steps Needed to Ensure Army Futures Command
             Fully Applies Leading Practices, GAO-19-132. Washington, D.C.: January
             23, 2019.

             DOD Depot Workforce: Services Need to Assess the Effectiveness of
             Their Initiative to Maintain Critical Skills [Reissued with revisions on
             December 26, 2018.], GAO-19-51. Washington, D.C.: December 14,
             2018.

             Navy and Marine Corps: Rebuilding Ship, Submarine, and Aviation
             Readiness Will Require Time and Sustained Management Attention,
             GAO-19-225T. Washington, D.C.: December 12, 2018.

             Air Force Readiness: Actions Needed to Rebuild Readiness and Prepare
             for the Future, GAO-19-120T. Washington, D.C.: October 10, 2018.

             Army Modernization: Actions Needed to Measure Progress and to Fully
             Identify Near-Term Costs, GAO-18-604SU. Washington, D.C.: September
             28, 2018.

             Military Readiness: Analysis of Maintenance Delays Needed to Improve
             Availability of Patriot Equipment for Training, GAO-18-447. Washington,
             D.C.: June 20, 2018.

             Military Readiness: Clear Policy and Reliable Data Would Help DOD
             Better Manage Service Members’ Time Away from Home, GAO-18-253.
             Washington, D.C.: April 25, 2018.

             European Reassurance Initiative: DOD Needs to Prioritize Posture
             Initiatives and Plan for and Report their Future Cost, GAO-18-128.
             Washington, D.C.: December 8, 2017.

             Military Readiness: Personnel Shortfalls and Persistent Operational
             Demands Strain Army Missile Defense Units and Personnel,
             GAO-18-168SU. Washington, D.C.: October 5, 2017.

             Army Weapon Systems Requirements: Need to Address Workforce
             Shortfalls to Make Necessary Improvements, GAO-17-568. Washington,
             D.C.: June 22, 2017.

             Supply Chain Management: DOD Could More Efficiently Use Its
             Distribution Centers, GAO-17-449. Washington, D.C.: June 21, 2017.



             Page 46                                                           GAO-19-367T
           Related Prior GAO Work




           Army Readiness: Progress Made Implementing New Concept, but
           Actions Needed to Improve Results, GAO-17-458SU. Washington, D.C.:
           June 8, 2017.

           Unmanned Aerial Systems: Air Force and Army Should Improve Strategic
           Human Capital Planning for Pilot Workforces, GAO-17-53. Washington,
           D.C.: January 31, 2017.

           Comprehensive Assessment and Planning Needed to Capture Benefits
           Relative to Costs and Enhance Value for Participating Units [Reissued on
           November 30, 2016], GAO-17-126. Washington, D.C.: November 14,
           2016.

           Military Readiness: DOD’s Readiness Rebuilding Efforts May Be at Risk
           without a Comprehensive Plan, GAO-16-841. Washington, D.C.:
           September 7, 2016.

           Patriot Modernization: Oversight Mechanism Needed to Track Progress
           and Provide Accountability, GAO-16-488. Washington, D.C.: August 25,
           2016.

           Army Training: Efforts to Adjust Training Requirements Should Consider
           the Use of Virtual Training Devices, GAO-16-636. Washington, D.C.:
           August 16, 2016.

           Military Readiness: DOD Needs to Incorporate Elements of a Strategic
           Management Planning Framework into Retrograde and Reset Guidance,
           GAO-16-414. Washington, D.C.: May 13, 2016.

           Army Planning: Comprehensive Risk Assessment Needed for Planned
           Changes to the Army’s Force Structure, GAO-16-327. Washington, D.C.:
           April 13, 2016.




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           Page 47                                                       GAO-19-367T
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