,-______.-._- I..nited States Gerwral -..-. Accounling Office -_._ -. Report t; the Chairman, Subcommitt,w on Defense, Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives May 1990 ARMY RESERVE COMPONENTS Minimm Essential Equipment for Training Has Not Been Effectively Managed GAO/NSIAI)-90-136 United States GAO General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20648 National Security and International Affairs Division B-238819 May 25,1QQ0 The Honorable John P. Murtha Chairman, Subcommittee on Defense Committee on Appropriations House of Representatives Dear Mr. Chairman: In response to your August 2,1989, request, we have assessed the Army’s Minimum Essential Equipment for Training (MEET) program. The objectives of our review were to (1) assess the accuracy of the Army’s reported minimum equipment requirements, (2) ascertain the extent to which requirements had been filled, and (3) identify factors that have impeded the Army’s ability to fill requirements. You expressed concern that shortages of essential equipment continue to hamper Army National Guard and Army Reserve efforts to conduct effective training, despite the millions of dollars designated to obtain equipment for the reserves. Our review indicated that the Army has not effectively managed the Results in Brief MEETprogram. Specifically, the Army has not established specific crite- ria and objectives to accurately identify MEETrequirements, has not ensured that all units report critical equipment needs, has not provided for updating the requirements list, and has not actively managed the program since 1987. As a result, the current list of requirements that comprises the MEETprogram is outdated and inaccurate, and the Army still does not know the specific items and their quantities that are essen- tial to training its reserve component units. -- The Army initiated the MEETprogram in 1983 to improve the training Background readiness of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve. Its purpose was to identify, by unit, specific types and quantities of equipment that were critical to training in reserve component units and to give those units priority over others in the issue of that equipment. The Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans (DCSOPS) has primary responsibility for the program, including the publi- cation of regulations to govern the program and to identify require- ments. The Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics, is responsible Page1 GAO/NSIALMO-136 Army’s Minimum Essential Eguipment B-238819 Criteria for MEET In 1983, the Army’s Vice Chief of Staff directed that lists of equipment considered critical to training be prepared. That same year, the National Program Were Not Guard Bureau and Forces Command compiled lists of critical items Established based on information from their units. These lists, when combined, con- tained requests by specific units for about 600 different equipment items.’ The following year, when the Vice Chief of Staff decided to make MEETa part of normal Army operations, the National Guard Bureau and Forces Command obtained information from their units and developed new lists for the 1985 compilation. This second compilation included more than 500 different equipment items and nearly 1,600 of the reserve component’s approximately 4,000 units. However, no one in this process ever defined MEETprogram objectives or established specific criteria for determining which items were critical to training. Neither Forces Command nor the National Guard Bureau pro- vided objectives or adequate criteria to guide commanders in their selec- tions. It was not specified, for instance, whether items should relate to a unit’s Mission Essential Task List, nor was it stated which level of train- ing (individual or unit) the program was to support2 Unit commanders were simply asked to list the top 10 MEETitems they did not have. According to Army memoranda, the master list compiled in 1985 from the second survey reflected unit commanders’ confusion and misinter- pretation of guidelines. They had listed a wide range of items, some of which they were not authorized and some of which were in short supply throughout the Army. The number of MEETrequests prompted ncsops to hold up the program until it could assess the effect such a large reas- signment of priorities would have on readiness and equipment distribution. The program remained in abeyance until late 1987, when the Army decided that the MEETlist would be limited to (1) units reporting non- deployable (C-4) status for equipment on hand and (2) items that were essential to the mission of those units.” Items already included on the Army’s Critical List (items that were short Army- wide), as well as any items for which a unit had no authorization, were also deleted. Thus, the ‘AlthoughrecordsregardingMEETduring1984arenot available,Army memoranda indicatethat over 180reservecomponentunitsreceivedequipmentasa resultof this effort. ‘A MissionEssentialTaskList is a constrained, ptioritii list of essentialwartimetasksthat is used to developtrainingplansandto rvaluateunits’proficiency. “Non-deployable, or C-4,statusmdicatesthat a unit requiresadditionalresources to undertakeih wartimemissionbut maybedircrtedto undertakepartsof its missionwith resources onhand. Page3 GAO/NSlAD-90-136 Army’s Minimum Essential Equipment Bz39919 For example, we contacted 20 units on the 1987 MEETlist and found that 13 did not know that they were on the list, 10 were not even aware of the MEETprogram, and 1 no longer existed. These 20 units had a total of 49 equipment items listed as minimum equipment needed for training, but due to organizational changes, 9 units were no longer authorized 13 (27 percent) of these items. Another six items were still authorized, but unit representatives told us that not having them had not significantly affected training. Conversely, officials from seven (37 percent) of the units said that they were lacking mission essential items critical to train- ing that were not on the MEETlist. No new units are represented on the list. For instance, the National Guards 29th Light Infantry Division was activated in September 1985, after the MEETrequirements were compiled. According to state National Guard officials, none of the division’s units, which comprise about 60 percent of the Virginia National Guard, are included in the MEETpro- gram. The officials said that the division and other Guard units were lacking equipment they considered essential to training, but they had not attempted to add their units’ requirements to the MEETprogram because they believed that the program was no longer active. During 1983 and 1984, the Army’s Vice Chief of Staff was directly inter- MEET Has Not Been ested and involved in the MEETprogram. After the program was institu- Actively Managed tionalized, however, that emphasis was lost. According to Army Since 1987 officials, their involvement since 1987 has been limited to periodically monitoring reports showing MEETequipment requirements still unfilled. Efforts to establish standard MEETrequirements for specific types of units have been abandoned, and attempts to publish an Army regulation covering MEETwere discontinued in 1988. Although DCSOPS officials still do not know what specific items and quantities of equipment are essen- tial for training, they have no further plans to identify MEET requirements. Currently, MEETconsists of the computerized list of units and line items of equipment revised and adopted in 1987. About 121 units and 227 line items remain outstanding, but no one is actively managing the program. Although the Army Materiel Command periodically produces automated status reports on MEETand a few items on the list continue to be issued, the program is essentially inactive. Army officials told us that perhaps one reason that the Army has not actively managed the MEETprogram is that the equipment posture of Page 6 GAO/NSIAD9@136 Army’s Minimum Essential Equipment whether the MEETprogram is still the best means for satisfying minimum equipment needs and if it is, ensure that the program is properly man- aged. The MEETprogram should be terminated if the Army is not willing to apply the requisite management attention to it. Whatever system is used to establish priorities for equipment deliveries to Army National Guard and Army Reserve units, the system needs basic information on equipment needs for training. We recommend that, to obtain this information, the Secretary of the Army establish specific criteria to define the minimum essential equipment needed to train effectively and clearly state the level of training to be supported. The Department of Defense agreed with our findings and recommenda- Agency Comments and tions (see app. I) and stated that the Army will (1) review the MEETpro- Our Evaluation gram and decide by September 30, 1990, on the best means to provide the minimum equipment necessary for adequate readiness training in reserve component units and (2) review MEETcriteria and develop a cor- rective action plan by September 30, 1990. To obtain information on the program’s background, establishment of Scope and the MEETlist, and current program activities, we contacted officials of Methodology and reviewed documentation issued by the Department of the Army’s Deputy Chiefs of Staff for Operations and Plans and for Logistics; the Office of the Chief, Army Reserves; Headquarters, Training and Doctrine Command; t.he National Guard Bureau; Headquarters, Forces Command; and three reserve component units. We also contacted 20 units on the MEETlist to determine their awareness of MEET,their contin- uing need for specific items on the list, and their need for any items not on the list. We conducted our work from July 1989 through February 1990 in accor- dance with generally accepted government auditing standards. -- As arranged with your office, unless you publicly announce its contents earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 15 days from the date of its issue. At that time, we will send copies to interested con- gressional committees; the Director, Office of Management and Budget; and the Secretaries of Defense and the Army. We will also make copies available to other parties on request. Page 7 GAO/‘NSL4D9O-136 Army’s Minimum Essential Equipment Page9 GAO/NSIAMJO-136 Amy’s Minimum Essential Quipment Appendix I Comments From the Department of Defense The following is GAO’S comment on the Department of Defense’s letter dated May 9, 1990. 1. The enclosure has not been included. With the exception of the infer- GAO Comment ence contained in our characterization of the Army’s report, the enclo- sure merely restates our findings and conclusions and what is contained in the letter. We have changed the report to reflect the Department’s comment regarding our use of the term “misleading.” Page 11 GAO/NS~l36 Army’s Minimum Eesentld Eqllipment _--.- ,. _, ,_ 1 Requests for copies of GAO reports should be sent to: U.S. General Accounting Office Post Office Box 6015 Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877 Telephone 202-275-6241 The first five copies of each report are free. Additional copies are $2.00 each. There is a 25% discount on orders for 100 or more copies mailed to a single address. Orders must be prepaid by cash or by check or money order made out to the Superintendent of Documents. - i ‘. ccounting Office Postage L Fees Paid Washington, D.C. 20548 Permit No. GlOO Official Business Penalty for Private Use $300 Appendix II Major Contributors to This Report Charles J. Bonanno, Assistant Director National Security and International Affairs Division, Washington, D.C. Ray S. Carroll, Regional Management Representative Norfolk Regional James K. Mahaffey, Evaluator-in-Charge Office Jane B. West, Evaluator Melissa M. van Tine, Writer-Editor (393356) Page 12 GAO/‘NSIAD9O-126 Army’s Minimum Jhentid Equipment Appendix I Comments From the Department of Defense Note: GAO comments supplementing those in the report text appear at the ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE end of this appendix. WASHINGTON. D c. 20301 MAY P IS?‘-’ Mr. Frank C. Conahan Assistant Comptroller General National Security and International Affairs Division United States General Accounting Office Washington, D. C. 20548 Dear Mr. Conahan: This is the Department of Defense (DOD) response to the draft GAO Report entitled, "ARMY RESERVE COMPONENTS: Minimum Essential Equipment for Training Has Not Been Effectively Managed," dated March 22, 1990 (GAO Code 393356/OSD Case 8278). The Department concurs with the findings and recommendations contained in the draft report, except that the Department dis- agrees with the GAO inference that the Army Report to the House See comment 1 Appropriations Committee was misleading. The Department plans to actively address the deficiencies cited in the draft report. The Army will review the Minimum Essential Equipment for Training program. By September 30, 1990, the Army will recommend to the Office of the Secretary of Defense the best means to sat- isfy the requirements for providing minimal resources to allow adequate readiness training in all Reserve component units. The detailed DOD comments on the GAO findings and recommenda- tions are provided at the enclosure. The Department appreciates the opportunity to comment on this draft report. Sincerely, \ . -->?i2fsdr- Stephen M. Duncan Enclosure: As stated Page 10 GAO,‘NSL4LWO-136 by’s Minimum Essential Equipment E229919 Please call me at (202) 275-4141 if you or your staff have any questions. Major contributors to this report are listed in appendix II. Sincerely yours, Richard Davis Director, Army Issues Page 8 GAO/NSLMH,(,-136 Amy’s Minimum Essential fklUiPI”Wt B233819 reserve components has significantly improved in recent years. Accord- ing to these officials, this improvement is largely attributable to the Dedicated Procurement Program. Each year since 1981, the Congress has appropriated money under this program for equipment specifically to improve the readiness and capability of the reserve components. This money has been provided to the National Guard and Army Reserve in addition to that portion of the Army budget allocated to them. Since 1981, the Army Reserve has received about $900 million, and the National Guard has received about $1.5 billion under the Dedicated Procurement Program. The Congress earmarks most of these funds by specifying the particular equipment to be purchased but includes an additional amount for miscellaneous items. The Dedicated Procurement Program, along with a concerted effort by the Army to redistribute available assets, has allowed the Army to reduce the number of reserve component units that are not equipped to undertake their wartime mis- sions. For example, the number of reserve component units reporting non-deployable (C-4) status for equipment was reduced from 752 in October 1987 to 481 in May 1989. Although the Army has recognized a need to ensure that reserve compo- Conclusions nent units have at least the equipment essential for training their per- sonnel, efforts to establish a program to provide that equipment have not been managed effectively. The Army’s interest in this program has waned. More than 6 years after the program was initiated, the Army still had not established, and had no plans to establish, specific criteria for the program. Moreover, despite its earlier efforts in the MEET program and the large amount of equipment provided to the reserve components under the Dedicated Procurement Program, the Army still has no assurance that units have the minimum amounts of equipment needed for effective training. The latest MEET list, compiled in 1987, did not accurately reflect’ MEET requirements then, and because it has not been updated, it has become increasingly inaccurate. Consequently, we believe that the Army’s report to the House Subcommittee on Defense, Committee on Appropriations, in 1989, asserting that the MEET program was satisfying equipment requirements, was inaccurate. In light of the insufficient management attention given to MEET over the Recommendations last 6 years, we recommend that the Secretary of the Army determine Page6 GAO/NSIAIWJ-136 Army’s Minimum Essential Equipment B236319 MEETlist, reduced to 167 units, was entered into the Army’s automated equipment distribution system, where it received a priority ahead of normal distribution. Although the application of these criteria reduced the MEETlist to more manageable proportions, it might have caused valid requirements to be deleted. For instance, logistics officials in the Fifth and the Sixth Army headquarters and the National Guard Bureau objected to deleting units reporting a higher readiness status than C-4 for equipment on hand on the basis that a higher readiness rating would not necessarily mean that the unit met MEETrequirements. For example, we identified a division that had reported C-3 status for equipment on hand (meaning that the unit had the resources to undertake the major portions of its wartime mission) even though it lacked specific items such as communications equipment and night vision devices, the lack of which the commander believed would impair the division’s ability to conduct training. Procedures to Determine The Army did not establish controls to ensure that all reserve compo- Requirements Did Not nent units were included in the MEETprogram. An Army survey of units was conducted rather hurriedly (within a 2-month period in 1985), and Ensure That All Units the unit commanders were given very little time in which to respond. Were Included The commander of a Special Forces unit, for example, told us that he had not been able to respond at all because his unit had been away on active duty training when the request came in, and the deadline for responding had passed by the time his unit returned. Moreover, record-keeping for the program was inadequate. Records of responses were not retained, and these responses were subjected to undocumented screening processes that deleted some units and equip- ment. As a result, the Army cannot determine what percentage of its reserve units responded and thus cannot be certain that all requirements were included in the MEETlists. No Procedures Were Although the Army’s early plans for MEETincluded a provision to Established to Ensure update the program annually, Army personnel told us that not one unit or item has been added since the second list was compiled in 1985. Yet, MEET List Was Updated since that time, Army Reserve units alone have undergone over 2,500 changes in organization and equipment assignments, and some new units have been formed. Consequently, the MEETlist does not reflect current unit requirements and includes requirements that are no longer valid. Page 4 GAO/NSlAIQK%136 Army’s Minimum Essential Equipment E-233319 for entering the list of the MEETrequirements into the Army’s Equipment Release Priority System, which determines the priority that specific Army units are assigned in receiving equipment. The Army Materiel Command, which manages the issue of equipment in accor- dance with these priorities, is responsible for tracking the issuance and status of the equipment within the Army. The Office of the Chief of the National Guard Bureau and the Forces Command prepare and forward lists of required equipment to ncsops and manages the distribution of MEETitems for National Guard and Army Reserve units. In November 1987, JXXDPSestablished a MEETlist of items that it identi- fied as critical to training reserve component units. The list included 167 units and about 380 equipment items, ranging from 50-caliber machine guns to radar warning systems. The 1ist.wa.s given priority ahead of the Army’s Master Priority List, which assigns priority for equipment distribution according to a unit’s wartime deployment date (i.e., the first to deploy in wartime receives equipment first). According to Army logistics officials, any MEETitems that become available in the distribution system would be automatically issued in priority order to fill the requirements of units on the MEETlist. The Army Materiel Com- mand reports monthly any items that have been issued to fill MEET requirements and those requirements that remain outstanding. In its 1989 Posture Statement, which was presented to the House Subcommit- tee on Defense, Committee on Appropriations, the Army reported that it had identified its MEETrequirements and that its equipment distribution system had filled 63 percent of those requirements. Our review showed that the Army had not adequately identified the The Army Has Not MEETrequirements when it initiated the program, and it had not updated Identified the the MEETlist to reflect organizational or mission changes. Therefore, it Minimum Equipment has no assurance that the items on the list represent the unmet mini- mum equipment needs for training. Moreover, when we contacted a sam- Essential for Training ple of units from the list, we found that many of them were not aware of in Reserve Component the program, did not know that their units were on the list, and did not need some of the listed items. Units Page2
Army Reserve Components: Minimum Essential Equipment for Training Has Not Been Effectively Managed
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-05-25.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)