Defense Infrastructure: Observations on Aviation Training Consolidation and Expansion Plans

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-07-12.

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

                   United States General Accounting Office

GAO                Report to Congressional Requesters

July 1999

                   Observations on
                   Aviation Training
                   Consolidation and
                   Expansion Plans

United States General Accounting Office                                                   National Security and
Washington, D.C. 20548                                                             International Affairs Division

                                    B-281048                                                                  Letter

                                    July 12, 1999

                                    The Honorable Richard C. Shelby
                                    The Honorable Jeff Sessions
                                    The Honorable Bob Graham
                                    The Honorable Connie Mack
                                    United States Senate

                                    The Honorable Terry Everett
                                    The Honorable Joe Scarborough
                                    House of Representatives

                                    This report responds to your requests concerning Department of Defense
                                    (DOD) efforts to reduce the infrastructure that supports initial pilot
                                    training. We previously briefed your staffs on our preliminary
                                    observations, which were based on interviews with cognizant DOD and
                                    service officials. This report summarizes the information we obtained
                                    regarding (1) DOD’s prior efforts to reduce aircraft training infrastructure,
                                    (2) some current plans for expanding pilot training capacity, and (3) the
                                    likelihood of further consolidations.

Results in Brief                    Little consolidation activity followed a 1993 directive by the Secretary of
                                    Defense that required the services to consolidate initial fixed-wing aircraft
                                    training and examine the potential for consolidating initial helicopter
                                    training at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Consolidation efforts were limited to
                                    phasing in a common primary training aircraft, combining follow-on flight
                                    training into four common tracks, and exchanging instructors and students.
                                    No further consolidation of fixed-wing undergraduate pilot training or
                                    rotary-wing undergraduate helicopter pilot training was implemented.

                                    Currently, the Air Force is expanding its capabilities for undergraduate
                                    pilot training because it projects shortages through at least fiscal year 2007
                                    and, therefore, it has increased its estimates of the number of new pilots it
                                    must train. The Air Force is increasing its training capabilities by activating
                                    additional squadrons at three of its existing pilot training bases and
                                    establishing an additional undergraduate pilot training squadron at an
                                    operational base. Increased navigator requirements have also led the Air
                                    Force to expand its capabilities to provide navigator training.

                   Leter            Page 1                                    GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure

                     Cross-service consolidations, where feasible, can reduce excess capacity
                     and increase operating efficiencies. Prior base realignment and closure
                     (BRAC) rounds have served to reduce the number of bases used to provide
                     aviation training; however, efforts to achieve such cross-service
                     consolidations as part of the BRAC process have not been successful.
                     Further consolidation of aviation training between the services may be
                     difficult to accomplish without authority from the Congress for additional
                     BRAC round(s).1 Should such authority be granted, DOD would likely
                     examine the potential for cross-service consolidations in a number of
                     areas, including aviation training, as it did in prior BRAC rounds. Such an
                     examination in the aviation training area would need to address a number
                     of barriers to consolidation that exist, including (1) the services’ differing
                     approaches to their training and (2) the interrelationships among training
                     approaches, personnel management, and career development strategies.

                     Should the Congress authorize additional BRAC rounds and should DOD
                     find existing barriers to additional consolidations too difficult to overcome,
                     we are making a recommendation to the Secretary of Defense for
                     optimizing efficiencies at bases retained for aviation training.

Background           Military pilots who fly either fixed- or rotary-wing aircraft typically receive
                     about 1 year of undergraduate pilot training. Air Force, Navy, Marine
                     Corps, and Coast Guard helicopter pilots receive initial training in a
                     fixed-wing aircraft, but Army helicopter pilots do not. After completing
                     their undergraduate pilot training and receiving their wings, graduates from
                     all services receive advanced training and are then assigned to an
                     operational unit.

                     Since the mid-1960s, a number of studies have examined the potential for
                     consolidating initial fixed- and rotary-wing pilot training. Many of the
                     studies cited the potential for savings as a product of such consolidations.
                     Independently of these studies, the military services have gradually
                     reduced the infrastructure for their undergraduate aviation training as a
                     result of downsizing and the base closure process. Whereas the services
                     had 19 undergraduate training bases in 1970, today there are 10 fixed-wing
                     undergraduate pilot training (UPT) bases and 2 undergraduate helicopter

                      The Secretary of Defense’s authority to realign and close bases in 1988, 1991, 1993, and 1995 terminated
                     in 1995. Currently, it is unclear if and when the Congress might approve similar legislation for
                     additional BRAC rounds.

             Leter   Page 2                                                  GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure

                                          pilot training (UHPT) bases. Figure 1 shows the bases that constitute the
                                          Department’s UPT and UHPT infrastructure.

Figure 1: Military Services’ UPT and UHPT Infrastructure

                                       Vance AFB

                                                                                        Columbus AFB
                                 Sheppard AFB                                           NAS Meridian
                                                                                                    Fort Rucker

                                                                                                 NAS Whiting Field
                                   Randolph AFB
                                                                                         NAS Pensacola

      Laughlin AFB
      NAS Corpus Christi
      NAS Kingsville

                                          Source: DOD.

                                          As shown in figure 1, the Air Force’s five undergraduate flying training
                                          bases are Columbus Air Force Base (AFB), Mississippi; Laughlin AFB,
                                          Texas; Randolph AFB, Texas; Sheppard AFB, Texas; and Vance AFB,
                                          Oklahoma.2 The Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard collectively
                                          have five UPT bases: Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas; NAS
                                          Kingsville, Texas; NAS Meridian, Mississippi; NAS Pensacola, Florida; and
                                          NAS Whiting Field, Florida. NAS Whiting Field also serves as the
                                          Navy/Marine Corps/Coast Guard UHPT training base. Air Force

                                           The Air Force currently uses two additional facilities for screening new pilot candidates: Hondo
                                          Municipal Airport in Hondo, Texas, and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
                                          Flight screening provides the Air Force with a selection process to identify students possessing the
                                          potential to complete undergraduate pilot training.

                                          Page 3                                                 GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure

                        undergraduate helicopter pilot training is collocated with Army helicopter
                        training at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

                        In 1993, the Secretary of Defense directed the Air Force and the Navy to
                        consolidate initial fixed-wing aircraft training and directed the Army and
                        the Navy to examine the potential for consolidating initial helicopter
                        training at Fort Rucker, Alabama. The directive also required the services
                        to phase in a common primary training aircraft, combine follow-on flight
                        training into four common training pipelines or tracks, and exchange
                        instructors and students.

                        During the BRAC 1993 and BRAC 1995 rounds, the Office of the Secretary
                        of Defense also required the services to explore opportunities for
                        cross-service use of common support assets in several areas, including the
                        area of undergraduate pilot training. To facilitate this process in BRAC
                        1995, DOD established separate working groups in each of the
                        cross-service areas. The groups proposed alternatives for the services to
                        consider. The cross-service process examined an option for housing Army
                        and Navy undergraduate helicopter pilot training at Fort Rucker, Alabama,
                        but the option was not adopted because it was not considered
                        cost-effective.3 Separately, in the fixed-wing training area, one UPT base—
                        Reese AFB, Texas—was closed as a result of BRAC 1995 actions. By 1997,
                        the 64th Flying Training Wing at Reese AFB had been inactivated and its
                        assigned aircraft redistributed to other Air Force UPT bases or retired.

DOD Efforts to Reduce   Although the Secretary of Defense directed the services to consolidate
                        initial fixed-wing aircraft training and examine the potential for
Undergraduate           consolidating initial helicopter training, only limited steps were taken.4
Aviation Training       These steps included phasing in a common primary training aircraft,
                        creating four common pipelines or training tracks for follow-on training,
Infrastructure Have     and exchanging instructor pilots and students. Consolidation efforts
Been Limited            involving helicopter training have also been limited and are expected to
                        remain so for the foreseeable future.

                         The option under consideration was best depicted as involving a collocation rather than a full
                        These represented steps that could be taken outside of a BRAC process.

                        Page 4                                                 GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure

Services Plan to Phase in a    The Air Force and the Navy will replace the T-37B and T-34C training
Common Primary                 aircraft with a Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS)5 (see fig. 2).
                               JPATS includes a new common training aircraft, the T-6A “Texan II”
Fixed-Wing Training Aircraft   aircraft, which will be phased in for all initial fixed-wing training beginning
                               in fiscal year 2001. Although the Air Force and the Navy developed a
                               common JPATS syllabus, the services plan to implement the training
                               differently. For example, Air Force and Navy takeoff and landing
                               procedures and aerial maneuver tactics are different.

                                JPATS includes the training syllabus, computer-management system, training simulators, training air-
                               craft, and ground-based training equipment.

                               Page 5                                                 GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure

Figure 2: T-6A “Texan II” JPATS, Air Force T-37B “Tweet,” and Navy T-34C
“Turbo-Mentor” Training Aircraft (pictured from top to bottom)

Source: NAS Whiting Field, Florida.

Cost savings associated with JPATS are expected to result from joint
development and production, joint procurement, and lower flying hour
cost. Savings from JPATS are also expected from reducing the training
“footprint” (procurement and associated flying hour cost) of the Navy’s
T-45 advanced trainer aircraft, limiting support facility requirements to one

Page 6                                      GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure

                          depot and one source for parts and support, and consolidating operations
                          and logistics services management responsibilities. The specific savings
                          associated with JPATS have not been quantified.

Services Created Four     As directed by the Secretary of Defense in 1993, the services created four
Common Training Tracks    common training tracks in fiscal year 1994 for advanced undergraduate
                          pilot training. Each track is divided into three building-block levels of
for Undergraduate Pilot   training: primary, intermediate, and advanced. After a screening process
Training                  to select student pilots, a preflight (non-flying) training period, and a
                          primary fixed-wing training period, Air Force students are assigned to one
                          of four advanced Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training tracks.
                          The four tracks are: (1) airlift, tanker, or bomber; (2) fighter;
                          (3) multi-engine turboprop; and (4) helicopter. Having successfully
                          completed advanced training, student pilots receive their wings and are
                          selected for their next assignment. Similarly, after a period of aviation
                          preflight indoctrination and primary fixed-wing training, Navy, Marine
                          Corps, and Coast Guard students are assigned to one of four intermediate
                          UPT tracks: (1) jet aircraft, (2) carrier prop aircraft, (3) helicopter, and
                          (4) maritime/surveillance. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard students
                          then move into advanced UPT training in these same four tracks. Again,
                          after completing advanced undergraduate pilot training, student pilots
                          receive their wings and specialized aircraft training in their follow-on

Service Exchange of       The Air Force and the Navy agreed to exchange instructor pilots beginning
Instructor Pilots and     in fiscal year 1993 and agreed to exchange up to 200 students beginning in
                          fiscal year 1994. Currently, up to 100 Air Force students are trained by the
Students for Fixed-Wing   Navy and up to 100 Navy students are trained by the Air Force during the
Training                  primary flying phase of Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training. Air
                          Force and Navy officials said even though joint training (an exchange of
                          students) among the services costs somewhat more than the services
                          training separately, it provides intangible benefits in terms of commonality.6
                          Air Force and Navy officials said they plan to reevaluate whether to expand
                          the number of students trained jointly once JPATS has been fielded.

                           The limited exchange of Air Force and Navy students actually costs DOD an additional $1.3 million
                          annually, primarily in permanent-change-of-station costs.

                          Page 7                                                GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure

Undergraduate Helicopter       Most helicopter pilot training takes place in the Army and the Navy. DOD
Pilot Training Consolidation   has had only two undergraduate helicopter pilot training sites since the
                               Army closed Fort Wolters, Texas, in 1973: NAS Whiting Field, Florida, and
                               Fort Rucker, Alabama. In fiscal year 1999, the Army plans to train 700
                               active helicopter pilots at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and the Navy plans to
                               train 530 active helicopter pilots at Whiting Field, Florida. The Air Force
                               plans to train only 53 active helicopter pilots in fiscal year 1999; this
                               training is collocated with the Army at Fort Rucker.

                               The services’ total rotary-wing pilot production dropped considerably
                               (about 50 percent) between fiscal years 1991 and 1997, from 2,081
                               helicopter pilots to 1,046. DOD plans a nearly 17-percent increase in
                               helicopter pilot production, from 1,318 in fiscal year 1998 to a projected
                               1,545 helicopter pilots trained in fiscal year 2000.

                               Navy officials are opposed to consolidating helicopter pilot training with
                               the Army for a number of reasons. Chief among these is the importance
                               that the Navy places on initial fixed-wing training, flying over water, and
                               landing on ships. The Army does not include fixed-wing aircraft training in
                               its helicopter pilot training syllabus, but the Navy wants all of its pilots to
                               learn the fundamental rules of flight in fixed-wing aircraft before moving on
                               to helicopter training in intermediate and advanced undergraduate flight
                               training. This initial fixed-wing training provides general aviation
                               orientation and allows Navy trainers to evaluate student aptitudes and
                               capabilities for placement into one of four advanced undergraduate
                               training tracks.

                               Typically, the Army does not train over water; its focus is training over land,
                               where it expects most of its pilots will operate once assigned to operational
                               units. In addition, the Army trains its helicopter pilots to fly using night
                               vision equipment routinely and to carry out combat operations. Navy and
                               Marine Corps helicopter crews operate, however, in a maritime
                               environment, and Navy officials believe it is essential that its
                               undergraduate pilots train to navigate over water and to land on ships.
                               Moreover, the Navy’s focus is on training its pilots to become uniquely
                               qualified naval officers to assume leadership roles.

                               Page 8                                    GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure

Increasing the Number    Currently, increasing the number of students to meet pilot requirements in
                         the Air Force has caused that service to expand rather than reduce its own
of Students to Meet      capabilities for fixed-wing training. Likewise, increasing the inventory of
Fixed-Wing               navigators is causing the Air Force to expand its capabilities for providing
                         navigator training.
Undergraduate Pilot
and Navigator Training

Fixed-Wing Training      Since 1988, the Air Force has reduced its UPT infrastructure by three bases
Expansion                as a result of past base closure actions, but Air Force officials now believe
                         that production rate requirements for future pilots will require an
                         expansion of UPT capabilities at existing bases. This development may
                         limit the potential for further fixed-wing consolidation.

                         Two key factors have contributed to the reported pilot shortfalls. First,
                         during the drawdown in the 1990s, the services reduced their pilot
                         accessions. This action has unintentionally resulted in insufficient
                         numbers of pilots to support the current force, and it is driving the need to
                         retain more pilots. Second, pilots are unhappy with a number of
                         quality-of-life factors. For example, pilots reported several reasons for
                         wanting to leave the military, including (1) frequency and length of
                         deployments, (2) improved family life, and (3) better financial
                         opportunities outside of the military. Further, a good job market is making
                         a career within private industry more attractive.7

                         As shown in figure 3, the services’ fixed-wing pilot production dropped
                         significantly (about 53 percent) between fiscal years 1991 and 1995, from
                         2,616 pilots to 1,241. The biggest changes occurred in the Air Force, where
                         the fixed-wing pilot production rate dropped sharply in fiscal year 1992 and
                         continued to drop through fiscal year 1995. Since BRAC 1995, the Air Force
                         has increased its pilot production rate four times. The Navy also
                         experienced major reductions in fixed-wing pilot production between fiscal
                         years 1991 and 1993, but similarly reversed the trend. DOD plans nearly a
                         50-percent increase in pilot production, from 1,458 in fiscal year 1997 to a
                         projected 2,180 pilots trained in fiscal year 2000.

                         See Military Pilots: Observations on Current Issues (GAO/T-NSIAD-99-102, Mar. 4, 1999).

                         Page 9                                               GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure

Figure 3: Services’ Fixed-Wing Pilot Production Rates




                       Number of
                      pilots trained













                                                                                        Fiscal year

                                                                        Air Force       Navy

                                            Note: Figures for fiscal years 1991 to 1998 are actual; figures for fiscal years 1999 to 2001 are
                                            projected. Air Force totals include active Air Force, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve Component,
                                            Air Force-trained Navy students, Euro-North Atlantic Treaty Organization Joint Jet Pilot Training
                                            program participants, and foreign student pilots who received their wings. Navy totals include active
                                            Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration,
                                            Navy-trained Air Force students, and foreign student pilots who graduated from fixed-wing training.
                                            Source: Air Education and Training Command, Randolph AFB, Texas, and Chief of Naval Air Training,
                                            NAS Corpus Christi, Texas.

                                            We recently testified that the Air Force projects that its greatest pilot
                                            shortfall, particularly within its fighter community, will occur in fiscal year
                                            2007.8 Navy data show that its greatest pilot shortfall was in fiscal year

                                            Military Pilots (GAO/T-NSIAD-99-102, Mar. 4, 1999).

                                            Page 10                                                   GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure

                             1998 and was primarily among those pilots who fly helicopters, followed by
                             those who fly propeller aircraft and jets.

                             According to Air Education and Training Command officials, increases
                             since fiscal year 1996 in Air Force total production rate requirements for
                             fixed-wing pilots have resulted in a capacity shortfall within their existing
                             UPT base infrastructure. The Air Force believes that it currently has a pilot
                             production requirement for four new UPT squadrons. In March 1999, it
                             announced that three additional T-37 UPT squadrons will be activated in
                             fiscal year 1999 (at Columbus AFB, Mississippi; Laughlin AFB, Texas; and
                             at Vance AFB, Oklahoma) and that a fourth UPT squadron of 39 T-6A JPATS
                             aircraft will be established in fiscal year 2000 (at Moody AFB, Georgia, an
                             operational base). Based on increasing requirements, the Air Force, then,
                             is not inclined to further consolidate its UPT infrastructure, but rather to
                             increase its UPT training capabilities.

Joint Undergraduate          As a result of the 1993 Secretary of Defense directive, the Navy and the Air
Navigator Training Program   Force proposed joint navigator training initiatives. Accordingly, the Air
                             Force and the Navy have conducted joint primary navigator training since
Is Being Modified            fiscal year 1995. However, a recent increase in total Air Force
                             navigator-training requirements from 300 navigators in fiscal year 1997 to
                             360 navigators by fiscal year 2001 is causing a modification to an
                             undergraduate program for navigator training sponsored jointly by the Air
                             Force and the Navy.

                             In fiscal year 1999, the Navy provided 317 Air Force students with
                             strike/strike-fighter/electronic warfare officer navigator training at NAS
                             Pensacola, Florida, and the Air Force provided 160 Navy and Marine Corps
                             students with airlift/tanker/maritime navigator training at Randolph AFB,
                             Texas. However, in fiscal year 2001, the Air Force plans to reduce navigator
                             training conducted by the Navy at NAS Pensacola by more than two-thirds,
                             to about 105 students, and to train the balance of its navigators at Randolph
                             AFB. This functional alignment is necessary due both to Navy-unique
                             training that increases Air Force navigator time-to-train and to potential
                             capacity issues. In addition, the training platform (the T-43A—the military
                             version of the Boeing 737) for “heavy” aircraft (such as airlift, tankers, and
                             surveillance aircraft) already is located at Randolph AFB.

                             Page 11                                   GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure

Outlook for Further          Additional consolidations of aviation training among the services would
                             likely entail shifting significant functions from one base to another, a step
Consolidations               that may be difficult to achieve absent new authority from the Congress for
                             additional BRAC actions. Should such authority be granted, which is
                             uncertain, DOD would likely want to examine the potential for
                             cross-service consolidations in a number of areas, including aviation
                             training, as it did in prior BRAC rounds. Such an examination in the
                             aviation training area would need to address a number of barriers to
                             consolidation that exist, including (1) the services’ approaches to their
                             training and (2) the interrelationships among training approaches,
                             personnel management, and career development strategies. Given these
                             factors, the services might need to consider other options for maximizing
                             operating efficiencies at bases being used for aviation training.

BRAC Authority Required to   Typically, infrastructure reduction savings are the greatest when bases can
Facilitate Significant       be closed. Economies also are achieved by consolidating functions and
                             activities on other bases where excess capacity exists and where support
Realignments and Closures    services and other base operating support costs can be shared among a
                             broader universe of personnel. However, under existing legislation
                             (contained in 10 U.S.C. 2687), realignment and closure actions are difficult
                             to accomplish. Under this legislation, the closure of any military
                             installation in the United States with at least 300 authorized civilian
                             positions or the realignment of any installation involving a reduction by
                             more than 1,000 civilian employees or by more than 50 percent of the
                             installation’s authorized civilian workforce cannot take place until the
                             Secretary of Defense has evaluated the “fiscal, local economic, budgetary,
                             environmental, strategic, and operational consequences of such closure or
                             realignment.” Legislation in effect through 1995 provided special
                             authorities and processes to facilitate base realignments and closures
                             above those thresholds. Absent the special BRAC legislation enacted in
                             1988 and 1990, DOD largely has been precluded from significant closures
                             and realignments of military bases for many years—the 1990 legislation
                             authorized BRAC rounds in 1991, 1993, and 1995, but not thereafter. While
                             DOD subsequently has sought authorization from the Congress for
                             additional BRAC rounds, the Congress has thus far not supported such
                             legislation because of concerns regarding costs and savings from prior
                             BRAC rounds and other concerns about how some decisions in the 1995
                             round were implemented.

                             Page 12                                  GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure

Examining the Potential for   Should authority for additional BRAC rounds be granted, it is uncertain
Further Consolidation of      how much they would facilitate additional consolidation of initial aviation
                              training. According to Navy officials, differences regarding the services’
Current Training Would        unique roles, missions, tactics, operational requirements, and training
Need to Address Existing      philosophies represent substantial obstacles to further consolidation of
Barriers                      such training. Air Force officials believe these differences are necessary
                              during undergraduate pilot training to meet the needs of the customer—
                              their individual operational units.

                              For example, while Air Force helicopter training was consolidated in 1970
                              with the Army at Fort Rucker, Alabama, this relationship has been modified
                              over the years to better address the different needs of the two services’
                              customers. Today, each service has tailored its training syllabus differently.
                              The Air Force’s training syllabus has been tailored to meet the needs of its
                              customer—the 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico.
                              Economies are still achieved, however, because the Air Force uses Army
                              helicopter assets (the Bell UH-1 “Huey”) and shares training facilities and
                              maintenance contracts.

                              Air Force and Navy officials believe that initial fixed-wing training is
                              essential for assessing new aviators, including helicopter pilots. Navy
                              officials stated that the primary flight skills that future helicopter pilots
                              learn during the first stages of undergraduate flight training give them
                              valuable experience, which enables them to be more fully integrated into
                              combined fixed- and rotary-wing naval operations plus joint operations.
                              However, Navy officials stressed that they are training more than just a
                              fixed- or rotary-wing pilot—they also are producing an officer for their
                              individual service’s career paths. The Navy is, for example, training pilots
                              to navigate over water, land on ships, and become naval officers.

                              According to Air Force and Navy officials, differences in their respective
                              roles and missions translate into the need for specialized training that is
                              best incorporated early. Navy officials told us that if more training can be
                              achieved in a relatively low-cost training aircraft, then more time and
                              money can be saved during later training in more expensive operational
                              aircraft. To ensure that their pilots receive this specialized training early
                              on, the Air Force provides students returning to the Air Force with several
                              weeks of additional training to compensate for the service-specific training
                              they did not receive while attending flight training provided by the Navy.

                              While some Army aviation officials have expressed the view that
                              economies of scale could be achieved through consolidating initial entry

                              Page 13                                   GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure

                      rotary-wing training, officials in other services have expressed views
                      indicating such a consolidation could be difficult. Some services view
                      consolidation as going against their long-standing organizational structure,
                      established personnel management systems, unique officer development
                      approaches, time-honored training philosophies, and traditional practices.
                      The Navy and the Marine Corps strongly believe that further consolidation
                      would result in the loss of needed orientation to their missions and a failure
                      to establish early identification with the Navy way of life. The Navy
                      believes any change from the status quo would adversely affect the Navy’s
                      ability to achieve helicopter-recruiting levels, result in an increased
                      attrition rate in the helicopter-training track, and ultimately cause a
                      shortfall in the number of instructor pilots. Further, Navy officials contend
                      that consolidation of undergraduate helicopter pilot training at just one
                      base could jeopardize contingency, mobilization expansion, and future
                      total force requirements in time of a national emergency.

Other Options         It is uncertain to what extent further aviation training consolidations will
                      be achieved given existing barriers. However, these factors should not
                      preclude a periodic reevaluation of consolidation, particularly if additional
                      BRAC rounds are authorized. If further consolidation of aviation training
                      proves unlikely, then DOD might consider other options to achieve
                      efficiencies at aviation training facilities. For example, DOD could
                      maximize operating efficiencies by collocating similar functions and
                      activities at aviation training facilities having excess capacity. At the same
                      time, we recognize that without new BRAC authority, options available to
                      DOD to realign other functions to these bases are limited, given the
                      personnel thresholds contained in 10 U.S.C. 2687.

Recommendation        Should the Congress authorize additional BRAC rounds, current barriers to
                      further aviation training consolidation should be examined; should they be
                      found too difficult to overcome, we recommend that the Secretary of
                      Defense require the services to consider other opportunities for optimizing
                      efficiencies at bases retained for aviation training.

Agency Comments and   We requested comments on a draft of this report from the Department of
                      Defense. DOD concurred with the report’s recommendation without
Our Evaluation        further comment. DOD’s response is reprinted in appendix I. DOD also

                      Page 14                                   GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure

              provided technical corrections and clarifications, which have been
              incorporated throughout this report, as appropriate.

Scope and     We reviewed past DOD efforts to consolidate undergraduate pilot training
              and undergraduate helicopter pilot training, and we analyzed opportunities
Methodology   for further consolidation. As agreed with the congressional requesters, we
              did not analyze cost and quality-of-training issues further because of the
              limited availability of data.

              To obtain background information, we reviewed prior studies on
              consolidating undergraduate helicopter pilot training and on the need to
              conduct initial fixed-wing training for helicopter pilots. To determine DOD
              efforts to reduce aircraft training infrastructure and to identify
              impediments to further consolidation, we conducted interviews with
              cognizant DOD and service officials and reviewed relevant documents.
              Information regarding DOD’s reported pilot shortage was obtained from
              the Air Education and Training Command, Chief of Naval Air Training, and
              from our other recent work.

              At DOD, our work was conducted at the Office of the Under Secretary of
              Defense (Personnel and Readiness), Office of the Deputy Under Secretary
              of Defense (Industrial Affairs and Installations), DOD Inspector General,
              and at the appropriate military training commands. Within the Air Force,
              we conducted review work at the Air Education and Training Command
              and 12th Flying Training Wing at Randolph AFB, Texas; the 80th Flying
              Training Wing at Sheppard AFB, Texas; and at the Air Force Specialized
              Undergraduate Pilot Training–Helicopter 23rd Flying Training Flight at Fort
              Rucker, Alabama. Within the Navy and the Marine Corps, we conducted
              review work at the Chief of Naval Education and Training and Training
              Wing 6 at NAS Pensacola, Florida; Chief of Naval Air Training and Training
              Wing 4 at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas; Training Wing 2 at NAS Kingsville,
              Texas; and Training Wing 5 at NAS Whiting Field, Florida. We also
              conducted review work at the U.S. Coast Guard Liaison Office at NAS
              Pensacola, Florida. Within the Army, we conducted review work at the U.S.
              Army Aviation Center at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

              We conducted our review between November 1998 and April 1999 in
              accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.

              Page 15                                 GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure

We are sending copies of this report to Senator John Warner, Chairman, and
Senator Carl Levin, Ranking Minority Member, Senate Committee on
Armed Services, and Representative Floyd Spence, Chairman, and
Representative Ike Skelton, Ranking Minority Member, House Committee
on Armed Services. We are also sending copies of this report to: the
Honorable William S. Cohen, Secretary of Defense; the Honorable Louis
Caldera, Secretary of the Army; the Honorable Richard J. Danzig, Secretary
of the Navy; the Honorable F. Whitten Peters, Secretary of the Air Force;
General James L. Jones, Commandant of the Marine Corps; Admiral James
M. Loy, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard; the Honorable Donald
Mancuso, Acting DOD Inspector General; and the Honorable Jacob J. Lew,
Director, Office of Management and Budget. Copies will also be made
available to others upon request.

GAO points of contact concerning this report and other key contributors
are listed in appendix II.

David R. Warren
Director, Defense Management Issues

Page 16                                GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure
Page 17   GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure

Letter                                                                                               1

Appendix I                                                                                          20
Comments From the
Department of Defense

Appendix II                                                                                         21
GAO Contacts
and Staff

Related GAO Products                                                                                24

Figures                 Figure 1: Military Services’ UPT and UHPT Infrastructure                     3
                        Figure 2: T-6A “Texan II” JPATS, Air Force T-37B “Tweet,” and
                          Navy T-34C “Turbo-Mentor” Training Aircraft                                6
                        Figure 3: Services’ Fixed-Wing Pilot Production Rates                       10


                        AFB        Air Force base
                        BRAC       base realignment and closure
                        DOD        Department of Defense
                        JPATS      Joint Primary Aircraft Training System
                        NAS        Naval Air Station
                        UHPT       undergraduate helicopter pilot training
                        UPT        undergraduate pilot training

                        Page 18                                 GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure
Page 19   GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure
Appendix I

Comments From the Department of Defense                           Appenx

             Page 20        GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure
Appendix II

GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgements                                                          Appe

GAO Contacts       David R. Warren (202) 512-8412
                   William W. Crocker III (202) 512-4533

Acknowledgements   In addition to those named above, Mark A. Pross and
                   David F. Combs made key contributions to this report.

                   Page 21                                 GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure
Page 22   GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure
Page 23   GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure
Related GAO Products

                   Military Pilots: Observations on Current Issues (GAO/T-NSIAD-99-102,
                   Mar. 4, 1999).

                   Defense Acquisition: Acquisition Plans for Training Aircraft Should Be
                   Reevaluated (GAO/NSIAD-97-172, Sept. 18, 1997).

                   Military Bases: Lessons Learned From Prior Base Closure Rounds
                   (GAO/NSIAD-97-151, July 25, 1997).

                   Military Bases: Analysis of DOD’s 1995 Process and Recommendations for
                   Closure and Realignment (GAO/NSIAD-95-133, Apr. 14, 1995).

                   Roles and Functions: Assessment of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
                   Staff Report (GAO/NSIAD-93-200, July 15, 1993).

                   Military Bases: Analysis of DOD’s Recommendations and Selection
                   Process for Closures and Realignments (GAO/NSIAD-93-173, Apr. 15, 1993).

                   Military Bases: Varied Processes Used in Proposing Base Closures and
                   Realignments (GAO/NSIAD-91-133, Mar. 1, 1991).

                   Military Bases: An Analysis of the Commission’s Realignment and Closure
                   Recommendations (GAO/NSIAD-90-42, Nov. 29, 1989).

                   Trainer Aircraft: Plans to Replace the Existing Fleet (GAO/NSIAD-89-94,
                   Mar. 20, 1989).

                   Undergraduate Helicopter Pilot Training: Consolidation Could Yield
                   Significant Savings (GAO/FPCD-80-37, Jan. 31, 1980).

                   Proposed Consolidation of Undergraduate Helicopter Pilot Training at
                   Fort Rucker, Alabama (GAO/FPCD-79-94, Sept. 26, 1979).

                   Undergraduate Helicopter Pilot Training: Consolidation Could Yield
                   Significant Savings (GAO/FPCD-79-88, Sept. 20, 1979).

                   Undergraduate Helicopter Pilot Training (02447, June 7, 1977).

                   Consolidation of Helicopter Pilot Training (GAO/FPCD-77-52, May 5, 1977).

                   Need to Assess Potential for Consolidating Undergraduate Helicopter Pilot
                   Training (B-157905, May 3, 1974).

(709370)   Leter   Page 24                                 GAO/NSIAD-99-143 Defense Infrastructure
Ordering Information

The first copy of each GAO report and testimony is free.
Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the
following address, accompanied by a check or money order made
out to the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary, VISA and
MasterCard credit cards are accepted, also.

Orders for 100 or more copies to be mailed to a single address are
discounted 25 percent.

Orders by mail:

U.S. General Accounting Office
P.O. Box 37050
Washington, DC 20013

or visit:

Room 1100
700 4th St. NW (corner of 4th and G Sts. NW)
U.S. General Accounting Office
Washington, DC

Orders may also be placed by calling (202) 512-6000
or by using fax number (202) 512-6061, or TDD (202) 512-2537.

Each day, GAO issues a list of newly available reports and
testimony. To receive facsimile copies of the daily list or any list
from the past 30 days, please call (202) 512-6000 using a touchtone
phone. A recorded menu will provide information on how to obtain
these lists.

For information on how to access GAO reports on the INTERNET,
send an e-mail message with “info” in the body to:


or visit GAO’s World Wide Web Home Page at:

United States                       Bulk Rate
General Accounting Office      Postage & Fees Paid
Washington, D.C. 20548-0001           GAO
                                 Permit No. GI00
Official Business
Penalty for Private Use $300

Address Correction Requested