oversight

Army Ranger Training: Final Assessment of Improvements Mandated By 1996 National Defense Authorization Act

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-02-25.

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

                  United States General Accounting Office

GAO               Report to Congressional Committees




February 1999
                  ARMY RANGER
                  TRAINING
                  Final Assessment of
                  Improvements
                  Mandated By 1996
                  National Defense
                  Authorization Act




GAO/NSIAD-99-57
             United States
GAO          General Accounting Office
             Washington, D.C. 20548

             National Security and
             International Affairs Division

             B-281816

             February 25, 1999

             The Honorable Wayne Allard
             Chairman,
             The Honorable Max Cleland
             Ranking Minority Member,
             Subcommittee on Personnel
             Committee on Armed Services
             United States Senate

             The Honorable Steve Buyer
             Chairman,
             The Honorable Neil Abercrombie
             Ranking Minority Member,
             Subcommittee on Military Personnel
             Committee on Armed Services
             House of Representatives

             This report provides our final assessment of corrective actions taken by
             the Army following the deaths of four Army Ranger students in a 1995
             training accident. The Fiscal Year 1996 National Defense Authorization Act
             requires us to provide a final assessment of the matters covered in our
             preliminary report and our recommendation on the need to continue the
             required manning levels.1 Specifically, we are reporting on the status of
             (1) Ranger training manning levels required by the act, (2) establishing
             safety cell organizations required by the act, (3) corrective safety actions
             instituted after the accident, and (4) inspections of identified safety
             controls.


             The Ranger Training Brigade, located at Fort Benning, Georgia, conducts
Background   three phases of Ranger training to develop tactical combat arms and
             leadership skills in infantry, airborne, air assault, mountaineering, and
             waterborne operations. The initial training phase is conducted at Fort
             Benning, the second phase is conducted in the Georgia mountains, and the
             third phase is conducted in river and swamp terrain in Florida. In
             February 1995, four Ranger students died of hypothermia while
             undergoing waterborne training in the Florida swamps.

             1
              The act (P.L. 104-106, Feb. 10, 1996) set minimum personnel manning levels for the Army’s Ranger
             Training Brigade and specified that the manning level requirement shall expire 2 years after the date
             on which it is first attained. The act also required us to provide a preliminary report within 1 year of its
             enactment, see Army Ranger Training: Safety Improvements Need to be Institutionalized
             (GAO/NSIAD-97-29, Jan. 2, 1997), and a final report within 2 years after the Army first attains the
             required manning levels.



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                   The Army’s investigation of the accident recommended corrective actions
                   to improve Ranger training safety and preserve the lessons learned from
                   the accident.2 Corrective actions to improve the safety of Ranger training
                   were also prescribed by the Fiscal Year 1996 National Defense
                   Authorization Act. The act required the Army to ensure that the number of
                   officers and the number of enlisted personnel assigned to the Ranger
                   Training Brigade are not less than 90 percent of required levels. The Army
                   defines requirements as the minimum number of personnel needed to
                   perform a unit’s mission effectively. This mandate was to become effective
                   no later than February 1997 and expire 2 years after it is achieved. The act
                   also required the Army to establish at each of the three Ranger training
                   locations an organization known as a “safety cell,” comprising individuals
                   with sufficient continuity and experience in each geographic area to be
                   knowledgeable of local conditions and the potential impact of weather and
                   other conditions on training safety. The act further provided that these
                   individuals shall serve as advisors to the officers in charge of training to
                   assist in making training “go” and “no go” decisions in light of weather and
                   other conditions.

                   Our preliminary report assessed the implementation and effectiveness of
                   the corrective actions, the Army’s progress in implementing the mandated
                   staffing levels and safety cell organizations, and the adequacy of Army
                   oversight to ensure that the corrective actions are sustained in the future.
                   We recommended that the Army direct the Ranger Training Brigade to
                   identify critical training safety controls and ensure that the Ranger training
                   chain of command, and organizations outside the chain of command,
                   conduct periodic inspections to determine compliance with the safety
                   controls implemented after the accident.


                   Even though the Army placed the Ranger Training Brigade on the list of
Results in Brief   units excepted from normal Army personnel priorities and raised the
                   Brigade’s personnel distribution to 90 percent of required numbers, it was
                   not able to meet the act’s required personnel levels. In February 1997,
                   when the Army planned to first meet the act’s requirement, the Brigade
                   had 97 percent of required enlisted personnel but only 88 percent of the
                   required number of officers. The Brigade’s personnel strength was below
                   the mandated 90-percent level for both officers and enlisted personnel
                   from October 1997 through September 1998. While Brigade officer staffing

                   2
                    The Army’s investigation also concluded that officer shortages and personnel turnover at the Florida
                   training camp contributed to the accident by draining experience and insight and by limiting the ability
                   to keep operating procedures current, supervise standards and policies, and observe training
                   exercises.



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levels were below the mandate, they were significantly higher than they
were at the time of the accident. If the Army continues the current
90-percent officer distribution planning level for the Brigade, it is not
necessary to continue the mandated personnel levels in law.

The Army has established safety cells with personnel knowledgeable
about local terrain and weather conditions, but the frequency of personnel
rotations may make it difficult to provide sufficient continuity that the act
requires. Specifically, the Brigade and battalion chains of command who
serve as the safety cell members and supervise daily training safety
decisions generally rotate to new units every 2-3 years. Because of the
act’s requirement that safety cell personnel have sufficient continuity and
experience, the Army has recently authorized the addition of four civilian
personnel to the safety cells at the Brigade and the three training
battalions. The Army plans to fill these positions by September 1999.

The Army has completed and institutionalized most of the recommended
corrective actions, and they appear to be functioning effectively. The
Brigade has improved safety controls at the Florida Ranger camp by
developing systems to better monitor and predict river and swamp
conditions. It has moved waterborne training exercises outside high-risk
areas and eliminated discretion to deviate from established training lanes.
At all three training phases, medical evacuation procedures have been
revised, rehearsed, and inspected; physician assistants have been assigned
to the Brigade and training battalions; and a Brigade communications
officer has been assigned. In addition, the Brigade now requires that its
training companies be commanded by branch-qualified captains.

Although frequent inspections have been conducted since the accident,
they did not evaluate continued compliance with the training safety
controls, as we recommended in our preliminary report, nor were the
results of the inspections adequately documented. Documented
evaluations of the training safety controls would help ensure that the
corrective actions are continued and lessons learned from the accident are
sustained in the future.




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                            At the time of the 1995 accident, the Ranger Training Brigade had a
Army Increased              staffing priority that authorized it to be staffed at about 85 percent of its
Brigade Personnel but       personnel requirements. In response to the mandated 90-percent level, the
Many Factors Have           Army excepted the Brigade from normal Army staffing priorities3 and
                            raised the Brigade’s officer distribution and enlisted personnel
Hindered Meeting            authorizations to 90 percent of the required numbers. It expected to staff
Mandated Levels             the Brigade at this level in February 1997. Despite these measures, the
                            Army was not able to assign and maintain the numbers of officers and
                            enlisted personnel the act required for most months since that time. The
                            Brigade staffing level has improved since the accident, even though the
                            Army has not maintained staffing at the mandated level.


Mandated Officer and        Although in the aggregate, the Brigade was assigned 96 percent of its
Enlisted Personnel Levels   required personnel in February 1997, it had only 88 percent of the required
Have Not Been Sustained     number of officers. The Brigade’s officer strength has remained below the
                            mandated 90-percent level for most of the time between February 1997
                            and November 1998 and fell to under 80 percent for 9 months. While the
                            Brigade was able to maintain higher enlisted personnel levels because of
                            the Army priority for assigning enlisted Ranger instructors, its enlisted
                            strength overall was also under the mandated level for 14 months from
                            February 1997 through September 1998, as shown in figure 1.




                            3
                             Because of Army-wide shortages of personnel, the Army uses a tiered system to allocate personnel to
                            its units. The Army gives top priority to staffing Department of Defense (DOD) agencies, major
                            commands, training centers, and special operations forces. These entities receive about 100 percent of
                            their personnel requirements. Second priority is given to early deploying Army divisions, which
                            normally receive about 95 percent of their personnel requirements. The Army Training and Doctrine
                            Command (TRADOC) and its schools, including the Brigade, receive a “fair share” of the remaining
                            officers and enlisted personnel, usually about 85 percent of their personnel requirements. TRADOC
                            receives a higher priority for enlisted instructors, usually about 98 to 100 percent of instructor
                            requirements.



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Figure 1: Ranger Training Brigade
Personnel Levels, February 1997     Percent
Through November 1998
                                    100



                                     95



                                     90



                                     85



                                     80



                                     75



                                     70
                                          2/97      6/97         10/97               2/98          6/98         10/98

                                                                         Officer Enlisted



                                    At the end of November 1998, when we completed our review, the Brigade
                                    was assigned 59 (or 80 percent) of its 74 required officers and 596 (or
                                    93 percent) of its required enlisted personnel. Although the number of
                                    assigned officers was below the act’s requirement, it was significantly
                                    higher than it was at the time of the accident, when only 38 officers were
                                    assigned. Further, although the Brigade was assigned less than the
                                    required number of enlisted personnel from October 1997 through
                                    September 1998, it did have over 90 percent of its required number of
                                    enlisted Ranger instructors.

                                    As of November 1998, the Brigade would have needed eight more officers
                                    to meet the mandated 90-percent level. Fort Benning officials said that
                                    they would be unable to assign any additional officers until captains
                                    undergoing advanced infantry officer training become available in
                                    December 1998.

                                    Data on the Brigade’s numbers of required and assigned officers and
                                    enlisted personnel by month are included in appendix I.




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Many Factors Have              Many factors have contributed to the Army’s shortfalls in meeting the
Contributed to Shortfalls in   required numbers of officers and enlisted personnel, including unplanned
Meeting Required               losses of officers, shortages of branch-qualified captains4 and certain
                               enlisted specialties, unfilled requirements for other service’s instructors,
Personnel Levels               and higher personnel requirements.

                               Army officials at Fort Benning told us that the unplanned loss of personnel
                               was the primary reason for not meeting the mandated officer level. The
                               Brigade lost several officers who resigned their commissions or were
                               injured while conducting Ranger training exercises. When these
                               unexpected losses occurred, it was not possible to immediately reassign
                               officers from other Army units to fill them. Fort Benning officials told us
                               that replacing experienced and branch-qualified captains was particularly
                               difficult because they are in short supply throughout the Army. As a result,
                               Fort Benning was unable to immediately replace the officers lost by the
                               Brigade and had to wait for graduates of the Infantry Officer Advanced
                               course at Fort Benning to become available.

                               Some of the shortfall of enlisted personnel was due to unfilled
                               requirements for instructors from the other services. For fiscal year 1998,
                               the Army determined that the Air Force, the Navy, and the Marine Corps
                               were to provide 20 instructors, and for fiscal year 1999, 16 instructors,
                               based on the numbers of students they collectively planned to enroll in the
                               Ranger course. However, the other services have not provided the
                               numbers of instructors required. For example, thus far, in fiscal year 1999,
                               the Marine Corps has provided only 2 of the 13 instructors. If the services
                               had met their instructor requirements, the Army would have achieved the
                               mandated enlisted personnel level in most months since February 1997.
                               Table 1 shows the number of students the Army and other services
                               planned to enroll in the Ranger course in fiscal year 1999 with the required
                               and assigned instructors.




                               4
                                Branch-qualified captains are those who have had advanced training and have served in command
                               positions in the field to which they are assigned.



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Table 1: Army and Other Services’
Fiscal Year 1999 Enrollment and                                                               Required        Assigned
Required and Assigned Instructors   Service                                   Studentsa     instructors     instructorsb
                                    Army                                          2,245             281             279
                                    Marine Corps                                   100               13               2
                                    Navy                                            12                2               0
                                    Air Force                                        9                1               0
                                    a
                                    Planned enrollment in fiscal year 1999.
                                    b
                                        As of November 1998.



                                    Two other factors contributed to personnel shortages in the Brigade. First,
                                    the Army had difficulty assigning the required numbers of enlisted training
                                    support personnel, such as medics and signal systems specialists, because
                                    there were, and still are, relatively small numbers of personnel with these
                                    specialties in the force. Second, in October 1997, the Army added 7
                                    additional personnel requirements for officers and 86 additional
                                    requirements for enlisted personnel. Because the numbers of assigned
                                    personnel did not significantly change along with the added requirements,
                                    the percentages of assigned to required personnel declined significantly.
                                    Although Army officials at Fort Benning thought they could fill these
                                    positions within several months, both officer and enlisted personnel levels
                                    remained well below the mandated levels throughout fiscal year 1998.


Other Assignments and               The actual number of personnel available is often less than the number of
Civilian Personnel                  personnel assigned to the Brigade. At any given time, some Brigade
Shortages Reduce the                personnel are attending Army schools or are assigned to other duties, such
                                    as recruiting, thus reducing the actual number of personnel available to
Availability of the Brigade’s       conduct and support Ranger training. As in all Army units, Brigade
Personnel                           personnel periodically attend Army schools to complete their career
                                    training requirements or perform other duties for their units. In
                                    November 1998, the Brigade was assigned 59 (or 80 percent) of its 74
                                    required officers. However, 3 of the 59 officers were attending schools or
                                    performing other full-time duties. As a result, the Brigade only had
                                    76 percent of its required officers available. In addition, Ranger training
                                    battalion commanders must often assign soldiers to fill vacant civilian
                                    personnel positions. In November 1998, the Brigade had only 10 (or
                                    20 percent) of its 49 required civilian personnel. To compensate for these
                                    shortages, battalion commanders periodically assigned Ranger training
                                    personnel to maintenance, supply, administrative, and other jobs—a




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                         common practice throughout the Army when civilian personnel
                         requirements cannot be met.


Unique Ranger Training   Both Ranger training and the requirements for the personnel that conduct
and Personnel            the training are unique. Unlike training at other TRADOC schools, Ranger
Requirements Are Not     training is conducted around the clock, under hazardous conditions, at
                         three separate locations in difficult mountainous, river, and swamp
Recognized in Army       terrain. The training is designed to subject students to hot and cold
Personnel Distribution   weather temperature extremes and mental and physical stresses, including
Priorities               nutritional and sleep deprivation—conditions that are intended to
                         approach those found in combat. To conduct this type of training, Ranger
                         instructors, battalion and company commanders, and support personnel
                         must be qualified to function effectively under similar conditions.
                         Therefore, many Brigade personnel are required to have special
                         qualifications, including airborne and Ranger qualifications, and some are
                         required to have swimmer and diver qualifications. Personnel with these
                         qualifications are in short supply and in high demand throughout the
                         Army. However, the current Army officer distribution policy gives top
                         priority units, such as special operations forces, 100 percent of their
                         requirements for these kinds of specialties. Without the higher priority the
                         Army implemented to meet the mandated levels, the Brigade would
                         receive only about 85 percent of its officer requirement. The Brigade
                         would therefore compete with higher priority units and other TRADOC
                         schools to obtain personnel with these specialized qualifications. The
                         Army’s enlisted distribution policy, however, does give a higher priority to
                         the Brigade for enlisted instructors because it needs between 60 and
                         180 days to train and certify personnel to become fully qualified Ranger
                         instructors.

                         Further, assigning personnel is complicated because, unlike other Army
                         training units, the Brigade’s headquarters and three training battalions are
                         located in separate geographic areas. While Army commanders usually
                         move personnel between positions within their units to compensate for
                         any losses, the Brigade’s ability to do so is limited because reassigning
                         personnel from one training battalion to another involves permanent
                         changes of station for soldiers and their families. Therefore, when losses
                         occur, the Brigade must wait for available personnel from other Army
                         units rather than move personnel internally between battalions.




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                      The act specified that safety cell personnel at each location must have
Army Plans to Staff   sufficient continuity and experience to be knowledgeable of local terrain,
Safety Cells With     weather, and other conditions. Currently, members of the Brigade and the
Civilians             battalions’ chains of command, including the Brigade and battalion
                      commanders, serve in the safety cells and supervise daily training safety
                      decisions. While these people have developed a high degree of experience
                      and knowledge of local conditions, the frequency of their rotations to new
                      units may prevent the safety cells from obtaining individuals with
                      sufficient continuity in the local training areas. Army officers usually
                      rotate to new units every 2 years, enlisted personnel about every 3 years.
                      In contrast, Army civilian employees do not rotate jobs as frequently and
                      thus would appear to provide the continuity envisioned in the act.

                      In 1996, the Infantry Center at Fort Benning and the Brigade considered
                      requesting civilian personnel for the safety cells but decided to adopt the
                      current approach of having Brigade personnel serve in the safety cells.
                      However, in September 1998, TRADOC reconsidered this approach and
                      began work on a plan to authorize hiring four civilians for the safety cells
                      at the Brigade and at each of the three training battalions. Army officials at
                      Fort Benning told us they plan to develop job descriptions, identify
                      candidates, and hire staff for the safety cells by September 1999.


                      The Army’s investigation of the accident recommended corrective actions
Corrective Safety     to improve (1) risk assessments of training conditions, (2) command and
Actions Are           control of training exercises, and (3) medical support and evacuation
Incorporated in       procedures. We reported in our preliminary report that the risk
                      assessments had been improved, command and control procedures had
Standard Operating    been revised, and evacuation and medical support capabilities had
Procedures            increased. In addition, in September 1997, the Army Inspector General
                      reviewed the corrective actions and waterborne training safety controls at
                      the Florida Ranger camp and concluded that they were in place and
                      functioning as intended.

                      During our review, we found that the corrective actions had been
                      institutionalized in Brigade standard operating procedures5 and that the
                      safety control measures and medical evacuation procedures remained in
                      place and appeared to be functioning effectively. Specifically, the Brigade
                      continued to apply safety improvements at the Florida Ranger camp, such
                      as command and control systems to better monitor and predict river and

                      5
                       Brigade standard operating procedures include those of the Brigade’s headquarters and the three
                      training battalions.



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                        swamp conditions, and to conduct waterborne training exercises in
                        designated training lanes outside of high-risk areas. At all three training
                        locations, medical evacuation procedures had been revised, rehearsed,
                        and inspected; and physician assistants had been assigned to the Brigade
                        and training battalions. In addition, the Brigade has improved safety and
                        the supervision of training by requiring that its training companies be
                        commanded by experienced and branch-qualified captains. To better
                        supervise training safety, the Brigade also assigns an officer and an
                        enlisted noncommissioned officer to serve as training liaisons to
                        accompany and monitor each Ranger class through all three phases of
                        training.

                        A complete description and status of all corrective actions are included in
                        appendixes II through V.


                        Our preliminary report assessing Ranger training safety recommended that
Safety Inspections Do   TRADOC, the Army Infantry Center, Fort Benning, the Ranger Training
Not Evaluate or         Brigade, and organizations outside the chain of command, such as the
Document                Army Inspector General, conduct periodic inspections to determine
                        compliance with the safety controls implemented after the 1995 accident.
Compliance With         Since 1997, the Army Infantry Center commander has conducted 6
Training Safety         personal safety inspections, and Brigade commanders have conducted 23
                        personal safety inspections. Also, Fort Benning has conducted two
Controls                command and staff inspections, and the Brigade has conducted three
                        command and staff inspections.6 In addition, the Army Inspector General
                        has visited all three phases of Ranger training and, in September 1997,
                        completed an inspection of the safety controls.

                        However, the scope and results of the personal inspections conducted by
                        the Infantry Center and Brigade commanders have not been documented.
                        We were, therefore, unable to determine whether (1) the commanders’
                        inspections focused on the identified safety control measures or (2) the
                        commanders had determined that safety controls were working
                        effectively.

                        While the scope and results of the Infantry Center’s and the Brigade’s
                        command and staff inspections were documented, these inspections
                        covered a broad range of unit activities, including safety. However, the
                        safety related portion focused entirely on general safety procedures, such

                        6
                         Army Inspection Policy, Army Regulation 1-201, gives commanders the flexibility to establish both the
                        frequency of and criteria for the inspections.



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                      as fire prevention measures, not on training safety. Also, although the
                      Ranger training chain of command was briefed on the scope and results of
                      the Army Inspector General’s safety control inspection, a written report
                      was not done.


                      Since the mandated staffing goal was instituted, the Ranger Training
Conclusions and       Brigade staffing level has improved, even though the Army has not
Recommendations       maintained staffing at the mandated 90-percent level. A key factor in this
                      improvement has been the Army’s decision to give priority to staffing the
                      Brigade. Without sufficient priority, we believe that unplanned losses and
                      other problems that have kept the Brigade’s officer strength below the
                      mandated 90-percent levels would, over time, degrade officer strength to
                      the levels that existed at the time of the accident. In view of the increased
                      personnel levels since the accident, and provided that the Army continues
                      the current staffing priority for the Brigade, we do not believe that it is
                      necessary to maintain mandated personnel levels in law.

                      Additionally, the failure to evaluate specific training safety controls and
                      document the results of such evaluations provide inadequate assurance
                      that safety measures and controls are in place and functioning effectively.
                      Inspections are vital in ensuring that corrective actions instituted after the
                      accident are sustained.

                      We, therefore, recommend that the Secretary of the Army

                  •   continue the current 90-percent officer distribution planning level for the
                      Ranger Training Brigade and
                  •   direct that future inspections of the Brigade include evaluations of training
                      safety controls and that the inspections’ results are documented.


                      In written comments on a draft of this report (see app.VI), DOD concurred
Agency Comments       with the report and its recommendations. DOD stated that the Secretary of
                      the Army has directed that the officer and enlisted strength of the Brigade
                      be sustained at or above the 90-percent distribution level and that the
                      Commander, Total Army Personnel Command, has established procedures
                      to ensure compliance. DOD also stated that the Army has conducted
                      frequent inspections to evaluate training safety controls and has moved to
                      address the documentation of training safety controls inspections.




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              DOD also noted that its goal is to provide safe, tough, and realistic training
              to Brigade students and that it believes it is meeting this goal. DOD also
              provided technical comments that we incorporated where appropriate.


              To determine the status of the mandated Ranger training manning levels,
Scope and     we reviewed and analyzed personnel requirements and numbers of
Methodology   officers and enlisted personnel assigned to the Ranger Training Brigade
              from February 1997 through November 1998. We reviewed changes in
              Army and Fort Benning personnel policies, plans, and distribution
              priorities to assess the measures taken to increase personnel to the
              mandated levels. To assess the adequacy of current personnel levels and
              the need to continue the mandated levels, we analyzed personnel
              requirements and obtained the views of Department of Army, TRADOC, and
              Fort Benning officials. We assessed the status of establishing training
              safety cells by reviewing the duties, qualifications, and experience of
              safety cell members and interviewing Fort Benning and Ranger officials.

              To determine the status of the corrective actions and determine whether
              they are functioning effectively, we received briefings from Brigade
              officials, observed training exercises, and reviewed safety procedures at
              each Ranger battalion’s facilities. To determine whether the Army has
              adequately inspected compliance with the identified safety controls, we
              interviewed Brigade officials and reviewed Army and Infantry Center
              inspection regulations, procedures, and records.

              We conducted our review at Department of Army headquarters, Army
              Infantry Center, Ranger Training Brigade headquarters, and the Ranger
              training battalions at Fort Benning, Dahlonega, Georgia, and Eglin Air
              Force Base, Florida.

              Our review was conducted from September through November 1998 in
              accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.


              We are sending copies of this report to the Chairmen, Senate and House
              Committees on Appropriations, Senate Committee on Armed Services, and
              House Committee on Armed Services and to the Secretaries of Defense
              and the Army. Copies will also be made available to others upon request.




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The major contributors to this report are listed in appendix VI. If you or
your staff have questions about this report, please call me on
(202) 512-5140.




Mark E. Gebicke
Director, Military Operations
  and Capabilities Issues




Page 13                                    GAO/NSIAD-99-57 Army Ranger Training
Contents



Letter                                                              1


Appendix I                                                         16
Ranger Training
Brigade Personnel
Levels, February 1997
Through
November 1998
Appendix II                                                        17
Status of Actions to
Improve Safety
Management: Risk
Assessments
Appendix III                                                       18
Status of Actions to
Improve Safety
Management:
Command and
Control, Equipment,
and Training
Appendix IV                                                        19
Status of Actions to
Improve Safety
Management: Medical
Support and
Evacuation
Procedures




                        Page 14   GAO/NSIAD-99-57 Army Ranger Training
                        Contents




Appendix V                                                                                        20
Status of Actions to
Preserve Lessons
Learned
Appendix VI                                                                                       21
Comments From the
Department of
Defense
Appendix VII                                                                                      23
Major Contributors to
This Report
Table                   Table 1: Army and Other Services’ Fiscal Year 1999 Enrollment              7
                          and Required and Assigned Instructors


Figure                  Figure 1: Ranger Training Brigade Personnel Levels,                        5
                          February 1997 through November 1998




                        Abbreviations

                        DOD        Department of Defense
                        TRADOC     Training and Doctrine Command


                        Page 15                                  GAO/NSIAD-99-57 Army Ranger Training
Appendix I

Ranger Training Brigade Personnel Levels,
February 1997 Through November 1998


                              Officers                     Enlisted personnel                 Brigade total
Fiscal year/month   Required Assigned      Percent Required Assigned          Percent Required Assigned       Percent
1997
February                 66         58          88         557          539       97       623        597         96
March                    66         59          89         557          533       96       623        592         95
April                    66         61          92         557          521       94       623        582         93
May                      66         61          92         557          514       92       623        575         92
June                     66         62          94         557          505       91       623        567         91
July                     66         62          94         557          494       89       623        556         89
August                   66         63          95         557          490       88       623        553         89
September                66         61          92         557          510       92       623        571         92
1998
October                  73         57          78         643          522       81       716        579         81
November                 73         57          78         643          539       84       716        596         83
December                 73         57          78         643          526       82       716        583         81
January                  73         57          78         643          541       84       716        598         84
February                 73         57          78         643          541       84       716        598         84
March                    73         58          79         643          558       87       716        616         86
April                    73         60          82         643          569       88       716        629         88
May                      73         59          81         643          574       89       716        633         88
June                     73         57          78         643          563       88       716        620         87
July                     73         56          77         643          557       87       716        613         86
August                   73         60          82         643          552       86       716        612         85
September                73         60          82         643          552       86       716        612         85
1999
October                  74         55          74         639          574       90       713        629         88
November                 74         59          80         639          596       93       713        655         92
                                 Note: Percentages have been rounded.




                                 Page 16                                         GAO/NSIAD-99-57 Army Ranger Training
Appendix II

Status of Actions to Improve Safety
Management: Risk Assessments


Planned actions                          Status      Comments
1. Develop a standard operating          Completed   Weather, river, and swamp information obtained from local and federal
procedure to capture and use river                   agencies is integrated in training decision-making. Also, three remote
level forecast information from local                weather sensors on the Yellow River provide real-time water depth and
agencies.                                            temperatures.
2. Update risk management                Completed   Risk management assessments have been completed for all training
assessment.                                          activities.
3. Update daily risk assessment.         Completed   Daily risk assessments capture information on changing weather, water
                                                     level, temperature, student conditions, and readiness of support systems.
4. Update current immersion guide.       Completed   The water immersion guide is briefed at the beginning of each day and
                                                     updated as conditions change.
5. Standardize the in-walkers briefing   Completed   Written standardized briefing formats are used for daily briefings of
for instructors.                                     instructors at all three Ranger training battalions.
6. Provide commanders critical           Completed   Medical and other information on selected students and student platoons
requirements analysis of                             is forwarded to each training phase’s incoming commander.
class/platoon strengths and
weaknesses as each class moves to
a new training phase.
7. Erect staff markers on the lanes.     Completed   The Army Corps of Engineers erected 32 water depth markers along the
                                                     Yellow River and training lanes in the swamps.
8. Examine the effectiveness of the      Completed   System reviewed, and it remains a first line of safety defense. When
current buddy system.                                assigned buddy is not available, teams will move to three-person system.

9. Reinstate the system of assigning     Completed   The 6th Battalion now assigns a captain or senior noncommissioned officer
tactical officers to each class.                     and a staff sergeant to each class with responsibility for class cohesion,
                                                     student advocacy, feedback to battalion commanders, and other issues.
10. Conduct refresher training on the    Completed   Lesson added to the Ranger course program of instruction.
use of the immersion guide.
11. Identify and mark weak swimmers.     Completed   Weak swimmers are identified during the combat water survival test and
                                                     marked on their headgear and equipment.
12. Obtain physiological monitoring      Completed   Experimental monitoring software was provided to Ranger medical clinics.
software.                                            Due to implementation problems, the Brigade has discontinued its use.
13. Conduct nutrition and                Completed   The Brigade Commander has increased meals provided Ranger students
immunization study.                                  from 1-1/2 to 2 per day based on Army nutritional studies.
14. Develop personnel status             Completed   Experimental monitors tested in June 1996, but no procurement made.
monitoring system technology for
possible use in Florida.




                                         Page 17                                         GAO/NSIAD-99-57 Army Ranger Training
Appendix III

Status of Actions to Improve Safety
Management: Command and Control,
Equipment, and Training

Planned actions                           Status      Comments
1. Develop standard operating             Completed   Procedures have been written and included in the Brigade and the three
procedures for conducting training at                 training phases daily operating procedures.
the Florida Ranger Training Battalion.

2. Clearly identify each training lane.   Completed   The Florida battalion identified specific lanes from the Yellow River through
                                                      the swamps. The lanes were narrowed and adjusted to avoid hazardous
                                                      areas. Students are not allowed to deviate from designated boat drop sites
                                                      and training lanes.
3. Develop a training and certification   Completed   The Brigade developed a standardized instructor certification program.
program for instructors.                              The program focuses on the development of instructor competency,
                                                      experience, and application of procedures, safety, and risk management.
4. Upgrade tactical operations center     Completed   Communications and computer upgrades were installed and they are
ability to monitor operations.                        functioning effectively at Florida and mountain phases.

5. Purchase earplug/silent radios.        Completed   The Florida battalion acquired whisper mikes for use with Motorola radios
                                                      during training exercises.
6. Ensure that all patrols are            Completed   Florida battalion students must demonstrate their ability to properly
equipped, trained, and prepared to                    construct a one-rope bridge in 8 minutes prior to entering the swamp.
conduct stream crossing operations.
7. Develop a decision paper on the        Completed   A Brigade decision paper concluded that global position receivers will be
use of precision lightweight global                   used by medical evacuation helicopters and Ranger instructors. The
position receivers by instructors                     Brigade acquired 66 receivers to track the movement of students.
during emergencies.
8. Develop standard packing lists for     Completed   Equipment and supply packing lists for instructors, medics, and
instructors, medics, and                              aeromedevac crews have been updated.
aeromedevac crews.
9. Review the winter rucksack             Completed   The winter packing list has been reviewed, and minor changes were
packing list.                                         made. Instructors inspect student rucksacks to ensure they have been
                                                      tailored, weight distributed, and waterproofed.
10. Add a waterproofing class to          Completed   A waterproofing lesson has been added to the Ranger course program of
program of instruction.                               instruction.




                                          Page 18                                         GAO/NSIAD-99-57 Army Ranger Training
Appendix IV

Status of Actions to Improve Safety
Management: Medical Support and
Evacuation Procedures

Planned actions                              Status       Comments
1. Determine system necessary to             Completed    Air, water, surface, and ground evacuation procedures have been
ensure safe medical evacuation.                           planned, rehearsed, and inspected. Joint medical evacuation procedures
                                                          have been established among the Ranger training battalions and local
                                                          medical services.
2. Develop a mass casualty standard          Completed    Mass casualty procedures have been included in each Ranger training
operating procedure.                                      battalion’s standard operating procedure.
3. Initiate a project to build a road into   Determined   The former battalion commander concluded that the road is not critical for
the swamp area in Florida.                   to be not    safe training and that following an environmental assessment, high
                                             feasible     construction and environmental mitigation cost estimates, it is not justified.
4. Determine fuel requirement for            Completed    A 2,000-gallon tanker is on hand at the Florida camp and two tankers with
medevac helicopters at Florida                            about 10,000 gallons fuel capacity are on hand at the Georgia mountain
training site.                                            camp.
5. Implement plan to revert to full-time     Completed    All three Ranger training battalions now have full-time, Ranger-qualified
Ranger medic manning.                                     medics.
6. Obtain C02 inflatable one-man rafts.      Completed    The Florida Ranger camp acquired 21 CO2 inflatable rafts, which are used
                                                          by each Ranger instructor team.
7. Obtain hypothermia bags.                  Completed    Six hypothermia bags were issued to each of the Ranger training
                                                          battalions.
8. Develop a system to check                 Completed    All medevac emergency equipment is inspected for accountability and
packing list for medevac helicopters.                     serviceability upon arrival at the training battalions.
9. Reinforce training and rehearsals of      Completed    Fort Benning Medical Command has developed training guidelines for
medical attachments.                                      medics and Physician’s Assistants in each camp.
10. Ensure compliance with previous          Completed    Revised standard operating procedures outline cold and hot weather
cold weather procedures.                                  training procedures.




                                             Page 19                                           GAO/NSIAD-99-57 Army Ranger Training
Appendix V

Status of Actions to Preserve Lessons
Learned


Planned actions                     Status      Comments
1. Determine how best to preserve   Completed   1977 and 1995 accident summaries have been integrated into instructor
lessons learned.                                certification programs and are required reading for new members of the
                                                chain of command.

                                                VCR tape summarizing the 1977 and 1995 accidents was produced and is
                                                in use in the instructor certification program.

                                                Monument to students who died was erected at the site of the accident.
2. Continue formal command          Completed   Although all battalions have been inspected, the inspections do not focus
inspection program.                             on training-related safety.
3. Review complete waterborne       Completed   The Army Inspector General completed a review of waterborne
procedures.                                     procedures in September 1997.




                                    Page 20                                        GAO/NSIAD-99-57 Army Ranger Training
Appendix VI

Comments From the Department of Defense




              Page 21       GAO/NSIAD-99-57 Army Ranger Training
Appendix VI
Comments From the Department of Defense




Page 22                                   GAO/NSIAD-99-57 Army Ranger Training
Appendix VII

Major Contributors to This Report


                        Carol R. Schuster
National Security and   Reginald L. Furr, Jr.
International Affairs
Division, Washington,
D.C.
                        Kevin C. Handley
Atlanta Field Office    Katherine P. Chenault




(703263)                Page 23                 GAO/NSIAD-99-57 Army Ranger Training
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