Evaluation of the Army's Civilian Marksmanship Program

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-03-08.

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

                    United States General Accounting Of&e                /c/i, q t’7

GAO                 Testimony


For Release         Evaluation      of   the   Army's
on Delivery
                    Civilian     Marksmanship         Program
Expected     at
10:00    a.m. EST
March 8, 1990

                    Statement    of
                    Richard    Davis,     Director,        Army Issues
                    National    Security       and    International
                       Affairs   Division

                    Before    the
                    Subcommittee     on Readiness
                    Committee     on Armed Services
                    House of Representatives

                     c3TFQjo                   40x1’7
                                                                               GAO   FOm   160 w/87:
Mr. Chairman         and Members       of   the   Subcommittee:

I am pleased to be here today to discuss              the results   of our review
of the Army’s Civilian       Marksmanship     Program.       You asked that we
evaluate   the program’s     mission,    purpose,     usefulness,    and cost.     Our
evaluation    included   a review of pertinent         program and congressional
documents as well as interviews          with a wide range of service          and
Department    of Defense officials.         Details    on our objectives,      scope,
and methodology      are included     in appendix     I to this document.       We
are in the process of preparing          a final    report    on our work.


The Civilian          Marksmanship         Program is a congressionally                 mandated
program whose basic mission                   is to provide         rifle    marksmanship
training       to U.S. civilians.               It was established            in 1903 during         a
period      in 1J.S. history          when civilian         training      in marksmanship          was
viewed as essential              to total      military       preparedness.           Over the next
three decades,             the Congress increased             the scope of the program
through       a series        of legislative        actions.       While over the years
legislation         has authorized           a program comprised            of diverse        shooting
activities,         we believe        that the common theme throughout                    the
program’s        lesislative         history      is that training          civilians       in
marksmanship          will     contribute       to military       preparedness.

The Secretary         of the Army is responsible         for implementing     the
program.         He is advised by the National          Board for the Promotion       of
Rifle      Practice,     which is comprised     of 34 military       members and
civilians.          A military     officer, serving     as the Director    of Civilian
Marksmanship,         manages    the program’s    day-to-day    activities    and is
assisted       by a staff      of about 35 persons.

Civilian      Marksmanship  Proqram activities     include    (1) promoting                        and
monitoring      generalized  rifle  training   through    a system of
affiliated      clubs and other organizations      and (2) sponsoring
marksmanship         competitions.       As part        of   these     activities,       the
program _.

--   sells     obsolete     weapons    to affiliated          club     members,

--   loans     obsolete     weapons    to affiliated          clubs,      and

--   donates and/or   sells          ammunition        and other       shooting      supply    items
     to affiliated  clubs.

As of November 1989, approximately            165,000 individuals       in over
1,900  clubs   were affiliated     with the Civilian         Marksmanship   Program.
During fiscal      year 1989, the program sold about 6,000 Ml Garand
rifles   to affiliated      club members and issued over 37 million             rounds
or components      of ammunition   to affiliated      clubs.      As of September
the program    had on loan or in storage         over 24,000 weapons.


The Civilian   Marksmanship   Program spent $4.2 million      in fiscal   year
1987,  $3.9 million   in 1988, and $4.3 million     in 1989.     The proposed
budgets for fiscal    years 1990 through    1994 are about $5 million      a
year.   An averaqe of 93 percent     of the budget for these years is
planned for program staff,     ammunition,   and National    Matches.

The National     Matches are an annual     competition    conducted    by the
Director   of Civilian     Marksmanship.    In 1989, approximately
3,650 competitors      attended   the 4-week lonq event at Camp Perry,
Ohio.    In fiscal    year 1989, the National      Matches accounted      for
about $1.4 million,       or 33 percent  of the program’s      appropriated
funds.    This does not include      the cost of 160 Army Reservists          who
helped conduct     the competition.


The Civilian       Marksmanship      Program has established       two mobilization-
related     objectives.        The first   is to provide   training      in rifle
marksmanship        to civilians     who would be subject      to induction       into
the military.         The second is to train       and qualify     program
instructors       so that they can augment       the mobilization       training

Army officials        believe    that achieving        these objectives      will
benefit     the Army in several          ways.     They expect that inductees         who
have program training           will   be better     marksmen.      These inductees
would likely        need less instructor         time and could possibly          act as
peer instructors         during marksmanship         training.      This would allow
instructors       to concentrate       on recruits      who need more attention.
Finally,     available      and trained     program instructors         could be used to
alleviate      shortages     of military      marksmanship     instructors.

If usefulness    is defined        as a measurement        of whether or not this
program contributes         to the military        preparedness    of the United
States   today,  then I would say that the Civilian                Marksmanship
Program is of limited          value,    primarily     because (1) the program has
remained essentially          as it was in the 192Os, despite           many changes
in Army operations,         and (2) the Army could not identify             any
training    or mobilization        reliance     upon the program.       If the program
were justified     on some other         basis,    maybe our assessment      of its
value would change.

Army    Has Changed    Significantly

At the turn of the century,       the United States           maintained  a small
standing    Army of approximately      60,000 soldiers,         and the rifle  was
the Army’s     primary weapon.    After    the Spanish        American War,
serious    problems with mobilization,        training,       and combat
operations     had become              apparent.    The adequacy of marksmanship
training    -and the U.S.              ability   to expand the Army quickly  were
primary    concerns.

Since then, Army doctrine,         weaponry,    and organization         have changed
considerably.      Today the Army is a trained            and ready strategic
force capable of conducting         combat    operations      worldwide.      Over half
of its soldiers      belong    to a greatly    expanded reserve        component
system.     The number, complexity,         and lethality       of weapons systems      @
have greatly     expanded beyond the rifle.            Clearly,    the U.S. Army has
changed since     1903,    but the program’s      mobilization      objectives    and
other activities      have remained essentially           the same.

Requirements          for     the     Program     Do Not Exist

Army officials              familiar    with      the program told us that                  there      is     some
question      about         the requirements           for the program during
mobilization.               Part of their         rationale    is as follows:

--   The Civilian      Marksmanship   Program is not included                          in the          Army’s
     overall    mobilization    plans or training   strategy.

--   No Army requirements                exist  for either         civilians      trained             in
     marksmanship   or for              program instructors           to    augment         the
     mobil izat ion training              base.

--   No system        is     in place     to track        program-trained        personnel.

--   No program        has     been     developed        to train, certify,           and track
     program instructors                who could        be used to augment           the
     mobilization    training             base.

Furthermore,     there is no assurance                     that   program-trained                 personnel
will”be   available    when needed.

Concerns      About    the   Program’s   Mission       and Purpose

Since the Civilian         Marksmanship    Program’s   inception,     the program
has been debated within           the Congress many times.        While there has
been support      for the program,      there has been concern about the
program’s    mission      and utility.     The 1924 Congressional        Record
clearly   highliqhts       the wide range of early concerns.            During one
debate in the House of Representatives,              Members of Congress asked
the followins       questions:

--   Was the Civilian     Marksmanship  Program simply               a means     to   promote
     marksmanship     and to support gun clubs?

     Was marksmanship         training    in the military       services       inadequate?

--   Should    the    government     sponsor   rifle     competitions?

A consistent       congressional     concern is that the mission     of the
Civilian     Marksmanship      Program is to serve primarily     the shootinq
community.        For example, during      a 1975 debate in the House of
Representatives,         one Member of Congress said that “There is
absolutely       no need for this     program at all.    It is purely   an
appropriation        for the development     of civilian   rifle teams. . . .
I think     this   is a program that has lost its utility.”

Over the years there has, however,            been steady support     for the
Civil ian Marksmanship      Program.      During the same 1975 debate in the
House, another Member of Congress stated             that “I feel the
continuation     of the National     Board for the Promotion       of Rifle
Practice     and its work has been justified         through   the years.    It has
consistently     received   support    from the public      and Congress.    It
will   be a mistake     not to continue     the program now.”

In J\nuary  1986, the Army Audit Agency reported       that                (1) the
program tasks contained   in the program’s legislation                     have remained
essentially     unchanged since the program’s               inception      (despite
changes in the military         and civilian        environment),        (2) some program
objectives     were not being accomplished,             (3) detailed        program
operating     goals and measurable         standards      for determining         progress
and success     were generally      lacking,     and (4) interpretations              differ
on specific     legislative     authorities       for the program.           The Army
Audit Agency recommended that (1) the program’s                     basic objectives         be
reevaluated     and (2) the historical          basis for the program be
reviewed     and a clear program direction            be established          that meets
the needs of the Army and the civilian                population.         While program
objectives     have been revised       in response to the Army Audit Agency
report,     Army officials    told us that the proqram direction                    has not

Mr. Chairman, this concludes  my statement today.   I would be glad
to answer any questions  you or the Subcommittee  Members might have.

APPENDIX I                                                                                    APPENDIX I

                           OBJECTIVES,          SCOPE, AND METHODOLOGY

The objective         of our review was to evaluate     the mission,    purpose,
usefulness,        and cost of the Civilian    Marksmanship    Program.     As
agreed with        the staff  of the House Committee on Armed Services          we
focused our        review primarily  on evaluating    program usefulness.

We reviewed      pertinent     Army and congressional          documents to
understand     the legislative       intent    of the program and to determine
how the program operates.           We interviewed         appropriate     service   and
Department     of Defense officials          to (1) establish       what Army
requirements      and plans exist       for the program,        (2) determine      how the
program is integrated          into Army operations,         and (3) understand       the
usefulness     of the program.        Personnel      we interviewed      included
program officials,         members of the National          Board for the Promotion
of Rifle    Practice,      and various      Army officials      at the following

--   Office   of     the   Secretary       of     the Army,      Washington,         D.C.;

--   Army Chief       of Public        Affairs,         Washington,        D.C.;

--   Army Office       of the Deputy Chief                of Staff        for   Operations
     (Training),       Washington,  D.C.;

--   Army Office       of the Director             of Civilian        Marksmanship           Program,
     Washington,       D.C.;

--   Army Civilian         Marksmanship           Support     Detachment,          Camp Perry,      Ohio;

--   ASmy Materiel         Command, Alexandria,               Virginia;

APPENDIX I                                                                                 APPENDIX I

--   Army Forces        Command, Atlanta,           Georgia;

--   Army Training           and Doctrine    Command, Hampton,               Virginia;

--   Coast     Guard    Headquarters,       Washington,         D.C.;

--   Ohio National        Guard Headquarters,             Columbus,         Ohio;

--   Marine     Corps    Combat     Development       Center,      Quantico,         Virginia;   and

--   Defense     Logistics        Agency,   Alexandria,         Virginia.