This is the accessible text file for CG speech number GAO-08-10R 
entitled 'Training Ranges: Improvement Continues in DODís Reporting on 
Sustainable Ranges, but Opportunities Exist to Improve Its Range 
Assessments and Comprehensive Plan' which was released on October 11, 
2007. 

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United States Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

October 11, 2007: 

Congressional Committees: 

Subject: Improvement Continues in DODís Reporting on Sustainable 
Ranges, but Opportunities Exist to Improve Its Range Assessments and 
Comprehensive Plan. 

In the midst of the global war on terrorism and recent operations in 
Iraq and Afghanistan, the Department of Defense (DOD) is working to 
make U.S. forces more agile and expeditionary. This transformation 
involves a shift from a Cold War era defense posture to a military that 
can surge quickly to trouble spots around the globe. In order to 
accomplish this transformation, it is vital for U.S. forces to train as 
they intend to fight. New advances in technology, coupled with this 
shift in force posture, mean that DOD needs to continually update and 
maintain its training ranges. Military training ranges vary in size 
from a few acresófor small arms trainingóto over a million acres for 
large maneuver exercises and weapons testing, as well as broad open 
ocean areas that provide for offshore training and testing. These 
ranges face ever increasing limitations and restrictions on land, 
water, and airspace as residential, commercial, and industrial 
development continues to expand around and encroach upon once remote 
military training and testing installations. 

Section 366 of the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for 
Fiscal Year 2003, [Footnote 1] dated December 2, 2002, required that 
the Secretary of Defense report on several items. First, the Secretary 
of Defense was required to develop a comprehensive plan for using 
existing authorities available to the Secretary of Defense and the 
military services to address training constraints caused by limitations 
on the use of military lands, marine areas, and airspaceóboth in the 
United States and overseas. As part of the preparation of the plan, 
section 366 required the Secretary of Defense to conduct an assessment 
of current and future training range requirements and an evaluation of 
the adequacy of current DOD resources, including virtual and 
constructive assets, to meet current and future training range 
requirements. Section 366 further required the Secretary to submit the 
plan, the results of the assessment and evaluation, and any 
recommendations for legislative or regulatory changes to address 
training constraints in a report to Congress at the same time the 
President submitted the budget for fiscal year 2004. Further, the 
Secretary was required to submit to Congress a report annually between 
fiscal years 2005 and 2013 [Footnote 2] describing the progress made in 
implementing the 2004 plan and any additional actions taken or to be 
taken to address training constraints caused by limitations on the use 
of military land, marine areas, or airspace. Second, section 366 
required the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress, not later than 
June 30, 2003, on the plans to improve DODís system to reflect the 
readiness impact that training constraints caused by limitations on the 
use of military lands, marine areas, and airspace have on specific 
units of the military services. Third, section 366 required the 
Secretary to develop and maintain an inventory that identifies all 
available operational training ranges, all training range capacities 
and capabilities, and any training constraints caused by limitations at 
each training range in fiscal year 2004, and provide an updated 
inventory to Congress for fiscal years 2005 through 2013. [Footnote 3] 
The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness signed DODís 
fourth annual sustainable ranges report and inventory on July 13, 2007. 
[Footnote 4] We received the report and inventory on July 20, 2007. 
(Enclosure I contains the text of section 366 of the Bob Stump National 
Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003.) 

Section 366(d) of the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for 
Fiscal Year 2003 requires GAO to submit to Congress an evaluation of 
DODís report regarding its training range comprehensive plan and its 
readiness reporting improvements within 90 days [Footnote 5] of 
receiving the report from DOD. In 2006, we found that DOD had made 
improvements to its annual sustainable ranges report, but it needed 
additional time to fully implement key sustainment initiatives. 
[Footnote 6] Enclosure II summarizes our prior reports about military 
training ranges sustainment. 

This report is our fourth review in response to our mandate in section 
366 of the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 
2003. [Footnote 7] This report discusses (1) the extent to which DODís 
2007 sustainable ranges report and training range inventory address the 
elements of section 366 that were required to be in DODís fiscal year 
2004 sustainable ranges report and (2) an opportunity for DOD to 
improve its comprehensive plan within the sustainable ranges report to 
better address the elements of section 366. Enclosure III discusses the 
progress that the services have made in their individual initiatives to 
sustain their training ranges. 

Because DOD has not yet satisfied all of the elements of section 366 
that were to be addressed in fiscal year 2004, we focused our review on 
the progress DOD has made in addressing these original elements and not 
on the subsequent requirement for DOD to describe its progress made in 
implementing its original comprehensive plan. To determine the extent 
to which DODís 2007 sustainable ranges report and training range 
inventory address the elements of section 366 that were required to be 
in DODís original fiscal year 2004 plan, we reviewed the report and 
inventory and met with DOD and service officials to discuss them. We 
discussed challenges DOD faced in meeting the congressionally mandated 
requirements in fiscal year 2004 and continues to face and changes in 
the report and inventory since 2006. We also compared the report and 
inventory to the criteria in section 366 of the National Defense 
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 to determine the extent to which 
this yearís report addresses the elements of section 366 that were 
required to be in DODís original fiscal year 2004 plan. To identify 
opportunities for DOD to improve its comprehensive plan within the 
sustainable ranges report, we compared the 2007 report with elements of 
the comprehensive plan required by section 366. We also compared DODís 
2007 report and inventory to prior DOD and GAO reports. To determine 
the progress that the services have made in their initiatives to 
sustain their training ranges, we met with service officials about 
their inputs to DODís 2007 sustainable ranges report and inventory, key 
initiatives they have undertaken to address range sustainment, 
challenges in addressing range sustainment and encroachment issues, and 
progress or changes since we last reported. Due to the 90-day 
requirement for this review, we did not attempt to comprehensively 
evaluate the data presented in the report. 

We conducted our work from April 2007 through August 2007 in accordance 
with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

Summary: 

Although DODís 2007 sustainable ranges report and inventory still do 
not fully address all of the elements of section 366 required for DODís 
original fiscal year 2004 report and inventory, DOD has continued to 
improve them and the current report and inventory represent an 
improvement over those from previous years. First, in an effort to 
improve the annual report and inventory, DOD has taken initial steps to 
provide the results of an assessment of current and future training 
range requirements and an evaluation of the adequacy of current DOD 
resources. DODís 2007 report presents information that illustrates the 
servicesí assessments of their range capabilities and encroachment 
issues. These assessments also help improve the training range 
inventory by helping to identify all training capacities and 
capabilities available at each training range and to identify training 
constraints caused by limitations on the use of military lands, marine 
areas, and airspace at each training range. However, some of the 
capability assessments provided in the DOD report are based on 
subjective evaluations rather than evaluations against standardized 
criteria, and the factors used for the assessments vary from service to 
service. DOD officials told us that they need to develop better 
criteria and a more standardized methodology for the assessment of 
range capabilities and encroachment across the department, but that 
these criteria and methods had not yet been fully developed because DOD 
has just begun to develop these processes in the past year and intends 
to improve on them over time. Until better criteria and a more 
standardized methodology are developed, DOD and the services will not 
be presenting a consistent and accurate picture of range capabilities 
and needs, and will therefore be unable to identify shortfalls or gaps 
in their capabilities or make informed decisions about where to invest 
sustainment dollars DOD-wide. Second, like previous yearsí reports, 
DODís 2007 report does not provide new recommendations for legislative 
or regulatory changes to address training constraints, although DODís 
original 2004 report was required by section 366 to include any 
recommendations that the Secretary may have for legislative or 
regulatory change to address training constraints identified pursuant 
to section 366. However, the 2007 report provides a summary of 
legislative changes that DOD has recommended through other means and 
explains DODís position as to why this report is not the appropriate 
place for making such proposals. Third, although DODís readiness 
reporting system does not yet include training ranges, DODís 2007 
sustainable ranges report describes DODís plans to improve its 
reporting system to reflect the readiness impact that training 
constraints have on the services. DOD officials told us that workshops 
had been scheduled to develop the system and that it should be 
initially operational by the end of calendar year 2008. 

Even with these improvements in the sustainable range report and 
inventory, DOD has the opportunity to improve its comprehensive plan 
presented within its sustainable ranges report by including projected 
funding requirements for implementing planned actions. Like previous 
yearsí reports, DODís 2007 report does not provide projected funding 
requirements for implementing planned actions. Instead, the report 
provides a general explanation of the challenges of projecting funding 
requirements. According to DOD, this requirement is difficult to meet 
for several reasons, particularly because funding for range sustainment 
is spread across multiple funding lines within each serviceís budget. 
We asked the services for information about their range sustainment 
funding, and each service was able to provide us with an estimate of 
its budget for range sustainment for fiscal year 2008. According to DOD 
officials, this information was not included in the report because it 
presents only a partial picture of the money being spent on range 
sustainment. We believe, however, that even this partial information is 
important to include in the report because without it, Congress will 
have difficulty making informed decisions about funding range 
sustainment activities. 

We are making recommendations designed to improve the range 
requirements and capabilities assessments and future comprehensive 
plans. In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD agreed with our 
recommendations. We discuss DODís comments later in this report. DOD 
also provided technical comments on a draft of this report, which we 
incorporated where appropriate. 

Progress Made in Addressing Section 366 Requirements: 

DODís 2007 sustainable ranges report and inventory are responsive to 
the congressionally mandated requirement to describe the progress made 
in implementing its sustainable ranges plan and any additional actions 
taken, or to be taken, to address training constraints caused by 
limitations, and contains an updated training range inventory. In 
addition, DOD has continued to improve its annual sustainable ranges 
report and inventory and has taken steps toward addressing the 
congressionally mandated reporting requirements that were to be 
addressed in DODís fiscal year 2004 report, but previously had not been 
addressed. Specifically, DOD has made progress in providing the results 
of an assessment of current and future training range requirements; 
identifying training capacities, capabilities, and constraints at 
training ranges; making recommendations for legislative or regulatory 
changes to address training constraints; and detailing plans for 
improving DODís readiness reporting system to reflect the readiness 
impact of constraints on training. 

Assessment of Current and Future Training Range Requirements: 

In an effort to address the elements of section 366 that required DOD, 
in its fiscal year 2004 report, to provide the results of an assessment 
of current and future training range requirements and an evaluation of 
the adequacy of current DOD resources to meet those requirements, DODís 
current report includes assessments of the servicesí current range 
capabilities and the external pressures that constrain training ranges. 
These assessments are presented in table format to convey the severity 
of impacts caused by shortfalls in required capabilities. For example, 
the Army assessed shortfalls in Fort Irwinís military operations on 
urban terrain facilities as severely affecting Fort Irwinís overall 
mission while shortfalls in its range scheduling system have only 
minimal impact on the mission. In addition, the services have begun 
individual efforts to more fully assess training range requirements and 
identify gaps in capabilities. For example, the Marine Corps has fully 
assessed 5 of its 14 range complexes, including providing information 
on shortfalls and plans to address these shortfalls. In its Range 
Complex Management Plan for Hawaii, it identifies several gaps in 
capabilities, such as lack of a training facility for military 
operations on urban terrain and limited targets for artillery training, 
and it lays out plans to address these gaps. As the overall assessments 
develop, they will also help DODís efforts to propose enhancements to 
training range capabilities and to address any shortfalls in current 
DOD resources. 

These assessments are an important first step toward addressing the 
congressionally mandated requirement; however, the assessments are 
based on best available data, which may not be complete or accurate 
enough to reflect current conditions. In addition, they were not 
conducted using a common set of issues or standard criteria for 
measuring the impact of capability against requirements, and they are 
partially based on subjective evaluation. According to the Office of 
the Secretary of Defense (OSD) officials, the overall capability and 
encroachment assessments are fairly accurate based on available data, 
and serve as a starting point to develop methodologies for assessing 
capabilities and encroachment. DODís directive on the sustainment of 
ranges states that the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and 
Readiness is responsible for establishing means to assess the readiness 
benefits of range sustainment initiatives and to monitor the impact 
that external encroachment has on training ranges. [Footnote 8] 
However, when collecting information for the sustainable ranges report, 
DOD provided guidance to the services only in the form of a reporting 
structure, and did not establish clear criteria for how to assess the 
ranges. Therefore, the services used an informal process to develop 
their assessments and based their assessments on different levels of 
documentation. The Navy provided assessments based on preexisting Range 
Complex Management Plans that matched the format that DOD prescribed 
for the assessments, but because the databases and reports that Army 
officials used did not align with the format prescribed by DOD, Army 
officials had to quickly figure out how to fit existing information 
into the format provided. In addition, according to service officials, 
there was relatively little time to conduct these assessments and 
information needed to make the assessments was sometimes difficult to 
obtain or unavailable. DOD officials said that they need to develop 
better criteria and a more standardized methodology for these 
assessments, but that these criteria and methods had not yet been fully 
developed because the department has just begun to develop these 
processes in the past year and intends to improve on them over time. 
Until better criteria and a more standardized method are developed, DOD 
and the services will be unable to present a consistent and accurate 
picture of range capabilities or needs, or to make informed decisions 
about where to invest sustainment dollars DOD-wide. 

Training Capabilities and Capacities: 

Like prior range inventories, DODís 2007 inventory does not identify 
the specific capacities, capabilities, and constraints of all the 
ranges, although it was required by section 366 to do so in DODís 
fiscal year 2004 inventory. However, the capability and encroachment 
assessments, included for the first time in this yearís report, provide 
some of this information for selected ranges and represent a first step 
toward meeting this requirement. As stated above, each service 
presented a summary of the capabilities of selected ranges or range 
complexes and evaluated the status of these capabilities. For example, 
the Navy evaluated its ranges based on nine capabilities, including 
airspace, sea space, and communication systems. These capabilities were 
evaluated based on the level of impact that shortfalls in these areas 
have on each rangeís mission and were presented in table format. These 
tables allow the reader to quickly see specific capability areas that 
are affected at selected ranges. In addition, the services present 
encroachment assessments, summarizing the constraints experienced by 
the individual ranges in specific encroachment areas. For these 
assessments, all of the services used the same 12 encroachment issues 
to assess their ranges. [Footnote 9] 

OSD officials stated that the inventory deviates very little from last 
yearís. The 2007 inventory, like the 2006 inventory, lists available 
operational training ranges and provides data on the size and type of 
ranges (e.g., air to ground, land maneuver, and urbanized terrain). OSD 
officials stated that it is impractical to include the large volume of 
data needed to identify the specific capacities, capabilities, and 
constraints of each range, and as a result these types of detailed data 
were omitted. In addition, because in most instances these data exist 
only at individual ranges, DOD would have to expend significant time 
and resources to retrieve and centralize the information. 

We previously recommended that the Secretary of Defense create a DOD 
database that identifies all ranges available to the department and 
what they offer, regardless of service ownership, so that commanders 
can schedule the best available resources to provide required training. 
DOD did not concur with this recommendation and reported that 
significant challenges exist in creating a common range scheduling 
tool. Therefore, DOD is exploring the feasibility of leveraging 
existing service scheduling systems to create a net-centric scheduling 
visibility capability that permits a cross-service look at available 
range capacity. For example, the Marine Corps and the Army both have a 
Web based inventory and scheduling system that is accessible to all 
users, regardless of service, for scheduling training exercises. DOD 
stated again this year that a Web-based system similar to those 
developed by the Marine Corps and the Army, which could be linked to 
each serviceís range inventories and schedules, is an achievable and 
satisfactory way to arrive at a DOD-wide system. We continue to believe 
that this suggestion is a step in the right direction and could achieve 
many of the benefits we envisioned in our prior recommendation for an 
inventory that could be readily accessible to users across the 
department. 

Recommendations for Legislative or Regulatory Changes: 

Like prior reports, DODís 2007 report does not include new 
recommendations for legislative or regulatory changes to address 
training constraints, although section 366 required the inclusion of 
any recommendations that the Secretary may have for legislative or 
regulatory changes to address training constraints in DODís fiscal year 
2004 report. In this yearís report, DOD states that there is an 
existing process by which DOD must submit all requests for legislative 
language that includes, among other things, obtaining approval from 
DODís Office of Legislative Affairs and the Office of Management and 
Budget, and that the deadline for this process is the same as the 
deadline for the sustainable ranges report. Therefore, DOD states that 
it is unable to include final DOD legislative or regulatory proposals 
in the sustainable ranges report and believes this requirement should 
be omitted from this report. However, DOD does include a summary of 
proposals previously submitted to Congress, including recommendations 
to modify the Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery 
Act, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. 

Readiness Reporting Improvements: 

In describing plans to improve the readiness reporting system to 
reflect the readiness impact of training constraints, DODís 2007 report 
states that the Defense Readiness Reporting System is currently being 
modified to provide the ability to relate changes in reported unit 
readiness to training constraints caused by limitations on the use of 
military lands, marine areas, and airspace. Although DOD was required 
to submit a report on its plans to improve its readiness reporting 
system to reflect the readiness impact that training constraints caused 
by certain limitations have on specific units no later than June 30, 
2003, this is the first time that the Defense Readiness Reporting 
System has been addressed in DODís sustainable ranges report. OSD 
officials told us that the system is scheduled to be initially 
operational by the end of calendar year 2008, although this is not 
mentioned in the sustainable ranges report. To meet this deadline, DOD 
has scheduled a series of workshops during 2007 that will bring 
together various DOD range stakeholders with the intent of establishing 
clear expectations and coordinating actions to support this readiness 
reporting functionality. DOD officials expect that next yearís report 
will describe the status of DODís efforts to improve the reporting 
system to reflect the readiness impact caused by training constraints. 

Opportunity to Improve DODís Comprehensive Plan: 

DODís 2007 comprehensive plan within its sustainable ranges report, as 
in previous yearsí reports, still does not provide projected funding 
requirements for implementing planned actions, although this was 
required to be included in DODís fiscal year 2004 report. According to 
DODís report, it is difficult to quantify funding needs for range 
sustainment because such funding is managed differently by each 
service, and the costs are spread across multiple funding categories 
(e.g., manpower and training) and types of funds (e.g., operations and 
maintenance and military construction). DOD formed a working group in 
2004 that meets periodically to develop and refine a framework for 
funding sustainable range activities. However, this group has been 
unable to develop a framework for capturing information from the 
services about their range sustainment funding. 

We asked the military services for information about their range 
sustainment funding and each service was able to provide us with an 
estimate of its budget for range sustainment for fiscal year 2008. The 
Navy has budgeted about $24 million, the Air Force $200 million, the 
Marine Corps $60 million, and the Army $129 million, primarily from 
operations and maintenance funds. [Footnote 10] In addition, DOD has 
budgeted $30 million for fiscal year 2008 for the Readiness and 
Environmental Protection Initiative to provide funding for the military 
to work with state and local governments and nongovernmental 
organizations to pursue cooperative sustainability and conservation 
efforts around key test and training ranges. According to OSD 
officials, this information was not included in the 2007 sustainable 
ranges report because it presents only a partial picture of the money 
being spent on range sustainment and may not be consistent across 
services. Although we agree that there may be money spent on range 
sustainment that is in addition to these amounts, we believe that DOD 
should include this information in its reports so that Congress can 
begin to see the amount of money that is needed to adequately sustain 
the servicesí training ranges and can therefore make more informed 
decisions about funding range sustainment activities. 

Conclusions: 

DOD has continued to improve its annual sustainable ranges report over 
the past few years. Yet, as we have reported since 2004, opportunities 
still exist to provide more standardized range requirements and 
capabilities assessments and a more complete plan. DOD has taken steps 
toward addressing the elements of section 366 that were required to be 
in DODís original fiscal year 2004 report to assess current and future 
training range requirements and evaluate the adequacy of current DOD 
resources; however, it has not developed clear criteria or standard 
methods for the assessments presented in the report. Without clear 
criteria and standard methodology, DOD and the services will be unable 
to present a consistent and accurate picture of range capabilities or 
shortfalls or to make informed decisions about where to focus their 
sustainment efforts or invest sustainment dollars DOD-wide. In 
addition, DOD still has not presented information on the funding 
required for range sustainment. DOD has noted that it faces several 
challenges in presenting this information, such as the individual ways 
that the services manage their own budgets. However, we were able to 
identify range sustainment funding from each service for fiscal year 
2008, and we believe that this information, even if it is not complete, 
should be included in future annual reports to help Congress make more 
informed funding decisions related to the sustainment of training 
ranges. 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

To improve the range requirements and capabilities assessments and 
future comprehensive plans within the sustainable ranges reports, we 
recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct the Under Secretary of 
Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in consultation with the 
secretaries of the military departments, to take the following two 
actions: 

* Develop clear criteria and standard methods for assessing current and 
future training range requirements and capabilities. 

* Include funding information on the servicesí range sustainment  
efforts in future reports. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

In written comments on a draft of this report, the Deputy Under 
Secretary of Defense for Readiness agreed with our recommendations and 
indicated that actions were under way to address them. The Deputy Under 
Secretary of Defenseís comments are reprinted in enclosure IV. DOD also 
provided technical comments, which we have incorporated where 
appropriate. 

We are sending copies of this report to the appropriate congressional 
committees. We are also sending copies to the Secretary of Defense; the 
Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force; the Commandant of 
the Marine Corps; and the Director, Office of Management and Budget. 
Copies will be made available to others upon request. In addition, this 
report will be available at no charge on our Web site at [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov]. If you or your staff have any questions about this 
report, please contact me at (202) 512-4523 or leporeb@gao.gov. Contact 
points for our Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs 
may be found on the last page of this report. GAO staff who made key 
contributions to this report are listed in enclosure V. 

Signed by: 

Brian J. Lepore: 
Director: 
Defense Capabilities and Management: 

List of Committees: 

The Honorable Carl Levin: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable John McCain: 
Ranking Member: 
Committee on Armed Services: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Ted Stevens: 
Ranking Member: 
Subcommittee on Defense: 
Committee on Appropriations: 
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Ike Skelton: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Duncan L. Hunter: 
Ranking Member: 
Committee on Armed Services: 
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable John P. Murtha:
Chairman: 
The Honorable C. W. Bill Young: 
Ranking Member: 
Subcommittee on Defense: 
Committee on Appropriations: 
House of Representatives: 

[End of section] 

Enclosure I: 

Section 366 of the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for 
Fiscal Year 2003: 

SEC. 366. Training Range Sustainment Plan, Global Status of Resources 
and Training System, and Training Range Inventory. 

(a) PLAN REQUIREDó(1) The Secretary of Defense shall develop a 
comprehensive plan for using existing authorities available to the 
Secretary of Defense and the Secretaries of the military departments to 
address training constraints caused by limitations on the use of 
military lands, marine areas, and airspace that are available in the 
United States and overseas for training of the Armed Forces. 

(2) As part of the preparation of the plan, the Secretary of Defense 
shall conduct the following: 

(A) An assessment of current and future training range requirements of 
the Armed Forces. 

(B) An evaluation of the adequacy of current Department of Defense 
resources (including virtual and constructive training assets as well 
as military lands, marine areas, and airspace available in the United 
States and overseas) to meet those current and future training range 
requirements. 

(3) The plan shall include the following: 

(A) Proposals to enhance training range capabilities and address any 
shortfalls in current Department of Defense resources identified 
pursuant to the assessment and evaluation conducted under paragraph 
(2). 

(B) Goals and milestones for tracking planned actions and measuring 
progress. 

(C) Projected funding requirements for implementing planned actions. 

(D) Designation of an office in the Office of the Secretary of Defense 
and in each of the military departments that will have lead 
responsibility for overseeing implementation of the plan. 

(4) At the same time as the President submits to Congress the budget 
for fiscal year 2004, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to Congress 
a report describing the progress made in implementing this subsection, 
including: 

(A) the plan developed under paragraph (1); 

(B) the results of the assessment and evaluation conducted under 
paragraph (2); and: 

(C) any recommendations that the Secretary may have for legislative or 
regulatory changes to address training constraints identified pursuant 
to this section. 

(5) At the same time as the President submits to Congress the budget 
for each of fiscal years 2005 through 2008, [Footnote 11] the Secretary 
shall submit to Congress a report describing the progress made in 
implementing the plan and any additional actions taken, or to be taken, 
to address training constraints caused by limitations on the use of 
military lands, marine areas, and airspace. 

(b) Readiness Reporting ImprovementóNot later than June 30, 2003, the 
Secretary of Defense, using existing measures within the authority of 
the Secretary, shall submit to Congress a report on the plans of the 
Department of Defense to improve the Global Status of Resources and 
Training System to reflect the readiness impact that training 
constraints caused by limitations on the use of military lands, marine 
areas, and airspace have on specific units of the Armed Forces. 

(c) Training Range Inventoryó(1) The Secretary of Defense shall develop 
and maintain a training range inventory for each of the Armed Forces: 

(A) to identify all available operational training ranges; 

(B) to identify all training capacities and capabilities available at 
each training range; and; 

(C) to identify training constraints caused by limitations on the use 
of military lands, marine areas, and airspace at each training range. 

(2) The Secretary of Defense shall submit an initial inventory to 
Congress at the same time as the President submits the budget for 
fiscal year 2004 and shall submit an updated inventory to Congress at 
the same time as the President submits the budget for fiscal years 2005 
through 2008. 

(d) GAO EvaluationóThe Secretary of Defense shall transmit copies of 
each report required by subsections (a) and (b) to the Comptroller 
General. Within 60 days after receiving a report, the Comptroller 
General shall submit to Congress an evaluation of the report. [Footnote 
12] 

(e) Armed Forces DefinedóIn this section, the term ĎArmed Forcesí means 
the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.

[End of enclosure]

Enclosure II: 

GAO Prior Work Related to Military Training Ranges Sustainment: 

The following tables summarize our previous reports related to military 
training ranges sustainment. Table 1 lists our previous reports 
evaluating the Department of Defenseís (DOD) annual sustainable ranges 
report. Table 2 lists our related reports on military training ranges 
sustainment. Overall, for the past several years, we have pointed to 
the need for DOD to have a comprehensive plan for managing its training 
ranges. 

Table 1: Summary of GAOís Previous Evaluations of DODís Sustainable 
Ranges Report: 

GAO report: Military Training: DOD Report on Training Ranges Does Not 
Fully Address Congressional Reporting Requirements (GAO-04-608, June 4, 
2004); 
Summary: The Office of the Secretary of Defenseís (OSD) training range 
inventory does not yet contain sufficient information to use as a 
baseline for developing the comprehensive training range plan required 
by section 366. As a result, OSDís training range report does not lay 
out a comprehensive plan to address training constraints caused by 
limitations on the use of military lands, marine areas, and airspace 
that are available in the United States and overseas for training. In 
addition, OSDís training range report does not fully address other 
requirements mandated by section 366. For example, the report does not 
fully assess current and future training range requirements; fully 
evaluate the adequacy of current resources to meet current and future 
training range requirements in the United States and overseas; identify 
recommendations for legislative or regulatory changes to address 
training constraints, even though DOD submitted legislative changes for 
congressional consideration on April 6, 2004; or contain plans to 
improve readiness reporting. 

GAO report: Some Improvements Have Been Made in DOD's Annual Training 
Range Reporting but It Still Fails to Fully Address Congressional 
Requirements (GAO-06-29R, Oct. 25, 2005); 
Summary: Similar to the inventory OSD submitted to Congress in 2004, 
the 2005 training range inventory does not contain sufficient information 
to use as a baseline for developing a comprehensive plan to address 
training constraints and help ensure range sustainability because it 
does not identify specific capacities, capabilities, and training 
constraints for ranges of all the services as required by section 366. 
Instead, it is a consolidated list of ranges provided by the individual 
services that lacks critical data and is not integrated or easily 
accessible by potential users. OSD's 2005 training range reportósimilar 
to the one issued to Congress in 2004ófails to meet other requirements 
mandated by section 366 that could help guide OSD and the services in 
ensuring the long-term sustainability of their training ranges. Like 
the 2004 report, OSD's 2005 report does not include an assessment of 
current and future training range requirements; an evaluation of the 
adequacy of current resources, including virtual and constructive assets, 
to meet current and future training range requirements; or recommendations 
for legislative or regulatory changes to address training 
constraintsóalthough specifically required to do so by section 366. In 
addition, OSD's 2005 report does not include its plans to improve the 
department's readiness reporting system, despite a specific mandate in 
section 366 that it do so no later than June 30, 2003. 

GAO report: Improvement Continues in DODís Reporting on Sustainable 
Ranges but Additional Time Is Needed to Fully Implement Key Initiatives 
(GAO-06-725R, June 20, 2006); 
Summary: While still not fully addressing all elements of the 
congressionally mandated reporting requirements, such as providing an 
assessment of training range requirements and recommendations for 
legislative or regulatory changes, OSD has continued to improve its 
annual sustainable range reporting by better describing the 
encroachment challenges and their effects on training, identifying 
tools for range management, and focusing on key initiatives needed to 
address encroachment. Although specifically required by section 366, 
OSD's 2006 inventory does not identify specific capacities, 
capabilities, and constraints of all the ranges. OSD officials said 
that it is impractical to include such a large volume of data needed to 
identify capacities, capabilities, and constraints where they are known 
as, in most instances, these data only exist at individual ranges, and 
the department would have to expend significant time and resources to 
retrieve and centralize the information. 

Source: GAO.

[End of table] 

Table 2: Summary of Related Reports on Military Training Ranges 
Sustainment: 

GAO report: Military Training: Limitations Exist Overseas but Are Not 
Reflected in Readiness Reporting (GAO-02-525, Apr. 30, 2002); 
Summary: Our objectives in this report were to assess (1) the types of 
training constraints that forces overseas face and whether they are likely 
to increase in the future, (2) the impact these constraints have had on 
the ability of military units to meet their training requirements and 
on their reported readiness, and (3) alternatives that exist to 
increase training opportunities for these forces. We found that: 
* Combat units stationed outside the continental United States are able 
to meet many of their training requirements but face constraints in 
such areas as (1) maneuver operations, (2) live ordnance practice, and 
(3) night and low altitude flying; 
* Training constraints cause adverse effects, including (1) requiring 
workarounds that can breed bad habits affecting combat performance, (2) 
requiring military personnel to be away from home more often, and (3) 
preventing training from being accomplished; 
* To address these concerns, military commands and services are 
negotiating with host governments to lessen restrictions on existing 
training areas, but such actions are often done at an individual-
service level and sometimes create unforeseen problems for other 
services and for existing training capabilities. 

GAO report: Military Training: DOD Lacks a Comprehensive Plan to Manage 
Encroachment on Training Ranges (GAO-02-614, June 11, 2002); 
Summary: We examined (1) the impact that encroachment has had, or is 
likely to have, on the servicesí training range capabilities; (2) the 
effect training range losses have on the servicesí readiness and costs; 
and (3) DODís progress in formulating a comprehensive plan for addressing 
encroachment issues. We found that over time, the military services 
report they have increasingly lost training range capabilities because 
of encroachment. Each of the four installations and two major commands 
we visited reported having lost some capabilities in terms of the time 
training ranges were available or the types of training that could be 
conducted. Despite the loss of some capabilities, service readiness 
data do not indicate the extent to which encroachment has significantly 
affected reported training readiness. Although encroachment workarounds 
may affect costs, the services have not documented the overall impact 
of encroachment on training costs. The services face difficulties in 
fully assessing the impact of training ranges on readiness because they 
have not fully defined their training range requirements and lack 
information on the training resources available to support those 
requirements. DOD officials recognize the need for a comprehensive plan 
to address encroachment issues but have not yet finalized a plan for 
doing so. We recommended that DOD finalize a comprehensive plan for 
managing encroachment issues, develop the ability to report critical 
encroachment-related training problems, and develop and maintain 
inventories of its training infrastructure and quantify its training 
requirements. DOD concurred with our recommendations.

GAO report: Military Training: Implementation Strategy Needed to 
Increase Interagency Management for Endangered Species Affecting 
Training Ranges (GAO-03-976, Sept. 29, 2003); 
Summary: DOD and other federal land managers have taken some steps to 
implement interagency cooperative efforts to manage endangered species 
on a regional basis, but the extent to which they are using this approach 
for military training ranges is limited. The Departments of the Interior 
and Agriculture have issued policies, and DOD has issued directives to 
promote cooperative management of natural resources. They have also 
outlined specific actions to be takenósuch as identifying geographic 
regions for species management and forming working groups. However, 
follow-through on these actions has been limited, with few of the 
prescribed actions being implemented. The Departments of Defense, the 
Interior, and Agriculture have identified a number of factors that can 
limit cooperative management for endangered species on military 
training ranges, such as limited interaction among agencies and limited 
resources to employ cooperative programs. Moreover, federal agencies 
cannot easily share informationósuch as best practices and land 
management plansóbecause there is no centralized source of such 
information. Given that federal agencies have made little progress in 
implementing the various agreements for cooperative management, an 
interagency reporting requirement would provide a basis to hold 
agencies accountable for sharing endangered species management on 
training ranges. 

GAO report: Military Training: Better Planning and Funding Priority 
Needed to Improve Conditions of Military Training Ranges (GAO-05-534, 
June 10, 2005); 
Summary: Our visits to eight training ranges, along with DODís own 
assessments, show that ranges are deteriorating and lack modernization, 
adversely affecting training activities and jeopardizing the safety of 
military personnel. Without adequate ranges, DOD compromises the 
opportunity to achieve its transformation goal and assumes the risk 
that its forces will be less prepared for missions and subjected to 
hazards. DODís progress in improving training range conditions has been 
limited, and this is partially caused by a lack of a comprehensive 
approach to ensure that ranges provide the proper setting for 
effectively preparing its forces for warfare. 

GAO report: Military Training: Actions Needed to Enhance DOD's Program 
to Transform Joint Training (GAO-05-548, June 21, 2005); 
Summary: DOD expects its Training Transformation Program, currently in 
its early implementation stages, to be fully operational by 2009, when 
it has established a robust network of training capabilities that are 
integrated throughout the department to provide enhanced joint 
individual and unit training focused on combatant commandersí needs and 
linked to readiness assessments. Two significant challenges that have 
emerged early and will require continued focus are (1) establishing 
effective partnerships with program stakeholders via comprehensive 
communication and coordination to gain their full participation and buy-
in to achieve training transformation goals and (2) developing joint 
training requirementsóand the specific training tasks that support the 
requirementsóthat meet combatant command mission needs. Both these 
challenges, if left unaddressed, have the potential for eroding support 
among program stakeholders, which in turn places the goals of the 
Training Transformation Program at risk. 

GAO report: Military Training: Funding Requests for Joint Urban 
Operations Training and Facilities Should Be Based on Sound Strategy 
and Requirements (GAO-06-193, Dec. 8, 2005); 
Summary: Since 2002, DOD has made limited progress in developing an 
overall joint strategy for urban operations training and related 
facility and training requirements. While the services have identified 
some facility needs, Joint Forces Command and service representatives 
have been unable to reach consensus on the level or types of joint 
training necessary to prepare troops for urban operations. As a result, 
Joint Forces Command has been unable to finalize the strategy or the 
facility and joint training requirements that will form the baseline 
for measuring capabilities within each service and across DOD. Until 
Joint Forces Command develops an overall strategy for joint urban operations 
training and related requirements, neither the Secretary of Defense nor 
Congress will have a sound basis for evaluating service facility and 
training plans and related funding requests. Despite DOD's increased 
emphasis on the importance of training for joint urban operations 
before deployment, few opportunities currently exist for joint urban 
operations training that places troops from different services on the 
ground working under a joint headquarters. Without a strategy, defined 
requirements, and a joint scheduling mechanism, DOD cannot be assured 
that joint urban operations training will occur or that it will 
maximize the joint usage of training facilities. To increase the 
opportunities for joint urban operations training, we are recommending 
that DOD establish a mechanism for joint scheduling of joint urban 
operations training at major training centers. 

Source: GAO. 

[End of table] 

[End of enclosure] 

Enclosure III: 

The Services Continue to Make Progress in Their Initiatives to Address 
Training Range Sustainment: 

The services continue to make various degrees of progress in their 
individual sustainable range initiatives since we last reported. 

Summary of Army Initiatives: 

The Army continues initiatives to improve its assessment and management 
of training ranges as part of its sustainable range program through the 
following key efforts. 

* The Army developed the Sustainable Range Program Web Portal, a single 
entry point for Sustainable Range Program information, tools, and 
capabilities related to Sustainable Range Program activities and 
management. This Web portal facilitates information exchange among unit 
commanders and trainers. 

* The Army is in the process of conducting environmental assessments on 
all of its training ranges in the United States as part of its 
operational range assessment program. The Army plans to complete these 
initial assessments, designed to better manage the ranges to have a 
trained and ready force while ensuring the protection of human health 
and the environment in the communities surrounding ranges, in fiscal 
year 2009. 

* Within its sustainable range program regulation issued in 2005, the 
Army developed a policy to address clearance of training ranges. Range 
clearance is conducted to allow safe access to ranges and preclude 
accumulation of munitions and debris. 

* To develop an Army-wide range inventory and database, the Army is 
using geographic information system data and storing this information 
on a central server managed by the Office of the Assistant Chief of 
Staff for Installation Management. 

* To more effectively address encroachment concerns, the Army has 
completed its Sustainable Range Program Outreach Policy and 
Communications Plan, which it began in 2003. The plan provides policy 
guidance and tools to assist installations in effectively communicating 
live training requirements and encroachment challenges with the public. 

Summary of Navy Initiatives: 

Listed below are several of the Navyís initiatives to improve its 
assessment and management of training ranges. 

* The Navy has completed Range Complex Management Plans on 12 out of 16 
range complexes, and intends to complete the remaining plans by the end 
of 2007. The purpose of the Range Complex Management Plans is to assess 
training range capabilities and encroachment issues and to assist in 
the day-to-day management of the training ranges. 

* The Navy headquarters range office, in conjunction with the Navy 
environmental readiness office, is a developing servicewide range 
sustainment policy that assigns specific range sustainment 
responsibilities to each level of the range support command structure 
and integrates sustainment strategies from the test and training 
communities. The policy was originally scheduled to be issued by 
September 2006; however, due to funding issues and changes in 
organizational responsibility, Navy officials believe this policy will 
not be issued until September 2007. 

* To assess off-range migration of munitions contaminants, the Navy 
conducted range assessments on 11 training range complexes and 2 major 
range and test facilities bases. 

* In late 2006, the Navy completed initial development of a Navy-wide 
encroachment database. The Navy will work to finalize database 
development and link it to established repositories of information. The 
Navy will use this repository of information to prepare reports and 
testimony to Congress and for encroachment program funding 
justification. 

Summary of Marine Corps Initiatives: 

The Marine Corps has made progress though the following initiatives to 
improve its assessment and management of training ranges. 

* The Marine Corps has been working to modernize its ranges to include 
more urban terrain and improvised explosive device training. 

* The Marine Corps issued its Training Ranges Required Capabilities 
Document in June 2006. This document validates the requirements for its 
ranges and training areas over the next 10-year period and identifies 
shortfalls in range capabilities that will form the basis for the 
Marine Corpsí investment strategies for range operations, maintenance, 
and modernization. 

* The Marine Corps has developed several management tools, such as its 
training range encroachment information system and range environmental 
vulnerability assessment program, to evaluate and report to decision 
makers on encroachment and its impacts and to assist in the development 
of strategies to engage federal, state, and local agencies in solving 
encroachment issues. The encroachment information system was initiated 
at Camp Pendleton in 2003. According to Marine Corps officials, current 
plans are to implement the system at all of their ranges by the end of 
2007. The prior yearís plans were to have the system completely 
implemented by the end of fiscal year 2006, but actual system 
implementation was more difficult than originally planned.  

* To assess off-range migration of munitions contaminants, the Marine 
Corps conducted eight visits to Marine Corps training ranges between 
fiscal years 2004 and 2006. The Marine Corps is currently conducting 
analysis of the data gathered during these site visits. During fiscal 
year 2007, the Marine Corps will conduct an additional four site 
visits.  

* The Marine Corps developed a Training Range Encroachment Information 
System Tool to automate range and training capability analyses. This 
tool will interface with and provide capabilities assessment data to 
the Marine Corpsí Range and Training Area Management System and the 
Range Complex Management Plans. This tool is entering a proof-of-
concept phase to be completed in 2007.  

Summary of Air Force Initiatives:  

The Air Force has also made strides through the following initiatives 
to improve its assessment and management of training ranges.  

* The Air Force developed a management tool to standardize its 
comprehensive range plans and intends to have comprehensive range plans 
for all training ranges by 2008.  

* The Air Force completed its Operational Range Assessment Plan in 
March 2006, which provided guidance for assessing off-range migration 
of munitions contaminants. By the end of 2006, eight major air-to-
ground ranges or range complexes had been assessed, with three more 
scheduled to begin in 2007.  

* The Air Force developed a Natural Infrastructure Assessment Process 
to evaluate the availability or lack of availability of the natural 
infrastructure needed to support current and future mission 
requirements at major installations and ranges. This assessment 
includes quantifying mission impacts caused by encroachment and will 
assist commanders in identifying and prioritizing initiatives to 
address mission inefficiencies and encroachment. The Air Force plans to 
assess all of its installations and ranges by the end of 2008.  

[End of enclosure]  

Enclosure IV: Comments from the Department of Defense:  

Office Of The Under Secretary Of Defense: 
Personnel And Readiness: 
4000 Defense Pentagon: 
Washington, D.C. 20301-4000:  

September 26 2007:  

Mr. Brian J. Lepore: 
Director: 
Defense Capabilities and Management: 
U.S. Government Accountability 
Office: Washington, D.C. 20548:  

Dear Mr. Lepore: 

This is the Department of Defense (DoD) response to the General 
Accounting Office Draft Report GAO-08-10R, "Training Ranges: 
Improvement Continues in DOD's Reporting on Sustainable Ranges but 
Opportunities Exist to Improve Its Range Assessments and Comprehensive 
Plan," August 30, 2007. 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this draft. The DoD 
appreciates the GAO's assessment of the encroachment challenges facing 
our nation's military ranges and operating areas and the Department's 
comprehensive plan to sustain these critical assets. As the GAO 
observes, we believe that annual reporting to Congress continues to 
improve over time as the Department's sustainable ranges effort 
matures. Further improvement is possible in some subject areas, and DoD 
is committed to continuing the development of and reporting on our 
range assessment and comprehensive planning processes, in consonance 
with the GAO recommendations. 

DoD responses on the specific GAO recommendations are enclosed. Several 
technical comments on the report have also been provided for GAO 
consideration. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress and 
the GAO to maintain a ready and sustainable military testing and 
training infrastructure. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by:  

Paul W. Mayberry: 
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Readiness): 

Enclosure: 
As stated:  

GAO-08-10R Draft Report:  

"Training Ranges: Improvement Continues in DOD's Reporting on 
Sustainable Ranges but Opportunities Exist to Improve Its Range 
Assessments and Comprehensive Plan"  

Department Of Defense Comments To The Recommendations:  

Recommendation 1: The GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense 
direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in 
consultation with the secretaries of the military departments to 
develop clear criteria and standard methods for assessing current and 
future training range requirements and capabilities. (p. 12/GAO Draft 
Report) 

DOD Response: The DoD concurs with this recommendation, and will 
continue to develop and improve the criteria and methodology associated 
with our range requirements and capabilities assessment processes in 
our subsequent reports. 

Recommendation 2: The GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense 
direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in 
consultation with the secretaries of the military departments to 
include funding information on the services' range sustainment efforts 
in future reports. (p. 12/GAO Draft Report) 

DOD Response: The DoD concurs. Programmed funding data associated with 
range sustainment will be captured and documented in future Sustainable 
Ranges Reports to Congress to the extent possible. However, any funding 
data presented beyond the current year will be subject to the caveat 
that final Service budgets for out years are subject to change.  

[End of enclosure]  

Enclosure V:  

GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments:  

GAO Contact:  

Brian Lepore, (202) 512-4523 or leporeb@gao.gov:  

Acknowledgments:  

In addition to the person named above, Mark Little, Assistant Director; 
Leslie Bharadwaja; Larry Bridges; Joanne Landesman; and Katherine 
Lenane made key contributions to this report.  

[End of enclosure]  

Footnotes: 

[1] Pub. L. No. 107-314 (2002). 

[2] Section 366 originally required reports for fiscal years 2005 
through 2008. However, this requirement was extended through 2013 by 
section 348 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for 
Fiscal Year 2007, Pub. L. No. 109-364 (2006).  

[3] Id.  

[4] Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for 
Personnel and Readiness, Report to Congress on Sustainable Ranges 
(Washington, D.C.: July 2007).  

[5] Section 366 originally required GAO to submit its report to 
Congress within 60 days of receiving the original report from DOD, but 
this was extended to 90 days by section 348 of Pub. L. No. 109-364 
(2006).  

[6] GAO, Improvement Continues in DOD's Reporting on Sustainable Ranges 
but Additional Time Is Needed to Fully Implement Key Initiatives, GAO-
06-725R (Washington, D.C.: June 20, 2006).  

[7] GAO was not specifically required by section 366 to review DODís 
training range inventory. However, because DOD submits this inventory 
with its sustainable ranges report, we elected to review DODís training 
range inventory, as we have done in past years.  

[8] Department of Defense Directive 3200.15, Sustainment of Ranges and 
Operating Areas (Jan. 10, 2003).  

[9] The 12 encroachment issues are endangered species/critical habitat, 
unexploded ordnance/munitions, frequency encroachment, maritime 
sustainability, airspace restrictions, air quality, airborne noise, 
urban growth, cultural resources, water quality, wetlands, and range 
transients.  

[10] The figures provided by the Marine Corps also include procurement 
and research, development, test, and evaluation funds.  

[11] This requirement was extended through 2013 by section 348 of the 
John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007.  

[12] This requirement was extended to 90 days by section 348 of the 
John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007.  

[End of section]  

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