This is the accessible text file for GAO report number GAO-08-497T 
entitled 'Military Readiness: Impact of Current Operations and Actions 
Needed to Rebuild Readiness of U.S. Ground Forces' which was released 
on February 15, 2008. 

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GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-08-497T, a testimony before the Armed Services 
Committee, House of Representatives. 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

U.S. military forces, and ground forces in particular, have operated at 
a high pace since the attacks of September 11, 2001, including to 
support ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Between 2001 and 
July 2007, approximately 931,000 U.S. Army and Marine Corps 
servicemembers deployed for overseas military operations, including 
about 312,000 National Guard or Reserve members. 

To support ongoing military operations and related activities, Congress 
has appropriated billions of dollars since 2001, and through September 
2007, the Department of Defense (DOD) has reported obligating about 
$492.2 billion to cover these expenses, of which a large portion are 
related to readiness. In addition, DODís annual appropriation, now 
totaling about $480 billion for fiscal year 2008, includes funds to 
cover readiness needs. 

GAO was asked to testify on (1) the readiness implications of DODís 
efforts to support ongoing operations; and (2) GAOís prior 
recommendations related to these issues, including specific actions 
that GAO believes would enhance DODís ability to manage and improve 
readiness. 

This statement is based on reports and testimonies published from 
fiscal years 2003 through 2008. GAOís work was conducted in accordance 
with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

What GAO Found: 

While DOD has overcome difficult challenges in maintaining a high pace 
of operations over the past 6 years and U.S. forces have gained 
considerable combat experience, our work has shown that extended 
operations in Iraq and elsewhere have had significant consequences for 
military readiness, particularly with regard to the Army and Marine 
Corps. To meet mission requirements specific to Iraq and Afghanistan, 
the department has taken steps to increase the availability of 
personnel and equipment for deploying units, and to refocus their 
training on assigned missions. For example, to maintain force levels in 
theater, DOD has increased the length of deployments and frequency of 
mobilizations, but it is unclear whether these adjustments will affect 
recruiting and retention. The Army and Marine Corps have also 
transferred equipment from nondeploying units and prepositioned stocks 
to support deploying units, affecting the availability of items for 
nondeployed units to meet other demands. In addition, they have 
refocused training such that units train extensively for 
counterinsurgency missions, with little time available to train for a 
fuller range of missions. Finally, DOD has adopted strategies, such as 
relying more on Navy and Air Force personnel and contractors to perform 
some tasks formerly handled by Army or Marine Corps personnel. If 
current operations continue at the present level of intensity, DOD 
could face difficulty in balancing these commitments with the need to 
rebuild and maintain readiness. 

Over the past several years, GAO has reported on a range of issues 
related to military readiness and made numerous recommendations to 
enhance DODís ability to manage and improve readiness. Given the change 
in the security environment since September 11, 2001, and demands on 
U.S. military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, rebuilding readiness will 
be a long-term and complex effort. However, GAO believes DOD can take 
measures that will advance progress in both the short and long terms. A 
common theme is the need for DOD to take a more strategic decision-
making approach to ensure programs and investments are based on plans 
with measurable goals, validated requirements, prioritized resource 
needs, and performance measures to gauge progress. Overall, GAO 
recommended that DOD develop a near-term plan for improving the 
readiness of ground forces that, among other things, establishes 
specific goals for improving unit readiness, prioritizes actions needed 
to achieve those goals, and outlines an investment strategy to clearly 
link resource needs and funding requests. GAO also made recommendations 
in several specific readiness-related areas, including that DOD develop 
equipping strategies to target shortages of items required to equip 
units preparing for deployment, and DOD adjust its training strategies 
to include a plan to support full-spectrum training. DOD agreed with 
some recommendations, but has yet to fully implement them. For others, 
particularly when GAO recommended that DOD develop more robust plans 
linked to resources, DOD believed its current efforts were sufficient. 
GAO continues to believe such plans are needed 

To view the full product click on [hyperlink, http://www.GAO-08-497T.] 
For more information, contact Sharon L. Pickup, 202-512-9619, 
pickups@gao.gov 

[End of section] 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee: 

I am pleased to be here today to discuss issues related to military 
readiness in light of the high pace of military operations since the 
attacks of September 11, 2001, and, in particular, the significant 
demand on U.S. forces to support ongoing operations in Iraq and 
Afghanistan. For the last 7 years, the Department of Defense (DOD) has 
supported a wide range of operations and activities in support of the 
administration's strategy to combat terrorism on a global basis, 
requiring many units and personnel to deploy for multiple tours of 
duty, and in some cases to remain for extended tours. As a result, the 
military now has a ground force that has gained considerable experience 
and is battle-tested but also stressed by the current pace of 
operations. As of July 2007, approximately 931,000 U.S. Army and Marine 
Corps servicemembers had deployed for overseas military operations 
since 2001, including about 312,000 National Guard or Reserve members. 

In the past several months, DOD's senior leaders have publicly 
expressed concerns about the high demands on U.S. forces and the impact 
on military readiness, particularly for ground forces. While testifying 
last week that our military is capable of responding to all threats to 
our vital national interests, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 
expressed concern about the toll of the current pace of operations. 
Congress, and this committee in particular, has also voiced concerns 
and taken specific actions to give greater attention to readiness, 
including establishing a Defense Material Readiness Board to identify 
equipment and supply shortfalls and solutions for addressing them, and 
requiring DOD to develop a plan for rebuilding readiness. Further, it 
has also provided unprecedented levels of taxpayer money in response to 
the department's funding requests, which have consistently emphasized 
the need for resources to maintain readiness. More specifically, to 
support ongoing military operations and related activities, Congress 
has appropriated hundreds of billions of dollars since 2001, and 
through September 2007, DOD has reported obligating about $492.2 
billion to cover these expenses. In addition, DOD also has received its 
annual appropriation, which totals about $480 billion for fiscal year 
2008. 

As you requested, my testimony will focus on the impact of current 
operations and the challenges DOD faces in rebuilding readiness, 
particularly for ground forces. Specifically, I will address (1) the 
readiness implications of DOD's efforts to support ongoing operations; 
and 2) GAO's prior recommendations related to these issues, including 
specific actions we believe would enhance DOD's ability to manage and 
improve readiness. 

My statement is based on reports and testimonies published from fiscal 
years 2003 through 2008. These reports are listed at the end of this 
testimony and include reviews of mobilization policies, DOD's equipping 
and reset strategies, prepositioned equipment, military training, and 
the use of contractors, as well as general reports on readiness and 
Iraq. We conducted our work in accordance with generally accepted 
government auditing standards. 

Summary: 

While DOD has overcome difficult challenges in maintaining a high pace 
of operations over the past 6 years and U.S. forces have gained 
considerable combat experience, our work has shown that extended 
operations in Iraq and elsewhere have had significant consequences for 
military readiness, particularly with regard to the Army and Marine 
Corps. To meet mission requirements specific to Iraq and Afghanistan, 
the department has taken steps to increase the availability of 
personnel and equipment for deploying units, and to refocus their 
training on assigned missions. For example, to maintain force levels in 
theater, DOD has increased the length of deployments and frequency of 
mobilizations, but it is unclear whether these adjustments will affect 
recruiting and retention. The Army and Marine Corps have also 
transferred equipment from nondeploying units and prepositioned stocks 
to support deploying units, affecting the availability of items for 
nondeployed units to meet other demands. In addition, they have 
refocused training such that units train extensively for 
counterinsurgency missions, with little time available to train for a 
fuller range of missions. Finally, DOD has adopted strategies, such as 
relying more on Navy and Air Force personnel and contractors to perform 
some tasks formerly handled by Army or Marine Corps personnel. If 
current operations continue at the present level of intensity, DOD 
could face difficulty in balancing these commitments with the need to 
rebuild and maintain readiness. 

Over the past several years, we have reported and testified on a range 
of issues related to military readiness and made multiple 
recommendations aimed at enhancing DOD's ability to manage and improve 
readiness. Given the change in the security environment since September 
11, 2001, and related increases in demands on our military forces as 
well as the high level of commitment to ongoing operations, rebuilding 
readiness of U.S. ground forces is a long-term prospect. In addition, 
the department faces competing demands for resources given other broad- 
based initiatives to grow, modernize, and transform its forces, and 
therefore will need to carefully validate needs and assess trade-offs. 
While there are no quick fixes to these issues, the department has 
measures it can take that will advance progress in both the short and 
long term. A common theme in our work has been the need for DOD to take 
a strategic approach to decision making that promotes transparency, and 
ensures that programs and investments are based on sound plans with 
measurable goals, validated requirements, prioritized resource needs, 
and performance measures to gauge progress. Overall, we have 
recommended that DOD develop a near-term plan for improving the 
readiness of the ground forces that, among other things, establishes 
specific goals for improving unit readiness, prioritizes actions needed 
to achieve those goals, and outlines an investment strategy to clearly 
link resource needs and DOD's funding requests. We have also 
recommended actions in each of the specific areas I will be discussing 
today. DOD agreed with some recommendations, but has yet to fully 
implement them. For others, particularly when we recommended that DOD 
develop more robust plans linked to resources, DOD believed its current 
efforts were sufficient. We continue to believe such plans are needed. 

Ongoing Operations Have Challenged DOD's Ability to Sustain Readiness 
of Ground Forces, Particularly for Nondeployed Forces: 

To meet the challenges of ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, 
DOD has taken steps to increase the availability of personnel and 
equipment for units deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan, particularly 
with regard to the Army and Marine Corps. Among other things, DOD has 
adjusted rotation goals, and employed strategies such as to retrain 
units to perform missions other than those they were designed to 
perform. It has also transferred equipment from nondeployed units and 
prepositioned stocks to support deployed units. The Army and Marine 
Corps have refocused training to prepare deploying units for 
counterinsurgency missions. DOD has also relied more on Navy and Air 
Force personnel and contractors to help perform tasks normally handled 
by Army or Marine Corps personnel. Using these measures, DOD has been 
able to continue to support ongoing operations, but not without 
consequences for readiness. In the short term, ground forces are 
limited in their ability to train for other missions and nondeployed 
forces are experiencing shortages of resources. The long-term 
implications of DOD's actions, such as the impact of increasing 
deployment times on recruiting and retention, are unclear. 

DOD Has Adjusted Policies to Increase Availability of Personnel, but 
Long-Term Implications Are Unclear: 

For the past several years, DOD has continually rotated forces in and 
out of Iraq and Afghanistan to maintain required force levels. While 
DOD's goals generally call for active component personnel to be 
deployed for 1 of every 3 years and reserve component personnel 
involuntarily mobilized 1 of 6 years, many have been mobilized and 
deployed more frequently. Additionally, ongoing operations have created 
particularly high demand for certain ranks and occupational 
specialties. For example, officers and senior noncommissioned officers 
are in particularly high demand due to increased requirements within 
deployed headquarters organizations and new requirements for transition 
teams, which train Iraqi and Afghan forces. Several support force 
occupations such as engineering, civil affairs, transportation, and 
military police have also been in high demand. 

Since September 11, 2001, DOD has made a number of adjustments to its 
personnel policies, including those related to length of service 
obligations, length of deployments, frequency of reserve component 
mobilizations, and the use of volunteers. While these measures have 
helped to increase the availability of personnel in the short term, the 
long-term impacts of many of these adjustments are uncertain. For 
example, the Army has successively increased the length of deployments 
in Iraq--from 6 to 12 and eventually to 15 months. Also, the services 
have, at various times, used "stop-loss" policies, which prevent 
personnel from leaving the service, and DOD has made changes to reserve 
component mobilization policies. In the latter case, DOD modified its 
policy, which had previously limited the cumulative amount of time that 
reserve component servicemembers could be involuntarily called to 
active duty for the Global War on Terrorism. Under DOD's new policy, 
which went into effect in January 2007, there are no cumulative limits 
on these involuntary mobilizations, but DOD has set goals to limit the 
mobilizations to 12 months and to have 5 years between these Global War 
on Terrorism involuntary mobilizations. DOD has also stated that in the 
short term it will not be able to meet its goal for 5 years between 
rotations. By making these adjustments, DOD has made additional 
personnel available for deployment, thus helping to meet short-term 
mission requirements in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, it is unclear 
whether longer deployments or more frequent involuntary mobilizations 
or other adjustments will affect recruiting and retention. 

In the near term, the Army and Marine Corps have taken a number of 
steps to meet operational requirements and mitigate the stress on their 
forces. Such actions include deploying units from branches with lower 
operational tempos in place of units from branches with higher 
operational tempos after conducting some additional training for the 
units. For example, after retraining units, the Army has used active 
component field artillery units for convoy escort, security, and gun 
truck missions and has used active and reserve component quartermaster 
units to provide long-haul bulk fuel support in Iraq. 

Equipment Shortages Affect Availability of Items for Nondeployed Units: 

As we have reported, ongoing military operations in Iraq and 
Afghanistan combined with harsh combat and environmental conditions are 
inflicting heavy wear and tear on equipment items that, in some cases, 
are more than 20 years old. In response to the sustained operations in 
Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army and Marine Corps developed programs to 
reset (repair or replace) equipment to return damaged equipment to 
combat-ready status for current and future operations. We also have 
reported that while the Army and Marine Corps continue to meet mission 
requirements and report high readiness rates for deployed units, 
nondeployed units have reported a decrease in reported readiness rates, 
in part due to equipment shortages. Some units preparing for deployment 
have reported shortages of equipment on hand as well as specific 
equipment item shortfalls that affect their ability to carry out their 
missions. The Army Chief of Staff has testified that the Army has had 
to take equipment from nondeployed units in order to provide it to 
deployed units. The Marine Corps has also made trade-offs between 
preparing units to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan and other unit 
training. In addition, the Army National Guard and Army Reserve have 
transferred large quantities of equipment to deploying units, which has 
contributed to equipment shortages in nondeployed units. As a result, 
state officials have expressed concerns about their National Guard's 
equipment that would be used for domestic requirements. 

Services Have Adjusted Training to Focus Primarily on Counterinsurgency 
Tasks: 

To meet current mission requirements, the services, especially the Army 
and the Marine Corps, have focused unit training on counterinsurgency 
tasks. Given limitations in training time, and the current focus on 
preparing for upcoming, scheduled deployments, nondeployed troops are 
spending less training time on their core tasks than in the past. Our 
analysis of Army unit training plans and discussions with training 
officials indicate that unit commanders' training plans have focused 
solely on preparing for their unit's assigned mission instead of moving 
progressively from preparing for core missions to training for full- 
spectrum operations. Since February 2004, all combat training rotations 
conducted at the Army's National Training Center have been mission 
rehearsal exercises to prepare units for deployments, primarily to Iraq 
and Afghanistan. As a result, units are not necessarily developing and 
maintaining the skills for a fuller range of missions. For instance, 
units do not receive full-spectrum operations training such as combined 
arms maneuver and high-intensity combat. In addition, the Army has 
changed the location of some training. According to Army officials, the 
National Training Center has provided home station mission rehearsal 
exercises at three Army installations, but these exercises were less 
robust and on a smaller scale than those conducted at the center. Army 
leaders have noted that the limited time between deployments has 
prevented their units from completing the full-spectrum training that 
the units were designed and organized to perform. The Chief of Staff of 
the Army recently stated that units need 18 months between deployments 
to be able to conduct their entire full-spectrum mission training. 
While the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff expressed concerns 
about the impact of the current operational tempo on full-spectrum 
training during his testimony last week, he also noted that the 
military is capable of responding to all threats to our vital national 
interests. 

Offloading of Prepositioned Equipment Could Affect DOD's Ability to 
Meet Other Demands: 

The Army's decision to remove equipment from its prepositioned ships 
impacts its ability to fill equipment shortages in nondeployed units 
and could impact DOD's ability to meet other demands if new demands 
were to cause requirements to rise above current levels to new peaks. 
The Army's decision to accelerate the creation of two additional 
brigade combat teams by removing equipment from prepositioned ships in 
December 2006 helps the Army to move toward its deployment rotation 
goals. However, the lack of prepositioned equipment means that 
deploying units will either have to deploy with their own equipment or 
wait for other equipment to be assembled and transported to their 
deployment location. Either of these options could slow deployment 
response times. 

The most recent DOD end-to-end mobility analysis found that the 
mobility system could continue to sustain the current (post 9/11) tempo 
of operations with acceptable risk. The study found that when fully 
mobilized and augmented by the Civil Reserve Air Fleet and the 
Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement ships, the United States has 
sufficient capability to support national objectives during a peak 
demand period with acceptable risk. The study highlighted the need for 
DOD to continue actions to reset and reconstitute prepositioned assets. 
However, some prepositioned stocks have been depleted. Since portions 
of the Army's prepositioned equipment are no longer available, 
transportation requirements may increase and risk levels may increase, 
which could increase timelines for delivery of personnel and equipment. 

DOD Is Also Relying on Other Services to Help Accomplish Some Missions 
Typically Handled by Ground Forces: 

Shortly after September 11, 2001, the Army's pace of operations was 
relatively low, and it was generally able to meet combatant commander 
requirements with its cadre of active duty and reserve component 
personnel. For example, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the 
President, through the Secretary of Defense and the state governors, 
used Army National Guard forces to fill security roles both at Air 
Force bases and domestic civilian airports. Today, with the Army no 
longer able to meet the deployment rotation goals for its active and 
National Guard and Reserve forces due to the pace of overseas 
operations, DOD is increasingly turning to the Navy and the Air Force 
to help meet requirements for skills typically performed by ground 
forces. 

The Navy and Air Force are filling many of these traditional Army 
ground force requirements with personnel who possess similar skills to 
the Army personnel they are replacing. According to Air Force and Navy 
testimony before this committee in July 2007, some examples of the 
personnel with similar skills included engineers, security forces, 
chaplains, and public affairs, intelligence, medical, communications, 
logistics, and explosive ordnance disposal personnel. The Navy and Air 
Force are also contributing personnel to meet emerging requirements for 
transition teams to train Iraqi and Afghan forces. Regardless of 
whether they are filling new requirements or just operating in a 
different environment with familiar sets of skills, Navy and Air Force 
personnel undergo additional training prior to deploying for these 
nontraditional assignments. While we have not verified the numbers, 
according to the July 2007 testimonies, the Air Force and Navy 
deployments in support of nontraditional missions had grown 
significantly since 2004 and at the time of the testimonies the Air 
Force reported that it had approximately 6,000 personnel filling 
nontraditional positions in the Central Command area of responsibility, 
while the Navy reported that it had over 10,000 augmentees making 
significant contributions to the Global War on Terror. Finally, the Air 
Force testimony noted that many personnel who deployed for these 
nontraditional missions came from stressed career fields--security 
force, transportation, air traffic control, civil engineering, and 
explosive ordnance disposal--that were not meeting DOD's active force 
goal of limiting deployments to 1 in every 3 years. 

DOD's Reliance on Contractors Has Reached Unprecedented Levels: 

The U.S. military has long used contractors to provide supplies and 
services to deployed U.S. forces; however, the scale of contractor 
support in Iraq is far greater than in previous military operations, 
such as Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and in the Balkans. 
Moreover, DOD's reliance on contractors continues to grow. In December 
2006, the Army estimated that almost 60,000 contractor employees 
supported ongoing military operations in Southwest Asia. In October 
2007, DOD estimated the number of DOD contractors in Iraq to be about 
129,000. By way of contrast, an estimated 9,200 contractor personnel 
supported military operations in the 1991 Gulf War. In Iraq, 
contractors provide deployed U.S. forces with an almost endless array 
of services and support, including communication services; interpreters 
who accompany military patrols; base operations support (e.g., food and 
housing); maintenance services for both weapon systems and tactical and 
nontactical vehicles; intelligence analysis; warehouse and supply 
operations; and security services to protect installations, convoys, 
and DOD personnel. Factors that have contributed to this increase 
include reductions in the size of the military, an increase in the 
number of operations and missions undertaken, a lack of organic 
military capabilities, and DOD's use of increasingly sophisticated 
weapons systems. 

DOD has long recognized that contractors are necessary to successfully 
meet current and future requirements. In 1990, DOD issued guidance that 
requires DOD components to determine which contracts provide essential 
services and gives commanders three options if they cannot obtain 
reasonable assurance of continuation of essential services by a 
contractor: they can obtain military, DOD civilian, or host-nation 
personnel to perform services; they can prepare a contingency plan for 
obtaining essential services; or they can accept the risk attendant 
with a disruption of services during a crisis situation.[Footnote 1] 
While our 2003 report found that DOD has not taken steps to implement 
the 1990 guidance, DOD officials informed us that DOD has awarded a 
contract to deploy planners to the combatant commands. According to the 
DOD officials, the planners will focus on the contractor support 
portions of the operational plans, including requirements for 
contractor services. In addition, the planners will streamline the 
process through which the combatant commander can request requirements 
definition, contingency contracting, or program management support. DOD 
officials report that, as of February 7, 2008, eight planners have been 
deployed. Without firm contingency plans in place or a clear 
understanding of the potential consequences of not having the essential 
service available, the risks associated with meeting future 
requirements increase. 

Actions Based on Transparency, Sound Plans, and Measurable Outcomes Are 
Needed to Guide DOD's Efforts to Rebuild Readiness of Ground Forces: 

Given the change in the security environment since September 11, 2001, 
and related increases in demands on our military forces as well as the 
ongoing high level of commitment to ongoing operations, rebuilding 
readiness of U.S. ground forces is a long-term prospect. In addition, 
the department faces competing demands for resources given other broad- 
based initiatives to grow, modernize, and transform its forces, and 
therefore will need to carefully validate needs and assess trade-offs. 
While there are no quick fixes to these issues, we believe the 
department has measures it can take that will advance progress in both 
the short and long terms. Over the past several years, we have reported 
and testified on a range of issues related to military readiness and 
made multiple recommendations aimed at enhancing DOD's ability to 
manage and improve military readiness. 

To Rebuild Readiness While Modernizing and Transforming Force 
Capabilities, DOD's Plans Require a Substantial Commitment of 
Resources: 

DOD faces significant challenges in rebuilding readiness while it 
remains engaged in ongoing operations. At the same time, it has 
undertaken initiatives to increase the size of U.S. ground forces, and 
modernize and transform force capabilities, particularly in the Army. 
Although the cost to rebuild the U.S. ground forces is uncertain, it 
will likely require billions of dollars and take years to complete. For 
example, once operations end, the Army has estimated it will take $12 
billion to $13 billion a year for at least 2 years to repair, replace, 
and rebuild its equipment used for operations in Iraq. Similarly, the 
Marine Corps has estimated it will cost about $2 billion to $3 billion 
to reset its equipment. Furthermore, current plans to grow, modernize, 
and transform the force will require hundreds of billions of dollars 
for the foreseeable future. Although the Army estimated in 2004 that it 
could largely equip and staff modular units by spending $52.5 billion 
through fiscal year 2011, the Army now believes it will require 
additional funding through fiscal year 2017 to fully equip its units. 
In addition, we found that the Army's $70 billion funding plan to 
increase its end strength by over 74,200 lacks transparency and may be 
understated because some costs were excluded and some factors are still 
evolving that could potentially affect this funding plan. We have also 
reported that the costs of the Army's Future Combat System are likely 
to grow. While the Army has only slightly changed its cost estimate of 
$160.7 billion since last year, independent cost estimates put costs at 
between $203 billion and nearly $234 billion. While our testimony today 
is focused on the readiness of the Army and Marine Corps, we recognize 
that DOD is continuing to deal with determining the requirements, size, 
and readiness of the Air Force and Navy and that Congress is engaged 
with that debate. The Air Force for example, is dealing with balancing 
the requirements and funding for strategic and intratheater lift as 
well as its needs for aerial refueling aircraft, tactical aircraft, and 
a new bomber fleet. The Navy is also reviewing its requirements and 
plans to modernize its fleet. Meeting these requirements will involve 
both new acquisitions as well upgrades to existing fleets, which will 
cost billions of dollars. 

Recommended Actions to Improve Strategic Decision Making and Address 
Specific Readiness Concerns: 

A common theme in our work has been the need for DOD to take a more 
strategic approach to decision making that promotes transparency and 
ensures that programs and investments are based on sound plans with 
measurable goals, validated requirements, prioritized resource needs, 
and performance measures to gauge progress against the established 
goals. Due to the magnitude of current operational commitments and the 
readiness concerns related to the ground forces, we believe decision 
makers need to take a strategic approach in assessing current 
conditions and determining how best to rebuild the readiness of the 
Army and Marine Corps. As a result, in July 2007, we recommended that 
DOD develop near-term plans for improving the readiness of its active 
and reserve component ground forces, and specify the number of ground 
force units they plan to maintain at specific levels of readiness as 
well as the time frames for achieving these goals. Because significant 
resources will be needed to provide the personnel, equipment, and 
training necessary to restore and maintain readiness, and because DOD 
is competing for resources in an increasingly fiscally constrained 
environment, we also recommended that the plans contain specific 
investment priorities, prioritized actions that the services believe 
are needed to achieve the plans' readiness goals and time frames, and 
measures to gauge progress in improving force readiness. Such plans 
would be helpful to guide decision makers in considering difficult 
trade-offs when determining funding needs and making resource 
decisions. 

We have also recommended that DOD and the services take specific 
actions in a number of areas I have discussed today. These 
recommendations are contained in the products listed at the end of my 
statement. In summary: 

* The services need to collect and maintain comprehensive data on the 
various strategies they use to meet personnel and unit requirements for 
ongoing operations and determine the impact of these strategies on the 
nondeployed force. 

* The Army needs to develop planning and funding estimates for staffing 
and equipping the modular force as well as assess its modular force. 

* The Army needs to provide to Congress transparent information on its 
plan to increase the force size, including data on the force structure 
to be created by this initiative, implementation timelines, cost 
estimates, and a funding plan. 

* DOD needs to identify mission essential services provided by 
contractors and include them in planning, and also develop doctrine to 
help the services manage contractors supporting deployed forces. 

* The Army needs to revise and adjust its training strategy to include 
a plan to support full-spectrum training during extended operations, 
and clarify the capacity needed to support the modular force. 

* DOD must develop a strategy and plans for managing near-term risks 
and management challenges related to its prepositioning programs. 

* DOD must improve its methodology for analyzing mobility capabilities 
requirements to include development of models and data, an explanation 
of the impact of limitations on study results, and metrics in 
determining capabilities. 

DOD agreed with some recommendations, but has yet to fully implement 
them. For others, particularly when we recommended that DOD develop 
more robust plans linked to resources, DOD believed its current efforts 
were sufficient. We continue to believe such plans are needed. 

Given the challenges facing the department, we believe these actions 
will enhance DOD's ability to validate requirements, develop plans and 
funding needs, identify investment priorities and trade-offs, and 
ultimately to embark on a sustainable path to rebuild readiness and 
move forward with plans to modernize and transform force capabilities. 
In the absence of a strategic approach based on sound plans and 
measurable outcomes, neither Congress nor the department can be assured 
that it will have the information it needs to make informed investment 
decisions and to ensure that it is maximizing the use of taxpayer 
dollars in both the short and long terms. 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, this concludes my statement. 
I would be pleased to respond to any question you or other Members of 
the Committee or Subcommittee may have. 

[End of section] 

For questions regarding this testimony, please call Sharon L. Pickup at 
(202) 512-9619 or pickups@gao.gov. Contact points for our Offices of 
Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last 
page of this report. 

[End of section] 

Related GAO Products: 

Military Operations: Implementation of Existing Guidance and Other 
Actions Needed to Improve DOD's Oversight and Management of Contractors 
in Future Operations. GAO-08-436T. Washington, D.C.: January 24, 2008. 

Force Structure: Need for Greater Transparency for the Army's Grow the 
Force Initiative Funding Plan. GAO-08-354R. Washington, D.C.: January 
18, 2008. 

Force Structure: Better Management Controls Are Needed to Oversee the 
Army's Modular Force and Expansion Initiatives and Improve 
Accountability for Results. GAO-08-145. Washington, D.C.: December 14, 
2007. 

Defense Logistics: Army and Marine Corps Cannot Be Assured That 
Equipment Reset Strategies Will Sustain Equipment Availability While 
Meeting Ongoing Operational Requirements. GAO-07-814. Washington, D.C.: 
September 19, 2007. 

Military Training: Actions Needed to More Fully Develop the Army's 
Strategy for Training Modular Brigades and Address Implementation 
Challenges. GAO-07-936. Washington, D.C.: August 6, 2007. 

Military Personnel: DOD Lacks Reliable Personnel Tempo Data and Needs 
Quality Controls to Improve Data Accuracy. GAO-07-780. Washington, 
D.C.: July 17, 2007. 

Defense Acquisitions: Key Decisions to Be Made on Future Combat System. 
GAO-07-376. Washington, D.C.: March 15, 2007. 

Defense Logistics: Improved Oversight and Increased Coordination Needed 
to Ensure Viability of the Army's Prepositioning Strategy. GAO-07-144. 
Washington, D.C.: February 15, 2007. 

Defense Logistics: Preliminary Observations on the Army's 
Implementation of Its Equipment Reset Strategies. GAO-07-439T. 
Washington, D.C.: January 31, 2007. 

Reserve Forces: Actions Needed to Identify National Guard Domestic 
Equipment Requirements and Readiness. GAO-07-60. Washington, D.C.: 
January 26, 2007. 

Securing, Stabilizing, and Rebuilding Iraq: Key Issues for 
Congressional Oversight. GAO-07-308SP. Washington, D.C.: January 9, 
2007. 

Defense Transportation: Study Limitations Raise Questions about the 
Adequacy and Completeness of the Mobility Capabilities Study and 
Report. GAO- 06-938. Washington, D.C.: September 20, 2006. 

Defense Logistics: Preliminary Observations on Equipment Reset 
Challenges and Issues for the Army and Marine Corps. GAO-06-604T. 
Washington, D.C.: March 30, 2006. 

Defense Logistics: Better Management and Oversight of Prepositioning 
Programs Needed to Reduce Risk and Improve Future Programs. GAO-05-427. 
Washington, D.C.: September 6, 2005. 

Military Personnel: DOD Needs to Address Long-term Reserve Force 
Availability and Related Mobilization and Demobilization Issues. GAO-
04- 1031. Washington, D.C.: September 15, 2004. 

Military Operations: Contractors Provide Vital Services to Deployed 
Forces but Are Not Adequately Addressed in DOD's Plans. GAO-03-695. 
Washington, D.C.: June 24, 2003. 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] Department of Defense Instruction 3020.37, Continuation of 
Essential DOD Contractor Services During Crises, Nov. 6, 1990 (Change 
1, Jan. 26, 1996). 

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