The Government Accountability Office has called on the Defense Department to develop a comprehensive plan and related metrics to implement readiness recovery goals.
GAO said Wednesday the military services reported that their readiness levels continue to decline due to what they described as “emerging and continued demands on their forces, reduced force structure and increased frequency and length of deployments.”
“The [DoD] recognizes that more than a decade of conflict, budget uncertainty and force structure reductions have degraded military readiness,” according to GAO.
GAO examined data on reported readiness rates and departmental readiness rebuilding efforts and found that those efforts are at risk because the DoD has yet to adopt key elements of sound planning.
“Key elements of sound planning for results-oriented outcomes include a mission statement supported by long-term goals, strategies for achieving the goals, metrics and an evaluation plan to determine the appropriateness of the goals and effectiveness of implemented strategies,” GAO noted.
GAO also concluded that the plan developed by each military service, based on the force elements that experienced high rates of deployments and readiness recovery challenges, were incomplete.
The government watchdog noted that the DoD ordered the military services to develop a plan on rebuilding readiness in 2014 and the services submitted the plans to DoD in 2015 without defining comprehensive strategies.
“Without DOD incorporating key elements of sound planning into recovery efforts, and amid competing priorities that the department must balance, successful implementation of readiness recovery plans may be at risk,” GAO said.