Military Training: DOD's Report on the Sustainability of Training Ranges Meets Annual Reporting Requirements but Could Be Improved

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Realistic training ranges are one of the most valued assets the military has in preparing its personnel for their missions. Realistic training requires access to areas and environments that closely match the locations where the military may face combat or complex situations. International events, changes in strategy, force structure, base closures, and population growth are increasing the challenges the military faces in training its personnel to be prepared to defend the nation. Moreover, the military services report that they have increasingly lost training range capabilities because of factors ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. October 19, 2011.

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Description

Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Realistic training ranges are one of the most valued assets the military has in preparing its personnel for their missions. Realistic training requires access to areas and environments that closely match the locations where the military may face combat or complex situations. International events, changes in strategy, force structure, base closures, and population growth are increasing the challenges the military faces in training its personnel to be prepared to defend the nation. Moreover, the military services report that they have increasingly lost training range capabilities because of factors such as encroachment. To respond to these challenges and increase the sustainability of military ranges, the Department of Defense (DOD) has launched a number of efforts aimed at preserving training ranges while also minimizing adverse environmental effects of training activities. As required by section 366(a) of the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 (as amended), DOD was to submit a comprehensive plan for using existing authorities available to the department to address training constraints caused by limitations on the use of worldwide military lands, marine areas, and airspace to Congress at the same time as the President submitted his budget for fiscal year 2004 with annual progress reports for fiscal year 2005, extending through fiscal year 2013. To address these requirements, DOD has submitted its sustainable ranges report annually since 2004. In addition, we are required to submit annual evaluations of DOD's reports to Congress within 90 days of receiving these reports from DOD. In addition to the sustainable ranges report, DOD provides Congress the "Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative Report." This report is required separately under 10 U.S.C. 2684a and describes, among other things, certain projects and other actions undertaken as part of a long-term strategy to ensure sustainability of military test and training ranges, military installations, and associated airspace. As such, this report complements the sustainable ranges report in addressing some actions taken by DOD to mitigate encroachment on military installations and ranges that require, or may reasonably require, safety or operational buffer areas. Both reports respond to statutory reporting requirements but target different aspects of DOD's efforts to capture mission requirements, current asset capability, and current and future risks to these capabilities from encroachment. In our prior reviews of DOD's sustainable ranges reports, we noted that DOD had not addressed certain required elements when it initially submitted its comprehensive plan in 2004. Over time, we concluded that DOD had increasingly improved its report submissions and had reported on actions taken on our prior recommendations. This report is our evaluation of DOD's 2011 sustainable ranges report. In this report, we summarize our observations on the extent to which DOD's 2011 sustainable ranges report meets the requirements specified by section 366 and identify opportunities for improving future report submissions. We also discuss DOD's plans for its 2012 report submission. In accordance with the mandate, we are submitting this report to Congress within 90 days of receiving DOD's 2011 sustainable ranges report on July 21, 2011."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • October 19, 2011

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Military Training: DOD's Report on the Sustainability of Training Ranges Meets Annual Reporting Requirements but Could Be Improved, text, October 19, 2011; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc298496/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.