Index

Contingency Operations: Providing Critical Capabilities Poses Challenges
(Letter Report, 07/06/2000, GAO/NSIAD-00-164).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the services' ability
to continuously meet the challenges posed by contingency operations,
focusing on six military assets that have been heavily used in
contingency operations in a series of case studies.

GAO noted that: (1) the military assets GAO examined in the case studies
continue to be in high demand relative to their numbers; (2) this has
resulted in deployments in excess of deployment goals; (3) to ease the
strain on these assets, the Department of Defense and the military
services are taking a number of actions, which are described below along
with GAO's assessment of them; (4) four of the Army's 10 active
divisions and 1 of its 8 National Guard divisions were being affected by
operations in the Balkans as of January 2000; (5) the Army has begun to
use National Guard divisions to relieve the strain on active divisions
and allow them to focus on their primary mission of being prepared for
major war; (6) however, preparing the first Guard division that deployed
to Bosnia required considerable effort, including the conversion of
substantial numbers of Guard personnel to full-time status; (7) the Army
does not have enough active-duty civil affairs capability to meet
current requirements with its one 208-person active-duty unit, and until
recently, there were concerns about having enough reserve civil affairs
personnel to meet requirements in the Balkans; (8) the Navy and the
Marine Corps each have four land-based EA-6B squadrons; (9) however,
these squadrons together are unable to meet all requirements without
exceeding their deployment goal of having twice as much at home station
as the amount of time deployed; (10) the Air Force could meet current
requirements for Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft
and crews without exceeding its 120-day annual deployment goal if all 40
of its staffed crews were fully trained and available for worldwide
deployments; (11) however, only 27 of its 40 crews are fully trained,
and increasing this supply is problematic because of inadequate
simulator training capabilities; (12) the Air Force has only 40 of its
54 authorized U-2 pilots fully trained; (13) this shortage of fully
trained pilots has led to historically high deployment rates; (14) the
Air Force has relayed certain requirements to attract and keep its U-2
pilots, however challenges remain and continued careful management of
the use of these aircraft will be needed; (15) F-16CJ squadrons,
particularly those stationed in the United States, have been one of the
most utilized fighter squadrons for the past few years; and (16) however
due to its part-time nature, the F-16CJ reserve component squadron unit
will be able to cover only about 30 days of the rotation between it and
the older squadron of less capable aircraft.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

 REPORTNUM:  NSIAD-00-164
     TITLE:  Contingency Operations: Providing Critical Capabilities
	     Poses Challenges
      DATE:  07/06/2000
   SUBJECT:  Defense contingency planning
	     Combat readiness
	     Defense capabilities
	     Mobilization
	     Military aircraft
	     Military training
	     Human resources utilization
	     Armed forces abroad
IDENTIFIER:  Kosovo (Serbia)
	     Bosnia
	     EA-6B Aircraft
	     Airborne Warning and Control System
	     U-2 Aircraft
	     F-16C/J Aircraft

******************************************************************
** This file contains an ASCII representation of the text of a  **
** GAO Testimony.                                               **
**                                                              **
** No attempt has been made to display graphic images, although **
** figure captions are reproduced.  Tables are included, but    **
** may not resemble those in the printed version.               **
**                                                              **
** Please see the PDF (Portable Document Format) file, when     **
** available, for a complete electronic file of the printed     **
** document's contents.                                         **
**                                                              **
******************************************************************
GAO/NSIAD-00-164

Appendix I: Scope and Methodology

24

Appendix II: Assets Identified by the Joint Staff as
Problem Areas

25

Appendix III: Deployment Schedules of Army Divisions
to the Balkans

26

Appendix IV: Comments From the Department of Defense

27

Appendix V: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments

32

Table 1: Assets Identified by the Joint Staff as Problem Areas 25

AWACS Airborne Warning and Control System

DOD Department of Defense

National Security and
International Affairs Division

B-285257

July 6, 2000

The Honorable James Inhofe
Chairman, Subcommittee on Military
Readiness and Management Support
Committee on Armed Services
United States Senate

Dear Mr. Chairman:

Since the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991, U.S. Armed Forces have been
involved in more than 50 contingency operations abroad.1 The two major
operations currently under way are in the Balkans and in Southwest Asia. In
the Balkans, U.S. forces are in their 5th year of peace enforcement in
Bosnia and in their 2nd year of a long-term peace enforcement effort in
Kosovo. In Southwest Asia, U.S. forces are in their 9th year of no-fly zone
enforcement and related activities involving Iraq. Although the services
have been able to provide the forces and assets necessary for contingency
operations, some unique capabilities have been in high demand. To fulfill
these missions, military personnel deploy on a rotational basis from their
assigned home station. This has resulted in some personnel exceeding the
services' deployment goals for the maximum number of days an individual
should deploy in a 1-year period. Long deployments can adversely affect
morale and retention.

Because of your concerns about the services' ability to continuously meet
these operational needs, as agreed with your office, we examined six
military assets that have been heavily used in contingency operations in a
series of case studies. Each case study (1) describes the reasons the
services are having difficulty in meeting requirements for contingency
operations and staying within deployment goals and (2) assesses ongoing
efforts to relieve these difficulties. We selected the case studies to
provide a cross section of the military services and different types of
assets. The

assets we selected were (1) Army divisions;2 (2) Army civil affairs units;3
(3) EA-6B aircraft, which are used to suppress enemy air defenses and have
the only available U.S. military capability to electronically jam enemy
antiaircraft radar; (4) Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS)
aircraft, which provide airspace surveillance and battlefield management of
all aircraft flying in an assigned area; (5) U-2 aircraft, which gather
intelligence and provide surveillance; and (6) specialized F-16 aircraft,
the CJ model, which are used to suppress enemy air defenses primarily by
targeting air defense radar with sophisticated missiles. Except for Army
divisions, these forces and assets exist in small numbers and comprise a
small portion of overall U.S. military forces. Appendix I describes our
scope and methodology in examining these assets and forces.

The military assets we examined in the case studies continue to be in high
demand relative to their numbers. This has resulted in deployments in excess
of deployment goals. To ease the strain on these assets, the Department of
Defense (DOD) and the military services are taking a number of actions,
which are described below along with our assessment of them.

 Four of the Army's 10 active divisions and 1 of its 8 National Guard
divisions were being affected by operations in the Balkans as of January
2000. The Army has begun to use National Guard divisions to relieve the
strain on active divisions and allow them to focus on their primary mission
of being prepared for major war. However, preparing the first Guard division
that deployed to Bosnia required considerable effort, including the
conversion of substantial numbers of Guard personnel to full-time status;
extensive assistance from the active-duty Army; the borrowing of personnel
from other National Guard divisions; and extra funding obtained from the
National Guard Bureau, the Texas National Guard, and the Army. In addition
to deploying other Guard units to Bosnia, the Army is considering the
possibility of using Guard divisions in Kosovo beginning in mid-2001, but no
decision had been made as of May 2000. The extent of preparations needed to
prepare the Guard division now in Bosnia suggests that this will not be
easy.

 The Army does not have enough active-duty civil affairs capability to meet
current requirements with its one 208-person active-duty unit, and until
recently, there were concerns about having enough reserve civil affairs
personnel to meet requirements in the Balkans. However, smaller and more
flexible force requirements in the Balkans, coupled with Army plans to
increase its supply of civil affairs personnel, should ease the strain on
these forces by fiscal year 2003.

 The Navy and the Marine Corps each have four land-based EA-6B squadrons;
however, these squadrons together are unable to meet all requirements
without exceeding their deployment goal of having twice as much time at home
station as the amount of time deployed. Plans to create an additional
squadron from existing aircraft by fiscal year 2003 will help reduce the
time crews must be deployed. Some additional requirements for EA-6B
squadrons could be filled if the Navy relaxed its policy of limiting the use
of carrier-based EA-6B squadrons whose carriers are undergoing extended
maintenance.

 The Air Force could meet current requirements for AWACS aircraft and crews
without exceeding its 120-day annual deployment goal if all 40 of its
staffed crews were fully trained and available for worldwide deployments.
However, only 27 of its 40 crews are fully trained, and increasing this
supply is problematic because of inadequate simulator training capabilities;
a reduction in high-quality training events; and the loss of experienced
crewmembers due to voluntary separation incentives and reductions in force
in recent years. Moreover, six of the fully trained AWACS crews are based in
the Pacific and, except for one instance in 1999, have been unavailable for
worldwide deployments because the regional theater commander requires that
they remain in the region in case of emergencies on the Korean peninsula.
However, the Air Force could meet worldwide requirements for AWACS better if
it used its Pacific-based crews selectively to augment the forces currently
stressed in meeting worldwide missions outside the Pacific theater.

 The Air Force has only 40 of its 54 authorized U-2 pilots fully trained.
This shortage of fully trained pilots has led to historically high
deployment rates. The Air Force has relaxed certain requirements to attract
and keep its U-2 pilots; however, challenges remain and continued careful
management of the use of these aircraft will be needed.

 F-16CJ squadrons, particularly those stationed in the United States, have
been one of the most utilized fighter squadrons for the past few years. The
Air Force has nine active-duty F-16CJ squadrons and plans to field a 10th
active squadron in fiscal year 2007 to keep deployments within its goal of
120 days in 1 year. In the interim, the Air Force has modified two squadrons
of older, less capable aircraft and plans to augment current forces with a
reserve component squadron. However, due to its
part-time nature, this latter unit will be able to cover only about 30 days
of the rotation.

We are recommending that the Army assess its experiences in readying the
49th National Guard Division for its current deployment to Bosnia before
making a decision on using Guard divisions in Kosovo; that the Navy examine
the feasibility of meeting land-based requirements by expanding the use of
carrier-based EA-6B squadrons whose carriers are undergoing extended
maintenance; and that DOD further examine employing Pacific-based AWACS
crews in worldwide deployments.

In written comments on a draft of this report, DOD stated that on balance,
our report was a fair and accurate assessment of critical military
capabilities that will continue to demand close management. DOD generally
agreed with our recommendations concerning the use of Guard divisions in
Kosovo and the use of Pacific-based AWACS crews in worldwide deployments.
DOD did not agree with our recommendation concerning the use of EA-6B
squadrons to meet land-based requirements, stating that using carrier-based
squadrons routinely to supplement
land-based squadrons would adversely affect the Navy's capacity to surge the
carrier squadrons in response to unanticipated contingencies. A more
detailed discussion on its comments and our evaluation is contained in the
body of this report.

The United States has been providing forces to Bosnia since 1995 and to
Kosovo since 1999. The Army provides almost all U.S. ground forces deployed
in the Balkans. As of May 2000, the United States had about 4,300 military
personnel in Bosnia and 5,500 in Kosovo. Although the Army's divisions each
have over 10,000 troops that could theoretically be used to

meet these requirements, not all divisions are available for these
missions.4 Moreover, although the number of troops deployed may appear small
in relationship to the divisions' size, their readiness to deploy for their
wartime mission is disrupted by even these small deployments. In addition,
we reported in May 1999 that participation in the Bosnia operation adversely
affected the combat capability of units deployed there.5 For example,
soldiers deployed in contingency operations do more guard and policing
actions than tasks associated with operating their M-1 tanks and Bradley
Fighting Vehicles.

The major contingencies that the Air Force and, to a lesser extent, the Navy
are supporting are enforcing the no-fly zones over Iraq and providing air
support over the Balkans. Some key aircraft used in these operations include
the EA-6B, AWACS, U-2, and F-16CJ. The Navy and the Marine Corps each have
four land-based EA-6B squadrons, each with either four or five aircraft, and
the Navy has a reserve squadron. The Air Force has 40 full 25-member AWACS
crews, but only 27 crews were fully trained in January 2000. Trained pilots
are the limiting factor with respect to the U-2. The aircraft has only one
crew member: the pilot. As of January 2000, the Air Force had 44 of 54
authorized U-2 pilots, 40 of whom were fully trained. The Air Force has 9
active-duty F-16CJ squadrons, each with either 18 or 24 aircraft and 1
National Guard squadron with 15 aircraft.

We have previously reported that in some instances, there is a higher demand
for some military capabilities during peacetime than the military services
can meet without degrading readiness, losing training opportunities, and
reducing the quality of life for personnel in the affected units. Some of
these assets are managed under the Global Military Force Policy that the
Joint Staff established in July 1996. This peacetime prioritization process
allocates these capabilities among theater
war-fighting commanders for use in crises, contingencies, and long-term
joint task force operations. The military services identify assets to be
included under the policy and determine the rate that these assets can be
deployed without adversely affecting readiness and quality of life. The
policy's goal is to ensure that, while meeting the theater commanders'
requirements, these service-specified assets are maintained at the highest
possible level of readiness and are available to respond to crises.

The Joint Staff administers the policy, coordinating with the war-fighting
commanders and services to (1) determine mission priorities, (2) establish
or validate the capabilities' requirements, (3) assess their availability,
and (4) develop allocation options for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the
Secretary of Defense. Following the Kosovo air campaign, the Joint Staff
determined that 10 of the 32 assets managed under the policy were exceeding
service usage level recommendations. Appendix II contains the 10 assets on
this list. Four of our case studies--the Army civil affairs units and the
EA-6B, AWACS, and U-2 aircraft--were chosen from this list. We chose the
other two case study assets--Army divisions and F16CJ aircraft--on the basis
of their frequent deployments in support of ongoing contingency operations.

Because so many of the Army's active divisions are being affected by their
participation in the contingency operations in Bosnia and Kosovo, the Army
has turned to its National Guard divisions to shoulder some of the
deployment burden. While this action will ease the frequency with which
active divisions will be called upon, it is likely to pose substantial
challenges to the National Guard's divisions.

Concerns about the Army's preparedness for war are based on the fact that so
many active divisions required in the Army's war plans are affected by the
current number and size of contingency operations. Units not only spend time
deployed in operations but must also spend time preparing for their
deployment, as well as "recovering" after the deployment by retraining to
regain certain war-fighting skills (such as gunnery) and performing
maintenance to bring equipment up to standards. We previously reported that
depending on the type of unit, the recovery period could last from 4 months
to more than 1 year. Because parts of two divisions are being deployed at
any one time6 (one to Bosnia and the other to Kosovo), parts of six of the
Army's divisions could be affected simultaneously by operations in the
Balkans: two deployed, two preparing to deploy, and two recovering from
their deployments.

In January 2000, for example, four active divisions and one Guard division
were affected by these operations. Among the active divisions, the 1st
Cavalry Division was recovering from a 1-year deployment in Bosnia, the 10th
Mountain Division was deployed there, and elements of the Guard's 49th
Armored Division were preparing to deploy there. At the same time, the
European-based 1st Infantry Division was deployed to Kosovo, and the 1st
Armored Division was preparing to deploy there.7 Although none of these
divisions deployed in its entirety, deployment of key components--especially
headquarters--makes these divisions unavailable for deployment elsewhere in
case of a major war without a significant infusion of personnel and
equipment.

The Army's Chief of Staff testified in February 2000 that although the
Army's active divisions were ready for war, continuing to use them for
peacekeeping operations will increase the risk and raise the price of
meeting U.S. major theater war goals. Our analysis of 1999 readiness data
from the Army division that deployed forces to Kosovo determined that the
number of times that units reported high readiness levels during the second
6 months of the deployment declined 15 percentage points from the previous 6
months of the deployment. In May 1999, we reported that the readiness of
divisions participating in contingency operations was being adversely
affected. Our analysis showed that in fiscal years 1995-98, the period when
European-based divisions were initially deployed to Bosnia, European-based
division units reported high readiness levels 87 percent of the time in
fiscal year 1995, but only 72 percent of the time in fiscal year 1998.8
During that same period, division units outside of Europe that were not
being used in these contingency operations were experiencing increases in
the number of times they reported high readiness rates--from 80 percent in
1995 to 91 percent in 1998.

Deployments but Will Also Pose Challenges

In an attempt to reduce the time active divisions spend in contingency
operations, the Army has scheduled three of its eight National Guard
divisions to provide the headquarters and other forces, such as signal and
intelligence troops, for the Bosnia rotation between March 2000 and April
2003. Guard and active units will generally alternate in 6-month rotations
in which they will command both active-duty and National Guard troops. Using
these three National Guard divisions will almost double the supply of
available divisions for Balkan operations and should relieve U.S.-based
active divisions of a total of 18 months of Bosnia deployments between March
2000 and April 2003. Appendix III shows the schedule for these deployments.
The Army also plans to use combat units from the National Guard enhanced
brigades in the Balkans beginning in October 2000.

The Army is also considering using National Guard divisions to provide
forces for the Kosovo mission after mid-2001 to ease the burden on the
Army's European-based divisions.9 However, the extent of preparations needed
to ready the first deploying unit--the Texas National Guard's 49th Armored
Division, which is currently in Bosnia--suggests that this will not be easy.
For example, in our ongoing related work on the integration of Army active
and reserve forces, Army officials stated that the 49th Armored Division
needed 108 training days over an 18-month period to prepare for its
deployment. Preparations included conversion of substantial numbers of Guard
personnel to full-time status; extensive training assistance from its
active-duty partner division (the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas);
borrowing of personnel from other National Guard divisions; loans of
specialized equipment from other active-duty units; and extra funding from
the National Guard Bureau, the Texas National Guard, and the Army. The same
intensive preparation is expected to prepare subsequent National Guard
divisions for deployment.

It is difficult to say whether using additional Guard divisions in Kosovo is
viable. As was the case with the 49th Armored Division, other National Guard
divisions have lower priority status for personnel and equipment than their
active-duty counterparts. National Guard personnel and equipment levels and
types also differ from those of their active counterparts. For example, the
49th Armored Division, like other National Guard divisions, did not have
staff for some military intelligence occupational specialties positions that
were needed for the mission and had to borrow these personnel from other
active and reserve units. Also, because the division did not have some
specific equipment, such as intelligence workstations and communications
equipment, it had to borrow these from the active Army. Moreover, since
reserve personnel can only be used for up to 270 days for an operational
mission, succeeding units may have difficulty borrowing such personnel with
the necessary skills because the pool of eligible personnel will diminish as
reserve personnel complete rotations and meet the 270-day limit.10

Civil Affairs Personnel

The Army does not have enough active-duty civil affairs capability to meet
current requirements. (Civil affairs forces interact with civilians and
provide the infrastructure needed to bring government services to the
civilian population.) However, with the planned increase in the size of the
Army's only active civil affairs unit,11 there should be enough active civil
affairs capability to meet the need for early deploying forces. Reduced
personnel requirements for operations in the Balkans should relieve the
burden on reserve civil affairs personnel, who have been responsible for
sustaining operations over the long term.

Active-duty units are used to meet initial civil affairs requirements in new
operations because it can take a month or more to mobilize and train reserve
units. Nearly all theater commanders believe that they do not have enough
active civil affairs forces to meet contingency requirements. A single
active component unit of 208 people is currently meeting these needs. In a
recently completed study of its civil affairs forces, the U.S. Special
Operations Command, which is responsible for employing such forces,
determined that it needs 48 teams, or 18 more than it currently can create
with existing forces. As a result of this study, the Army has decided to
increase the active civil affairs unit by 84 people, primarily to create the
18 teams. U.S. Special Operations Command officials stated that the increase
is scheduled for fiscal year 2003 and that the Army has committed to provide
at least $4.4 million per year in funding for these additional personnel.
Army officials project that these additional personnel will be reallocated
from other parts of the Army, although the specific units from which these
personnel will be drawn have not been identified. The action that the Army
is taking to increase civil affairs personnel, when completed, should reduce
the impact of deployments on the active battalion.

Reserve civil affairs units have been used heavily in the Balkans, but U.S.
Special Operations Command officials believe that they have enough reserve
civil affairs forces to meet current mission requirements. Although Command
officials were initially concerned about having enough reserve civil affairs
personnel to meet requirements in the Balkans, the numbers required were
reduced from 468 in the early Bosnia deployments to 133 for both Bosnia and
Kosovo as of April 2000. Also, as the requirements have become more flexible
in terms of rank and skills needed, the Army should be able to provide
enough reserve civil affairs personnel to meet the reduced requirements.

The Navy and the Marine Corps combined do not have enough land-based EA-6B
squadrons, which are used to suppress enemy air defenses and electronically
jam enemy antiaircraft radar, to cover all contingency operations, and the
Navy has chosen to use its carrier-based EA-6B aircraft for these operations
only by exception for various reasons. As a result, some squadrons from the
Navy and the Marine Corps have been exceeding their goals for the maximum
number of days personnel should be deployed each year. Plans to create an
additional squadron from existing aircraft and recruit the associated crews
will help reduce the time crews must be deployed to contingency operations,
but this squadron will not be in place until 2003. Even after the additional
squadron is in place, the number of squadrons will be insufficient to
provide aircraft to all required sites without exceeding deployment goals.

EA-6Bs have been used in support of operations over northern and southern
Iraq since the early 1990s as well as at other locations. The Navy and the
Marine Corps each have four land-based squadrons; however, these squadrons
together are not enough to cover all peacetime requirements without
exceeding the Navy and the Marine Corps' goals on the maximum number of days
personnel should be deployed each year. The deployment goal is to have twice
the time at home station as time deployed. For example, based on current
land-based deployments, which are typically
90 days for Navy squadrons, the goal is to have 180 days at home station
after a 90-day deployment. According to a DOD readiness report, in the
1-year period ending November 1999, about 25 percent of land-based
squadrons--or two of the eight squadrons--exceeded this goal. In contrast, a
January 2000 DOD report stated that less than 2 percent of all Navy
deployable units exceeded this goal in fiscal year 1999.

Squadrons

To increase the supply of available land-based EA-6B aircraft squadrons, the
Navy will create an additional land-based squadron from existing aircraft
and plans to have it operational in 2003. This additional squadron will
allow more operational sites to be covered within deployment goals. However,
even after creating the ninth squadron, the Navy/Marine Corps still will not
have enough squadrons to provide coverage to all operational sites while
remaining within deployment goals. (The specific number of sites and the
number of squadrons when associated with the number of sites are
classified.)

The Joint Staff also limited the number of sites to which land-based EA-6B
squadrons would deploy between December 1999 and December 2000.12 To
mitigate the risk of not having EA-6Bs at some sites where commanders have
requested aircraft, the Joint Staff has temporarily placed some squadrons in
an on-call status.13 These squadrons conduct their normal home station
training but must be prepared to go to a designated operational site within
several days. While there are some acknowledged risks associated with not
having the aircraft on-site, DOD believes accepting these risks is prudent
when balanced against the negative effects that further deployments would
cause on personnel and equipment. Through April 2000, no squadrons had to
deploy while on call.

For the longer term, DOD is considering a replacement aircraft for the
EA-6B. On the basis of a congressional directive, the services will begin
analyzing the alternatives for a suitable replacement. The study is expected
to take about 2 years, and according to a DOD report, any new aircraft will
not likely be available before 2010.

The heavy use of EA-6B squadrons is not likely to subside unless the current
level of contingency operations subsides. However, the Navy could reduce the
burden slightly if it were to change its policy with respect to the use of
carrier-based aircraft for land missions.

Although the Navy has 10 carrier-based EA-6B squadrons in addition to the
land-based squadrons, it has been willing to use them to supplement
land-based squadrons only by exception. For example, two carrier-based and
one reserve squadron have been used to reduce deployment levels of
land-based squadrons for deployments expected to last less than the usual
90 days. One squadron was used for this purpose in 1998, another in 1999,
and a third (a naval reserve squadron) in 2000.14 Navy officials told us
that in the future, they would rather try to limit the use of the EA-6Bs to
stay within deployment goals rather than permit carrier-based aircraft to
share the burden. They said that using carrier-based squadrons to cover full
90-day land-based missions would detract from carrier training and undermine
the effectiveness and integrity of the entire carrier air wing.
Nevertheless, the Navy has approved the use of a carrier-based squadron to
cover one such mission in the summer of 2000. Squadron officials from this
unit said that they supported this deployment because it will ensure a
higher priority for resources and keep the squadron at a higher readiness
level, since the squadron would not deploy for 24 months--almost twice the
normal period between deployments--because its carrier is to be undergoing
extended maintenance. Moreover, squadron officials believe the squadron will
still have sufficient time to retrain for its carrier mission.

Commanders' AWACS Requirements

The Air Force could meet current needs for AWACS aircraft and crews in
contingency operations and other peacetime missions such as drug
interdiction without exceeding its 120-day annual deployment goal if all 40
of its staffed crews were fully trained and available for worldwide
deployments.15 AWACS aircraft provide airspace surveillance and battlefield
management of all aircraft flying in an assigned area. For a variety of
reasons, the Air Force currently has only 27 fully trained crews, and 6 of
those crews are based in the Pacific and do not routinely deploy outside
that region because the regional theater commander requires that they remain
in the region and be available in case of emergencies on the Korean
peninsula. This places the burden of worldwide deployments on the 21 fully
trained crews outside the Pacific. There are many challenges to increasing
the supply of trained crews. Without using crews based in the Pacific
region, it will likely be difficult for the Air Force to meet deployment
goals, even if it increases the number of fully trained crews.

As a result of the shortfall of fully trained crews, some AWACS squadron
personnel have consistently exceeded the Air Force's goal of no more than
120 total days away from home station during the previous year. According to
Air Force officials, the high deployment rate--between 20 and
25 percent of all AWACS personnel typically exceeded the Air Force
deployment goal for most of 1997-99--has contributed to retention problems
in the AWACS community, in turn exacerbating the stress on the remaining
AWACS crews.16 As noted above, the Air Force has about half the trained
crews it needs to provide coverage for contingency operations and other
peacetime missions while remaining within its deployment goals. A number of
factors have contributed to the other crews not being fully trained. These
include inadequate simulator training capabilities; a reduction in high
quality training events in exercises involving various types of aircraft
operating together as well as aircraft that act as an opposing force; and
the loss of experienced crewmembers due to voluntary separation incentives
and reductions in force in recent years.

The Air Force is taking a number of steps to increase the number of trained
AWACS crews available for contingencies and has sought to reduce usage of
these assets. It has plans to increase the number of trainees in critical
positions--airborne battle managers, air weapons officers, and pilots--and
to bring new simulator capabilities online that should make simulator
training more valuable. However, these plans will not produce immediate
improvements. An air staff official told us that it takes about 18 months to
produce an AWACS crew capable of operating independently, and the
anticipated simulators will not be in place until about 2002. As is the case
with EA-6B aircraft, the Joint Staff is limiting the frequency with which
AWACS aircraft deploy. It has denied some theater commanders' requests for
AWACS aircraft for missions the staff considered lower priority, but in
early 2000, it approved an additional AWACS deployment to a classified
location. The Joint Staff also allowed, on an exception basis, some
Pacific-based AWACS crews to deploy to Southwest Asia for the first time in
1999. According to a Pacific Air Forces' AWACS official, the key factor in
the use of Pacific-based AWACS aircraft and crews outside that theater is a
long-standing reluctance on the part of the commander of Pacific forces to
allow Pacific-based AWACS to deploy outside the theater because of a concern
that they will not be available quickly in the event of a crisis on the
Korean peninsula.

If the Air Force can overcome the challenges it faces in increasing the
number of trained AWACS crews, it can reduce the strain on the AWACS
community. Our analysis shows that if its 40 staffed crews were fully
trained and available, the Air Force could meet theater commanders' routine
requirements without exceeding its 120-day annual deployment goal. However,
given the factors affecting crew training, we believe that it is too early
to determine whether the Air Force will be successful in achieving the goal
of training all of its crews. Furthermore, unless the Air Force is able to
use the 6 crews based in the Pacific region for deployments elsewhere, we
believe that it will be difficult to meet deployment goals even if it fully
trains all of its 40 staffed crews.

Commanders' Needs

The high demand for U-2 pilots relative to the number of pilots has
contributed to historically high deployment rates for its pilots--175 days
on average in 1999. The U-2 is used to gather intelligence and provide
surveillance. The Air Force faces unique challenges in attracting and
keeping U-2 pilots and has relaxed certain requirements to deal with this
problem. However, the Air Force acknowledges that it faces challenges in
overcoming historical pilot shortages, and continued careful management of
the use of these aircraft will be needed.

U-2 Pilots Is Uncertain

U-2 pilots have had some of the highest deployment rates in the Air Force.
Deployment rates for its pilots were 175 days on average in 1999 or about 50
percent higher than the Air Force's overall 120-day deployment goal.
Moreover, between 32 and 69 percent of U-2 personnel exceeded the deployment
goal in the periods we reviewed from 1997 through January 2000. Air Force
officials attribute the high rates to too few trained pilots and to the high
demand for these pilots. The Air Force had only 40 of its 54 authorized
pilots fully trained as of January 2000. The shortage of trained pilots
reflects a drop in applicants to fly the U-2 and higher than expected
attrition. The shortage has been further exacerbated over the last few years
by the need to use some pilots from the operational squadron as instructors.
As a result, U-2 representatives told us that the burden of contingency
deployments falls disproportionately on the trained crews in the operational
squadron. Air Force officials believe that high deployment rates have
contributed to retention problems. Our analysis of DOD's 1999 survey of
active-duty members found that satisfaction with military life decreased
markedly among those who reported being away from home more than 5 months
during the past year. We also found that retention and satisfaction with
military life are closely linked.17

As is the case with EA-6B and AWACS aircraft, the Joint Staff has reduced
the number of U-2 crews that deploy for contingencies. In the case of the
U-2 and other similar intelligence and reconnaissance assets, the Joint
Staff has initiated an additional process to manage these assets. This
process first identifies theater commanders' requirements, then prioritizes
them according to importance to military operations, regional interests,
existing coalitions and alliances, and the value of the intelligence to be
gained. This process requires commanders to describe what needs to be done
over what period rather than just specifying a specific asset. Theater
commanders can still request a specific asset, but the Joint Staff may
substitute a different asset if the latter is deemed to provide the needed
capability or if the one requested is not available. Requirements are filled
according to established priorities. Joint Staff officials stated that in
the future, the lowest priority requests will not be met if filling them
would exceed the usage limits agreed upon by the services and the Joint
Staff unless there is a compelling need. This process will allow the Joint
Staff not only to limit the use of capabilities in high demand, but also to
identify any unmet requirements and the level of risk associated with not
meeting these requirements.

The Air Force has taken several steps to increase the number of U-2 pilots.
For example, it has reduced the commitment period for U-2 pilots from 5 to 3
years because officials believe a shorter period will attract more
candidates to the program. It also plans to increase the capacity of its
pilot school. The Air Force expects to increase the number of pilots it can
train from 14 to 24 a year--an increase of about 70 percent. The Air Force
believes that if these initiatives are successful, and if U-2 use is
constrained, the U-2 could reach its authorized pilot goal within 2 years.

The Air Force faces unique challenges in attracting and keeping U-2 pilots.
It has not met its historical average for recruiting new candidates into the
program in recent years and projects a net loss in pilots by the end of
fiscal year 2000. Unlike other aircraft communities, qualified pilots are
drawn from other aircraft such as B-52 bombers and C-130 transporters. These
pilots volunteer to be trained to fly the U-2 for a specified period.
Because of the high altitude at which the U-2 flies, U-2 pilots must pass
extensive flight physicals to allow them to operate at altitudes that can
exceed
70,000 feet. They are also required to wear full pressure suits much like
those that astronauts wear, and the aircraft can be difficult to fly. Air
Force officials said these conditions, along with high deployment rates,
have contributed to a decline in the number of applicants. Moreover, the
number of applicants accepted has declined in recent years below the
50-percent historical average because it is difficult to find pilots with
the aptitude required to master the difficult handling characteristics of
the U-2.

With Existing Aircraft

The deployment strain on the Air Force's specialized suppression
aircraft--the F-16CJ--experienced between 1997 and 1999 should be reduced by
using all F-16CJ capability throughout the Air Force. The F-16CJ is used to
suppress enemy air defenses primarily by targeting air defense radars with
sophisticated missiles. Plans call for fielding a 10th active squadron in
fiscal year 2007. In the interim, the Air Force has added capability by
modifying two squadrons of an earlier version F-16 and plans to supplement
current forces with a reserve component squadron. However, due to its
part-time nature this latter unit will be able to cover only about
30 days of the rotation.

F-16CJ squadrons, particularly those stationed in the United States, have
been among the most utilized fighter squadrons for the past few years.
Between 15 and 20 percent of personnel assigned to these aircraft exceeded
the Air Force's 120-day deployment goal between May 1997 and May 1999. In
October 1999, the Air Force began using a new scheduling process for most of
its forces. For F-16CJ squadrons, this means that squadrons based in the
Pacific and Europe are now scheduled equally with U.S.-based squadrons and
that the reserve component F-16CJ squadron will also be used. However, that
squadron will only be able to cover about
30 days of the rotation due to its part-time nature. The Air Force also
modified two squadrons of an earlier version F-16 to give them a limited
capability to perform the suppression mission. The more equitable scheduling
of all F-16CJ squadrons should eliminate the stress experienced in the past.

The Air Force believes that it needs an additional active F-16CJ squadron to
reduce usage of existing active squadrons. There are currently nine
active-duty F-16CJ squadrons. The Secretary of Defense reported in his 1999
Annual Report to the Congress that operating nine such squadrons to meet
deployment commitments would have kept them above desired deployment levels.
The Air Force plans to purchase 30 F-16CJ aircraft, most of which will be
used to field a 10th active F-16CJ suppression squadron. The Air Force has
budgeted $262 million for 10 aircraft in fiscal year 2000 and another $567
million has been budgeted for 20 additional aircraft in fiscal years
2003-05. If the funding is approved as requested, the Air Force plans to
field the 10th active squadron in fiscal year 2007.

DOD's planned actions to address the stress on the six assets we examined
should reduce the level of stress being placed on these critical assets, but
many of these actions will not be completed for at least 2 to 7 years. There
are also additional actions DOD could take to further reduce the stresses.

The Army's move to integrate National Guard divisions into the Bosnia
rotation is a bold step that should positively affect the readiness of
active divisions by allowing them to spend more time training for their
wartime mission. However, using the National Guard divisions could also
create some stress on them and will pose challenges for the Army. Until the
experiences in preparing the 49th Armored Division for its rotation are
assessed, and it is clearer as to how the substantial support provided to
the 49th can also be provided to another Guard unit, it may be premature to
decide to use Guard forces to cover both the Bosnia and Kosovo rotations.

Despite plans to add an additional land-based EA-6B squadron, meeting
existing EA-6B requirements without exceeding deployment goals will require
the continued use of some non-deployed squadrons in an on-call status. The
Navy could fill more commanders' requests for EA-6B units if it were to
relax its policy against the use of non-deployed carrier-based
EA-6B aircraft for land-based missions. Using carrier-based squadrons whose
carriers are undergoing extended maintenance would appear to be feasible in
selected instances. The Navy's current practice of allowing carrier-based
squadrons to fill the need for shorter-term land-based deployments has also
proven to be a workable solution. The Navy would need to carefully weigh the
risks associated with using carrier-based aircraft for land missions and the
impact that this would have on the time affected personnel would have at
home.

The Air Force cannot eliminate the strain on its AWACS crews until all crews
are fully trained and can participate in worldwide deployments. In both the
long term and the interim, this will require using the fully trained crews
in the Pacific in scheduling worldwide deployments. These crews currently
account for over one-fifth of all fully trained AWACS crews, and deploying
them worldwide could have a noticeable impact on the level of AWACS
deployments. There has, however, been a long-standing reluctance on the part
of the commander of Pacific forces to allow Pacific-based AWACS to deploy
outside the theater because of a concern that they will not be available
quickly in the event of a crisis on the Korean peninsula. Any decision to
expand the use of Pacific-based AWACS crews will require careful study of
both the benefits of reducing the level of deployments on AWACS crews based
outside the Pacific and the risks of having Pacific-based AWACS crews
deployed outside the theater should a crisis occur in Korea.

To alleviate some of the strain on the military forces and assets used in
contingency operations, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct
the following:

 The Secretary of the Army to carefully scrutinize the actions taken to
ready the 49th Armored Division to deploy to Bosnia before deciding whether
to expand the use of National Guard forces to cover the mission in Kosovo.
In making this assessment, the Secretary should consider the transfer of
specialized personnel, equipment, training, and other resources that were
necessary and whether the same level of support can be provided to cover
both the Bosnia and Kosovo missions.

 The Secretary of the Navy to reexamine the Navy's policy of limiting the
use of non-deployed carrier-based EA-6B aircraft to less than 90-day land
missions in contingencies. Specifically, the Navy should consider the
feasibility of expanding the use of squadrons for full 90-day land missions
when their associated carriers are undergoing extended maintenance.

We further recommend that the Secretary of Defense reexamine using AWACS
crews from the Pacific to cover worldwide missions within the context of the
Global Military Force Policy.

In written comments on a draft of this report, DOD stated that on balance,
the report is a fair and accurate assessment of critical military
capabilities that continue to demand close attention and management by DOD.

DOD generally agreed with our recommendation to assess the experience of the
49th Armored Division in Bosnia before deciding whether to expand the use of
these forces in Kosovo. It said that it intends to incorporate the lessons
learned from the 49th Armored Division's rotation to Bosnia in assisting
other Army National Guard units, as well as active units preparing to deploy
to Bosnia. However, DOD disagreed that an assessment of the experience of
the current National Guard unit in Bosnia should be used to determine
whether and how other National Guard units deploy to Kosovo. We did not
intend to imply that the performance of the 49th in Bosnia should be
assessed to decide whether the Guard should participate in Kosovo. Rather,
we are suggesting that the Army examine closely what actions had to be taken
to prepare the 49th for the mission and whether it would be possible to
provide the same level of support to two separate missions. We have
clarified the language of our recommendation to make our intent clearer.

DOD disagreed with our recommendation that the Secretary of the Navy
reassess the policy of not using non-deployed carrier-based EA-6B aircraft
to supplement land-based aircraft for land missions whenever possible. It
stated that if the Navy were to use carrier-based squadrons routinely to
supplement a steady-state level of use of land-based squadrons, such action
would reduce and possibly eliminate the surge capacity the carrier squadrons
can provide to unanticipated contingencies. DOD also restated our point that
the Navy supplements land-based EA-6B squadrons with carrier-based squadrons
when carrier schedules permit and routinely uses the reserve squadron. The
intent of our recommendation is not that the Navy establish a fixed schedule
for carrier-based squadrons to participate in land deployments but rather
that the Navy consider whether it could expand the use of carrier-based
squadrons for 90-day land deployments whenever possible--primarily when its
carrier is scheduled for extended maintenance. Such use would not appear to
disrupt surge capacity for contingencies, since the carrier could not be
deployed while under maintenance. We have revised our conclusion and
recommendation to clarify our intentions.

DOD partially agreed with our recommendation that the Secretary of Defense
direct that AWACS crews from the Pacific be employed to cover some missions.
DOD stated that the Secretary of Defense manages the regional allocation of
AWACS aircraft and crews through the Global Military Force Policy and that
as a matter of policy, it has the flexibility to shift Pacific-based AWACS
crews to other regions. It further stated that although the impact of basing
AWACS crews in the Pacific may warrant further study, it would seem prudent
to continue making AWACS basing and allocation decisions within the
construct of the Global Military Force Policy, leaving the Department the
flexibility to shift Pacific-based AWACS crews to other regions as a matter
of policy. Our report recognizes that the use of Pacific-based AWACS crews
to meet ongoing contingency requirements must be made in the context of
balancing needs in the Pacific with those outside that region. In
particular, we recognize that any decision to expand the use of
Pacific-based AWACS crews must balance the risks of having such crews
deployed outside the theater should a crisis occur in Korea with the
benefits of reducing the level of deployments on AWACS crews based outside
the Pacific. We also report that Pacific-based crews have been used
occasionally to support operations outside the region. However, in view of
the heavy day-to-day use of AWACS crews based outside the Pacific region,
absent a reduction in requirements that would ease the deployment burden on
non-Pacific AWACS crews, a decision to exclude Pacific-based AWACS crews
from deployments would result in crews outside the Pacific region continuing
to exceed deployment goals. We have modified our recommendation to suggest
that the Secretary of Defense reexamine the use of Pacific-based AWACS crews
outside the Pacific region within the context of the Global Military Force
Policy, in light of DOD's recognition in its comments that this subject may
warrant further study.

Appendix IV contains the full text of DOD's comments.

As agreed with your office, unless you publicly announce the contents of
this report earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until
15 days after its issue date. At that time, we will send copies to the
Honorable William S. Cohen, Secretary of Defense, and the Honorable Jacob
Lew, Director, Office of Management and Budget. We will also make copies
available to appropriate congressional committees and to other interested
parties on request. If you or your staff have any questions about this
report, please call me at (202) 512-5140. An alternate contact and major
contributors to this report are listed in appendix V.

Sincerely yours,

Carol R. Schuster
Associate Director
National Security Preparedness Issues

Scope and Methodology

To detail the difficulties faced by the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force in
providing capabilities that are in limited supply in support of future
contingency operations, we obtained briefings, reviewed documents, and
interviewed personnel at Army, Navy, and Air Force locations, at the Office
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and at unified command headquarters within the
United States and Europe. To gain the perspectives of Air Force officials on
the use of Pacific-based Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS)
aircraft crews for worldwide deployments we discussed the benefits and risks
of using those crews with Air Force Air Combat Command and Pacific Air Force
AWACS officials. Our efforts were primarily focused on current operations in
the Balkans and Southwest Asia.

To document the services' proposals to address problems with these
capabilities, we reviewed and discussed studies produced by the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, the Air Force Studies and Analysis Agency, the U.S. Special
Operations Command, and the National Guard Bureau. We also met with weapon
systems representatives to discuss the initiatives already implemented and
their expected impacts. Furthermore, we obtained the Army's plans to provide
forces in the Balkans and Southwest Asia and discussed these plans with
cognizant officials at Army Headquarters and various Army Commands and units
in the United States and Europe.

To evaluate service and Department of Defense (DOD) proposals, we discussed
completed and ongoing studies related to low-density/
high-demand capabilities with the appropriate service and DOD offices;
compared the projected impact of proposals with the actual past performance
of the services in areas such as personnel staffing, recruitment and
retention, and demand management of low-density/
high-demand capabilities; and used service and DOD data to assess the
improvement offered by different proposals. We analyzed the Army's plans to
determine how the Army was meeting its deployment requirements in the
Balkans and Southwest Asia and whether those plans adequately mitigated the
impacts of peacekeeping operations.

Assets Identified by the Joint Staff as Problem Areas

In the summer of 1999, the Joint Staff conducted a Joint War-fighting
Capabilities study to determine which of the 32 assets being managed under
the Global Military Force Policy were problematic. This review considered a
number of factors, including recent usage levels, relative importance to
theater commanders, and impacts of deployments on readiness. From this
review, the following 10 assets were deemed problematic, and actions were
taken to improve conditions. Six of the assets received fiscal year 1999
supplemental funds to improve their condition.

 U.S. Army   U.S. Navy     U.S. Air Force            Navy/Marine Corps
                           Airborne Warning and
                           Control System
                           Airborne Command Control
                           and Communications
                           HC-130 (aerial refueling)
 Civil                     HH-60 (search and rescue) EA-6B (air defense
 Affairs     (classified)  Predator Unmanned Aerial  suppression)
                           Vehicle
                           RC-135 (electronic
                           intelligence)
                           U-2 (intelligence and
                           surveillance)

Deployment Schedules of Army Divisions to the Balkans

Comments From the Department of Defense

The following are GAO's comments on DOD's letter dated June 21, 2000.

1. We recognize the importance of time to allow divisions engaged in the
Balkans to refit, retrain, and prepare for deployment to major theater war
following disengagement from the Balkans. Our point is that with the large
number of Army divisions affected by operations in the Balkans at any one
time--four active and one National Guard division in June 2000--this
disruption to wartime training and availability was a key reason the Army
chose to involve National Guard divisions in the rotations.

2. DOD concurs with the report's treatment of the status of active and
reserve component units. Its comments provide further detail highlighting
the differences between active and reserve civil affairs units.

GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments

Steve Sternlieb (202) 512-4534

In addition to the name above, Rodell Anderson, Tony DeFrank,
Leo Sullivan, and Frank Smith made key contributions to this report.

(702005)

Table 1: Assets Identified by the Joint Staff as Problem Areas 25
  

1. The term contingency operations in this report refers to peacekeeping and
peace enforcement operations such as those in Bosnia and Kosovo and all
other operations other than war, including those enforcing the no-fly zones
over Iraq.

2. A division is a major Army war-fighting organizational unit. The Army has
10 active-duty divisions and 8 National Guard divisions (an Army division
comprises about 10,000-15,000 soldiers).

3. Civil affairs forces interact with civilians and provide the
infrastructure needed to bring government services to the civilian
population. The Army has 1 active-duty civil affairs unit with 208
personnel, and the U.S. Army Reserve has 36 units totaling about 4,900
personnel.

4. As of April 2000, the Army had not used the two divisions based in the
Pacific region to support contingencies outside of their region because of
the divisions' strategic importance. One division, based in Hawaii, is
assigned to the Pacific region and for this report is not considered as
U.S.-based. The two U.S.-based divisions whose usage is currently not
planned for the Balkans include one that is held in strategic reserve and
one that is undergoing modernization, which makes it currently undesirable
for deployments.

5. Military Operations: Impact of Operations Other Than War on the Services
Varies (GAO/NSIAD-99-69 , May 24, 1999).

6. Deployments include command staff personnel and a brigade-size combat
unit. Active division participation varies, but close to 3,000 division
personnel are usually deployed at one time.

7. Because the 1st Infantry Division was the first division deployed to the
peacekeeping operation in Kosovo, there was no recovering division.

8. This analysis was from DOD's Global Status of Resources and Training
System, which is one measure DOD uses in assessing unit readiness. We
considered units that reported C-1 or C-2 levels as having a high readiness
level because they are considered able to undertake most or all of their
wartime missions.

9. Army plans as of April 2000 do not identify which divisions will deploy
to Kosovo after June 2001--that decision is pending.

10. 10 U.S.C. sect. 12304.

11. The Army's sole active civil affairs unit provides an immediate response
capability at the onset of a contingency or crisis. Its personnel have
deployed frequently--an average of
138 days a year. About 97 percent of the Army's civil affairs personnel are
in the reserves; however, their role has been limited to sustaining
operations because the time needed to mobilize these forces precludes their
immediate use in contingency operations. The reserves have been the
predominant source of civil affairs personnel in the Balkans.

12. The number of sites covered are reviewed on an annual basis or as
warranted by world events.

13. The specific sites that are covered by on-call assets are classified.

14. The Navy does not count deployment periods of less than 56 days as
deployments. Therefore, these deployments are not counted when assessing
unit deployment goals. However, one squadron deployment lasted 70 days to
facilitate recovery from the Kosovo air campaign. The reserve squadron
participated for 45 days.

15. An AWACS crew consists of 25 officer and enlisted personnel in different
specialties. The number of trained crews fluctuates.

16. The Air Force considers a system or job category stressed when greater
than 20 percent of its population exceeds the 120-day per year threshold.

17. Military Personnel: Preliminary Results of DOD's 1999 Survey of Active
Duty Members (GAO/T-NSIAD-00-110 , Mar. 8, 2000).
*** End of document. ***