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Madam Chairman and Members of the Committee:
We are pleased to be here today to discuss the skill
qualifications of National Guard and Reserve members, 1 with specific emphasis on the Army's reservists. The ability of reservists to perform effectively, when mobilized, is increasingly important since they have been assigned greater responsibilities
within the defense force.
I would like to comment on three areas relating to individual
military skill qualifications: (1) the number of unqualified reservists, (2) reasons for reservists' skill deficiencies, and (3) service initiatives to improve reservists' qualifications. My testimony is based on preliminary results from two of our ongoing
One review addresses general management issues facing the
Reserves, and the other responds to your request that we examine
individual skill qualifications in the Army and the Army's
proposals to improve them.
GENERAL CONDITION OF
INDIVIDUAL SKILL QUALIFICATIONS
In general, reservists are considered to be "qualified" if they have the skills required for their duty positions. Military
1These National Guard and Reserve soldiers are members of Selected Reserve units that generally train one weekend a month and participate in annual active duty training.
service data indicates that about one of every four reservists is
not fully trained for his or her duty position.
The Reserve Forces Policy Board's most recent annual report
stated that, next to the lack of personnel, the lack of individual
skills was the most significant factor limiting reserve unit
readiness in fiscal year 1987.
Our preliminary analysis indicates
that the Army's early-deploying reserve units have persons assigned
to duty positions for which they are not trained.
REASONS FOR SKILL DEFICIENCIES
Training reservists is difficult.
The Reserves are a part
time force that is required to train at least 38 days a year.
though many reservists exceed this minimum number of days, training
time is limited.
For example, the average number of paid training
days in 1985 for enlisted reservists was 42.
In addition to the
time constraint, there are a number of factors, such as the
following, that affect the Reserves' ability to maintain high
levels of individually qualified personnel:
Training courses are often longer than the 38-day reservist
training requirement. Individual training must also
requirements, and reservists cannot always take time away
from their civilian employment to attend training.
particularly the case for technical skill positions that require long periods of training. For example, the Navy identified 89 Naval enlisted positions that have been difficult to fill principally because of the required training time--the course length ranged from 16 days for an
explosive ordnance demolition diver to 320 days for a
Similarly, we identified 67 Army
military occupational specialty (MOS) courses provided to reserve and active members that take more than 4 months to
The Reserves rely in part on recruiting persons with prior military experience--active and reserve. These persons are already trained; however, in some cases their former military occupational skills are not needed in the units
they join. Consequently, they must be retrained.
fiscal year 1987, about one half of the Army National
directive, a unit may only draw from the pool of individuals within a 100-mile radius of its location. Thus, persons with the needed skills are not always
Similarly, reservists who relocate may not be
able to find units in need of their military specialties.
Because of equipment modernization and mission assignment
changes, reservists may not be qualified for their duty
tank is replaced by the M-l tank, a tank crewman must be
retrained in a
new MOS, as the old MOS will no longer be
The services are aware of problems with military skills in the
Reserves and are developing programs such as the following to
address these problems:
The Navy and Air Force have developed modularized training, which divides courses into segments that can be taught during a reservist's 2-week active duty training period and
a certain number of weekend drills.
The Navy has developed
7 modular courses since 1985 and plans to complete 13 more
courses by the end of fiscal year 1990.
The Air Force has