The Pentagon would need to prepare and implement a strategic plan for addressing deficiencies in the ability of the military’s training ranges to support readiness requirements needed to carry out the National Defense Strategy, under language in the Senate version of the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill. The provision, section 2832, first requires DOD to evaluate:
- the adequacy of existing training ranges, including “the ability to train against near-peer or peer threats in a realistic 5th generation environment”; and
- the adequacy of current training enablers to meet current and anticipated demands of the armed forces.
The strategic plan would include:
- proposals to enhance the capabilities of ranges to address any limitations on existing resources, including “climatically induced impacts or shortfalls”;
- goals and milestones for tracking actions under the plan; and
- projected funding requirements for implementing the plan.
The undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, who would have lead responsibility for developing and overseeing implementation of the plan, would be required to provide annual progress reports to Congress starting April 1, 2019, covering:
- progress made implementing the strategic plan;
- a description of additional actions takes to address limitations on training ranges and enablers; and
- assessments of individual ranges addressing the initial evaluations.
The House version of the defense policy bill, H.R 5515, includes report language directing the Government Accountability Office to assess the extent to which DOD has developed a comprehensive strategic plan to improve the availability and sufficiency of training ranges to meet its training needs. “Training ranges lack sufficient capability and capacity to support full-spectrum training requirements, including the replication of near-peer adversaries capabilities,” the House Armed Services Committee states.
Army photo by Sgt. Arjenis Nunez