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Audit of the Training of the Army’s Regionally Aligned Forces in the U.S. Africa Command DODIG-2019-096

Audit

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Publicly released: June 25, 2019

Objective

The objective of this audit was to determine whether U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) Regionally Aligned Forces (RAF) were trained to meet the RAF’s mission requirements. We focused on whether the regionally aligned training was adequate in preparing RAF personnel for missions in USAFRICOM.

Background

USAFRICOM is focused on building partner capacity, while developing and conducting its activities to enhance safety, security, and stability in Africa. To succeed in this effort and address the continent’s most pressing challenges, USAFRICOM relies on the RAF to execute operations, exercises, and security cooperation activities. According to Army Strategic Planning Guidance, the RAF provides combatant commanders with tailored, responsive, and consistently available Army forces for their region. The Army allocates a different Brigade Combat Team (BCT) to the RAF each year and this BCT executes most of the RAF missions.

Before deploying for RAF missions, USAFRICOM RAF personnel must complete both mission essential tasks (METs) training and regionally aligned training.

METs training focuses on the fundamental capabilities that units should possess in any operational environment. For example, METs training for an infantry BCT would include training for key combat skills, such as conducting an attack on enemy forces or securing an area.

Regionally aligned training, which includes required and supplemental training, is specific to the RAF mission. Required regionally aligned training is mandatory for all RAFs, regardless of the combatant command they support, while supplemental training relates to the skills needed for specific missions or an individual combatant command. Examples of the required regionally aligned training include Level 1 Antiterrorism Awareness training and Personnel Recovery training. Supplemental training for the USAFRICOM RAF includes training on foreign weapons and United Nations infantry standards. Regionally aligned training does not have a standardized training plan, so the unit commander has discretion to decide which supplemental training is necessary for RAF personnel.

Finding

RAF personnel allocated to USAFRICOM did not receive adequate regionally aligned training to meet the RAF’s mission requirements. For example, senior U.S. officials from country teams, individual RAF personnel, a USAFRICOM Branch Chief, and an Army Asymmetric Warfare Group observation reported the need for more robust preparation in several areas, including cultural awareness training, instructor training to enable the teaching and advising of skills and tactics to partner nations, and training on partner nations’ environments or militaries.

We determined that Army components did not plan, implement, or monitor the regionally aligned training provided to the USAFRICOM RAF in accordance with Army requirements. Specifically,

  • The Center for Army Analysis, U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), and U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) did not perform assessments of the implementation, training and preparation, and performance of the RAF regionally aligned training program, as required by Fragmentary Order 1, Annex E to the RAF Execute Order. The assessments, if done correctly, would have identified whether RAF training was sufficient, whether RAF training given to units was tailored to the units’ RAF missions, and whether RAF personnel felt adequately prepared for RAF missions. In addition, the assessments also would have identified whether the BCT is the best unit to support the RAF compared to other military formations.
     
  • USARAF did not provide RAF units with clear directions for completing after‐action reviews or use lessons learned from completed missions, as required by Army Regulation 11‐33 and affirmed by the DoD in 2015, to identify areas for improvements in the RAF’s regionally aligned training program. Specifically, Army Regulation 11‐33 requires USARAF to direct RAF units in their submission of after‐action reviews and to manage the collection, analysis, and dissemination of lessons learned and best practices. In addition, the DoD stated in 2015 that it would use after‐action reviews submitted by RAF units to update the RAF’s training guidance. However, the USAFRICOM RAF’s after‐action reviews were not standardized and did not address the RAF’s training.

As a result, the RAF has not been consistently prepared for its deployments to Africa, which has degraded the effectiveness of the RAF’s missions. Specifically, U.S. senior officials from country teams, individual RAF personnel, and the Army Asymmetric Warfare Group reported that the lack of RAF mission preparation, cultural awareness training, instructor training, and training on the partner nation’s environment or military has resulted in RAF personnel being unable to meet mission requirements. Security cooperation is a key element of USAFRICOM’s theater campaign plan because it helps build our African partners’ capabilities and capacities, which promotes regional security, stability, and prosperity in Africa. Therefore, ineffective RAF training could disrupt or delay the execution of USAFRICOM’s strategy for the continent.

Recommendations

We recommend that the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, G‐3/5/7, direct the Center for Army Analysis, or a more appropriate Army component, to assess the USAFRICOM RAF’s implementation. The assessment should, at a minimum, analyze how RAF units are selected; identify how the RAF uses metrics and determine whether the BCTs have the right mix of personnel, including rank and expertise, to execute RAF missions; and determine whether the BCT is the best option for the RAF compared to other options, such as the Security Forces Assistance Brigade.

In addition, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, G‐3/5/7, should direct FORSCOM, or a more appropriate Army component, to assess the USAFRICOM RAF’s regionally aligned training program. The assessments should, at a minimum, analyze the RAF commanders’ training plans; compare training plans to the RAF missions and determine whether training plans are properly aligned; analyze mission after‐action reviews and interview RAF personnel for areas of improvement related to training and preparation; and implement improvements to the RAF’s regionally aligned training program that will ensure RAF personnel are prepared to meet mission requirements.

Furthermore, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, G‐3/5/7, should direct USARAF, or a more appropriate Army component, to assess the USAFRICOM RAF’s performance. The assessments should, at a minimum, incorporate a baseline to aid in measuring the effectiveness of RAF missions; include the results of after‐action reviews and documented interviews with RAF and country team personnel to identify areas of improvement; and quantify the results of RAF missions and their contributions toward USAFRICOM’s Theater Campaign Plan.

Finally, we recommend that the USARAF Commanding General provide the RAF clear instructions to guide after‐action reviews and use lessons learned from completed missions and rotations to identify improvements in the regionally aligned training program.

Management Comments and Our Response

The Division Chief of the Interoperability, Stability, and Security Cooperation Division, responding for the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, G‐3/5/7, agreed with the recommendations to assess the RAF, stating that the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, G‐3/5/7, will form a workgroup to review and update Execute Order 052‐13 by July 2019. The Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, G‐3/5/7, will update tasks across the Army in the new Execute Order and plans to publish the new order by January 2020. The tasks pertaining to assessing RAF implementation, training, and performance will be updated in the new order.

Comments from the Division Chief of the Interoperability, Stability, and Security Cooperation Division addressed all specifics of the recommendations. Therefore, the recommendations are resolved but will remain open. We will close the recommendations once we verify that the new Execute Order directs an appropriate component to assess RAF implementation, training, and performance.

The Commanding General of USARAF agreed with the recommendation for improving after‐action reviews and using lessons learned, stating that USARAF will add a task within the annual order and all individual activity orders that directs all subordinate units to complete after‐action reviews and review previous lessons learned. In addition, USARAF plans to publish clear instructions and a standardized format to guide lessons learned by July 1, 2019. USARAF will continue to incorporate lessons learned into RAF onboarding and other RAF training.

Comments from the Commanding General of USARAF addressed all specifics of the recommendation. Therefore, the recommendation is resolved but will remain open. We will close the recommendation once we verify that tasks for completing after‐action reviews and using lessons learned have been added to the annual order and the individual activity orders, and that USARAF has published clear instructions to guide lessons learned.

This report is a result of Project No. D2018‐D000RH‐0188.000.