Report | March 24, 2016

Chemical and Biological Training for Army and Marine Corps Units in the Republic of Korea Needs Improvement DODIG-2016-050

Objective

Our audit objective was to determine whether forward-deployed forces assigned to U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) were trained to defend against chemical and biological agents. For this audit we determined whether ground forces stationed in the Republic of Korea (ROK) incorporated chemical and biological (CB) training into collective training exercises. This is the second in a series of audits on USFK chemical and biological defense preparedness.

Finding

Although the Army rotational armored brigade combat team we reviewed conducted collective CB training during pre-deployment exercises and planned to conduct additional training while deployed in the ROK, Army and Marine Corps units stationed in the ROK were not conducting collective CB training. Specifically, we reviewed a nonstatistical sample of 19 Army units and one Marine Corps unit, of which 18 Army units and one Marine Corps unit did not plan, conduct, or evaluate collective CB training while stationed in the ROK.

This occurred because:

  • the Army and Marine Corps units focused on individual CB training and did not integrate collective CB training into their unit mission training exercises;
  • command inspections had not been performed for four Army units reviewed;
  • five Army units had not taken corrective actions on CB training deficiencies identified in command inspections; and
  • 10 Army units did not have CB collective training weaknesses identified in command inspections.

If not corrected, the CB training deficiencies discussed in this report increase the risk that U.S. forces stationed in the ROK may not be able to conduct their wartime missions in a CB‑contaminated environment. Collective CB training is necessary to allow unit commanders to adequately access unit readiness to continue wartime missions under CB conditions.

Recommendations

We recommend that the Commander, Eighth Army, require that collective CB training be integrated into exercises conducted by the Eighth Army and its subordinate commands, corrective action be taken on CB-related deficiencies identified in command inspections, and subordinate commands conduct annual inspections of collective CB training and enter training records into the Digital Training Management System. In addition, we recommend that the Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Korea, develop a verification process to make sure collective CB training is conducted by forces assigned to U.S. Marine Forces Korea.

Management Comments and Our Response

The Commander, Eighth Army, and the Deputy Commander, responding for the Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Korea, addressed all specifics of the recommendations, and no further comments are required.

This report is a result of Project No. D2014-D000RF-0204.000.