Detailed Information on the
Marine Corps Ground Forces Readiness Assessment

Program Code 10003221
Program Title Marine Corps Ground Forces Readiness
Department Name Dept of Defense--Military
Agency/Bureau Name Department of Defense--Military
Program Type(s) Direct Federal Program
Assessment Year 2006
Assessment Rating Effective
Assessment Section Scores
Section Score
Program Purpose & Design 100%
Strategic Planning 100%
Program Management 86%
Program Results/Accountability 80%
Program Funding Level
(in millions)
FY2007 $3,897
FY2008 $4,551
FY2009 $1,566
*Note: funding shown for a program may be less than the actual program amount in one or more years because part of the program's funding was assessed and shown in other PART(s).

Ongoing Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Develop with the Marine Forces commands (MARFORPAC, MARFORCOM, MARFORSOUTH, MARCENT) revised performance metircs.

Action taken, but not completed Plan of action and milestones established to provide revised metrics by November 2007 to be included with the PB-09 President's Budget.

During PR09 it was determined that a metric should be developed to assist in determining funding levels for Operations and Training Support (O&M funding) and, enable P&R programmers and budgeters to estimate and assess the capability provided by different levels of exercise funding, and assist the MARFORs in articulating the impact of decrements or increases to funding levels. This will enable the MARFORs to establish defendable budget request for O&M and manage budget decrements in the operations and training support budget lines. Additionally, it will enable P&R programmers and budgeters translate dollars into capability for those outside of the Marine Corps programming and budgeting process.

Action taken, but not completed Tentative completion date for this effort is 5 Nov 2007.

Completed Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Program Performance Measures

Term Type  
Annual Output

Measure: Combat Ready Day-Equipment and Training (CRED-ET)

Explanation:Combat Ready Day-Equipment and Training: This measure represents one Status Of Resources & Training System (SORTS) reportable unit reporting an equipment rating of R1 or R2 and a training rating of T1 or T2 for one day. The % Achieved represents the percentage of units throughout the USMC (both Active and Reserve Components) that have achieved this desired SORTS rating.

Year Target Actual
2002 119512 116575
2003 118483 118522
2004 99942 93708
2005 99942 91834
2006 99481 84112
2007 99481 80255
2008 99481
2009 99481
2010 99481
2011 99481
2012 99481
2013 99481
Long-term/Annual Outcome

Measure: Percent of possible Combat Ready Days-Equipment and Training Achieved

Explanation:This metric measures the percent of Marine ground forces units that reported a Combat Ready Day-Equipment and Training on any given day. Deployed Marine units are not factored into this measure, which causes a donward distortion of the metric when large numbers of Marines are deployed to combat operations since those units do not deploy unless they are ready.

Year Target Actual
2002 88% 86%
2003 88% 88%
2004 88% 83%
2005 88% 81%
2006 88% 74%
2007 88% 71%
2008 88%
2009 88%
2010 88%
2011 88%
2012 88%
2013 88%
Long-term/Annual Efficiency

Measure: Cost per CRED-ET.

Explanation:This metric measures the amount of funds required to achieve one CRED-ET. Large overseas deployments of Marines cause the per CRED-ET to be higher than a peacetime baseline.

Year Target Actual
2002 n/a $3,252
2003 n/a $3,631
2004 n/a $4,309
2005 $5,227 $5,227
2006 $3,374 $3,374
2007 $6,040 $5,251
2008 $7,920
2009 $8,216
2010 $8,280
2011 $8,437
2012 $8,545
2013 $8,675

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score

Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: The purpose of the Operating Forces program is to provide training and equipment maintenance to Marine Corps Force Commanders so they can provide combat ready forces to the Combatant Commanders.

Evidence: Title 10 U.S.C. 5063 outlines the organization of the Marine Corps' operating forces. Operating Forces are the heart of the Marine Corps. This program provides resources to the operating forces that constitute the Marine Air-Ground Team and Marine security forces at naval installations and aboard Naval vessels. The program finances training and routine operations; organizational- and intermediate-level maintenance of ground equipment; routine supplies, travel, per diem and emergency leave; automatic data processing and purchases; and replenishment and replacement of both unit and individual equipment. The program also provides for the movement of troops to participate in military exercises. Operating forces consist of around 65 percent of all active duty Marines.

YES 20%

Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: The U.S. requires an expeditionary amphibious military capability to fight and win wars and to deter potential enemies from attacking U.S. interests at home and abroad. The Marine Corps fulfill this requirement; the Marine Corps Operations program provides resources so Marine units are ready to conduct operations necessary to defend U.S. interests.

Evidence: Today, U.S. Marines are fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and engaged in a global war on terror against radical insurgents, and religious extremists. The expeditionary nature of the Marine Corps makes it uniquely capable of bringing the fight to the enemy. As the enemy's methods become more unconventional, the value of the United States Marine Corps' operating forces has never been greater.

YES 20%

Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any other Federal, state, local or private effort?

Explanation: The Marine Corps Operating Forces are unique. While both the Army and Marine Corps constitute the Nation's land forces, they each have unique and complementary capabilities. The Army provides forces for sustained combat operations on land and maintains heavy and light forces based both in the United States and overseas. The Marine Corps, as part of the Nation's maritime forces, provide expeditionary forces to project combat power ashore in support of naval campaigns or in conjunction with Army and Air Force units. The Marine Corps are designed to provide seabased, self-sustained power projection and forcible entry ashore, and non-traditional missions such as noncombatant evacuations, security operations, tactical recovery of aircraft personnel, and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief. Unlike Army units, Marine Expeditionary Units, consisting of about 2,000 Marines, are forward deployed in or near regions of vital U.S. interest. These forces provide a swift and effective means of responding to fast-breaking crises and can remain on station for indefinite periods of time, ready to intervene or take action if needed.

Evidence: Department of Defense Directive 5100.1, Functions of the DoD and its Major Components, derived from Title X, Chapter 6 of U.S. Code, delineates the role of each military service to ensure there is no redundancy. Per the directive, the Marine Corps "shall" develop and maintain the capability to perform amphibious operations.

YES 20%

Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program's effectiveness or efficiency?

Explanation: The United States Marine Corps are the most powerful expeditionary warfare force in the world, with a long history of success in defending our Nation's interests.

Evidence: The current performance of the Marine Corps in Iraq and Afghanistan underscores the success of their operating forces programs. Marines are well-prepared to fight our Nation's battles when called upon to do so.

YES 20%

Is the program design effectively targeted so that resources will address the program's purpose directly and will reach intended beneficiaries?

Explanation: Marine Corps Operations funds are fenced within the Operation and Maintenance, Marine Corps (O&M) appropriation such that appropriated funds must be spent in support of the program. This program is the Marine Corps' top priority and ensuring that it is properly resourced is of paramount importance. DOD and the Marine Corps also perform a mid-year review to evaluate the execution of the program against the planned performance, and to ensure that it is properly resourced.

Evidence: Budget appropriation and execution data including 1002 reports support this position. The Marine Corps uses activity based costing to formulate its budget requests so that its units will be properly resourced to achieve their performance goals which contribute to readiness levels.

YES 20%
Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design Score 100%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning
Number Question Answer Score

Does the program have a limited number of specific long-term performance measures that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?

Explanation: The Defense Department measures military readiness through the Status of Resources and Training System (SORTS), which consists of several variables measured on a scale from one to four that indicate the level to which a unit is ready for combat. A unit is considered ready if its SORTS measures are one or two. The Marine Corps operating forces program use the Combat Ready Day - Equipment and Training (CRED-ET) to measure the success of its operating forces programs. A CRED-ET represents one SORTS reportable unit reporting an equipment rating of R1/R2 and a training rating of T1/T2 for one day. In other words, one CRED-ET is equivalent to one day of a unit being ready for combat. The Marine Corps measure long-term performance by calculating the percent of possible CRED-ETs achieved.

Evidence: The Department of Defense collects regular SORTS data, which is made available to military leadership in classified reports. The Marine Corps publish their CRED-ET data in their annual budget justifications.

YES 14%

Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?

Explanation: The Marine Corps have a long-term end-state target of achieving 88% of possible CRED-ETs, which is equivalent to 88% of Marine Corps units being ready for combat on any given day. This is quite ambitious, especially considering that when units stand down following regular deployment cycles their readiness levels are expected drop until they begin training for the next cycle.

Evidence: The Marine Corps target for the percent of possible CRED-ETs achieved is outlined in their annual budget justifications.

YES 14%

Does the program have a limited number of specific annual performance measures that can demonstrate progress toward achieving the program's long-term goals?

Explanation: Marine Corps Operations use the Combat Ready Day - Equipment and Training (CRED-ET) to measure progress toward achieving their long-term goal, which is to have 88% of Marine ground forces ready for combat on any given day. The Status of Resources and Training System (SORTS) allows military leadership to determine the readiness levels of individual units so they can target resources where they are most needed to meet the Marine Corps readiness goal.

Evidence: SORTS data is available to military leadership in regular classified reports. CRED-ET data are available in the Marine Corps annual budget justifications.

YES 14%

Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets for its annual measures?

Explanation: The Marine Corps have well-established baselines and annual targets for all of its annual performance measures. The Marine Corps annual targets are especially ambitious considering the high rate of deployment currently experienced by Marine Corps units as they fight the War on Terror. The Marine Corps measures do not include units deployed to combat operations, which must be rated at the highest level of readiness before deployment. Therefore annual targets are artificially deflated when significant numbers of Marine Corps units are deployed.

Evidence: The Marine Corps make their annual targets available in annual budget justifications.

YES 14%

Do all partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) commit to and work toward the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?

Explanation: Marine Corps has institutionalized the review of logistics support for all new systems and equipment to maximize efficiencies and seek the most economical solution to meet the desired level of readiness.

Evidence: One example of a successful Contract Logistics Support (CLS) is the CLS support for the Medium Tactical Replacement (MTVR). Under this CLS initiative, the new Oshkosh e-commerce system seamlessly interfaces with the current Marine Corps supply and accounting system. The system allows the Marine Corps to reduce lead times for parts orders, provide real-time order status via the Internet and provide life-cycle analysis. It leverages Oshkosh's global service network to provide quick response, regardless of where parts and service may be needed. As part of the same initiative, Oshkosh will also provide bumper-to-bumper parts and service support for the new Medium Tactical Replacement (MTVR) fleet of up to 8,168 vehicles. The program is another example of Oshkosh Truck and the U.S. Marine Corps partnering to achieve current Department of Defense initiatives through reduced overall lifecycle costs and high vehicle readiness. The e-commerce parts system could be available to all Marine Corps facilities, including reserve units, and is available to other Oshkosh defense customers, including the U.S. Army.

YES 0%

Are independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality conducted on a regular basis or as needed to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: The Marine Corps has a long standing program for review and analysis of readiness factors called the Marine Corps Logistics Chain Analysis Team (MCLCAT). This team is independent of the commands that report units' readiness. The MCLCAT mission statement is to analyze and facilitate the application of best operational practices in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of existing and emerging integrated logistics chain processes in support of Marine Air Ground Task Force warfighting capabilities.

Evidence: Per Marine Administrative Message (MARADMIN) 437/02 the program focuses on operational research and analysis of the entire logistics chain, including the Operating Forces and Supporting Establishment within the Marine Corps, as well as external logistics processes impacted by other Services, DoD combat support Agencies, and commercial industry. The scope of the program includes supply, maintenance, and material readiness, total system life cycle management, logistics information technology, distribution, Force Deployment Planning and Execution (FDP&E), and will integrate under the umbrella of the Global Combat Service Support-Marine Corps architecture. In addition the Marine Corps Inspector General has a department specifically designated to review and analyze readiness. The mission of the IG Readiness Section is to conduct short/no notice visits to selected commands to identify systemic issues and policies impacting unit operational readiness and/or mission accomplishment. In conjunction with HQMC and other appropriate agencies, analyze the issues and determine the appropriate course of action necessary to remove or mitigate the identified constraints.

YES 14%

Are Budget requests explicitly tied to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals, and are the resource needs presented in a complete and transparent manner in the program's budget?

Explanation: The Marine Corps explicitly links its budget requests for operating forces to the number of Combat Ready Days-Equipment and Training (CRED-ET). Marine Corps budget justifications include the number of CRED-ETs and the costs to achieve an individual CRED-ET. This directly links an increase or decrease in funding to an increase or decrease in Marine Corps ground forces readiness. Nonetheless, CRED-ETs are relatively recent measurements, so their predictive power is limited. The program reports all direct costs to achieve a CRED-ET. The entire Defense budget indirectly supports overall military readiness. Therefore, reporting indirect costs is neither feasible nor useful.

Evidence: Marine Corps budget justification materials explicitly show the number of CRED-ETs the Marine Corps hope to achieve and the costs required to achieve those goals. Because the CRED-ET metric was developed in 2005, the Marine Corps do not have a peacetime baseline for CRED-ETs, therefore the predictive power of the metric is still limited.

YES 14%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?

Explanation: The Marine Corps Ground Readiness Program budget is reviewed annually during either the on-year Program Objective Memorandum review or the off-year Program Review. In addition, the DoD biennial Strategic Planning Guidance (SPG) and Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) results are integrated into the program to achieve desired results.

Evidence: The Strategic Planning Guidance for the 2008 budget cycle was integrated into the Marine Corps FY 2008 Budget Estimate.

YES 14%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning Score 100%
Section 3 - Program Management
Number Question Answer Score

Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?

Explanation: The Marine Corps performance criteria is reported annually with each budget request. However, the data source for the performance criteria is based on Status of Resources and Training System (SORTS) data. SORTS is a Joint Staff resource and unit monitoring system designed to support crisis response and deliberate planning information requirements. SORTS has become more of a service tool in its reporting areas; showing the Marine Corps' ability to organize, train, maintain, and equip the operating force for use by the combatant commanders. SORTS provides information on a unit's status of selected resources and training status, relative to its ability to undertake their assigned mission(s). SORTS normal reporting is on a "by exception" basis with submissions reaching the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) master database within 24 hours. No change validation reporting occurs within 30 days of the last report. Increased frequency of reporting may be directed by the Joint Staff or Combatant Commander as needed.

Evidence: The Operating Forces Commanders and subordinate Marine Corps units are held accountable for executing the approved Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) training strategies goals. In addition, these organizations are also held accountable for properly using funding and other resources allocated to achieving these goals.

YES 14%

Are Federal managers and program partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?

Explanation: The Operating Forces Commanders and subordinate Marine Corps units are held accountable for executing the approved Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) training strategies goals. In addition, these organizations are also held accountable for properly using funding and other resources allocated to achieving these goals.

Evidence: DOD Directive 7045.14 specifies that the Planning, Programming, and Budgeting System (PPBS) will involve centralized planning and oversight but decentralized execution. The Marine Corps uses the Resource Evaluation and Analysis (REA) Function (MCO 7540.2E) to assist commanders comptrollers in ensuring effective and accurate control and use of funds and resources provided for mission accomplishment.

YES 14%

Are funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner, spent for the intended purpose and accurately reported?

Explanation: Ensuring that all appropriated funding is executed during the period of availability is a top priority of the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps establish projected monthly expenditures and strive to maintain that schedule. Acctual obligations are tracked monthly by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. Wartime operations and supplemental operations have distorted the monthly schedule in recent years, but the Marine Corps have consistently obligated their funds in a timely manner.

Evidence: The Marine Corps closely monitors the spending of its resources, ensuring that those funds appropriated are obligated. For Fiscal Year 2005, a year with increased operational tempo, the Marine Corps obligated 99.95% of the funds appropriated in the Operations and Maintenance, Marine Corps (O&MMC) appropriation. Over the past five years (FY 00-04), O&MMC has executed an average of over 99% of the funds appropriated.

YES 14%

Does the program have procedures (e.g. competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements, appropriate incentives) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?

Explanation: The Marine Corps is continuously evaluating the status of funding and reviews program relevance in an increasingly changing environment. In addition, DOD's mid-year funding execution review allows OSD to focus on DOD-wide efficiency and effectiveness. Results of this review reallocates resources throughout DOD to achieve operational and management goals. The Marine Corps measure the efficiency of their readiness programs by tracking the amount of funds spent on readiness compared to the level of readiness that units achieve.

Evidence: Tri-annually, the Marine Corps Fiscal Operations Branch conducts a review of current year fiscal execution data, realigning funding to meet operational requirements.

YES 14%

Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?

Explanation: The Marine Corps participates regularly in joint training exercises and operations directed by the Commander, Joint Chiefs of Staff. These joint exercises and operations allow the Marine Corps to strengthen it's ability to integrate with the other services and meet mission goals.

Evidence: From November 2000 to present, the Marine Corps has participated in several joint and multi-national operations to include Operation JOINT GUARDIAN (Kosovo), Operation FERVENT ARCHER (Sarajevo & Tuzla), Operation JOINT FORGE (Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina), up to current day combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to tsunami and hurricane ravaged areas.

YES 14%

Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: The Defense Department's financial management weaknesses are well-documented. While DoD continues to make efforts to improve it, the Department has yet to obtain an unqualified audit opinion. The Marine Corps does not have audit reports demonstrating that its ground forces readiness program is free from internal weaknesses. Nonetheless, the Marine Corps is in the forefront of the Department of Defense, as it anticipates achieving a clean audit statement in 2007.

Evidence: Numerous audits document the Department's financial management weaknesses. Because of the magnitude of its problems, DoD is unlikely to obtain an unqualified audit for some time.

NO 0%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?

Explanation: As the primary indicator of readiness, SORTS indicates, at a selected point in time, the level of resource indicators coupled with a training assessment evaluated against the unit's assign mission. It is the Commander's responsibility to report accurate and timely information.

Evidence: Commanders are given the opportunity to explain changes in SORTS data and provide a subjective assessment of the unit's ability to perform their currently assigned mission(s). Additionally, commanders will report a forcasted "get-well" date for low readiness levels.

YES 14%
Section 3 - Program Management Score 86%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score

Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term performance goals?

Explanation: The Combat Ready Day - Equipment and Training (CRED-ET) goal of 88% has been determined as adequate for the Operating Forces to maintain combat effectiveness.

Evidence: The Marine Corps has used CRED-ET as a metric since submission of the FY 2005 President's Budget. The 88% CRED-ET days achieved continues to be the desired goal.

YES 20%

Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?

Explanation: Combat Ready Day - Equipment and Training (CRED-ET) data is collected at the end of the year of execution. Since the metric is new, more time is required to collect an adequate number of data points to conduct quantitative analysis.

Evidence: Percent CRED-ET days achieved: FY 2002 = 86%, FY 2003 = 88%, FY 2004 = 83%, FY 2005 = 81%. The CRED-ET does not measure readiness of units that are deployed (which must be ready before they are deployed). This removes ready units from the mix and distorts the metric. Therefore, large-scale deployments of Marine ground units distorts the percent of CRED-ETs achieved downward. Had these units not been deployed, the Marine Corps would have shown significant achievement of its annual target for CRED-ET days achieved.


Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?

Explanation: There are many factors that will affect a unit's readiness that can not be easily measured. Operational tempo and management decisions can cause the readiness indicators and performance criteria (CRED-ET) to show unusually low readiness levels. The overall costs for maintaining Marine Corps readiness appear to be relatively constant, but increased operational tempo limits opportunities to meaningfully assess program efficiency.

Evidence: Evidence may be skewed due to inflation factors, increased fuel costs, and the enormous wear and tear on equipment due to increased usage. In addition, in support of global contingencies, equipment is occasionally left in theater for use by other Marine Corps units; when this happens, units remaining at home stations must share equipment. Operations in a wartime environment are expected to increase per unit costs for readiness. The increases in the cost per CRED-ET appear small relative to increased operational tempo.


Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., with similar purpose and goals?

Explanation: The Combat Ready Day - Equipment and Training (CRED-ET) links established actual readiness indicators with appropriated funding. Marine readiness appears comparable with the Army. In addition, the U.S. Marine Corps is widely regarded as the most effective Marine Corps in the world.

Evidence: The Army uses tank miles as a performance metric, which is a limited output measure. Both Army and Marine units have performed admirably in their deployments in support of the war on terror.

YES 20%

Do independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?

Explanation: The responsibility for assessing an organization's materiel readiness and compliance with established policy remains with unit Commander, with applied emphasis on existing inspection and audit programs within the Operating Forces chain of command; i.e., Inspector General of the Marine Corps (IGMC). Supply and Maintenance Assistance Team (SMAT), etc. The military command is the only appropriate entity to assess unit readiness, which is ultimately based on military judgement. The only possible unbiased demonstration of unit readiness is its performance on the battlefield. The Marine Corps have demonstrated its superiority on the battlefield countless times, which provides the best evidence of the Marine Corps ground forces readiness program's effectiveness.

Evidence: The successful deployment of Marine Forces in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the continued presence of Marine Corps units around the globe demonstrates the effectiveness of Marine Ground Forces readiness.

YES 20%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability Score 80%

Last updated: 09062008.2006SPR