Detailed Information on the
Army Air Readiness Assessment

Program Code 10003229
Program Title Army Air 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 Moderately Effective
Assessment Section Scores
Section Score
Program Purpose & Design 100%
Strategic Planning 100%
Program Management 72%
Program Results/Accountability 75%
Program Funding Level
(in millions)
FY2007 $0
FY2008 $1,702
FY2009 $1,928
*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

Continue to train Army pilots at a high-level of readiness to engage in combat operations.

Action taken, but not completed Completion date will be ongoing.

Completed Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Provide OMB with an efficiency metric outlining the cost per flying hour


Program Performance Measures

Term Type  
Annual Efficiency

Measure: Cost per flying hour for Blackhawk helicopters

Explanation:Each type of aircraft has its own unique cost factor. Furthermore, cost factors for the Active Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve are different as they have different training strategies based on the number of days each service has available to train on an annual basis. Additionally, aircraft in Europe, Asia, the United States and the Pacific region have different operating costs based on unique training requirements peculiar to those specific regions coupled with geographic factors that affect aircraft maintenance. This measure addresses the Blackhawk helicopter because the army possesses more of them than any other type of helicopter.

Year Target Actual
2010 $1988
2008 $2116
2007 $1847 $1847
2009 $1952
2006 $1669 $1669
2005 $1298 $1298
2004 $1375 $1375
Annual Outcome

Measure: Percentage of Programmed Flying hours actually Flown

Explanation:Extensive evaluation by the army has determined that there is a direct correlation between the number of hours flown per crew per month and crew readiness to perform assigned missions. This measurement compares the army's estimate of the total number of hours it determines it needs to fly to maintain a ready force with the number of hours that are actually flown.

Year Target Actual
2010 100%
2009 100%
2008 100%
2007 100% 99.4%
2003 100% 104.1%
2002 100% 90.3%
2006 100% 90.0%
2005 100% 126.8%
2004 100% 119.9%
2001 100% 90.3%
2000 100% 88.2%

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score

Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: The Army Flying Hour Program (FHP) purpose is clear -- to provide air crews that are trained and ready for combat and other missions in support of our National Military Strategy (NMS).

Evidence: Title 10 of the U.S. Code and DOD Directive 5100.1 Sect. 6.6 requires the Army to man, train, and equip units ready to execute combat missions. Army aviation is a key component of this requirement. Training requirements for army aviation are consistent with the roles and missions that army aviators are likely to be called on to perform. The requirements are measured in hours flown per crew / per month which is commonly referred to as (Crew OPTEMPO). The crew OPTEMPO is derived from the Combined Arms Training Strategy (CATS) and published Army Training Circulars known as Aircrew Training Manuals (ATM). These flying hour requirements ensure we have trained and ready aviators capable of executing their wartime mission in support of the National Military Strategy.

YES 20%

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

Explanation: Army Aviation is a critical component of our nation's ability to field military forces that can dominate all adversaries. The Army Flying Hour Program ensures that our aviators are trained and ready to execute any mission in support of the national military objectives be it combat or humanitarian in nature.

Evidence: The Army Flying Hour Program is based on a Training and Doctrine Command-approved Combined Arms Training Strategy (CATS). The CATS, in conjunction with aircraft Aircrew Training Manuals (ATMs) provides the basis for a training program designed to ensure that army aviators are trained and ready to execute their mission in support of the National Military Strategy.

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 functions, roles and missions of the army aviation program are directly linked to the army's role of ground combat and are, therefore, unique. Although each branch of the Armed Services has the capability to conduct air operations, those capabilities are complementary and not duplicative.

Evidence: The Army Campaign Plan highlights the fact that Army aviation is trained prepared to deploy as part of a larger army team known as a combined arms team. The actual structure of the team may change based on the conditions, but in general it consists of ground units and aviation units. The Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) is the primary component that supports Divisions and Brigade Combat Teams and it can stand alone or as part of a larger team depending on the mission. It may include elements that can transport soldiers and/or equipment, conduct reconnaissance for ground units, or provide direct support to ground units with guns, rockets, and missiles. No other service can provide that width and breath of support to the maneuver ground force commander.

YES 20%

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

Explanation: The program is well-designed in that it adjusts actual requirements based on a diverse set of functions that aviators may be called on to perform, and develops training tasks around those functions. Each type of aircraft has different requirements based on its primary role and although the flight requirement is commonly said to be 14.5 hours per crew per month, that number is an average derived from each type of aircraft. For example, the requirement for Apache attack helicopter crews is 13.4 hours per month, Blackhawk utility helicopters is 14.5 hours, and OH-58D reconnaissance helicopters is 17.3. Within the total requirement per crew per month are numerous sub tasks that are tailored for each type of aircraft. For example, 50% of the hours may be dedicated to night flying (further broken down by flying under instruments or night vision goggles), 35% for day flying to practice mission essential tasks, 10% for aerial gunnery (target practice), and 5% for general maintenance check-out flights.

Evidence: The Department of the Army tracks flying hour execution on a monthly basis down to the unit level. This continuous scrutiny enables army leadership to identify shortcomings and reallocate resources to correct those deficiencies before they create a readiness problem.

YES 20%

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

Explanation: The Flying Hour Program is a high priority for army leadership up to and including the Chief of Staff. The program is built and resourced to ensure that it provides trained and ready pilots. Any reallocation of funding out of the program receives extensive scrutiny while reallocating within the program based on evolving inputs is encouraged. In the event of un-forecasted training and operational requirements, Army commanders have the authority and ability to redirect resources to optimize the program. Additionally, training on tactics, techniques and procedures are adjusted as a result of lessons learned from actual experience.

Evidence: The Army utilizes the Combined Arms Training Strategy and Aircrew Training Manuals to build the Army Flying Hour Program. Both of these programs provide a high degree of fidelity in the development of the annual Flying Hour Program and ensures our pilots are trained and ready to support the Combatant Commanders in the execution of our National Military Strategy.

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 army develops its long range flying hour program goals based on the combined arms training strategy which supports the execution of the national military strategy. Through this process, the army has determined that the optimal amount of flight time for each crew per month is a composite average of 14.5 hours per crew per month, depending on the type aircraft flown. This composite average allows the crews to maintain proficiency and the ability to execute all assigned missions.

Evidence: The Combined Arms Training Strategy in conjunction with Army Training Circulars, outline the tasks by type aircraft that aircrews must accomplish. These tasks are further defined as day, night, or simulator tasks. The Combined Arms Training Strategy also specifies the frequency and duration of the collective tasks in order to facilitate trained and ready crews capable of executing the National Military Strategy. When executed to a measurable standard, the crews and their units are then prepared to execute any and all assigned missions.

YES 12%

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

Explanation: The Army Flying Hour Program provides a detailed layout of all the annual flying hour requirements to provide trained and ready pilots for the Combatant Commanders. Through extensive evaluation, the army leadership has determined that the time it takes to maintain proficient aircrews is 14.5 hours per crew per month. Meeting this standard means the crews are trained and ready to deploy adn fight. Falling short of the requirement means the unit is less than fully ready. In order to maintain the proficiency of the best-trained aircrews in the world, the army's long-term target is to have 100% of its aircrews meet the 14.5 hour standard. Anecdotal evidence suggests that no other nation has aircrews as proficient as those of the US. Furthermore, meeting this target is ambitious given the competing demands on time and money as the nation moves into its fourth year of combat in Iraq and its sixth year in its Global War on Terror.

Evidence: The Army flying hour requirements are articulated during the development of the Army budget. Key components in the development of the flying hour requirements include: cost per flight hour by type aircraft, cost factors for consumables, and annual flying hour requirements by type aircraft.

YES 12%

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: The Army Flying Hour Program is designed to provide trained and ready pilots for our Combatant Commanders. The program is based on hours per crew per month, which in turn is tied to unit readiness and the organizations ability to execute its wartime mission in support of the National Military Strategy.

Evidence: Execution of the Flying Hour Program is tracked and evaluated on a monthly basis. Financial obligations are tracked by the Army Budget Office and actual flying hour execution is tracked both through logistics and operational channels on a monthly basis as well. Additionally, units submit monthly readiness reports to assess their overall readiness and ability to execute their full range of assigned missions. This data is reviewed at unit level, Army Command and Headquarters, Department of the Army.

YES 12%

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

Explanation: Execution of the Flying Hour Program is based on tasks and events laid out in both the Combined Arms Training Strategy as well as in aircraft Aircrew Training Manuals. The execution of the units Crew OPTEMPO is linked to unit readiness and the Combatant Commanders ability to execute his wartime mission in support of the National Military Strategy. Baselines for a specific type of aircraft may be adjusted based on input from the field. The target is ambitious given the competing demands on time and money facing the army.

Evidence: The Flying Hour Program is identified in the Army Budget and supporting data is presented in the justification materials submitted along with the President's Budget on an annual basis. The Flying Hour Program targets are adjusted as out-years come into the budget preparation process. Execution in prior years along with known real world contingencies allow for accurate assessments and adjustments to the FHP.

YES 12%

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: The Army's flying hour program's main partners are the Army Commands, Army Service Component Commands and Direct Reporting Units. All requirements are based and measured against the Army Approved Combined Arms Training Strategy and measured through flying hour program execution reports each month.

Evidence: Units submit flying hour execution reports on a monthly basis; reports are consolidated and submitted to the Department of the Army in order to measure execution of the program against the funded level.

YES 12%

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: Since the Flying Hour Program is a key and critical component to overall unit readiness, it is evaluated on a regular basis at all levels of command from both a readiness and fiscal perspective.

Evidence: Because of the importance of the flying hour program and its impact on readiness, it is regularly reviewed by the Army Audit Agency, Government Accounting Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense and Congress. The metrics used to develop the Combined Arms Training Strategy have been found to be sound and support the Armys objective of providing trained and ready aviators to the Combatant Commanders.

YES 12%

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 Army uses a model for generating Flying Hour Program requirements known as the Flying Hour Management System (FHMS). The components of the FHMS identifiy the required number of aircrews, aircraft and flying hours by task required to provide trained and ready crews.

Evidence: The President's Budget justification materials identify the performance goals and the resources necessary to accomplish them. These goals match the requirements that were generated by the Flying Hour Management system and associated cost factors. These justification materials also provide the actual execution for previous fiscal years. The data on previous year resource execution in the justification books is verified by the Defense Finance and Accounting report.

YES 12%

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

Explanation: The Army constantly reviews past operations, current operations and future force requirements to determine if its strategic planning assumptions and the models that underpin them are accurate, consistent and support the National Military Strategy. As an example, lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in changes in techniques / tactics and procedures taught to our air crews in the Operational Force.

Evidence: The Army is committed to an ever evolving evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses as evidenced by the application of Lessons Learned generated from both Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally, our aviation force has undergone and evolutaionary change in support of our overall Army Transformation Plan. Army Aviations contribution to Army Transformation has resulted in a modular, campaign-quality manuever arm, optimized to provide relevant and ready capabilities to the combatant commander and the joint force commander, resulting in an aviation force structure that is flexible, deployable and sustainable.

YES 12%
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: DoD and the Army collect monthly performance and unit readiness information; unit commanders submit monthly readiness reports to the Department of the Army assessing their overall ability to execute their war time mission. Additionally, crew OPTEMPO is reported on a monthly basis as well. This information is analyzed and recommendations are made to Army and DoD senior leadership for execution and programmatic decisions.

Evidence: The Combined Arms Training Strategy, combined with individual aircraft Aircrew Training Manuals are the basis for determining the annual Crew OPTEMPO requirements necessary to execute the National Military Strategy. These readiness reporting tools allow senior Army leadership to make informed management decisions to maximize program effectivness.

YES 16%

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: Combat Aviation Brigade Commanders (the primary partners of the program) are held accountable for maintaining the training level of their crews within cost, schedule, and performance standards. The army leadership monitors performance by reviewing monthly readiness reports submitted by units. These reports include information on a unit's overall readiness against objective criteria to include hours per crew per month. On a quarterly basis, Senior Army Commanders and Headquarters, Department of the Army review program execution.

Evidence: Execution of the Flying Hour Program rests with the Commander, with oversight and review of execution metrics exercised at all command levels up to and including Department of the Army. Each Army Command receives a specific flying hour program prior to the start of each fiscal year. Performance against that program is assessed monthly/quarterly by Army leadership. Inability to execute the program results in the loss of flying hours and/or funding. Because the flying hour program is one of the core components to assessing Aviation readiness, this program has the highest visibility and is looked at very closely by Department of the Army, the Department of Defense and Congress.

YES 14%

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

Explanation: Funds to keep air crews trained and ready and aircraft operating are forwarded from the Army Headquarters to the Army Commands for execution. The Army Commands then allocate the flying hour program dollars to installations and units. Prior to the beginning of each fiscal year each Army Command develops a monthly obligation plan for executing the flying hour program to ensure crews are trained and ready to suport Combatant Commander requirements. The Army tracks the obligations for the program monthly and compares it against the plan. Department of the Army conducts an annual "Mid-year Review" of the obligation and expenditure data to ensure that funds are obligated efficiently and in accordance with Depatmetn of Defense standards.

Evidence: The execution of the Army flying hours has improved from 90.3% of budgeted hours in FY02 to over 100% in FY05.

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 Department of the Army receives a quarterly report on the status of flying hours actually flown versus what was programmed and funded. This constant review of the program allows the senior leadership to adjust resources to effectively and efficiently manage its program in support of the National Military Strategy. The Army also conducts a formal flying hour execution review during the end of the 4th quarter of every year. Additionally during the Mid-year review, Commands that are under executing will have excess flying hours or funding directed to other Commands based on operational needs or changes in requirements that occur during the year of execution that were not originally resourced.

Evidence: Multiple instructions and guidance documents specify the requirements for reporting on execution and cost deviations. The cost deviations must be explained. Because the Flying Hour Program is a key/critical component to overall unit readiness, it is in the Army's best interest to efficiently use these resources. Any savings in resources, while still flying all required hours, can be re-directed to other areas of flying operations where requirements are still present.

YES 14%

Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?

Explanation: The Army places a high priority on improving operational effectiveness by developing joint doctrine, but each of the Services plan, model, program, and execute their own individual flying hour program. The Army FHP is independent of the programs of the other Armed Services. They are complementary but not collaborative.

Evidence: No evidence available.

NO 0%

Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: The Defense Department's financial management weaknesses are well-documented, and notwithstanding efforts to improve it, the Department has yet to obtain an unqualified audit opinion. While the Army does use a variety of budgetary reports and financial data designed to track the status of specific activities within the Air Operations program, it does not have audit reports demonstrating that the program is free from internal weaknesses.

Evidence: While no reports or audits specifically cite the Army's Air Operations program for material financial weakness, none of them specifically looked at that aspect of the program. Given the underlying weakness of DoD's overall financial management practices, we expect component programs to exhibit similar results.

NO 0%

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

Explanation: The flying hour program is under constant review to ensure the right mix of aircrews, weapons systems and flying hours as evidenced by the changes implemented as a result of Army Aviation Transformation. These changes were brought about as part of the overall Army Campaign Plan.

Evidence: The Aviation Transformation Plan has better positioned Army Aviation to provide flexible, actionable aviation combat power on the battlefield in support of the Combatant Commander. Additionally, the flying hour program supports our core mission of providing trained and ready air crews for our Combatant Commanders.

YES 14%
Section 3 - Program Management Score 72%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score

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

Explanation: Over the last 6 years, the Army has improved the execution of its flying hour program (meeting or exceeding the targeted goal in FY04 and FY05).

Evidence: The execution of flying hours has improved from 90.3% to over 100% during the FY02 - FY05 timeframe.

YES 25%

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

Explanation: In addition to meeting both flying hour execution and aircraft OPTEMPO measures for the past two years the Army continues to provide trained aircrews to combatant commanders in support of ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Evidence: Since FY 03 the Army has exceeded its flying hour goals

YES 25%

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

Explanation: While the army has attempted to improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of its Air Operations Program by focusing on enhanced testing, and improved production processes for aircraft parts which would decrease the cost per flight hour, actual gains have been hard to quantify. The army continues to provide trained and ready crews even as the GWOT strains the system, but it is not clear if the Army is improving the efficiency or cost effectiveness of the program.

Evidence: The program has met or exceeded its flying hour goals since FY03, but evidence of meeting its goals in a more cost-effective manner is hard to come by.

NO 0%

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

Explanation: The Army flying operations mission is different than that of the Air Force, Navy, or Marine Corps. Although some of the same metrics are used by each service, the level of the metric will vary based upon the uniqueness of each Service's mission. Because the metrics have different standards a direct comparison cannot be made.

Evidence: No evidence available

NA 0%

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

Explanation: The flying hour program is evaluated from both a financial perspective as well as from a readiness point of view by various agencies both within and outside the Army. Flying Hour / Crew OPTEMPO execution is reviewed on a monthly basis and compared against the funded program. Likewise, there are monthly readiness reports submitted by units that measure the unit's ability to execute its wartime mission.

Evidence: Internal reviews of the OPTEMPO / Flying Hour Program, coupled with external audits from both the Army Audit Agency as well and the Government Accounting Office have found the Program to be effective in achieving its stated results.

YES 25%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability Score 75%

Last updated: 09062008.2006SPR