Who Should Train?

Substituting Civilian-Provided Training for Military Training

by Lawrence M. Hanser, Joyce Davidson, Cathy Stasz, Thomas Martin


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The initial skill training (IST) of military enlisted personnel has historically been conducted by the military services. In light of expected changes in the size and structure of the force, and the increasing importance of the reserve forces, Congress has asked whether initial skill training for technical occupations could be provided by civilian institutions. This report describes an analysis of the issues associated with the feasibility of using civilian institutions for this purpose. There is sufficient evidence that civilian organizations can provide military technical training; the more important question is how to choose from among the alternatives. For evaluating training options, the authors developed a conceptual framework based on selecting the lowest-cost training scenario that produces a given level of trained man-years. They conclude that (1) many military occupations are amenable to civilian training, (2) former and existing programs have not been adequately evaluated, (3) civilian-provided IST appears to have benefits in some circumstances, and (4) there are institutional barriers to implementation. They recommend the development of a joint-service working group on training policy and the inauguration of a series of demonstration projects.

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