Heightened skills are nice but every organization must address the bottom line. Like it or not, progress and function is driven by the dollar.
In light of budgetary concerns it is a common folly to sacrifice shooting team activities but this is false economy. The small investment in maintaining a cadre of top-tier marksmen outweighs the cost. Would you spend a dollar today if you knew it would save five dollars tomorrow? Of course! Investments in the USAR Shooting Team has saved millions of dollars by preventing wasted ammunition and time on the range.
While in charge of a small arms training team at Ft. McCoy SGM Steven Slee tracked all training aspects, including ammunition use. During initial mobilization efforts through 2004 the team successfully qualified all assigned automatic rifle and crew-served machine gun personnel, as verified by the local Garrison Support Unit, and did so while averaging 29% less ammunition than that allocated by DA PAM 350-38 (STRAC), saving about 30,000 rounds per brigade in machine gun and automatic rifle training alone. Jerry Hale, Ft. McCoy’s Ammunition Supply Point manager noted that prior to this units were sometimes burning through three to four times times their STRAC allocations and achieving less than 20% qualification rates. These shooter-instructors were yielding a savings well in excess of $50,000 per brigade in machine gun training in saved ammunition alone before even considering similar improvements in rifle qualification.
This type of savings was common with training elements at Power Projection Platforms staffed with shooting team members. While serving as Deputy Chief of Staff for Fifth Army COL Alfred Dochnal documented that within 200 training days on the ground these shooter-instructors raised weapons qualification rates of mobilizing Soldiers at Fifth Army PPPs from the previous 48% to 98% and that their “expertise has saved about one million rounds of ball ammo alone,” thus directly raising the survivability level of the Soldier deploying from there. At $0.27 per round, one million rounds of ball ammunition equates to $270,000 saved in less than one fiscal year.