Frequently Asked Questions

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Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) builds mutually beneficial civil-military partnerships between US communities and the Department of Defense (DoD) to: 

  • Provide high quality, mission-essential training for Active, Guard, and Reserve support personnel and units
  • Deliver military readiness and partnership capacity to serve when the nation calls, at home or abroad
  • Contribute to American prosperity by meeting public and civil-society needs
  • Strengthen the bond between American citizens and the US military
  • Kindle a spirit of service and volunteerism among all partners and the communities they serve

IRT contributes to the nation’s security, prosperity, and democratic strength.

  • Security: IRT projects align with military mission essential tasks that prepare Service members and units to respond whenever the nation calls.
  • Prosperity: IRT partnerships assist non-DoD organizations in realizing their visions for sustainable and thriving communities.
  • Democracy: IRT missions fortify our democratic ideals by strengthening the bond between American citizens and the U.S. military, showcasing the diversity and operational excellence of those who work together to secure our nation’s freedom.
  • IRT projects create DoD, whole-of-government, and whole-of-society efficiencies.
  • IRT projects develop proficiency in forging diverse partnerships, a capability that translates into the ability to form successful international alliances and coalitions.
  • IRT projects are a wise taxpayer investment, enriching training with existing resources while creating value in American communities.

Public entities and private non-profit entities within the United States, its territories, and possessions are eligible.            

Federal, regional, State, local, and State- or Federal-recognized tribal government entities are designated as eligible in the law. Proof of government status, such as a founding law or charter, may be required.

Some youth and charitable organizations are directly designated as eligible in the law:

  • The Boy Scouts of America, The Girl Scouts of America, The Boys Clubs of America, The Girls Clubs of America, The Young Men's Christian Association, The Young Women's Christian Association, The Civil Air Patrol, The United States Olympic Committee, The Special Olympics, The Campfire Boys, The Campfire Girls, The 4–H Club, The Police Athletic League.
  • Other not-for-profit organizations may be designated as eligible by the Office of the Secretary of Defense upon request of the military official who intends to approve the training. The process includes reviewing the non-DoD organization's:
    1. Articles of Incorporation
    2. Bylaws
    3. IRS 501(c)3 determination or affirmation letter dated within the past ten years                   
  • Active, Guard, and Reserve units and individual Service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines may participate in IRT partnerships.
  • The Coast Guard may also participate in IRT projects, however, the Coast Guard may not receive training funds from the Civil-Military Programs appropriation.
  • Multinational military partners may also train alongside US Service members.
Not exclusively. Active, Guard, and Reserve all participate in IRT projects. The National Guard and Reserve have a long tradition of strong relationships with communities across the United States. Dual-role citizen warriors in the Guard and Reserve are natural civil-military project leaders with decades of experience in working with communities; however, all military forces may leverage IRT partnerships for their mission essential training.
  The primary approving official is a military officer in the pay grade of O-6 or above with training responsibilities for the military participants. This approving official is responsible for ensuring the project meets valid training requirements and complies with all relevant laws, policies, and instructions. Approval is documented on the military application form. The Military Department(s) may require additional approvals or endorsements before the project begins. An official appointed in writing by the Secretary of the Military Department must approve the use of funds from the Civil-Military Programs appropriation. Regardless of funding source(s), the primary approving official, via the appointed program manager, must notify the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) of the intent to train using a military application form before the project may begin; however, OSD does not approve specific projects.
  • IRT projects must take place within the within the United States, its territories, and possessions.
  • IRT projects must accomplish mission-essential military training.
  • IRT projects must not compete with the private sector.
  • IRT projects must not include commercial development.
  • Military members cannot provide law enforcement during IRT projects.
  • IRT authorities cannot be used to respond to natural or manmade disasters (though an IRT project may assist with long-term recovery).
  • IRT is not the right authority for small projects that require less than 100 hours of training.
  • IRT projects cannot be used for DoD requirements other than training. The tangible direct and lasting value created in partnership with civilian entities may only accrue to non-DoD entities. For example, projects should not create infrastructure on DoD property or build a facility that will be used to meet military requirements.
  • Most IRT projects are funded from a variety of sources including government budgets and private contributions.
  • The requesting non-DoD entity provides or organizes for resources such as construction materials and in-kind services including facilities, volunteers, and more.
  • Military funds may be used for military manpower, travel, freight, expendable items, and equipment rental.
  • The DoD does not directly fund community projects. Military funds may be used only for training that happens to provide incidental benefits for non-DoD entities.
  • Requests from activities outside the DoD are not selected by urgency of community need. The Military Services volunteer for projects that best meet their military training requirements.
  • IRT projects are cost-effective and primarily funded by existing Military Service training budgets.
  • The Military Services may compete for additional training funds from the DoD Civil-Military Programs appropriation to participate in high-quality civil-military training opportunities. DoD-level funds incentivize joint, total force, interagency, and multinational integration, as well as outreach to communities that have limited civil-military interactions.
  • IRT partnership plans are never guaranteed and may change based on DoD mission and budget priorities.
  Funds from Civil-Military Programs appropriation may be used for military manpower, travel, freight, expendable items, and equipment rental.

For a viable IRT partnership, non-DoD partners must provide:

  • a written request for support (a complete IRT application form);
  • a sustainable vision to which the military can make a tangible contribution;
  • assurance of non-competition with the private sector;
  • a liability release and hold-harmless agreement (provided within the IRT application form).
  • designs, blueprints, and property access;
  • construction materials;
  • verification that National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements are complete (see separate FAQ);
  • medical credentialing and privileging (IRT participants may travel from across state lines);
  • additional partners, donors, and volunteers; and
  • leadership for the partnership team.
  • All project proposals with potential to effect the human environment must be evaluated for environmental impact.
  • Because all IRT projects involve assistance from the federal government, the environmental analysis must follow the NEPA review process.
  • Other federal, state, and local restrictions may also apply.
  • The non-DoD entity requesting support and services is the lead agency responsible for preparing the appropriate level of analysis for NEPA compliance. The analysis will take the form of a Categorical Exclusion determination (CATEX), an Environmental Assessment/Finding of No Significant Impact (EA/FONSI), or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The DoD will review and, if appropriate, adopt the analysis as a cooperating agency.
The non-DoD partner provides an affidavit that the work does not compete with the private sector. At a minimum, the requesting entity must post public notices on two separate dates and provide copies of those notices within their application for support and services to DoD. If the public notice results in responses, the applicant must adjudicate those responses before proceeding with the request for DoD support and services. Here is a sample public notice. Availability of funding should not be mentioned in the public notice.
  Non-DoD entities must submit project applications by September 30th one year prior to the fiscal year when the partnership will take place (Oct 1st through Sep 30th). This allows the request for support and services to be posted to a bulletin board where the Military Services can find a project that meets their training requirements inside of their normal training and readiness planning cycles. If the non-DoD partner finds a volunteer military unit and that unit has sufficient training funds available to complete the project, the process is streamlined and a project can begin much faster (often within a month or two, depending on the delegation of authorities from the Military Departments). Learn more about the process and timelines here.
  All military participants are highly skilled professionals trained and certified in their area of expertise. IRT provides these professionals with opportunities to remain certified and, in some cases, upgrade their skills. Beyond specific occupational skills, the military will be practicing planning, logistics, command and control, leadership, building partnership capacity, building team cohesion, respecting cultural sensitivities, adapting to new situations, overcoming unexpected events, and more. Military leaders are looking for teaching moments and may, in coordination with the partners, prioritize training opportunities over throughput. You can expect the highest levels of professional competence from our military members.
  • IRT projects help generate both the quantity and quality of hands-on training projects required for mission readiness.
  • IRT projects refine mission-essential skills in complex environments like those we encounter during our missions.
  • IRT venues are particularly valuable for combat support specialists who often simulate tasks in other military operational exercises and training events.
  • IRT venues exercise skills used in all phases of military effort, including stability operations.
  • IRT creates a positive image of military service.
  • IRT projects create opportunities for military personnel to double their public service satisfaction; soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines serve communities with tangible benefits while serving their nation in preparation for their assigned military missions. These opportunities for job satisfaction and esprit de corps are especially import for highly skilled medical professionals, engineers, and cyberspace experts who are difficult to recruit and retain in America's all-volunteer military.