Army Battle Damage Assessment and Repair (BDAR): What You Should Know

If you’re a small unit leader who is responsible for equipment, you should take the time to educate yourself about BDAR.  BDAR stands for “Battle Damage Assessment and Repair.”  It is a program designed to return disabled equipment rapidly to combat or to enable the equipment to self recover.

If I had to describe BDAR in my own words, I would define it as “skipping the standard maintenance procedures and doing whatever it takes to repair a vehicle quickly, or enable it to be self-recovered.”

Here’s an excerpt from FM 4-30.31:

“BDAR is accomplished by bypassing components or safety devices, cannibalizing parts from like or lower priority equipment, fabricating repair parts, jury-rigging, taking shortcuts to standard maintenance, and using substitute fluids, materials or components. Depending on the repairs required and the amount of time available, repairs may or may not return the vehicle to a fully mission-capable status. Operators/crew, maintenance teams (MTs), maintenance support teams (MSTs), combat repair teams (CRTs), or recovery teams may perform BDAR.”

Here are a few additional things you should know about BDAR (source: FM 4-30.31)

  • BDAR is the commander’s responsibility, based on mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available, time available, and civil considerations and is accomplished by the operator and/or crew and field maintenance personnel.
  • Realistic training must be performed during peacetime to ensure wartime proficiency.
  • BDAR procedures are designed for battlefield and training environments and will be used in situations where standard maintenance procedures are not practical or possible.
  • These procedures are not meant to replace standard maintenance procedures, only to sustain the vehicle and/or equipment until permanent repairs can be accomplished.
  • Low-risk BDAR procedures will be incorporated into peacetime maintenance training in both field and training base scenarios.
  • Combat training centers and field training exercises provide excellent realistic training environments for BDAR.
  • Approved battlefield damage repair BDAR kits will provide operators and maintainers the capability to accomplish damage repair or routine equipment failure repair on the battlefield.
  • BDAR fixes will be replaced with standard repairs at the first opportunity. Equipment may continue to be operated based on the recommendation of qualified maintenance personnel, while awaiting parts, with the BDAR fix in place.
  • Peacetime BDAR involves low-risk fixes outlined in appendix E of BDAR TMs and is performed only in a training environment upon the discretion of the commander.
  • Low-risk repairs are those that can be accomplished without risk to personnel or further damage to equipment and can be applied under the supervision of qualified maintenance personnel.
  • Peacetime BDAR repairs are temporary and will be replaced with standard maintenance repairs at the first opportunity.
  • BDAR requirements are usually written in TMs. Some items of equipment may not require the development of a BDAR TM; however, if a new or improved system is under development and BDAR is required, the TRADOC BDAR agency will assist AMC and the contractors in development of a BDAR TM.
  • BDAR is for those items of equipment having a significant impact on the outcome of specific combat missions.
  • BDAR doctrine and techniques will be evaluated during a U.S. Army ballistic research live fire test. Live fire test plans will incorporate BDAR into live fire tests on Army equipment to ensure that BDAR can be performed and to ensure that it is incorporated into appropriate publications.
  • When reporting a BDAR action, a DA Form 5988–E/DA Form 2404 will be forwarded to the Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center (AF–FDL–FES–CDIC), Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433 (see FM 4–30.31).

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that there will be times in peacetime and combat when traditional maintenance procedures cannot be followed.  In some cases, important equipment must be brought back to fully mission capable status (or self recovery status) as quickly as possible.  When this happens, commanders must implement the BDAR procedures.

What are your thoughts?  What expertise or tips can you share with us about the Army’s BDAR program?  Leave a comment below to let me know what you think.  I look forward to hearing from you.


FM 4-30.31

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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6 thoughts on “Army Battle Damage Assessment and Repair (BDAR): What You Should Know”

  1. Battle damage is no laughing matter. Good description of it as “doing whatever it takes to repair a vehicle quickly.” The thing is, your life – and the lives of others – may be entirely dependent on the ability to cannibalize parts during the crisis. If you are ever confronted with this, it’s good to note that at least the machines use the same fuel!

  2. In some ways I feel bdar can be misused to a certain extent. I believe that all attempts should always be made to fix equipment completely. Yes, there are those times when making something work just to retrieve it or something similar, but when it is used and the repairs are not made soon after, you know, procrastination…It can cause unsafe conditions for soldiers.

      1. I am glad to hear that. I’m sure high ranking officers do not want to put their necks on the block by signing off on BDAR unless they absolutely have to. I worked for a civilian company where making repairs like this were used often. They wondered why there were so many injuries, and I even witnessed one death because of the “jerry rigging” attitude.

        It is much better to just fix equipment the proper way unless an emergency calls for BDAR.

      2. Yes, but when it is used, it is used to save lives and move the mission forward. This is not a mechanism for cutting corners – it is a mechanism for advancing and sustaining the mission. In the field, leaders need a way to compromise when everything has gone to hell and they are trying to sustain the mission. This gives them an option in those trying times.

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