Faster Processing of Discharges for Adverse Reasons Could Save Millions of Dollars

FPCD-80-57: Published: Jul 3, 1980. Publicly Released: Jul 3, 1980.

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GAO examined timeframes and procedures used to discharge service members for adverse reasons in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. In an earlier report, GAO recommended that the services establish time guidelines for processing administrative discharges. The Department of Defense (DOD) agreed with the intent of the recommendations, but no formal actions have been initiated.

GAO believes that DOD needs to promptly establish and enforce timeframes for processing adverse separations and review and modify where necessary the services' different and sometimes inconsistent discharge procedures. Faster processing is possible without reducing service members' rights; and such processing would save pay and allowances which would otherwise be paid to members awaiting discharge and commanders processing them, and reduce the time that unproductive and potentially disruptive members remain on active duty. GAO found that differences in the services' processing procedures were a major factor in the time it takes to discharge a service member and that command monitoring and attention to discharge timeframes significantly decreased processing time.

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