Millions Spent Needlessly in Navy and Marine Corps' Aviation Bonus Program

FPCD-82-56: Published: Aug 9, 1982. Publicly Released: Aug 10, 1982.

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GAO evaluated the Navy and Marine Corps' implementation of the aviation officer continuation bonus program to determine whether these services are using it selectively as Congress intended.

GAO found that the Navy and the Marine Corps have not judiciously managed the bonus program and that almost 80 percent of their total payments during fiscal year (FY) 1981 were spent unnecessarily. In many cases, both services pay bonuses to officers who are not in specialties where there are critical shortages or who are past the point in their careers where retention is a problem. GAO found that all bonus money committed by the Navy in FY 1981 for naval flight officer bonuses was unnecessarily spent, while the Marine Corps' approach to retaining officers is not an economical way to solve its shortages. These problems could be significantly resolved by more clearly defining eligibility criteria. GAO believes that, although a number of problems exist in its implementation, the bonus program should be extended, but under tighter restrictions and for a shorter period of time than was requested so that Congress will have an opportunity to reassess the need for bonuses.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we determine what steps the Congress has taken, we will provide updated information.

    Matter: Congress should amend 37 U.S.C. 301b to extend the bonus authorization to September 30, 1984, and to define eligibility to include all of an aviator's active duty service.

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we determine what steps the Congress has taken, we will provide updated information.

    Matter: Congress should amend 37 U.S.C. 301b by adding a provision requiring the Secretary of the Navy to develop new bonus implementing procedures which would: (1) target the bonus to specific aviation specialties where there are, and continue to be, critical shortages of aviators; and (2) limit the application of the bonus to those years of service where retention has been a problem.

 

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