Military Personnel Issues:

Managing and Compensating the Armed Forces

FPCD-83-17: Published: Oct 12, 1982. Publicly Released: Oct 12, 1982.

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This study reviewed U.S. Armed Forces personnel management and compensation by identifying major issues, briefly describing problems, and presenting GAO perspectives on its audit efforts.

GAO addressed the problems of maintaining and improving military work-force effectiveness in a cost-conscious environment. Compensation expenditures for the more than 4 million military members, including active duty personnel, retirees, National Guard, and Reserves, will probably total about $59 billion for fiscal year 1982; therefore, any changes in compensation may save or cost the government hundreds of millions of dollars. GAO identified personnel management and compensation needs, including the need for: (1) changes to help attract and retain qualified staff; (2) changes in training policies and programs to provide well-trained forces at minimum cost; (3) improvement of personnel policies and practices to reduce occupational skill imbalances and costs; and (4) personnel actions to effectively mobilize forces during a national emergency. Department of Defense (DOD) programs, policies, and practices that should be reviewed include: (1) the traditional military approach of managing all personnel in a like manner; (2) the relationship of the all volunteer force to work-force deficiencies in skill areas; (3) retirement reform; (4) pay and benefits; (5) recruiting and retention; and (6) substitution of civilian personnel in critical skill areas. In focusing on national emergency planning as an area of DOD concern, GAO noted that certain mobilization and personnel management contingencies impinge on the National Guard, the Reserves, and the Selective Service system.

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