Army's Ability To Mobilize and Use Retirees as Planned Is Doubtful

FPCD-83-6: Published: Oct 15, 1982. Publicly Released: Oct 15, 1982.

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GAO reviewed the Army's plan for mobilizing retirees in the event of war or a national emergency requiring a full mobilization. On the basis of this plan, the Army has preassigned about 90,000 retirees to report to military installations within 7 days of a full mobilization.

GAO reported that the Army's current plan for recalling retirees assumes that 100,000 individuals will report for duty upon full mobilization. However, this assumption is not reliable because data are not available to support it. Reliable estimates of the number of retirees who would report for duty could directly reduce the size of the overall shortage of pretrained manpower. Although the Army collects some data from retirees regarding their availability, this information is not sufficient for estimating the number who would report for duty. Furthermore, the Army has not tested its premise that it will be able to draw qualified replacements from its pool of retirees to fill all the positions for which preassigned retirees do not report. Although sufficient retirees may remain in the pool, they may not possess the skills required for particular vacant positions. It is also likely that there will be a problem of replacements not reporting on time. Specific timeframes which indicate when retirees are to perform assigned duties are not based upon a scientific analysis of skill deterioration or training needs. The Army plans to provide on-the-job training to retirees after mobilization. However, there is currently no premobilization training, and none is planned for the future. At the sites which GAO visited, specific plans and procedures for assigning, using, and supporting retirees who report for duty during mobilization are either incomplete or undeveloped.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should require the Reserve Components Personnel and Administration Center to periodically survey a random sample of retired personnel to obtain current and historical information within the last 6 or 12 months on factors having a potential effect on retirees' availability. The results should be used to develop more reliable estimates of retirees who will report for duty upon full mobilization.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should determine, for preassigned retiree positions, the degree of skill deterioration over time and the amount and type of retraining that would be needed to sustain desired skills.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should, when skill deficiencies exist, establish programs for retirees to obtain needed training on an ongoing basis or rescind preassignments.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should oversee and monitor the plans and procedures developed by major commands and installations for assigning, using, and supporting retirees.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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