Need To Establish Retention Periods and Optimal Time for Microfilming Military Personnel Records

GGD-81-59: Published: Apr 27, 1981. Publicly Released: Apr 27, 1981.

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GAO reviewed the official personnel records of the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps to evaluate the manner in which the records were being maintained.

GAO found that, although the records generally were being maintained in a competent manner, there were areas where improvements could result in substantial savings. The four services do not have approved retention periods for military personnel records as required by Federal regulations. GAO believes that savings could be realized if a 75-year retention period for the records is established. In addition, the services' microfilm should either be of such a high quality that it will last indefinitely or should be inspected at regular intervals. Of the four services, only the Army has prepared a formal economic analysis to determine the optimal time for microfilming personnel records. Although the services believe that their microfilming is being done at the proper time, GAO believes that formal cost analyses should be performed to substantiate that belief.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps to develop formal cost analyses to determine the optimal time for microfilming records.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Army and Navy to determine and propose retention periods to the National Archives and Records Service.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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