Problems in Alerting and Preparing Army Reservists for Mobilization

NSIAD-84-52: Published: Feb 27, 1984. Publicly Released: Feb 27, 1984.

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GAO conducted a review to determine whether the notification system, which the Army uses to notify its reservists of mobilization, is adequate and whether reservists are provided information to help put their personal affairs in order before reporting for duty.

GAO found that, because of deficiencies in the Army's alert rosters, approximately 22 percent of Army Guard and Reserve personnel with early mobilization schedules may not be notified and assembled promptly. Units that are experiencing personnel shortages will be even more seriously hampered in accomplishing their mission if some members do not report for duty on time. Unit training and management could be affected because some who may not be contacted are noncommissioned officers. About 7 percent of the noncommissioned officers at the units GAO visited may not be contacted due to alert roster inaccuracies. In addition, GAO found that Army Guard and Reserve units were not using annual tests of their alert procedures to verify their alert rosters, and some units did not conduct their annual tests in accordance with established Army regulations. Finally, GAO found that many reservists had not received required annual briefings and other written materials concerning personal readiness forms. Moreover, the Army did not follow-up to ensure that personal readiness information was provided to members who had not received it.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The verification sheet was revised and is on file for review by the inspectors. This will identify members in need of make-up sessions. The Army revised the quarterly alert notification roster verification sheet to ensure members were provided with required briefing and written materials. Thus, commands can determine who was not given what is required before signing the verification sheet.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should develop follow-up procedures to ensure that members absent from briefings are afforded make-up sessions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army published a family assistance handbook for mobilization, which was made available to all reservists. The Army also revised the quarterly alert modification roster verification sheet that members were provided required briefings and written materials. The verification sheet is to be filed as an alert roster for review by inspectors.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should ensure that commanders comply with applicable directives requiring units to provide annual briefings and other written information on personal readiness to their unit members.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The commander's handbook was revised to add specific guidance on the purpose of and action to be completed during annual tests.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should revise the unit commander's handbook to state that testing of alert roster procedures should be conducted annually and be used to update and correct information on the alert roster.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Army headquarters sent a letter emphasizing that all commanders will comply with the requirement to test alert rosters annually. Alert rosters were made a special interest item for review by command and general inspectors and are reviewed, when appropriate, during mobilization exercises. Emphasis is also being given in a mobilization planners training/orientation course.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should ensure that appropriate emphasis is given to maintaining accurate alert rosters and require periodic feedback on progress made in keeping alert rosters accurate.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: FORSCOM Mobilization and Development Planning Systems delineated a new headquarters policy on June 28, 1986. This policy provides additional instructions on maintaining accurate alert rosters. Feedback on how the policy is implemented will occur through command, staff, and Inspector General visits and inspections.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should require periodic feedback from command reviews on how well units are helping reservists get their personal affairs in order.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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