Reserve Components:

Army Personnel Qualification Data Could Be Improved

NSIAD-86-53: Published: Mar 26, 1986. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 1986.

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GAO reviewed the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve to determine whether the Army had an effective means of: (1) qualifying individual reservists to meet their job requirements; and (2) evaluating individual soldier proficiency.

GAO found that the Army had already identified several problems affecting Reserve component training and had either initiated or planned actions to correct them; however, two problems still need attention. Although the Reserve components use several programs to train soldiers in a military occupational specialty (MOS), top level Army officials are not routinely using the most complete MOS qualification data available as an indicator of overall proficiency, and the skill qualification test is not being administered to all soldiers who should be tested. The Army defines its position needs in terms of skill levels that soldiers should possess to carry out their jobs. While the five-character code data are being used at the unit level to identify training requirements, they are not being used routinely to assess qualification levels. GAO believes that reporting qualifications to at least the fourth character of the code would: (1) provide information on the extent of soldiers' skills; (2) assist in assessment of personnel qualification status; and (3) provide a broad indicator of future training requirements. The Army's Individual Training Evaluation Program provides information on the effectiveness of training in maintaining and improving soldiers' skill proficiency; however, many units did not administer the test. GAO believes that the Army's failure to achieve full participation in the tests limits information: (1) on soldiers' strengths and weaknesses; (2) on units' training plans to emphasize existing weaknesses; and (3) to determine the number of qualified personnel.

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