Military Officers:

Assessment of the 1988 Defense Officer Requirements Study

NSIAD-88-146: Published: Apr 1, 1988. Publicly Released: Apr 1, 1988.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO monitored and evaluated the Department of Defense's (DOD) congressionally mandated study of officer requirements.

GAO found that the DOD study sought to describe the: (1) nature and importance of the growth in the number of commissioned officers; (2) force and impact of officer reductions scheduled for fiscal years (FY) 1988 through 1990; and (3) rigor and validity of the services' manpower requirements determination processes. GAO also found that the DOD study: (1) explained, rather than validated, about 77 percent of the growth in officer strengthen during FY 1980 through 1986; (2) concluded that the growth resulted from force expansion and modernization and directly enhanced force capability; and (3) accurately described the impacts of and best areas for further reductions and its manpower requirements determination processes. In addition, GAO found that, although the services are improving their manpower requirements determination processes, the: (1) Army did not use the required DOD format to maintain manpower data; (2) Navy relied on the users of shore manpower to determine their own manpower needs; and (3) services tended to rely more on corporate judgment than on rigorous analyses in determining areas for reductions. GAO believes that DOD could achieve manpower reductions without necessarily reducing capability by reexamining the number of people needed to perform a given function and the necessity of performing that function.

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