Reserve Components:

Opportunities to Improve National Guard and Reserve Policies and Programs

NSIAD-89-27: Published: Nov 17, 1988. Publicly Released: Nov 17, 1988.

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GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) reserve components' management systems and practices to determine how the services could improve management to enhance reserve force capabilities.

GAO found that: (1) DOD did not develop force mix and mission assignment guidance because it had difficulty developing the methodology; (2) DOD had problems maintaining the updated personnel information necessary to train and mobilize the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR); (3) DOD did not know the capability of a large number of individual ready reservists, since it transferred personnel without adequate screening; and (4) no guidance existed in key management areas to determine personnel requirements and to utilize and train personnel. GAO also found that: (1) although DOD recently took actions to improve the status of reserve component equipment, shortages still existed and were a major factor affecting capability; (2) although Congress approved funds to increase reserve equipment procurement, the services reduced the amounts they planned to use for procuring the equipment; (3) the Army Reserve had difficulty using special reserve appropriations because some of its equipment requirements did not fit into its procurement actions; (4) although DOD did not separate reserve component equipment budgets as mandated, it presented an alternative for providing oversight that would establish reserve equipment expenditure minimums; and (5) certain Army National Guard and Reserve equipment distribution practices resulted in reductions in capability of some higher-priority units. In addition, GAO found that: (1) about 277,000 selected reservists did not have the required individual skills for their positions; (2) training time limited to 38 days a year constrained DOD from providing sufficient individual skill training; and (3) although the services had generally well-integrated financial and management information systems, they had long-standing accuracy and timeliness problems with their pay systems and slippages in their mobilization, management, and administrative information systems.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: There has been no further action and it appears that Congress may disregard this requirement.

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider discontinuing the requirements for DOD to separately budget for National Guard and Reserve equipment and instead establish within each service's equipment authorization and appropriation a minimum amount for reserve equipment expenditures. This would provide visibility over reserve equipment expenditures and would better integrate the reserve components into their parent services' planning and budgeting processes.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD has not developed the requisite guidance, and now indicates that it believes any further guidance would be "redundant and unwarranted."

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should take steps to ensure the timely development of force-mix and mission assignment decision guidance that would ensure the consistent consideration of relevant factors pertaining to the decisions. At a minimum, the guidance should address such factors as cost, capability, personnel training, and equipment requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD has several initiatives underway, such as the credit bureau reporting system, and the use of IRR screening and normal contract procedures to improve personal data on reservists.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should examine alternatives for ensuring that reservists report current addresses and other personal information.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD believes that this is not a material weakness. DOD does not intend to act on this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should report the IRR personnel database deficiencies as a material weakness in the DOD system of internal controls and identify plans and milestones for correcting those deficiencies.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Defense guidance, issued March 29, 1988, requires services to screen IRR, determine skill degradation, and schedule requirement refresher training.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the military services to identify critical skill requirements and target training resources to IRR members with those skills.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD is currently examining alternates for dealing with nonparticipants. This recommendation has been incorporated into a new draft on GAO job 390060.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the military services to ensure that unit commanders analyze the mobilization potential of unsatisfactory performers and participants before transferring them to IRR.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD published a directive covering administration of the FTS program in 1988.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should establish milestones for the timely completion of a DOD directive providing guidance on the administration of full-time support (FTS) programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) established procedures using the P-1R report, which facilitates monitoring of reserve equipment plans. In addition, DOD directives on reserve component equipment are to be revised.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should monitor the execution of equipment appropriations designated for the reserve components.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OSD established procedures using the P-1R report, which facilitates monitoring of reserve equipment plans. In addition, a DOD directive on reserve component equipment, 1225.6, was published in December 1990.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the military services to ensure that procurement plans address the availability of mission-essential equipment needed by reserve units, especially when this equipment is unique to the reserve components.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army believed current equipment distribution guidance was adequate. However, OSD will continue to monitor Army equipment distribution programs.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to reexamine the guidance for equipment distribution and redistribution in the Army National Guard and Reserve and to include consideration of unit deployment priorities in the resource allocation process.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: All services instituted reserve component training improvement programs. OSD will continue to monitor training management controls in Army training programs.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should ensure that plans for improving the levels of individual military skill qualification include strengthening management control and practices to ensure that reserve component training programs are effectively administered and implemented.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  11. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: This is an area that has been overtaken by events of the Gulf war. The issue of FTS personnel is getting renewed attention within the administration and is expected to be the subject of additional GAO reviews.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should examine the possible costs and benefits of using FTS personnel for those military skill specialties that are difficult to obtain or maintain in the reserve components. If this approach is found to have merit, an analysis should be made of the utilization of existing FTS personnel before any additional personnel are requested.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  12. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The services instituted training initiatives to address aspects of individual qualification problems.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army and Navy to develop programs to expedite the retraining of prior service personnel through such practices as establishing and enforcing time limits for completion of requalifications and scheduling required retraining prior to enlisting these personnel in units.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  13. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur with this recommendation. Current GAO job 390060 may provide additional support. This recommendation will be reconsidered in the report on job 390060.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should consider establishing a policy selectively requiring active duty for training for IRR members who transferred from the Selected Reserve. This should apply only to IRR members who have not served on active duty other than for initial entry training.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  14. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army Reserve and National Guard implemented the Joint Service Software System in December 1991 to improve the processing of pay.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to report to him on whether opportunities exist to expedite the integration of reserve component pay systems and the elimination of the Army National Guard's unique accounting and information systems. Also, the Secretary of the Army should report the reserve component mobilization data deficiencies as a material weakness and include plans for correcting the weakness in the fiscal year 1988 report on internal controls.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  15. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Navy is implementing personnel and pay system changes on an evolutionary, incremental basis. Full implementation is expected by the end of 1992.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy to develop a single pay system for reserve pay.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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