Enlisted Force Management:

Past Practices and Future Challenges

NSIAD-91-48: Published: Jan 22, 1991. Publicly Released: Jan 22, 1991.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Paul L. Jones
(202) 512-4636
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) management of enlisted forces, focusing on how the Army and Air Force: (1) managed the size and composition of their enlisted forces; (2) planned for enlisted force reductions; and (3) complied with enlisted force management requirements.

GAO found that the Air Force and Army: (1) used a variety of tools to manage the size and composition of their enlisted forces, including promotions, retention, and retraining; (2) between fiscal years (FY) 1987 and 1990, reduced the number of personnel recruited and accelerated the release of members already scheduled to leave the service; (3) in anticipation of the potential need for significantly larger future force reductions, planned to expand the range of force management tools to include controlling reenlistment levels and tightening the enforcement of standards; (4) planned to examine the impact of various force reduction levels on the enlisted force; (5) generally complied with most DOD enlisted force management requirements between FY 1986 and 1989; and (6) exceeded the planning target for enlisted career personnel with more than 4 years of service, mainly due to growth in enlisted seniority. GAO also found that, although DOD attempted to constrain the growth in enlisted career personnel by reducing service budgets through the budget review process, it failed to establish criteria for identifying the level of seniority needed.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD does not plan to revise its directives until the drawdown is complete, which is estimated at 1-2 years from now.

    Recommendation: To improve the management of enlisted personnel, the Secretary of Defense should require the use of the objective force as a more stable, long-term target.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD requires the services to include in their annual enlisted force plans any deviations from the previous plans.

    Recommendation: To improve the management of enlisted personnel, the Secretary of Defense should require the services to manage their enlisted personnel more closely to the program objective force target, particularly with regard to the career force, and provide written justification when deviations are necessary.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The drawdown policy objectives and controls of January 16, 1991 require the services to prepare plans that specifically establish the accession level, the percent years of service 1-6 level, the percent years of service 7-20 level, and the percent years of service 20+ level to sustain requirements with the established fiscal year 1995 end strength.

    Recommendation: To improve the management of enlisted personnel, the Secretary of Defense should develop guidance on how to determine the level of seniority needed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 22, 2016

Sep 21, 2016

Sep 19, 2016

Sep 12, 2016

Sep 8, 2016

Sep 7, 2016

Sep 6, 2016

Aug 25, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here