Officer Commissioning Programs:

More Oversight and Coordination Needed

NSIAD-93-37: Published: Nov 6, 1992. Publicly Released: Nov 25, 1992.

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GAO reviewed the Department of Defense (DOD) military service academies, the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), and the military services' Officer Candidate Schools (OCS), focusing on: (1) the cost of producing officers by service and commissioning programs; (2) the quality of officers produced by these programs; (3) program management and oversight; and (4) cost control.

GAO found that: (1) it was difficult to compare or determine costs of commissioning programs because of nonuniform reporting criteria and lack of data; (2) the service academies were the most expensive commissioning source; (3) special non-Army commissioning programs for needed specialties, affirmative action, and enlisted personnel were not included in OCS costs, and some were as expensive per graduate as ROTC and the service academies; (4) the services did not assess program effectiveness or the quality of the officers produced; (5) in 1989, DOD initiated a unit cost resourcing system that only converted costs from existing financial systems into a standard format; (6) all commissioning programs selected candidates from highly qualified applicants, and most required graduates to have a college degree; (7) the services determined that officer performance and career progression did not vary as to the commissioning source, but officers' core curriculum knowledge and skill proficiency were unknown, and retention of officers varied by source; and (8) force reductions caused an oversupply of officers. GAO also found that: (1) the services have reduced the number of officers produced by OCS programs, DOD has directed that ROTC production be reduced and inefficient units closed, and Congress has limited each academy's total enrollment to 4,000 beginning in 1995; (2) the services have delayed active duty assignments for some new ROTC graduates or offered voluntary releases from their service obligations; (3) no service systematically assessed its future officer needs or determined the most cost-effective allocation of officers; (4) DOD had limited management and oversight over the commissioning programs; (5) some Navy programs were duplicative; and (6) program and staff consolidation could cut costs and improve effectiveness in all the services.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not implement the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should extend the development and implementation of a standardized cost reporting system to OCS, including all special programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not implement the recommendation.

    Recommendation: To assess the quality of newly commissioned officers, the Secretary of Defense should direct the services to develop a means to routinely evaluate the effectiveness of the various commissioning programs and the quality of the graduates they produce.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not implement the recommendation.

    Recommendation: To ensure that officer production sources operate cost-effectively, the Secretary of Defense should develop and implement a single comprehensive oversight strategy that includes all commissioning programs in all the services.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not implement the recommendation.

    Recommendation: To ensure that officer production sources operate cost-effectively, the Secretary of Defense should direct the service secretaries to develop and implement a single comprehensive plan encompassing all their respective commissioning programs that will be cost-effective and apply resources to meet each service's officer needs. These plans should address the most cost-effective manner for determining: (1) types and quantities of officer skills needed; (2) total production and production by program; (3) total enrollments required by program; (4) officer candidate financial assistance to be provided by program; (5) numbers of units by program needed to provide military training; (6) unit staffing; (7) headquarters overhead staffing; and (8) other program elements deemed appropriate.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Over 70 low production units have been closed, consolidated, or identified for closure. DOD anticipates closing about 100 other units and extension centers.

    Recommendation: To eliminate inefficiencies and duplication, the service secretaries should close more low production ROTC units and reduce ROTC goals and increase OCS goals.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Over 70 low production units have been closed, consolidated, or identified for closure. DOD anticipates closing about 100 other units and extension centers.

    Recommendation: To eliminate inefficiencies and duplication, the service secretaries should close more low production ROTC units and reduce ROTC goals and increase OCS goals.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Over 70 low production units have been closed, consolidated, or identified for closure. DOD anticipates closing about 100 other units and extension centers.

    Recommendation: To eliminate inefficiencies and duplication, the service secretaries should close more low production ROTC units and reduce ROTC goals and increase OCS goals.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Navy has consolidated the basic officer candidate program at a single site (Pensacola, FL).

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should consolidate the Navy's OCS and Aviation Officer Candidate School (AOCS) in a single entity located at Newport, Rhode Island.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In the case of the Air Force, a major organizational review was completed in fiscal year 1992, resulting in the establishment of an Education and Training Command structure that incorporates ROTC under the Commander, Air Force University.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Air Force and the Army each should combine their OCS and ROTC headquarters at a single location within a major service command.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  10. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not agree with this recommendation and does not intend to act. DOD stated that the command structure within the Army officer commissioning programs is effective and consolidation at a single site would not be effective.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Air Force and the Army each should combine their OCS and ROTC headquarters at a single location within a major service command.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  11. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not implement the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should consolidate the Navy's ROTC, OCS, AOCS, and special commissioning programs under one manager.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

 

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