Army National Guard:

Officer Candidate Training Should Be Consolidated at One Site

NSIAD-94-1: Published: Mar 22, 1994. Publicly Released: Mar 22, 1994.

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GAO reviewed the Army National Guard's (ARNG) officer candidate schools (OCS) to determine whether ARNG could meet its officer needs more economically and effectively.

GAO found that: (1) ARNG officer requirements and the number of officers commissioned through state OCS programs have declined by one-third since 1988; (2) state OCS classes are frequently small and most programs graduate fewer than 26 candidates; (3) ARNG plans for state OCS to provide one-third of its officers through 1996 with the Reserve Officer Training Corps and active-duty sources providing the remainder; (4) ARNG has begun consolidating two of the three phases of the state OCS programs at fewer locations, but it still plans to conduct the middle phase of training at weekend sessions throughout the year; (5) some adjacent states with few candidates are considering further consolidating their training to provide more realistic and economical training; (6) consolidating all ARNG officer training phases into one 10-week course at one site could enhance training quality and reduce costs and the attrition rate; (7) the Army has rejected the option of requiring all officer candidates to attend the OCS program at Fort Benning, Georgia, because it believes that Fort Benning has insufficient capacity, candidates would be unwilling to attend a centralized program, and the consolidated program's quality would not be superior to the states' programs; and (8) the Army based its rejection of a consolidated program at Fort Benning on erroneous assumptions.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD does not agree that the Army National Guard should transition to a single OCS at Fort Benning and eliminate the state academies. DOD says it sees no demonstrable cost benefit or enhancement of the quality of the candidates produced, and fears reduced enrollment if single-site consolidation is undertaken. DOD plans to take no action on this recommendation.

    Recommendation: To make the ARNG officer production system more cost-effective, especially in light of ongoing force reductions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau to transition toward using the OCS at Fort Benning, Georgia, to train new ARNG officers rather than using the individual state academies. A staged transition, such as closing the smaller academies first, could be used to capture reliable personnel and travel cost data to provide a more conclusive assessment of cost-effectiveness. Since closing state OCS academies would not involve closing down installations or facilities, there is little potential risk in moving quickly.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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