Summary of Workshop on Crewing the Ready Reserve Force
NSIAD-94-177, Jun 6, 1994
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed whether recent improvements to the Ready Reserve Force (RRF) meet defense needs, focusing on the: (1) impact of the declining U.S. commercial merchant marine manpower pool on U.S. sealift capability; (2) impediments to timely crewing; and (3) various crewing proposals.
GAO found that government agencies, commercial ship managers, and organized maritime labor agree that: (1) the U.S. merchant marine industry must remain viable in order to provide mariners for RRF; (2) U.S. maritime policy should include national security considerations as well as budgetary factors; (3) mariners who volunteer for RRF should have reemployment rights; (4) the maritime industry should adopt the reduced operating status concept to maintain a cadre of mariners capable of operating RRF vessels; (5) reliance on the commercial sector for mariners would be less expensive and commercial mariners' skills and experience levels would be better than those of merchant marine reservists; and (6) continuing dialogue on RRF crewing, crisis operation guidelines, and contingency procedures could facilitate RRF crewing for national sealift operations. GAO also found that the Coast Guard is implementing a new computer database to identify those mariners who are actively sailing.