Military Equal Opportunity:

Certain Trends in Racial and Gender Data May Warrant Further Analysis

NSIAD-96-17: Published: Nov 17, 1995. Publicly Released: Nov 17, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the services' Military Equal Opportunity Assessments (MEOA) to determine whether certain active-duty personnel data reflect racial and gender disparities within the services.

GAO found that: (1) MEOA do not consistently identify and assess the significance of possible racial and gender disparities within the services; (2) MEOA categories are reported differently by each service, since the services are not required to report data on low rank promotions and voluntary separations; (3) the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Equal Opportunity (DASD EO) has not analyzed the services' MEOA or Department of Defense (DOD) summaries for fiscal year 1993; (4) there are significant statistical disparities in the number of minorities considered for accessioning, career enhancement, and promotion; and (5) some of these disparities can be attributed to job-related and societal factors.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DASD (EO) has been working with the services, the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, the Defense Manpower Data Center, and other DOD offices to establish a methodology for analyzing MEOA data. DASD (EO) is still revising its instruction for preparing MEOAs (DOD Instruction 1350.3, Affirmative Action Planning and Assessment Process, dated February 29, 1988). DASD (EO) expected to issue revisions to the instruction by October 1, 1996, however, now expects to issue the revised instruction by December 2000.

    Recommendation: To help make the services' MEOA more useful in monitoring the services' equal opportunity programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct DASD (EO) to devise methodologies for analyzing MEOA data that would more readily identify possible racial and gender disparities than current methods permit and establish criteria for determining when disparities warrant more in-depth analyses.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DASD (EO) has met with cognizant officials in each of the services to clarify the language in DOD Instruction 1350.3 and to help ensure a clear understanding of the reporting requirements. DASD (EO) still expects the instruction to be formally revised by December 2000.

    Recommendation: To help make the services' MEOA more useful in monitoring the services' equal opportunity programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct DASD (EO) to ensure that the services use comparable definitions and interpretations in addressing MEOA categories and provide complete information for each of the MEOA categories.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Until a better methodology for analyzing the MEOA data is agreed on, the DOD instruction for preparing the MEOAs is revised, and the services begin using it, the analyzes and summaries of the MEOAs are of fairly limited value. DASD(EO) will be addressing this recommendation in revisions to DOD Instruction 1350.1 expected in December 2000.

    Recommendation: To help make the services' MEOA more useful in monitoring the services' equal opportunity programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct DASD (EO) to prepare the analyses of the services' annual MEOA and the DOD summary, as required.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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