Retention Bonuses:

More Direction and Oversight Needed

NSIAD-96-42: Published: Nov 6, 1995. Publicly Released: Nov 6, 1995.

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GAO reviewed whether the Department of Defense (DOD) has effectively managed the Selective Reenlistment Bonus (SRB) Program.

GAO found that: (1) the services have awarded some SRB to personnel in high-skill categories where a high percentage of the required positions are already filled; (2) in fiscal year (FY) 1994, 43 percent of the new SRB contracts went to service members in skill categories where 90 percent or more of the required positions were filled and in which many higher skill level service members were paid incentives to leave the service; (3) each SRB program is targeted to different segments of the military, including personnel in different grades and year groups; and (4) the Office of the Secretary of Defense has not provided adequate oversight of the SRB program, having performed only one skills review in FY 1991.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: OSD has never concurred with the recommendation and does not plan any action to implement it.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should establish guidance and controls to ensure that the SRB program provides bonuses only for enlistments in skill categories that are in short supply. Specifically, the Secretary should: (1) provide more explicit guidance regarding the determination of shortage categories and eligibility for SRB and require the services to establish and document more specific criteria for determining which skills will receive SRB; and (2) monitor the services' adherence to this guidance.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: OSD has never concurred with the recommendation and does not plan any action to implement it.

    Recommendation: Because of the extent to which exit incentives have been provided to personnel in skills which also receive SRB, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that payment of exit and retention incentives is coordinated so that they are not both provided to personnel in the same skill categories.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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