DOD's Implementation of Joint Officer Personnel Policies

T-NSIAD-89-34: Published: May 18, 1989. Publicly Released: May 18, 1989.

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GAO discussed the Department of Defense's (DOD) implementation of the DOD Reorganization Act's joint officer personnel policy. GAO found that: (1) the act established target promotion rates for joint specialty officers, established minimum tour lengths for joint duty assignments, and increased their educational preparation and experience level; (2) DOD published a joint duty assignment list (JDAL) in 1988, including about 8,363 positions of major or lieutenant commander and above; (3) a significant number of JDAL positions did not provide joint operational experience; (4) although DOD issued guidelines that allowed inclusion of dual-hat and cross-department positions on JDAL and provided that those positions transfer to a joint organization, it did not believe that they would add a large number of positions to the list; (5) DOD was concerned that a small list would reduce opportunities for officers to satisfy the requirement for a joint duty assignment prior to general/flag rank promotions; (6) compared to headquarters staff, officers from all the services were generally equivalent or higher on key quality indicators, although Army and Air Force colonels and Navy captains were lower in some areas, while joint specialists quality was equivalent or higher; (7) promotion data showed that the services did not consistently meet promotion targets; and (8) DOD and the services were updating career handbooks in an effort to educate officers about the act requirements. GAO believes that Congress may wish to assess whether it was preferable for a greater number of officers to gain experience in a joint, multiservice environment than in the integrated employment of forces.

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