Reports & Testimonies

  • GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed.

    GAO’s recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented. You can explore open recommendations by searching or browsing.

    GAO's priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention. We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues. These recommendations are labeled as such. You can find priority recommendations by searching or browsing our open recommendations below, or through our mobile app.

  • Browse Open Recommendations

    Explore priority recommendations by subject terms or browse by federal agency

    Search Open Recommendations

    Search for a specific priority recommendation by word or phrase



  • Governing on the go?

    Our Priorities for Policy Makers app makes it easier for leaders to search our recommendations on the go.

    See the November 10th Press Release


  • Have a Question about a Recommendation?

    • For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation.
    • For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.
  • « Back to Results List Sort by   

    Results:

    Subject Term: "Military reserve personnel"

    9 publications with a total of 29 open recommendations
    Director: Andrew Von Ah
    Phone: (213) 830-1011

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness should collect quality information and conduct an analysis of the potential effects of unreimbursed travel expenses incurred by reservists to perform military service on DOD's ability to retain reservists in the force, and respond to these risks by considering the costs and benefits of any possible actions to address the identified issues.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation. In a letter dated November 17, 2017, the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary (Military Personnel Policy) stated that the Office of the Reserve Integration is working with the National Guard Bureau on a study to be performed by the Institute for Defense Analyses over an 18 month period, with the entire effort completed within the next 24 months.
    Director: Chris Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve employee misconduct policies and procedures, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to document policies and procedures to address potential Surge Capacity Force misconduct.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had developed and documented misconduct policies and procedures for most employees, but not its entire workforce. Specifically, FEMA had not documented misconduct policies and procedures for Surge Capacity Force members, who may augment FEMA's workforce in the event of a catastrophic disaster. As a result, we recommended that FEMA document policies and procedures to address potential Surge Capacity Force misconduct. In September 2017, FEMA officials reported taking action to address this recommendation. Specifically, FEMA distributed a memorandum to Federal Coordinating Officers and Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinators providing guidance on how and to whom to report allegations of misconduct by Surge Capacity Force members, coordination efforts regarding investigations, and how to address the member's duty status during the course of an investigation. FEMA stated that it will further address this recommendation by updating the FEMA Human Capital Plan for the Surge Capacity Force. FEMA expects to complete this effort by June 30, 2018. This recommendation will remain open until the Human Capital Plan is updated.
    Recommendation: In order to improve employee misconduct policies and procedures, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to document Reservist disciplinary options and appeals policies and procedures that are currently in practice at the agency.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) policies and procedures for Reservist employees did not outline disciplinary options to address misconduct or address the appeals process available for Reservists. As a result, we recommended that FEMA document Reservist disciplinary options and appeals policies and procedures that are currently in practice at the agency. In September 2017, FEMA reported that the Office of Response and Recovery was drafting an addendum to the FEMA Reservist program manual. FEMA expects to complete this action by December 31, 2017. This recommendation will remain open until the addendum is complete.
    Recommendation: In order to improve employee misconduct policies and procedures, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to communicate the range of penalties for specific misconduct offenses to all employees and supervisors.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not communicate a range of offenses and penalties for misconduct to its entire workforce. Rather, such information was communicated to supervisors and employees on a case-by-case basis. To improve transparency we recommended that FEMA communicate the range of penalties for specific misconduct offenses to all supervisors and employees. As of September 2017, FEMA officials reported that they had drafted a new table of penalties, which was undergoing internal review within FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. FEMA expects this process to be complete by December 31, 2017. This recommendation will remain open until the table is finalized and communicated to supervisors and employees.
    Recommendation: In order to better identify and address trends in employee misconduct, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to improve the quality and usefulness of the misconduct data it collects by implementing quality control measures, such as adding additional drop-down fields with standardized entries, adding unique case identifier fields, developing documented guidance for data entry, or considering the adoption of database software.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We found limitations related to the quality and usefulness of employee misconduct data collected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA). For example, we found data collection differed across the agency, there was limited standardization of data fields, and a lack of documented guidance on data entry. As a result, we recommended that FEMA improve its employee misconduct data by implementing quality control measures or considering the adoption of database software that would help standardize data collection across FEMA. In September 2017, FEMA officials reported they had secured funding to purchase hardware and software for a case management system to track misconduct complaints. If implemented, this system should improve FEMA's ability to more efficiently and effectively manage and track case information. FEMA estimates that it will complete this action by March 31, 2018. This recommendation will remain open until the new case management system is in place and operational.
    Recommendation: In order to better identify and address trends in employee misconduct, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to, once the quality of the data is improved, conduct routine reporting on employee misconduct trends.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not regularly conduct trend analysis on misconduct cases, and that quality of the data restricted the agency's ability to identify and address trends. As a result, we recommended that, once steps were taken to improve the quality of the data, FEMA should conduct routine reporting on employee misconduct trends. In September 2017, FEMA officials reported they were procuring a case management system to track misconduct complaints. If implemented, this system should improve FEMA's ability to analyze misconduct data and identify and report on trends. FEMA estimates that it will complete this action by March 31, 2018. This recommendation will remain open until FEMA generates trend analysis and reports from the new system.
    Recommendation: In order to ensure that all allegations of employee misconduct referred by DHS OIG are reviewed and addressed, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to develop reconciliation procedures to consistently track referred cases.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not establish effective procedures to ensure that all misconduct cases referred to FEMA by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) were accounted for and subsequently reviewed and addressed. As a result, we recommended that FEMA develop reconciliation procedures to consistently track referred cases. In September 2017, FEMA officials reported they had secured funding to purchase hardware and software for a case management system to track misconduct complaints. In addition, officials reported that they are working with DHS OIG to coordinate case management coding across systems. FEMA estimates that it will complete these actions by March 31, 2018. If implemented, the new system should improve FEMA's ability to track OIG referred cases. In order to fully address this recommendation, FEMA must complete these steps and also demonstrate that reconciliation procedures are in place.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that program staff are being used in an effective and efficient manner, and to facilitate the consideration and identification of total force solutions for staffing sexual assault prevention and response and Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) programs throughout the Department of the Army, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army, in coordination with the Chiefs of the National Guard Bureau and the Army Reserve, to conduct an evaluation of staffing approaches used to administer the sexual assault prevention and response program, and consider opportunities to leverage resources across all Army components. This evaluation should include an assessment of the number and allocation of full-time and collateral-duty personnel, the fill rates for program positions, and the types of positions used.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Army National Guard and Army Reserve program staff have the necessary information to develop their budgets and to help ensure the efficient and effective use of program funds, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Army National Guard SHARP Program Office to communicate and disseminate its guidance on budget development and execution for the SHARP program to all full-time SHARP program personnel.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Army National Guard and Army Reserve program staff have the necessary information to develop their budgets and to help ensure the efficient and effective use of program funds, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Army Reserve SHARP Program Office to develop clear guidance on budget development and execution for the SHARP program and disseminate this guidance to its full-time SHARP program personnel.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Army National Guard and Army Reserve program staff have the necessary information to develop their budgets and to help ensure the efficient and effective use of program funds, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Director of the Army SHARP Program Office to expand the scope of the midyear review to include monitoring and providing oversight of SHARP program expenditures at the Army National Guard state and Army Reserve command level.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that sexual assault crimes involving Army National Guard members are investigated in a timely manner, with a full investigation of the offense regardless of the reserve component or duty status of the victim, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, in collaboration with the secretaries of the military departments as appropriate, to reassess the Office of Complex Administrative Investigation's (OCI) timeliness and resources to determine how to improve the timeliness of processing sexual assault investigations involving members of the Army National Guard, and identify the resources needed to improve the timeliness of these investigations.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that victims of sexual assault in the Army Reserve have timely access to medical and mental health-care services without having to pay for their care upfront, if they are eligible for care paid for or provided by DOD, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Chief of the Army Reserve to develop and implement an expedited line-of-duty determination process for Army Reserve sexual assault victims, along with a method for tracking the length of time to make the determinations. When developing this process, the Chief should ensure that it allows soldiers who wish to file a confidential or restricted report to go through the determination process without disclosing their circumstances to the chain of command.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Von Ah, Andrew J
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that its Reserve Components' headquarters are conducting assessments with sufficient frequency, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to, when updating its existing guidance to clarify to which organizations it applies, also clarify whether assessments should be conducted twice yearly or every 2 years, or at some other frequency.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, DOD officials stated that the Air Force updated existing guidance to clarify the frequency of assessments of applicable headquarters activities, and this revised guidance is awaiting final signature, expected in September 2017. According to officials, the revised Air Force guidance now includes draft language, which states that Headquarters, Air Force; major commands; and the Air National Guard Headquarters element should establish an internal engineered factor and evaluate headquarters strength relative to the factor every year concurrently with fiscal year budget decisions that change allocated force structure. Once the revised guidance has been finalized, GAO will review the updated guidance and re-assess the implementation status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Office of the Director, Air National Guard has the number of personnel needed to accomplish their missions and performance objectives at the Joint Force Headquarters - State, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force, in coordination with the Chief, National Guard Bureau, to require assessments of Air Staff element personnel requirements at the Joint Force Headquarters - State.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, DOD officials stated that only the Air Force can provide and develop factors, tools, and overarching industrial and management engineering methodologies to accurately quantify the essential manpower required for the effective and efficient accomplishment of capabilities supporting oversight of the Air Force. These officials went on to add that Joint Force Headquarters-State are not active Air Force organizations. Accordingly, the National Guard Bureau and the states must determine personnel requirements associated with National Guard Bureau and state missions. For example, these officials stated that the National Guard Bureau continues to use all Air Force developed factors, tools and overarching industrial and management engineering methodologies to accurately quantify the essential manpower required at Joint Force Headquarters-State. They also stated that the Joint Force Headquarters-States' manpower requirements have been placed on the National Guard Bureau's full-time manpower study schedule for fiscal year 2017 and will undergo an immediate currency review. Additionally, every two years from the fiscal year 2017 currency review, the National Guard Bureau will re-assess and quantify essential manpower requirements at each of the Joint Force Headquarters-State. GAO requested additional information (e.g., guidance requiring Air Staff elements to conduct personnel requirements assessments at the Joint Force Headquarters-State, results of the inclusion of Joint Force Headquarters-State in the National Guard Bureau's full time manpower requirements study for fiscal year 2017) and will re-assess the implementation status of this recommendation upon receiving the requested documentation.
    Director: Randall B. Williamson
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance oversight of access to mental health care and help ensure that servicemembers have timely access to mental health care, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs to establish an access standard for mental health follow-up appointments and regularly monitor data on these appointments.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to collect and monitor deployed civilians' perceptions related to mental health care.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to leverage recommendations made by the RAND Corporation in its 2014 report on mental health stigma in the military to update and clarify policies as needed to remove stigmatizing provisions, such as career restrictions that may be too limiting for individuals who have received mental health care.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to establish a clear, consistent definition of those barriers to care generally understood by DOD as "mental health care stigma," to include explanations of its causes or contributing risk factors and ways that stigma is apparent in behaviors and policies.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to establish goals for efforts to address barriers to care generally understood by DOD as "stigma reduction efforts," and performance measures that link to these goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop a method to collect and analyze information on barriers to seeking mental health care, including stigma, so that reliable data may be gathered and used to measure the effectiveness of stigma reduction efforts over time.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to designate an entity to coordinate efforts to reduce mental health care stigma, among other barriers to care.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence to reissue consolidated guidance, incorporating subsequent updates for the denial or suspension of access to classified information and for assignment to sensitive duties based solely on information about mental health care.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Pendleton, John H
    Phone: (202) 512-3489

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To facilitate oversight of the size of DOD's reserve-component headquarters and ensure that they have the minimum personnel needed to complete their assigned missions, and to minimize the potential for gaps or overlaps at the National Guard's state Joint Force headquarters, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chief of the National Guard Bureau to assess and validate all personnel requirements at the state Joint Force headquarters to include the Army staff element and Air staff element.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, the National Guard Bureau (NGB) had not assessed and validated personnel requirements at the state Joint Force headquarters. In August 2017, NGB officials told us that they had not taken steps to establish manpower requirements documents for the state and territory joint force headquarters and that NGB had not validated their personnel requirements. As a result NGB has not taken the steps necessary to address our recommendation.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's estimates and comparisons of the full cost of its military, civilian, and contractor workforces and to improve DOD's methodology for estimating and comparing the full cost of its various workforces, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation to further develop guidance for cost elements that users have identified as challenging to calculate, such as general and administrative, overhead, advertising and recruiting, and training.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD's April 2017 report on Comparing the Cost of Civilians and Contractors, DOD's Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office is updating fiscal year 2017 estimates in its Full Cost of Manpower (FCoM) system to reflect separate officer and enlisted training costs. If more specific cost estimates are required, users of FCoM are directed to cost estimating tools operated by the military departments.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's estimates and comparisons of the full cost of its military, civilian, and contractor workforces and to improve DOD's methodology for estimating and comparing the full cost of its various workforces, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation to develop business rules for estimating the full cost of National Guard and Reserve personnel.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD's April 2017 report in Comparing the Cost of Civilians and Contractors, a cost estimating function for Reserve Component personnel far exceeds the combination of variables for developing active component and DOD civilian cost estimates. Due to the scope of the Full Cost of Manpower (FCoM) contract, OSD(CAPE) has not adopted this recommendation in terms of a web-based application. However, OSD(CAPE) intends to address general business rules for Reserve Component cost estimates in the next DoDI revision.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's estimates and comparisons of the full cost of its military, civilian, and contractor workforces and to improve DOD's methodology for estimating and comparing the full cost of its various workforces, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, in coordination with the department's Office of the Actuary and appropriate federal actuarial offices, to reevaluate the inclusion and quantification of pension, retiree health care costs, and other relevant costs of an actuarial nature and make revisions as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD's April 2017 report on Comparing the Cost of Civilians and Contractors, OSD(CAPE) has reviewed the inclusion of payments that the government makes to retirement and health benefits. All identified costs that are attributable to current retirees and past service of active civilian and military personnel, such as unfunded liabilities, are being revised in the cost estimating guidelines. OSD(CAPE) intends to incorporate these changes in the next DoDI revision and coordinate a review with the Office of the DoD Actuaty.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's estimates and comparisons of the full cost of its military, civilian, and contractor workforces and to improve DOD's ability to estimate contractor support costs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, consistent with established practices for developing credible cost estimates, to research the data sources it is currently using and reassess its contractor support data sources for use when determining contractor support costs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOD's April 2017 report on Comparing the Cost of Civilian and Contractors, the department's efforts to improve data sources are ongoing.
    Director: Williamson, Randall B
    Phone: (206)287-4860

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help DOD obtain reasonable assurance that all active and Reserve component servicemembers to whom the PDHRA requirement applies are provided the opportunity to have their health concerns identified, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and the military services should take steps to ensure that PDHRA questionnaires are included in DOD's central repository for each of these servicemembers.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments to this report, the Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with this recommendation. On October 2009, DOD's Force Health Protection and Response Office sent a memo to each of the military service Surgeons General emphasizing the need for the post-deployment health reassessment (PDHRA) to be offered to all service members who are eligible to complete the assessment. In 2010, DOD's noted that the services would work with the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center (AFHSC) repository to ensure PDHRAs are submitted correctly, without transmission errors. DOD's 2011 case records showed that the Air Force and Army had developed data verification processes to ensure that AFHSC received PDHRAs. Further, the Defense Medical Data Center (DMDC) had planed to create a file consisting of the date of deployment for deployed personnel, and that the file would be available to the services in order to match DMDC with data from each of the service-specific systems, in accordance to requirements. In September 2011, although DMDC and the services had agreed to match rosters of deployed service members, there were still inconsistencies in deployment dates. In March 2012, DOD was still verifying data inconsistencies which, until resolved, leads to inaccurate reporting based on errors in the deployment dates.