Improvements Needed In Determining Graduate Education Requirements For Military Officer Positions

B-165558: Published: Aug 28, 1976. Publicly Released: Aug 28, 1976.

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GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) graduate education requirements for military officer positions.

GAO noted that: (1) the criteria for identifying military officer positions requiring graduate level education and the use of those criteria are so broad and permissive that almost any officer position could be certified as requiring graduate level education; (2) inconsistent application of the criteria, as well as their broadness, has reduced their usefulness as a meaningful, uniform guide; (3) this has resulted in increasing numbers of positions being certified as requiring graduate education although the need for such education had not been demonstrated or established; (4) the process for evaluating graduate education requirements for officer positions needs to be improved; (5) subordinate commands requesting certification of positions and headquarters review staffs have not given adequate consideration to: (a) work experience or short training courses as acceptable alternatives; (b) inconsistencies between official job descriptions which did not require graduate education and job descriptions submitted for approval of graduate education requirements; (c) using civilians in positions, where possible, to provide continuity of operation and stabilize the work force; (d) similar or identical positions certified as requiring graduate education by one service but not by another; and (e) whether graduate education was an essential requirement for performing the position's duties; and (6) many officers with graduate education were not being assigned to positions requiring their specialized education to ensure maximum benefits to the military services.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: In view of DOD's position, Congress may wish to consider limiting the full-time, fully funded graduate program to those positions where such education is an essential requirement for the satisfactory performance of duty. Since other higher priority requirements of the many-faceted career management program used by DOD for military personnel often preclude the utilization of such officers in validated positions, Congress may wish to consider limiting the full-time, fully funded graduate education program to only those officers who can be utilized primarily in validated positions.


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