Army Guard and Reserve Pay and Personnel Systems Are Unreliable and Susceptible to Waste and Abuse

FPCD-80-30: Published: Jan 28, 1980. Publicly Released: Jan 28, 1980.

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The Army Guard and Reserve payroll is about $1.3 billion. The Reserve drill pay system operates on an exception basis, with Guard and Reserve personnel being automatically paid for scheduled drills unless the unit reports them absent. Many Guard and Reserve units have abused attendance reporting by recording absent members as present at drill assemblies to show high attendance levels. These abuses were reviewed by GAO to determine the extent of the practices and to recommend solutions to the problems.

It is estimated that between 5,500 to 6,000 reservists and guardsmen who are discharged each year may be indebted as much as $744,000 for payment for drills they did not attend. Furthermore, the Army has detected over a half million dollars in duplicate payments to 3,678 members during the last 2 years. Management controls over the payroll and related personnel systems are not adequate to prevent the erroneous payments. In addition, vital personnel strength information maintained in the pay and personnel systems is frequently inconsistent, inaccurate, and can adversely impact budget and mobilization plans. The reliability of the information in the pay and personnel systems is questionable primarily because data are not updated in a timely manner or information is lost, rejected, or erroneously changed.

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