Air Force Efforts To Reduce Student Backlogs

FPCD-82-72: Published: Sep 29, 1982. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 1982.

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GAO reviewed Air Force efforts to reduce the delays experienced by Air Force recruits after the completion of orientation before they begin their technical training.

GAO found that training backlogs delay recruits' skill development and cost the Air Force an estimated $11.4 million in fiscal year (FY) 1981. Although there are many causes of student backlogs, the one most commonly cited by Air Force officials was the disparity between the number of personnel recruited during peak recruiting months and the number of seats available in technical training classes. By improving the recruiting environment for FY 1982, the Air Force is attempting to match the number of personnel enlisted in the delayed entry program with available class seats for FY 1983. GAO supports the Air Force's efforts and believes that it has made progress in matching personnel to available class seats. However, this is only a temporary remedy made possible by the improved recruiting environment. GAO is concerned that substantial backlogs will recur if the Air Force expands its force size, the economic and civilian employment outlooks improve, and the pool of eligible recruits declines. GAO believes, and Air Training Command officials agree, that the Air Force will likely be forced to revert to seasonal recruiting, which will result in mismatches between the number of recruits and available technical training seats. Therefore, the Air Force should not view the current situation as a long-term solution to its student backlog problem.

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