Information on the Funded Legal Education Program

FPCD-82-76: Published: Sep 27, 1982. Publicly Released: Sep 27, 1982.

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GAO was asked to review: (1) the military services' implementation of the Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP); (2) the services' procedures for determining the number of lawyers and FLEP participants required; and (3) whether the services have waived obligated service for FLEP participants.

Congress enacted the FLEP program in 1973 to help the services overcome critical shortages of lawyers in certain grade levels. The services use different approaches to determine their staffing requirements. The Navy develops staffing standards by using the Shore Requirements, Standards, and Manpower Planning System, a functional and comprehensive approach for determining military and civilian work-force requirements. About two-thirds of the Air Force's fiscal year (FY) 1982 authorized positions for lawyers is determined by using two statistical staffing standards developed by management engineering teams. Although the Army has begun a long-range program to develop staffing standards, it is still at least several years away from producing a functional standard for determining the number of lawyers needed. Approximately 60 percent of the Army's FY 1982 authorized positions for lawyers are for noncombat units. The number of lawyers needed is determined by survey teams of manpower analysts who conduct onsite visits to installations every 2 to 4 years. The Marine Corps uses onsite manpower surveys as the primary means for determining its personnel requirements. GAO found that, although all of the services have made substantial progress toward achieving full staffing of lawyers, they remained understaffed in at least one of the three grades at the end of FY 1981. All of the services have systems to safeguard against the premature release of legal officers from their obligated terms of service.

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