National Personnel Records Center:

Plan Needed to Show How Timeliness Goal Will Be Achieved

GAO-01-599: Published: May 31, 2001. Publicly Released: Jul 2, 2001.

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Cynthia A. Bascetta
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The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) is responsible for maintaining the official military personnel records of discharged members of the military services. Veterans frequently need their records for a variety of reasons, such as obtaining disability compensation, health benefits, GI bill education benefits, home loan guarantees, and burial in national cemeteries. However, access to these benefits has been hampered due to delays in obtaining documentation of their military service from NPRC. This report evaluates NPRC's timeliness in responding to veterans' requests for records. GAO reviewed (1) how long it took NPRC to answer veterans' requests for records and (2) whether the actions NPRC was taking would improve response time. GAO found that, in fiscal year 2000, NPRC took an average of 54 days to respond to written requests for records, answering about six percent of written requests within 10 working days. Actions NPRC was taking to respond more quickly were unlikely to significantly improve timeliness soon, and the prospects for meeting its fiscal year 2005 goal of answering 95 percent of requests within 10 working days were unclear.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The National Personnel Records Center developed a plan in 2001, for achieving its fiscal year 2005 timeliness goal. This plan addressed human capital issues, such as staffing, production levels and timeframes, as well as how the agency's use of overtime and reengineering would enable it to meet its goals.

    Recommendation: The National Archives and Records Administration should require the National Personnel Records Center to develop a plan that shows what is needed to meet its fiscal year 2005 timeliness goal, including human capital issues such as staffing and production levels and timeframes, and how its use of overtime and reengineering will enable it to meet its goal.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration: National Archives and Records Administration


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