Navy Management and Use of the Selective Reenlistment Bonus Program

NSIAD-85-143: Published: Sep 9, 1985. Publicly Released: Sep 9, 1985.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Navy's Selective Reenlistment Bonus (SRB) Program to determine whether: (1) the program was well managed; (2) bonuses were awarded on the basis of a larger enlisted force than annually authorized by Congress; (3) bonuses were being paid for occupations that were overstaffed; and (4) the current method of paying half of the bonus in a lump sum is the most cost-efficient approach for the government.

GAO found that: (1) the SRB program was well managed; (2) the Navy's projections of future manpower needs were accurate; (3) the Navy based its annual award level plan on projected future personnel needs; (4) using projections of future manpower needs is necessary to retain the increased number of experienced personnel; and (5) the Navy paid bonuses to people who reenlisted in occupational specialties that were over 100-percent staffed, but the future manpower needs of the specialty were significantly understaffed. GAO also found that: (1) lump-sum bonuses are more cost-efficient than bonuses paid in installments on a dollar-for-dollar basis; (2) a return to the lump-sum method of paying bonuses could result in significant SRB program savings; and (3) the payment of bonuses can be a less expensive way to meet manpower requirements when recruiting and training costs are high.

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