Women in the Military:

Air Force Revises Job Availability but Entry Screening Needs Review

NSIAD-91-199: Published: Aug 30, 1991. Publicly Released: Sep 9, 1991.

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Mark E. Gebicke
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO assessed whether the Air Force enlisted accession program was gender-neutral.

GAO found that: (1) the Air Force replaced separate male and female job lists with a single job list that can be accessed by both male and female applicants seeking job commitments from the Air Force; (2) the Air Force has retained the capability to apply gender limits to respond to changes in the impact of the combat exclusion law without having to redesign the computer-based job list system; (3) there was no written policy guidance requiring specific authorization from Air Force Headquarters before gender-based job limits could be established; (4) the Air Force designated the Policy Division of the Air Force Directorate of Personnel as the decisionmaking authority for the activation of gender-based job limits; and (5) tests used by the Air Force to screen applicants measure applicants' prior knowledge in subject areas that have a strong gender association eliminate female applicants at a higher rate than male applicants.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On October 28, 1992, the Air Force dropped the intermediate screening requirement which eliminated women at higher rates than men. Air Force action was taken in response to the GAO findings and recommendation. No new form of intermediate screeing was added.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should ensure that Air Force policy and procedures associated with the current four composite scores used to screen applicants before they compete for specific jobs are gender-neutral.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force


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