Operation Desert Shield:

Problems Encountered by Activated Reservists

NSIAD-91-290: Published: Sep 27, 1991. Publicly Released: Sep 27, 1991.

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GAO conducted a survey of the impact of reserve mobilization in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm on selected reservists, focusing on: (1) problems encountered by reservists when called up for service; and (2) the impact of their experiences on their decision to stay in the reserves.

GAO found that: (1) reservists indicated dissatisfaction with the uncertain length of their call-up period, the fact that not all members of their units had been activated, the dispersal of members to installations other than their planned mobilization station, and their assignment to jobs for which they had not been trained prior to arrival at their mobilization stations; (2) 11 of the 40 reservists interviewed complained of hardships in resolving affairs as a result of short notification times; (3) reservists complained of such poor conditions at duty stations as inadequate living quarters, lack of necessary equipment and special clothing, installation failure to adjust the hours of operations of key support offices and facilities to accommodate the reservists' work schedules, and lack of timeliness in receiving pay and travel reimbursements; (4) 20 of the 40 reservists reported experiencing some loss of income, whereas the military income of 11 reservists exceeded their civilian income, and the income for the other 9 remained about the same; (5) the amount of assistance civilian employers provided to their reservist employees, in terms of pay, health and life insurance, and other benefits, varied widely; (6) 11 of the 40 reservists said they would not reenlist; and (7) 31 of the 40 reservists indicated that the problems they encountered had a detrimental effect of their morale.