Operation Desert Storm:

War Highlights Need to Address Problem of Nondeployable Personnel

NSIAD-92-208: Published: Aug 31, 1992. Publicly Released: Sep 16, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the issue of nondeployable military personnel for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, focusing on: (1) the extent of nondeployable personnel; (2) the factors contributing to nondeployability; and (3) systemic weaknesses that could impair future readiness and deployability.

GAO found that: (1) it could not determine the extent of nondeployable personnel because of insufficient data; (2) available data indicated such causes of nondeployability as incomplete training, varying medical conditions, and personal problems; (3) the Department of Defense (DOD) stated that nondeployable personnel were not a serious problem because the services were able to replace them with other personnel; and (4) available data suggest that systemic weaknesses exacerbated nondeployability problems in the peacetime screening of active and reserve personnel.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD issued revised guidlines on effective family care planning intended to preclude nondeployability problems. Army initiated an Army-wide assessment of deployability to heighten attention to this problem.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should provide additional policy guidance and emphasis as needed to require the services to identify the magnitude of temporary and permanent nondeployable personnel in both active and reserve forces.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Congress has legislatively mandated action by the National Guard to establish holding acounts for persons in training status and avoid their inclusion in unit data -- distorting readiness ratings. DOD has tightened up readiness reporting requirements for reserve and active components.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should strengthen the Status of Resources and Training System reporting system to require the services to more fully reflect the impact of temporary and long-term nondeployable personnel, both active and reserve, in their reports.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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