Service Academies:

Historical Proportion of New Officers During Benchmark Periods

NSIAD-92-90: Published: Mar 19, 1992. Publicly Released: Mar 19, 1992.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on the: (1) total number of newly commissioned officers brought on to active duty between fiscal year (FY) 1972 and FY 1991 to identify benchmark periods; and (2) number of academy graduates entering active duty during the same period.

GAO found that: (1) the number of newly commissioned officers coming from the service academies has gradually increased over the last 20 years; (2) the increase in recent years in the percentage of new officers coming from the academies has resulted from higher graduation rates at each of the academies, coupled with the reduced demand for new officers; (3) for FY 1995 through FY 1997, Department of Defense (DOD) projections for new officer accessions are lower than any year since 1950; (4) by using DOD data on total active duty personnel, total officer accessions, academy officer accessions, and academy attrition and graduation trends, benchmark periods would be 1976-80 for the Army, 1976-81 for the Navy and Marine Corps, and 1977-81 for the Air Force; (5) for the same periods, the benchmark proportions of total officer accessions produced by the academies were 8.47 percent for the U.S. Military Academy (USMA), 11.21 percent for the Naval Academy, and 10.96 percent for the Air Force Academy; (6) the academies would be well within the 4,000-student ceiling mandated for FY 1994 and beyond, if the benchmark percentages were used to determine the entering sizes of the classes of 1996 and 1997; and (7) in order to maintain the class sizes required, the benchmark proportions for the classes of 1996 and 1997 would need to be 754 for each class entering USMA, 891 for each class entering the Air Force Academy, and 1,017 for the Class of 1996 and 1,056 for the Class of 1997 at the Naval Academy.