The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) is responsible for maintaining the official military personnel records of discharged members of the military services. Veterans frequently need their records for a variety of reasons, such as obtaining disability compensation, health benefits, GI bill education benefits, home loan guarantees, and burial in national cemeteries. However, access to these benefits has been hampered due to delays in obtaining documentation of their military service from NPRC. This report evaluates NPRC's timeliness in responding to veterans' requests for records. GAO reviewed (1) how long it took NPRC to answer veterans' requests for records and (2) whether the actions NPRC was taking would improve response time. GAO found that, in fiscal year 2000, NPRC took an average of 54 days to respond to written requests for records, answering about six percent of written requests within 10 working days. Actions NPRC was taking to respond more quickly were unlikely to significantly improve timeliness soon, and the prospects for meeting its fiscal year 2005 goal of answering 95 percent of requests within 10 working days were unclear.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|National Archives and Records Administration||The National Archives and Records Administration should require the National Personnel Records Center to develop a plan that shows what is needed to meet its fiscal year 2005 timeliness goal, including human capital issues such as staffing and production levels and timeframes, and how its use of overtime and reengineering will enable it to meet its goal.|