Congress has established a legislative framework that shapes the careers and the management of general and flag officers. The Department of Defense (DOD) has proposed eliminating or amending a number of legislative provisions, such as revising existing statutory retirement limits based on age and years of service, to provide greater flexibility in managing its senior officers in order to retain experienced leaders. GAO is issuing this report in response to a mandate in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003. GAO's objectives were to (1) develop a profile of general and flag officer careers and (2) assess DOD's justification for its general and flag officer legislative proposals.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||To help achieve DOD's goal of retaining experienced leaders, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) to evaluate options for extending general and flag officer careers within the existing legislative framework. This evaluation should include an assessment of (1) factors that contribute to the retirement of senior general and flag officers prior to the statutory retirement limits, (2) the need for changes in DOD policy or procedure to make greater use of existing authority to extend general and flag officers careers on a case-by-case basis beyond the statutory retirement limits, and (3) the long-term cost implications of proposals to change retirement compensation.|