The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 mandated that GAO review whether the transition assistance program (TAP) is meeting the needs of service members leaving the military. GAO (1) assessed TAP administration, including program participation, and (2) identified actions agencies are taking to improve TAP and challenges that remain. TAP serves military personnel with at least 180 days of active duty who separate or retire and members of the Reserves and National Guard who are released from active duty, a process termed demobilization. Recently, the Reserves and National Guard have been called to active duty in greater numbers than at any other time since the Korean War.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||To ensure that members of the Reserve and National Guard have the opportunity to benefit from transition assistance, DOD, in conjunction with DOL and VA, should determine what demobilizing Reserve and National Guard members need to make a smooth transition and explore the logistical options for providing that assistance, such as opportunities for employment workshops before or after their demobilization and providing timely information about the need to apply for certain benefits while still on active duty.|
|Department of Veterans Affairs||To develop more accurate program statistics, VA should keep track of service members who attend the disabled transition assistance program to ensure that adequate follow-up is possible with this population, which may be in particular need of the services.|