Military Personnel: Military Departments Need to Ensure That Full Costs of Converting Military Health Care Positions to Civilian Positions Are Reported to Congress

GAO-06-642 Published: May 01, 2006. Publicly Released: May 01, 2006.
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Highlights

Based on studies showing that many military members are performing tasks that are not considered military essential, the Air Force, Army, and Navy have plans to convert certain numbers of military health care positions to civilian positions. Questions have surfaced regarding the potential effects of these conversions on the Defense Health Program. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 prohibits the military departments from performing any further conversions until the secretary of each department certifies to Congress that the conversions will not increase costs or decrease quality or access to care. The act also requires GAO to study the military departments' conversions and their potential effects. Specifically, GAO examined (1) the military departments' plans for and actions to date in converting military health care positions to civilian positions and the departments' experiences in filling the converted positions with civilians and (2) the potential effects of converting military health care positions to civilian positions on the Defense Health Program.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense To ensure that the military departments account for the full costs of military health care positions converted or planned for conversion when they report to Congress, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy to coordinate the development of their congressional certifications for military health care conversions with the Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation in order to consider the full cost for military personnel and for federal civilian or contract replacement personnel in assessing whether anticipated costs to hire civilian replacement personnel will increase costs to DOD for defense health care.
Closed – Implemented
DOD issued a policy memorandum in January 2010 that requires any organization making manpower sourcing decisions (military, civilian, or contractor) including military to civilian conversions to utilize full cost methodology that is specified in the recommendation and outlined in the memorandum.
Department of Defense To ensure that the military departments account for the full costs of military health care positions converted or planned for conversion when they report to Congress, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy to address in their congressional certifications for military health care conversions the extent to which total projected costs for hiring federal civilian or contract personnel include actual compensation costs for completed hires and anticipated compensation costs for future hires.
Closed – Implemented
DOD issued a policy memorandum in January 2010 that requires any organization making manpower sourcing decisions (military, civilian, or contractor) including military to civilian conversions to utilize full cost methodology that is outlined in the memorandum and specified in the recommendation.

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