The Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) is a key Department of Defense (DOD) support organization that, among other things, generates reports for defense organizations such as the military services, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Staff. External organizations such as GAO and federally funded research and development centers also rely on DMDC for quantitative data and analyses pertaining to a wide variety of issues, including the numbers of DOD personnel in specified occupations or demographic groups, servicemembers' attitudes, and compensation. DMDC reports to DOD's Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. In describing its databases, DMDC states that it maintains the largest archive of personnel, manpower, training, and financial data in DOD. It also notes that the personnel data are broad in scope and extend back to the early 1970s covering all services, all components of the total force (active duty, guard, reserve, and civilian), and all phases of the personnel life cycle (accession, separation, and retirement). DMDC data serve as the basis for DOD's annual Population Representation in the Military Forces which, among other things, provides information on the numbers of officers who were accessed into the military from each service's various commissioning programs: military academies, Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), Officer Candidate Schools (OCS: for the Army, Navy, and Air Force) and Officer Training School (OTS: for the Air Force). On January 19, 2007, we issued a report on officer accessions, retention, and foreign language training. The purpose of this report is to bring to your attention reliability issues with DMDC data that we encountered while preparing our report and to provide you with our recommendations to address these issues.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to require the Defense Manpower Data Center to reconcile its data with data from the services on accessions from the services' commissioning programs for current and past officers.|
|Department of Defense||The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to require the Defense Manpower Data Center to verify the accuracy of its corrected database through further analyses such as demographic breakouts (such as race, gender, and year accessed) for each officer commissioning program.|