The Department of Defense (DOD) and other executive agencies increasingly deploy civilians in support of contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prior GAO reports show that the use of deployed civilians has raised questions about the potential for differences in policies on compensation and medical benefits. When these civilians are deployed and serve side by side, differences in compensation or medical benefits may become more apparent and could adversely impact morale. This statement is based on GAO's June 2009 congressionally requested report, which compared agency policies and identified any issues in policy or implementation regarding (1) compensation, (2) medical benefits, and (3) identification and tracking of deployed civilians. GAO reviewed laws, agency policies and guidance; interviewed responsible officials at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the six selected agencies, including DOD and State; reviewed workers' compensation claims filed by deployed civilians with the Department of Labor from January 1, 2006 through April 30, 2008; and conducted a survey of deployed civilians. GAO made ten recommendations for agencies to take actions such as reviewing compensation laws and policies, establishing medical screening requirements, and creating mechanisms to assist and track deployed civilians. At the time of this testimony, the agencies were in various stages of taking action.
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