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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the military services' Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) programs.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
Because DOD has not aggressively closed unproductive ROTC units, Congress may wish to fund the services' ROTC programs at levels lower than requested. Reductions could be based on the percentage of unproductive units in each service.
Closed - Implemented
Each of the military services reduced funding for their ROTC programs in fiscal year (FY) 1992 and in future year defense plans.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense 1. To ensure that the services meet their future needs for ROTC officers as efficiently as possible, the Secretary of Defense should develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to ensure that ROTC resources are used and distributed as efficiently as possible within the framework of all sources of new officers, including the service academies and officer candidate programs. This strategy should address the total program enrollment, the types and quantities of technical skills needed, the scholarship and non-scholarship mix, the number of units, unit staffing, headquarters staffing, and other program elements. Such a strategy should create a framework for meeting service goals cost-effectively and should include analyses of external factors affecting the program.
Closed - Implemented
DOD is developing a comprehensive strategy that will address the appropriate contribution of each of the principal sources of officers to annual commissions. This strategy will be included in revised DOD Directive 1215.8, which was published in August 1993.
Department of Defense 2. To ensure that the services meet their future needs for ROTC officers as efficiently as possible, the Secretary of Defense should suspend the requirement for officer basic training for the Army's individual ready reserve (IRR) members until those officers are needed to serve on active duty or in reserve or National Guard units. To accomplish this objective, the Secretary should seek temporary relief from the legislative requirement that provides for this training. The Secretary should also consider whether the involuntary release of ROTC participants offers the Army greater advantages than placing those people in IRR.
Closed - Not Implemented
According to a legal opinion issued by the Assistant General Counsel for Personnel and Health, elimination or reduction of initial officer basic training for newly commissioned ROTC graduates assigned to the IRR would violate the direction of 50 U.S.C. Appendix 456(D)(1).
Department of Defense 3. To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the services' ROTC programs, the Secretary of Defense should revise the DOD directive on unit closures. The revision should: (1) define the term productive unit; (2) provide criteria needed to enable objective analyses of the quantitative and qualitative factors to be considered in making closure decisions; and (3) require that deviations below the congressionally established enrollment guideline be adequately justified and reported.
Closed - Implemented
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense is preparing a revised DOD Directive 1215.8, which will address unit viability, including annual production and justification for retention of non-viable units. The directive was published in August 1993.
Department of Defense 4. To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the services' ROTC programs, the Secretary of Defense should require the services' secretaries to amend their regulations on unit closures to specify an objective formula that assigns relative weights to the various productivity factors.
Closed - Implemented
Issuance of DOD Directive 1215.8 will require subsequent revision of service regulations. Such revisions of service regulations are expected to be accomplished within 1 year after issuance of the DOD directive. Service regulations are expected to be revised by May 1994.
Department of Defense 5. In the next annual assurance statement, the Secretary of Defense should identify, as a material weakness, the lack of compliance with congressional committee guidance on unit closures.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD determined that the retention of non-viable ROTC units was not a significant material weakness for inclusion in the annual assurance statement. This determination was based on the fact that no unit viability specification, typically included in annual Defense Appropriation bill language, had been issued since 1988. Unit viability criteria will be included in a revised DOD regulation.
Department of Defense 6. Because of DOD continued failure to develop and implement and regain top management attention for standardized cost reporting for ROTC, the Secretary of Defense should identify the lack of a standardized cost-reporting system for ROTC as a material weakness in the next annual assurance statement.
Closed - Implemented
The lack of a standardized cost-reporting system for ROTC was identified as a material weakness in the 1991 annual assurance statement.

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