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    Subject Term: "Military discharges"

    5 publications with a total of 22 open recommendations
    Director: Brown Barnes, Cindy S
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should publicly report DOD's performance regarding participation and career readiness attainment for all TAP-eligible servicemembers and members of the National Guard and Reserve rather than exclude those for whom data are missing or clarify the extent of missing data. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially agreed with this recommendation. The agency partially agreed to base its publicly reported performance on all those who are TAP-eligible or to clarify the extent of missing data. DOD said that compliance should only be computed based on data that are known, but the agency agreed that its public reports should include a description of the extent of missing data. DOD also noted that in FY17 it had disclosed the extent of missing data when reporting performance on the Transition to Veterans agency priority goal and that this will be included in all its public reporting starting in the first quarter of fiscal year 2018 and beyond. The agency indicated that it would also continue working to reduce the extent of missing data. We will consider closing this recommendation when DOD has completed these efforts.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should monitor and report on the extent to which servicemembers participate in TAP within prescribed timeframes. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD agreed with this recommendation. Based on feasibility of data collection and availability of funds, DOD anticipates starting data collection in fiscal year 2019, followed by data reporting in fiscal year 2020 at the earliest. We will consider closing this recommendation when DOD begins reporting on participation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should monitor and report on the extent to which servicemembers who elect to receive additional 2-day classes are able to receive the training. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD disagreed with this recommendation, noting that it ensures access by offering 2-day classes both in classrooms and online. Moreover, the agency stated that the purpose of 2-day classes is to help servicemembers achieve Career Readiness Standards. However, GAO does not believe this is sufficient for DOD to know whether it is ensuring compliance with this particular law. We continue to believe that DOD needs to track whether those who elect to take these classes are able to receive the training.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should monitor and report on the extent to which servicemembers attend TAP in a classroom setting unless allowed by regulation to participate online. (Recommendation 4)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD agreed with this recommendation. Based on feasibility of data collection and availability of funds, DOD anticipates starting data collection in fiscal year 2019, followed by data reporting in fiscal year 2020 at the earliest. We will close this recommendation when DOD begins reporting on attendance.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should enable unit commanders and their higher-level commanders to access DOD reports on timeliness, 2-day classes, and the use of online TAP--after DOD begins monitoring and reporting this information--to help ensure the specific units they oversee are compliant with all TAP requirements. (Recommendation 5)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially agreed with this recommendation. DOD noted that once it has the capability to collect and report data on timeliness and extent of online and classroom participation, the military services will provide these data to commanders when feasible. DOD added that the intent of this recommendation should be met at the service level where transition staff can make this information available to commanders. Our report noted that some services share information on certain aspects of the program, such as participation and Career Readiness Standard attainment. However, DOD does not yet monitor timeliness of participation, access to 2-day classes, and online participation. Therefore, DOD is unable to share this particular information with commanders. While we understand that DOD needs to build its capability to collect these additional data, we urge DOD to disseminate this important information to commanders as soon as possible to enable them to fulfill their responsibility toward TAP compliance within their specific units. DOD did not address the monitoring and reporting of the additional 2-day classes, therefore, we urge DOD to also report data on access to the additional 2-day classes so that commanders are able to ensure compliance with all statutory TAP requirements.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should seek ways to minimize the subjectivity involved in making career readiness determinations, particularly where judgments are involved, such as the quality of the individual transition plan and the resume. This could include developing guidance or training that provides quality standards for assessing career readiness materials. (Recommendation 6)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD agreed with this recommendation. The agency stated that, by the end of FY18, it will work with the military departments and the Department of Labor to seek ways to minimize subjectivity in assessing such things as quality of the resume or job application package. This may include developing guidance on quality standards for assessing particular career readiness materials. DOD also noted that all military services have personnel at the installation level who are trained in resume writing, resume review, and career planning and that installations can also call upon their local DOL partners for further support. Finally, DOD said it was important to note that commanders be allowed to exercise their best judgment on attainment of career readiness for their servicemembers, knowing that experts are housed within the transition assistance centers at their installation and are available to assist servicemembers.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to, in coordination with the Director, USMEPCOM, and the military services develop a clear process with defined roles and responsibilities to ensure that complete Existed Prior to Service (EPTS) separation medical records for enlistees who separated within 180 days of service from the military services' basic training sites are provided to USMEPCOM.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to, in coordination with the Director, USMEPCOM, establish a schedule to repair the internal EPTS database so that USMEPCOM can provide more regular and specific feedback to MEPS chief medical officers.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to, in coordination with the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics and the DOD Healthcare Management Systems Program Executive Office, develop a schedule of actions for deploying its new electronic health record system, MHS GENESIS, within USMEPCOM that includes key activities such as the major actions required to accomplish this effort, completion dates for all actions leading up to these events, and dates for the system's deployment to MEPS locations.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Randall B. Williamson
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase its assurance that PTSD and TBI are appropriately considered prior to separating certain servicemembers from the military for misconduct, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Air Force and Navy to address inconsistencies with DOD policy in their policies related to screening certain servicemembers, including servicemembers separating in lieu of trial by court-martial, for PTSD and TBI and reviewing the results prior to separation for misconduct.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To increase its assurance that PTSD and TBI are appropriately considered prior to separating certain servicemembers from the military for misconduct, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Air Force and Navy to address inconsistencies with DOD policy in their policies related to training servicemembers, including officers, on how to identify mild TBI symptoms in the deployed setting.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To increase its assurance that PTSD and TBI are appropriately considered prior to separating certain servicemembers from the military for misconduct, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that the military services routinely monitor adherence to policies related to screening certain servicemembers for PTSD and TBI prior to separation for misconduct.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To increase its assurance that PTSD and TBI are appropriately considered prior to separating certain servicemembers from the military for misconduct, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that the military services routinely monitor adherence to policies related to training servicemembers, including officers, on how to identify mild TBI symptoms in the deployed setting.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To increase its assurance that PTSD and TBI are appropriately considered prior to separating certain servicemembers from the military for misconduct, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that the military services routinely monitor adherence to policies related to counseling about VA benefits and services during the process of separating certain servicemembers for misconduct.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Randall B. Williamson
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve identification of enlisted servicemembers separated for non-disability mental conditions, and to provide reasonable assurance that enlisted servicemembers, including Air Force National Guard members, are separated for non-disability mental conditions as appropriate and in accordance with DOD requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and the Secretaries of the Army and the Navy and the Commandant of the Marine Corps to use the separation codes specific to a non-disability mental condition or develop another uniform method to track servicemembers who have been separated for specific non-disability mental conditions so that this information can be easily retrieved.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To improve identification of enlisted servicemembers separated for non-disability mental conditions, and to provide reasonable assurance that enlisted servicemembers, including Air Force National Guard members, are separated for non-disability mental conditions as appropriate and in accordance with DOD requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and the Secretary of the Air Force to take steps to ensure there is an appropriately staffed process to identify and administratively separate enlisted National Guard members who are unable to function effectively in the National Guard because of a non-disability mental condition.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To improve identification of enlisted servicemembers separated for non-disability mental conditions, and to provide reasonable assurance that enlisted servicemembers, including Air Force National Guard members, are separated for non-disability mental conditions as appropriate and in accordance with DOD requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy and the Commandant of the Marine Corps to update their services' administrative separation policies to be consistent with DOD regulations for those servicemembers separated for all non-disability mental conditions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To improve identification of enlisted servicemembers separated for non-disability mental conditions, and to provide reasonable assurance that enlisted servicemembers, including Air Force National Guard members, are separated for non-disability mental conditions as appropriate and in accordance with DOD requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force and the Navy and the Commandant of the Marine Corps to implement processes to oversee separations for non-disability mental conditions, such as reinstituting the requirement of annual compliance reporting of a sample of administrative separations, using current DOD policy requirements as review criteria for servicemembers of all military services and their Reserve components.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To improve identification of enlisted servicemembers separated for non-disability mental conditions, and to provide reasonable assurance that enlisted servicemembers, including Air Force National Guard members, are separated for non-disability mental conditions as appropriate and in accordance with DOD requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to ensure that Army's planned oversight of separations for non-disability mental conditions is implemented and incorporates reservists and National Guard members separated for such conditions, or that Army implement another process to oversee such administrative separations using current DOD policy requirements as review criteria for all servicemembers, including reservists and National Guard members.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: To improve identification of enlisted servicemembers separated for non-disability mental conditions, and to provide reasonable assurance that enlisted servicemembers, including Air Force National Guard members, are separated for non-disability mental conditions as appropriate and in accordance with DOD requirements, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to review any processes used by the military services to oversee such administrative separations to ensure compliance with DOD requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, DOD officials have not implemented this recommendation. GAO considers it to be open. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: Andrew Sherrill
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure servicemember participation in and completion of TAP, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness to require that all services provide unit commanders and their leaders information on TAP participation levels of servicemembers under their command, similar to that provided by the Army and Air Force. Such information could be used to help hold leaders accountable for ensuring TAP participation and completion.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Although DOD disagreed with this recommendation, it has taken steps to make TAP participation information available at the installation and unit-command level. Specifically, in November 2016, DOD launched a new system to electronically collect TAP-related data: the TAP-IT Enterprise System. DOD officials said this system will allow the services to generate installation and unit-level data reports once fully operational. This system is currently being used at all installations to collect data on VOW compliance and Career Readiness Standards attainment. However, installation and unit-command specific reports describing TAP performance levels may not be available until October 2018, according to a senior DOD official. We continue to believe that providing unit-level data to commanders is needed because these commanders are responsible for ensuring that eligible servicemembers have full access to and successfully complete required TAP components. Consequently, providing commanders and their leaders information on TAP participation levels of servicemembers under their command could promote accountability and oversight. Servicemember participation in TAP is generally required by law and DOD policy, and also relates to a Cross-Agency Priority Goal, reinforcing the need for such a mechanism. For GAO to close this recommendation, DOD should require all services to provide unit commanders and their leaders information on TAP participation levels of servicemembers under their command.
    Recommendation: To provide information on the extent to which the revamped TAP is effective, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness to work with the partner agencies to develop a written strategy for determining which components and tracks to evaluate and the most appropriate evaluation methods. This strategy should include a plan to use the results of evaluations to modify or redesign the program, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has partially addressed GAO's recommendation on evaluating the effectiveness of the revamped TAP, information that is currently limited. DOD's 2016 presentation to OMB on the status of TAP implementation and evaluation efforts lists specific TAP components and tracks in which VA, DOL, and SBA planned to assess TAP effectiveness or post-transition outcomes. In June 2016, the Small Business Administration released results of an evaluation on the Boots to Business program (White Paper: Operation Boots to Business Veteran Entrepreneurship Assessment). According to DOL officials, the agency has an ongoing quasi-experimental TAP evaluation of the employment workshop. Further, VA is in the process of contracting for a survey of veterans that will include questions regarding the transition services received under TAP, according to agency officials. However, DOD and the agencies have not fully demonstrated a strategic approach to planning higher level evaluations. GAO will consider the recommendation met once the TAP evaluation plan articulates a strategy to rigorously evaluate TAP's impact on post-program outcomes and specifies how the interagency partners plan to use the results of any evaluations.