Reserve Forces and Manpower Mobilization Issues

Gao ID: 120810 March 15, 1983

Testimony was presented concerning the manpower capabilities of the reserve forces, a topic which has been the subject of a series of GAO reviews. GAO has found that there are critical personnel shortages in the reserved forces. These shortages are more severe in certain occupations, and the Army has not determined the degree to which its Selected Reserve Incentive Program is reducing these personnel shortages. Because of skill deterioration and the absence of skill refresher training, there are uncertainties about the performance capability of pretrained individuals who will be called to fill these shortages. There are abnormally large shortages of individuals with critical skills, particularly in combat arms and medical skills, and both a direct enlistment program and a reenlistment bonus program have failed to fill these critical skill positions. An Army plan to recall retirees to active duty under full mobilization contains uncertainty as to whether the retirees would be able to perform required tasks within the critical early days of mobilization. There are also uncertainties as to how many reservists will report when needed upon mobilization. In addition, the ability to expand the training base to train the influx of new personnel upon full mobilization is severely constrained by equipment shortages. GAO has found that large numbers of old addresses in Selective Service files could complicate the administration of the draft. Finally, the training of reserve forces units is adversely affected by the lack of mission-related information and equipment shortages.

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