Army Reserve Components: Improvements Needed to Data Quality and Management Procedures to Better Report Soldier Availability
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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The sustained readiness and availability of the Army s reserve component forces the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard is critical to U.S. national defense. These soldiers comprise over half of the Army s total force and their availability is key, as the Army plans to reduce its number of soldiers over the next several years. The House Report accompanying the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act included a provision for GAO to review issues related to the non-availability of soldiers in the Army reserve components. In this report GAO examined, among other things, the extent to which the Army reserve components 1 have complete, accurate, and timely soldier information to report soldiers non-availability rates and 2 verify in a timely manner whether soldiers injuries and illnesses are service-connected, as delays can affect soldier non-availability. GAO reviewed Army regulations and analyzed soldier non-availability data for fiscal years 2012-14 however, due to concerns with data reliability, GAO focused its analysis on January 2015. GAO recommends that the Army reserve components increase the scope and frequency of data quality reviews improve data system updates of availability-related information reduce the backlog of investigations of service-connected injuries and illnesses and issue revised guidance that addresses causes for the delays. In written comments, DOD agreed with the recommendations and provided additional comments for context.
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