DOCUMENT RESUME 00553 - [107511261 Millions Being Spent to Apprehend Military Deserters, Most of Whom Are Discharged as Unqualified for Retention. FPCD-77-16; B-146890. January 31, 1977. 23 pp. Report to Secretary, Department of Defense; ky H. L. Krieger, Director, Federal Personnel and Compensation Div. Issue Area: Personnel Management and Compensation (300). Contact: Federal Personnel and Coapensation Div. Budget Function: National Defense: Department of Defense - Military (except procurement & contracts) (051). Congressional Relevance: House Committee on Armed Services; Senate Committee on Armed Services. Authority: 10 U.S.C. 885-87; Unifram Code of Military Justice, art. 85-87. The policy of apprehending military deserters during peacetime in an all volunteer force needs reexamining. Military representatives say treating deserters as criminals has a deterring effect. Findings/Conclusions: Most deserters do not become useful soldiers, being unable or unwilling to meet the standards demanded, and most are eventually discharged as unfit. There is no verifiable evidence that soldiers whc do not desert are discouraged from doing so because of fear of becoming a military criminal. Such fear may prevent some potential deserters, but many others may consider the possible discharge to be a reward rather than a punishment. The services have the authority to separate deserters in absentia. The number of deserters, meaning individuals whc were absent without leave, more than 30 days, declined in FY76. It cost $58 million to apprehend and process deserters during the last 2 years, not including costs incurred for related courts-martial, confinement, separation, and pay of the deserters. Costs are being incurred to apprehend individu, ; who surrender voluntarily. Recommendations: The deserters apprehension policy should be reexamined and less costly alternatives to the present practices should be found. Perhaps the apprehension of deserters should be stopped, except where the deserter is wanted in connection with another crime, and the deserter should be discharged in absentia; or perhaps apprehension efforts should not be undertaken until the deserter has been gone long enough to indicate that a voluntary return in not likely. (Author/SS) :'-3 :) UNITED STATES I \ t ''"" GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE Millions Being Spent To Apprehend Military Deserters Most Of Whom Are Discharged As Unqualified For Retention Department of Defense In 1975 and 1976 the military classified as deserters about 84,000 people who were absent from duty t)r more than 30 days. It spent almost $58 million to apprehend arid process these individuals only to discharge most of them as unqualified for retention, in many cases shortly after their return. The Secretary of Defense should reconsider the military's policies of apprehending desert- ers. In this report GAO suggests two less expensive alternatives. F PCD-77-16 J x1,\i. '31 1 977 ~s(" M "UNITED STAl ES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON, D.C. 20548 FEDERAL PERSONNEL AND COMPENSATION DIVISIOI B-146890 The Honorable The Secretary of Defense Dear Mr. Secretary: This report summarizes the cost of apprehending de- serters and their success upon return to the military. It suggests two less expensive alternatives to the current policy of apprehending deserters. This report is an cut- growth of a review se are making of unauthorized abhence. The contents of this report were discussed with represent- atives of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our recommendations to you are scc forth on page 15. As you know, section 236 of the Legislative Reorgani,'ation Act of 1970 requires the head of a Federal agency to submit a written statement on actions taken on our recommendations to the House and Senate Committees on Government Operations not later than 60 days after the date of the report and to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations with the agency's first request for appropriations made more than 60 days after the date of the report. Copies of this report are being sent to the Director, Office of Management and Budget; the Chairmen, House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, Armed Services, and Covernment Operations; the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, and the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Comptroller). Sincerely yours, H. L. Krieger Director Contents Page DIGEST i CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION 1 2 LENGTH OF ABSENCES 4 3 COST TO APPREHEND DESERTEAR 5 Payments to local law enforcement authorities 5 Costs FBI incurred 6 Military escort cost 6 Processing costs after return 7 4 SUCCESS OF DESERTERS AFTER RETURNING 9 TO DUTY Alternatives for dealing with deserters 13 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 15 Conclusions 15 Recommendations 15 6 SCOPE OF REVIEW 17 APPENDIX I Unauthorized absence as defined in law 19 II Our sample of urauchorized absence incidents terminated during the 12-month period ended March 31, 1975 21 ABBREVIATIONS AWOL absence without leave DOD Department of Defense FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation GAO General Accounting Office UA unauthorized cbsence GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE MILLIONS BEING SPENT TO REPORT TO THE APPREHEND MILITARY DESERTERS SECRETARY OF DEFENSE MOST OF WHOM ARE DISCHARGED AS UNQUALIFIED FOR RETENTION Department of Defense DIGEST The policy of apprehending military deserters during peacetime in an all volunteer force needs reexamining. Military representatives say treating deserters as criminals has a deterring effect because it discourages some from becoming repeaters and others from first offenses. However, GAO found that: -- Most deserters do not become useful sol- diers. They are unable or unwilling to meet the standards demanded of a profes- sional. Most are discharged eventually for this reason. (See p. 9.) -- There is no verifiable evidence that sol- diers who do not desert are discouraged from doing so because of fear of becoming a military criminal. Fear of arrest and pun- ishment may discourage some from deserting. Others may view discharge, a penalty fre- quently used in desertion cases, more as reward than punishment. The services have the authority to separate deserters in ab- sentia. As used in this report, desertion means that the individual has been absent without leave for more than 30 days. Desertions declined in fiscal year 1976 but numbered over 36,000. It cost $58 mil- lion to apprehend and process deserters during the last 2 years, GAO estimates. This estimate does not include the costs incurred for related courts-martial, confinement, separation, and pay of the deserters. (See p. 5.) Costs are being incurred to apprehend individuals who surrender voluntarily. Apprehension efforts begin as soon as an individual is classified a deserter. It makes little sense to incur such costs when the "penalty" upon return is fre- i FPCD-77-16 Tear Shef. Upon removal, the report cover date should be noted hereon. quently dischargc and many deserters return volun- tar ily. GAO recommends that the Secretary of Defense reexamine this policy and find less costly alternatives to present practices. He could consider among others: -- Stopping the apprehension of deserters except when the individual is wanted for some specific reason, such as another crime or security matter, and discharge them in absentia after they have been absent for a stipulated period. -- Not routinely undertaking aggressive ap- prehension efforts until an individual has been gone lcng enough to indicate that a voluntary return is improbable. (See pp. 15 and 16.) The report is an outgrowth of a current GAO study dealing with unauthorized absence being conducted in the contex:t of how the services discharge their responsibilities in dealing with this crime. ii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Desertion is one form of unauthorized absence from the military. Articles 85, 86, and 87 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice define unauthorized absence as a crime. (See app. I.) Initially, each unauthorized absence is clas- sified as absence without leave (AWOL). When individuals are AWOL for 30 days, or in certain circumstances less than 30 days, the military administratively classifies them as deserters. Legally, a person is not a deserter until charged with the crime of desertion and found guilty. Unauthorized absence is a crime unique to the military and can entail severe punishments. During peacetime, AWOL for mort than 30 days can be punished with up to l--year im- prisonment and a dishonorable discharge. Those found guilty of desertion can be puni hed with up to 5-years imprisonment and a dishonorable discharge. Penalties are even more se- vere during wartime. They were not changed when e.listment in the services became voluntary in 1973. Unauthorized absence is a frequent crime. According to military records, unauthorized absences of 24 hours or more occurred 304,204 times in the 24-month period endeJ June 30, 1976. Included in this figure are 84,335 desertions. Number of Fiscal unauthorized Number of year absences desertions 1975 168,773 47,997 1976 135,431 36,338 Total 304,204 34,335 Why is unauthorized absence a crime? While this was not explained in any military publication, service repre- sentatives we talked to generally stated that it was built around the concept of punishment and the purposes were two- fold--to discourage some from becoming repeaters and to keep others from committing first offenses. 1 One researcher 1/ provided the following rationale: "When military organizations are established, the first requisite of their functioning at all is that they have personnel. And it is essential to the accomplishment of their mission that those personnel not only be assigned, but that they also actually be where they are supposed to be at the time they are supposed to be there. If each member of a military organization decided for himself where he would be and when, any attempt to carry on any of the organi- zation's functions must invariably breakdown from the ensuing chaos. If each member came and went as he pleased, no one could rely on the performance by any- one else of his duties, and the first essentials of organization could not be carried on. To deter per- sonnel from abardoning their duties, absence there- from without authority is an offense, for without such a deterrent, the strength of such organizations must inevitably disintegrate and disappear. Hence the law requires every member of a military organi- zation to be where he is supposed to be at the time he is supposed to be there." This report presents our findings on the cost of appre- hending deserters and their success after returning to duty. It is an outgrowth of our ongoing study dealing with unauth- orized absence. The study is being conducted in the context of how the services discharge their responsibilities in dealing with this crime. The primary issues the study is addressing are: -- Education of military people concerning AWOL and its seriousness. -- Adequacy and accuracy of statistical and managerial data. -- Cost to the military both in dollars and mission effectiveness. -- Impact on the military career and civilian lives of individuals who go AWOL. -- Demographics of people who go AWOL. -- Counseling of people upon return. 1/Alfred, Alvin, The Law of AWOL, (New York: Oceana, 1957). 2 -- Consistency of punishments imposed. --Performance after returning to duty. 3 CHAPTER 2 LENGTH OF ABSENCES The military does not compile data showing the length of time deserters are absent or whether they voluntarily re- turn or are apprehended. However, the length of time deser- ters (as classified by the military) are absent is recorded in payroll and personnel records. Our analysis of absences over 30 days (absences during the 12-month period ended March 31, 1975, for Army, Marine Corps, and Navy and June 30, 1975, for the Air Force) showed that over one-half voluntarily re- turned or were apprehended within 90 days. Length of Absences 31 to 60 61 to 90 91 to 180 Over 180 Total ------------------- (days)--------------- Army 5,706 3,296 4,974 4,545 18,521 Marine Corps 4,551 2,12', 3,712 4,007 14,396 Navy 3,185 1,084 1,168 445 a/5,882 Air Force 370 195 232 118 915 Total 13,812 6,701 10,086 9,115 a/39,714 Percent of total 34.8 16.9 25.4 22.9 100.0 a/These figures do not include an estimated 4,300 individuals for whom we could not determine length of absence. Many deserters voluntarily surrender. Our analysis of 1975 data at one Army installation responsible for the apprehension of deserters in a two-State area showed that over one-half voluntarily surrendered. Of the 911 deserters returning, 487 (54 percent) surrendered either to military or civilian authorities. 4 CHAPTER 3 COST TO APPREHEND DESERTERS We estimate that the four services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) spent $58 million in fiscal years 1975-76 to apprehend and process actions against de- serters. In fiscal year 1976, $27.5 million was spent in contrast to $30 million in fiscal year 1975. This decrease was due to a decline in the number of desertions. These estimates do not include the costs incurred for related courts-martial, confinement, separation, and pay 1/ of the deserters. The military does not accumulate cost data relating to the apprehension of deserters. Hence, we requested data necessary to construct cost estimates from the Army, Marine Corps, and FBI. The breakdown for the 1975 estimate is shown below and explained in the following sections. Estimate (millions) Local law authorities $ .4 FBI 5.9 Escort to military facilities: Military guard travel 1.4 Military guard salaries 4.2 Processing after return 18.1 Total $30.0 PAYMENTS TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES State and local law enforcement authorities in an individual's home area are advised that he is wanted when the military administratively declares him a deserter. The Department of Defense (DOD), by Directive 1325.2, authorizes payment to persons or agencies for apprehending, detaining, or delivering absentees and deserters to the military. A reward of $15 is a thorized for apprehending and detaining an individual until military authorities arrive or $25 for 1/From the date returned to the military until returntd to duty or discharged. 5 apprehending and delivering an individual to the military. Agencies that are prohibited by local laws or regulations from accepting rewards may be reimbursed for actual expenses up to $25 per case. Each of tne military services routinely records the amount of these payments in a single account. Our analysis showed that 65 percent of those returned at one Army instal- lation for unauthorized absence were deserters. Applying the 65-percent factor to the total payments of $634,536 recorded for all the services in fiscal year 1975, we esti- mate that the payments relating to deserters were $412,448. COSTS FBI IMCURRED When a deserter has been absent about 60 days, the mil- itary is supposed to notify the FBI which then opens a case file on the individual. According to the FBI, a great num- ber of desertion cases are resolved by the military within 60 days. When the individual returns to the military, by whatever means, the case is closed. In response to our request, the FBI stated that it had closed 34,674 cases in fiscal year 1975 at an estimated cost of 5.9 million. MILITARY ESCORT COSTS When the FBI, State, or local law enforcement agencies apprehend deserters, the military sends guards to escort them back or have the individual return unescorted to a de- signated military facility. Costs for travel and guard salaries were estimated as follows. Travel costs Each military service routinely records guard travel costs in a single account. By applying the above 65-percent factor to the total of this amount for fiscal year 1975, we estimated travel costs relating to deserters were $1.4 million. Guard salaries and related costs The Army assigns guards on a full-time basis to escort deserters and other absentees from civilian detainment fa- cilities to military facilities. The other services assign guards part-time. They also allow individuals to return unescorted when the commander believes the individual can be trusted to do so. Guard costs for deserters are not compiled by any of the services. 6 We requested that the Army provide us with the number and average grade of persons assigned in fiscal year 1975 to apprehend deserters and other absentees. We also re- quested related operation and maintenance costs. The Army told us that staffing of the 41 activities involved consists of 14 officers with an average grade of 0-3, 385 enlisted persons with an average grade of E-5, and 2 GS-4 civilians. The operation and maintenance costs were reported to be $403,300. Using the Army's schedule, Composite Standard Rates for Costing Military Personnel Services effective Jan- uary 1, 1975, we estimate salary cost of guards and admini- strative staff to be $3.9 million. Total cost for desertion and absentee apprehension, therefore, is about $4.3 million. We allocated $2.8 million to desertion based on the 65- percent factor. A Marine Corps representative said that the 25 activi- ties involved in apprehending deserters in fiscal year 1975 expended an estimated 12 officer-years at an average grade of 0-2 and 77 enlisted-years at an average grade of E-4. Using the Marine Corps' schedule, Composite Standard Rates for Costing Military Personnel Services effective January 1, 1975, we estimated salary cost of guards to be $807,000, or an average of $48 per deserter apprehended. (An estimate of related operation and maintance costs was not provided.) Using the average cost to apprehend Marine Corps deser- ters, we estimate the cost of the Air Force and Navy guards to be $548,000 for the 11,407 deserters apprehended. The total cost of military personnel assigned to deserters in the four services is, therefore, estimated to be $4.2 mil- lion. PROCESSING COSTS AFTER RETURN When a deserter is returned to the military, several actions are required, including: -- Filling out necessary forms to show a return-to-duty status for the individual. -- Obtaining the individual's personnel file from the service's deserter information point. -- Providing the individual with legal counsel. -- Determing what action should be taken against the individual. Several alternatives are available: no action, nonjudicial punishment, administrative discharge, and court-martial. 7 The Air Force and Marine Corps return deserters to their assigned unit for processing. The Navy returns a deserter to the confinement facility nearest the location wnere the individual was apprehended or surrendered. The Army has established special units--called personnel control facilities--to process deserters. Although AWOL people from another location may be processed through a personnel con- trol facility, it is used primarily to process deserters apprehended in its assigned geographical area. At our request, the Army developed cost data for oper- ating their 12 personnel control facilities and the number of deserters processed at these facilities. The Army's response showed operational costs to be $11.9 million for processing 21,190 deserters and 5,757 people for AWOL. Using a factor of 79 percent (the percentage of deserters to total individuals processed), we allocated $9.4 million of the Army's cost to processing deserters. The average cost to process a deserter varied among the Army commands. The lowest average cost was $310 per de- serter. Applying the $310 to the 28,125 deserters processed by the other 7 services, we estimate their cost to be $8.7 million. (This estimate does not include any adjustment for cost that would normally be incurred regardless of the de- serters processed.) We estimate the total cost for proces- sing deserters is, therefore, $18.1 million ($9.4 plus $8.7 rillion). 8 CHAPTER 4 SUCCESS OF DESERTERS AFTER RETURNING TO DUTY Few deserters become successful soldiers. We used the military's judgment to measure success after return. This judgment is shown in the reason recorded for separation. Our study group of 1,405 Army, Navy, and Marine Corps people absent more than 30 days was randomly selected from those returning during the 12-month period ended March 31, 1975. We reviewed their personnel files during the period February through September 1976 to determine their status. A review of Air Force deserters is still in process. (See ch. 6.) DOD Directive 1332.14 states that the military has the right and duty to separate those people who clearly demon- strgte they are unqualified for retention. To date, as shown below, 1,123 (80 percent) of the 1,405 deserters in our study group were not successful upon their return; the military judged them to be unqualified for retention and they were separated. -- 503 (36 percent) were immediately separated for the good of the service, at their request, in lieu of court-martial. -- 42 (3 percent) were separated by court-martial without returning to duty. -- 175 (12 percent) were returned to duty and later separated by court-martial or in lieu of court- martial for later offenses. -- 403 (29 percent) were returned to duty and later discharged for reasons indicating that they were not successful. Of the remaining 282 (20 percent), 50 had not been discharged but were again in an unauthorized absence status. Further details of our analyses are shown in the following chart. Immediately separated as unsuccessful Not returned to duty--separated by court-martial Marine Basis Arm Navy Cores Total Marine Tyeofcourt-martial Army Navy Cores Total In lieu of court-martial 239 128 136 503 --- . .___ Special 5 12 18 35 GAO Study Group General 2 1 4 7 (randomly selected) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _To'tal 7 13 22 42 Army 448 Returned to duty--later separated as unsuccessful Navy 580 Marine Marine Corps 377 Basis Arm_ Navy Corps Total Total 1,405 By court-martial 3 5 27 35 In lieu of court-martial 74 25 41 140 Alternatives used in dealing with de- Misconduct 7 10 11 28 serters not immediately separated Unfitness 15 45 21 81 Unsuitability 31 175 14 220 Marine Substandard performance 17 48 0 65 Army Navy Corps Total Other 1 --1 7 __9 Nonjudicial action 55 142 56 253 Total 148 309 121 578 Trial by court-martial v .- - Summary 23 35 19 77 Special 58 220 100 378 Returned to duty--later separated as successful General 2 3 4 9 Other (note a) 71 52 62 185 Marine ....... _Reaso _ Arm y Navy qorEs Total Total 209 452 241 902 -glm or End of enlistment 2 7 2 11 Medical 2 10 9 21 Other 1 3 6 10 Total 5 20 17 42 Returned to duty--not separated Marine a/Includes instances where no action was taken, action may Status at time of review Armx Navy CorEs Total have been taken but was not recorded in personnel records, action was not dirtc; ly related to the incident (i.e., Active duty 39 78 33 150 finalization of administrative or punitive discharge i Active duty, but on process at time of the incident), and action may have been unauthorized absence 4 19 27 50 delayed pending return from subsequent absence. Reserves 6 13 21 40 Total 49 110 81 240 ALTERNATIVES FOR DEALING WITH DESERTERS The alternatives available to a commander in dealing with deserters range from no punishment lo referral of the case to a general court-martial which has authority to im- pose the maximum sentence authorized for the offense. A description of these alternatives and the freauency of use ror our study group of 1,405 follows. Number of Percent Alternatives used times of total Separation for the good of the ser- vice in lieu of court-martial. It can be approved by the discharge authority when an individual submits a resignation or request for discharge and is involved in conduct triable by court-martial for an offense punish- able by a bad conduct or dishon--able discharge. 503 35.8 Nonjudicial punishment. The forms of punishment authorized include admoni- tion cL reprimand, reduction in rank, and detention of one-half month's pay per month for 3 months. 253 18.0 Summary court-martial. The most se- vere punishments authorized are re- duction in rank, confinement for 1 month, and forfeiture of two-thirds pay for 1 month. 77 5.5 Special court-martial. The most severe punishments authorized are reduction in rank, confinement for 6 months, forfeiture of two-thirds pay for 6 months, and a bad-conduct discharge. However, the punishment imposed cannot exceed the maximum authorized for the offense. 378 26.9 General court-martial. Any pun- ishment authorized for.the of- fense can be imposed, including a dishonorable discharge. 9 .6 Other 185 13.2 Total 1,405 ;00.0 13 As shown above, the most frequently used alternative is the administrative discharge for the good of the service, at the individual's request, in lieu of court-martial, and ho~ least used was referral of the case to a general court-mar- tial where the maximum punishment could be imposed. An unused alternative is separation of a deserter in absentia. DOD Directive 1332.14 states it may be imposed when the discharge authority determines it will serve the national interest. The dischaqge authority must attempt t discharge action and to notify the deserter of the imirerknt the effective date by registered c~ Mrtified mail. If the deserter cannot be located or aca t respond within a rea- sonable time, an administrative discnarge board can separate the person in absentia. 14 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS CONCLUSIONS The military spends millions of dollars annually to apprehend and process deserters. Military representatives said that treating desertion as a crime had a deterrent effect by discouraging some from becoming repeaters and others from first offenses. Tne asserted deterrent effect on the deserter seems to serve little purpose because most deserters do not become successful soldiers. A large majority are separated, in many cases shortly after their return, because they are unable or unwilling to meet the standards demanded of professional soldiers in an all volunteer force. We found no empirical evidence dealing with the deterrent effect on soldiers who do not desert. Subjectively, fear of apprehension, punishment, and accompanying disgrace would seem to discourage some from deserting. Conversely, others mayt view discharge, a penalty frequently used, more as a re- ward than a punishment. Costs are being incurred to apprehend individuals who voluntarily surrender. Such efforts begin as soon as an individual is administratively classified as a deserter, usually after being absent from duty for 30 days. A test at one station showed that 54 percent of such individuals surrendered. It may not be necessary, therefore, to begin apprehension efforts until voluntary surrender is less prob- able. It makes little sense to incur the cost of apprehend- ing deserters only to separate them, particularly when many avoid apprehension by returning voluntarily. RECOMMENDATIONS We recommend that the SeLretary of Defense reexam- ine DOD's policies and find less costly alternatives to the present practice of apprehending deserters during peacetime in an all volunteer force. He could consider among others: -- Stopping the apprehension of deserters except when the individual is wanted for some specific purpose, such as another crime or security matter, and dis- charge them in absentia after they have been absent for a stipulated period. 15 CHAPTER 6 SCOPE OF REVIEW The objectives of this segment of our overall review of unauthorized absence in the military services were to determine the (1) cost of apprehending deserters and (2) extent that deserters were successful on return to duty. We had discussions with representatives of the Of- fice of the Secretary of Defense, the headquarters of each service, and various field activities. Cost data was ob- tained from the FBI and from the accounting records at the headquarters of each service and from information the Army developed. Certain demographic information on military people invloved in unauthorized absence was selected from personnel records. Provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice were also considered. Discussions with representatives of each service revealed that the Army's apprehension effort was best organized for determining apprehension and related costs. We visited the U.S. Army Field Artillery Center and Fort Sill, Fort Sill, Oklahoma to: 1. Obtain a better understanding of the Army operation and costs. 2. Satisfy ourselves on the processes involved in apprehending deserters. 3. Obtain information on the means of apprehension. The Fort Sill base is one of the 12 Army bases reponsible for apprehending deserters and determining what action should be taken against them. A key factor in our analysis was selecting a representa- tive group of people involved in unauthorized absence from each service. The following service activities provided computer tapes identifying individuals involved ir unauthorized absence during the 12-month period ended March 31, 1975, except the Air Force which used the 12-month period ended June 30, 1975. -- U.S. Air Force Military Personnel Center, Randolph Ai, Force Base, Texas. --U.S. Army Military Personnel Center, Alexandria, Virginia. --U.S. Marine Corps Manpower Management Information Systems Branch, Washington, D.C. i7 -- U.S. Navy Finance Center, Cleveland, Ohio. From this d ta, we took a stratified random sample. The sample groups and sizes are shown in appendix II. We reviewed the personnel files of the individuals in- cluied in our sample to obtain the punishment imposed and the type and reason for discnarge if separated from the military. The personnel f 4 ees were reviewed in the sequence selected for sampling. Although we have not reviewed the files of all the individuals in the overall sample, the number reviewed is suffi- cient to represent the situation in each service for the is- sues addressed in this report. This work was done at the following locations: -- Military Personnel Records Center (for separated personnel), St. Louis, Missouri. --U.S. Army: Enlisted Record and Evaluation Center, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. Reserve Component Personnel and Administration Center, St. Louis, Missouri. -- U.S. Navy: Bureau of Naval Personnel, Enlisted Service and Record Division, Arlington, Virginia. --U.S. Marine Corps: Manpower, Personnel Service Division, Arlington, Virginia. Automated Services Center, Reserve Forces Administration Activities, Kansas City, Missouri. Our analyses of kir Force deserters are in process and, therefore, not included in this report. 18 APPENDIX I APPENDIX I UNAUTHORIZED ABSENCE AS DEFINED IN LAW Articles 85, 86, and 87 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (10 USC 885-887) define unauthorized absence in the military services as a crime. It describes the varicus forms of unauthorized absence: "Art. 85. Desertion (a) Any member of the armed forces who-- (1) w.ihout authority goes or remains absent from his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to remain away therefrom permanently; (2) quits his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service; or (3) without being regularly separated from one of the armed forces enlists or accepts an appointment in the same or another one of the armed forces without fully disclosing the fact that he has not been regularly separated, or enters any foreign armed service except when authorized by the United States; is guilty of desertion. (b) Any commissioned officer of the armed forces who, after tender of his resignation and before notice of its acceptance, quits his post or proper duties without leave and with intent to remain away there- from permanently is guilty of desertion. (c) Any person founid guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, but if the desertion or attempt to desert occurs at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct. "Art. 86. Absence without leave Anv member of the armed forces who, without author- ity-- 19 APPENDIX I APPENDIX I (1) fails to go to his appointed place of duty at the time prescribed; (2) goes from that place; or (3) absents himself or remains absent from his unit, organization, or place of duty at which he is required to be at the time prescribed; shall be punished as a court-martial may direct. "Art. 87. Missing movement Any person subject to this chapter who through neglect or design misses the movement of a ship, aircraft, or unit with which he is required in the course of duty to move snall be punished as a court-martial may direct." 20 APPENDIX II APPENDIX II OUR SAMPLE OF UNAUTHORIZED ABSENCE (UA) INCIDENTS TERMINATED DURING THE 12-MONTH PERIOD ENDED MARCH 31, 1975 U.S. ARMY UAs record- Total number ed in of UiAs in Adjust- Adjusted personnel Length computerized Sample ments sample records of UA records size (note a) size (note b) (days) Less than 1 - - - - 11 1 to 3 11,291 305 130 175 203 4 to 15 23,535 479 142 338 325 16 to 30 8,597 130 33 97 113 Total 30 or less 43,423 914 305 610 652 31 to 60 5,706 142 27 115 111 61 to 90 3,296 137 19 118 11l 91 to 180 4,974 142 15 127 128 Over 180 4,545 142 12 130 96 Total over 30 18,521 563 73 490 448 Total 61,944 1,477 378 1,100 1,100 21 APPENDIX II APPENDIX II U.S. NAVY UAs record- Total number ed in of UAs in Adjust- Adjusted personnel Length computerized Sample ments sample records of UA records size (note c) size (note b) (days) Less than 1 - - - - - 1 to 3 12,264 307 98 209 211 4 to 15 14,756 410 111 299 304 16 to 30 6,106 142 37 105 113 Tot 30 or ss 33,126 859 246 613 628 31 to 60 3,185 145 34 111 169 61 to 90 1,084 135 30 105 121 91 to i80 1.168 146 29 117 140 Over 180 445 149 26 123 150 Total over 30 5,882 575 119 456 580 Length of UA not known 6,144 205 66 139 - Total 45,152 1,639 431 1,208 1,208 22 APPENDIX II PAPPENDIX II U.S. MARINE CORPS UAs record- Total number ed in of UAs in Adjust- Adjusted personnel Length computerized Sample ments sample records of UA records size (note d) size (note b) (days) Less than 1 - - - 2 1 to 3 13,730 2P1 125 156 157 4 to 15 13,660 402 144 258 269 16 to 30 5,259 141 62 79 74 Total 30 or less 32,649 824 331 493 503 31 to 60 4,551 130 38 92 93 61 to 90 2,126 125 22 103 94 91 to 180 3,712 132 39 93 84 Over 180 4,007 144 46 98 106 Total over 30 14,396 531 145 386 377 Total 47,045 1,355 476 879 879 a/Include 258 sample incidents not found in the examination of personnel records, 79 personnel records not at the re- view location, and 40 incidents combined with non-UA in- cidents. These incidents were not included in the analyses. b/The UAs are categorized by the length of absence recorded in the individual personnel records. In some instances, the length of UA differed from that recorded in the com- puterized records. c/Includes 230 incidents combined with non-UA incidents for disposition, 98 personnel records not found at the review location, 77 records being reviewed at 9/30/76, and 26 sample incidents not found in the examination of personnel records. These incidents were not included in the analyses. d/Includes 151 personnel records not found at the review location, 124 UA incidents combined with non-UA incidents for disposition, 117 sample incidents not found in the examination of personnel records, and 84 records being re- viewed at 9/30/76. These incidents were not included in the analyses. 23
Millions Being Spent To Apprehend Military Deserters, Most of Whom Are Discharged as Unqualified for Retention
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-01-31.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)