oversight

Homeland Defense: Preliminary Observations on How Overseas and Domestic Missions Impact DOD Forces

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-04-29.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                             United States General Accounting Office

GAO                          Testimony
                             Before the Subcommittee on National Security,
                             Emerging Threats, and International Relations,
                             Committee on Government Reform, House of
                             Representatives
For Release on Delivery
Expected at 1:00 p.m.. EDT
Tuesday, April 29, 2003      HOMELAND DEFENSE
                             Preliminary Observations
                             on How Overseas and
                             Domestic Missions Impact
                             DOD Forces
                             Statement of Raymond J. Decker, Director
                             Defense Capabilities and Management




GAO-03-677T
                                               April 29, 2003


                                               HOMELAND DEFENSE

                                               Preliminary Observations on How
Highlights of GAO-03-677T, a testimony
before the Subcommittee on National            Overseas and Domestic Missions Impact
Security, Emerging Threats, and
International Relations, Committee on
Government Reform, House of
                                               DOD Forces
Representatives




The way in which the federal                   DOD’s military and nonmilitary missions differ in terms of roles, duration,
government views the defense of                discretion to accept or reject, and capabilities normally employed.
the United States has dramatically
changed since September 11, 2001.              DOD evaluates nonmilitary mission requests on the basis of legality,
Consequently, the Department of                lethality, risk to DOD forces, the cost, the appropriateness of the mission,
Defense (DOD) is adjusting its Cold
War strategic focus (of defending
                                               and the impact on military readiness.
against massed combat forces) to
better encompass defense against               The 1878 Posse Comitatus Act prohibits the direct use of federal military
the asymmetric threats that small              troops in domestic civilian law enforcement, except where authorized by the
terrorist cells represent to U.S.              Constitution or Acts of Congress. Congress has expressly authorized the use
territory.                                     of the military in certain situations such as to assist with drug interdiction or
                                               assist with terrorist incidents involving weapons of mass destruction.
GAO was asked to review DOD’s
participation in domestic missions.            It is too early to assess the adequacy of DOD’s new management
This testimony represents our                  organizations or plans but some forces may not be tailored for their
preliminary work in response to                domestic missions. DOD established an Office of the Assistant Secretary of
the request. It addresses (1) the
primary differences in military and
                                               Defense for Homeland Defense and U.S. Northern Command to plan and
nonmilitary missions; (2) how DOD              execute domestic missions. U.S. Northern Command’s plan for domestic
evaluates nonmilitary mission                  military missions was developed before DOD officials had agreed on the
requests; (3) how the 1878 Posse               nature of the threat. Forces are not adequately tailored for some domestic
Comitatus Act impacts on DOD’s                 missions and readiness could erode because of it. For example, Air Force
nonmilitary missions; (4) whether              fighter units deployed since September 11, 2001 to perform combat air
current management organizations,              patrols are unable to also perform required combat training.
plans, and forces are adequate to
support DOD’s domestic missions;               Overseas and domestic missions are stressing U.S. forces as measured in
and (5) the impact of overseas and             personnel tempo data. In September 2001, about 1,600 Air Force personnel
domestic missions on military                  had spent 220 to 365 days away from their homes over the previous year, but
personnel tempo.
                                               by December 2002 almost 22,100 Air Force personnel had been away that
GAO is making no                               long. The Army reported similar increases. To prevent erosion in combat
recommendations in this                        capabilities, DOD issued orders, known as stop loss, to involuntarily retain
testimony.                                     critical personnel.
                                               F16 Fighter Aircraft Conduct a Combat Air Patrol Over Washington, D.C.




www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-677T.

To view the full report, including the scope
and methodology, click on the link above.
For more information, contact Raymond J.
Decker, (202) 512-6020, deckerr@gao.gov.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:

I appreciate the opportunity to discuss with you today the demands being
placed on the Department of Defense (DOD) in the post September 11,
2001, environment. DOD’s primary mission is to deter aggression abroad
and fight to win if deterrence fails. It does this by undertaking major
combat operations on a global basis. However, the federal government
view of the defense of U.S. territory has dramatically changed since
September 11, 2001. In this regard, DOD is adjusting its Cold War strategic
focus of defending against massed combat forces attacking allied nations
or U.S. territory to encompass the asymmetric threats that small terrorist
cells represent.

You asked us to review DOD’s participation in domestic military missions.
We will issue a final report on this issue later this spring. My testimony
today is based on the preliminary work that we have completed to date on
your request. I will address (1) the primary differences in military and
nonmilitary missions; (2) how DOD evaluates requests for nonmilitary
missions; (3) how the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act impacts DOD’s
nonmilitary missions; (4) whether current management organizations,
plans, and forces are adequate to support DOD’s domestic missions; and
(5) the impact of overseas and domestic missions on military personnel
tempo.1 To determine the differences in DOD’s missions and how DOD
evaluates mission requests, we reviewed appropriate guidance and
directives specifying mission types, and discussed these issues with
knowledgeable officials. To identify legal constraints on DOD’s
nonmilitary missions, we reviewed the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act and
related laws. To determine the adequacy of organizations, plans, and
forces, we reviewed DOD reorganizations, visited the new U.S. Northern
Command, reviewed campaign plans and related documents, and
compared the types of missions performed by forces with their primary
missions. Finally, to determine the impact of domestic or overseas
missions on personnel tempo, we obtained personnel tempo databases
from DOD for the period October 2000 through December 2002 (the most
recent data available) and analyzed the data. We conducted this work from
July 2002 through April 2003 in accordance with generally accepted
government auditing standards.


1
 Personnel tempo is the amount of time that a member of the armed forces is engaged in
their official duties at a location that makes it infeasible to spend off duty time at the
member’s home, homeport (for Navy service members), or in the members’ civilian
residence (for reserve components’ personnel).



Page 1                                                                        GAO-03-677T
          Military missions differ from nonmilitary missions in terms of roles,
Summary   duration, discretion to accept or reject, and capabilities normally
          employed. In military missions, DOD is the lead federal agency, operates
          without a predefined end date, cannot reject the planned mission, and uses
          combat power and combat support capabilities for their intended
          purposes. Conversely, in nonmilitary missions, another agency is generally
          the lead, the mission has a predefined end date, and DOD has some
          discretion to reject the requested mission and uses military capabilities in
          a noncombat manner to augment U.S. civil authorities’ capabilities.

          DOD evaluates all requests by U.S. civil authorities for military assistance
          against six established criteria, including legality, safety, funding, and
          impact on readiness. DOD has provided a variety of requested nonmilitary
          assistance, including over 230 missions in fiscal years 2001 and 2002, such
          as assisting in fighting wildfires; recovering from tropical storms;
          providing post-September 11, 2001, assistance to New York City and
          Virginia; and providing support for the presidential inauguration.

          The 1878 Posse Comitatus Act2 prohibits the direct use of federal military
          troops in domestic civilian law enforcement, except where authorized by
          the Constitution or Act of Congress. Congress has expressly authorized
          the use of the military in certain situations. For example, DOD can use its
          personnel and equipment in response to requests from civilian law
          enforcement to assist with drug interdiction efforts and terrorist incidents
          involving weapons of mass destruction.3 The Commander of U.S. Northern
          Command has stated “We believe the [Posse Comitatus] Act, as amended,
          provides the authority we need to do our job, and no modification is
          needed at this time.”4

          It is too early to assess the adequacy of DOD’s new management
          organizations or their plans for their domestic missions, since the
          organizations only recently began operations and the campaign plan was


          2
            18 U.S.C. §1385 (2002). The Act expressly prohibits the use of the Army or the Air Force to
          execute the laws. It applies to the Navy and Marine Corps through DOD Directive 5525.5,
          DOD Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Officials and Navy Instruction
          (SECNAVISNT) 5820.7B, Mar. 28, 1988, Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement
          Officials.
          3
              10 U.S.C. §§371-378 (excluding §375) (2002), and 10 U.S.C. §382 (2002).
          4
           Statement of General Ralph E. Eberhart, U.S. Air Force, Commander, U.S. Northern
          Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, before the House
          Committee on Armed Services, March 13, 2003.



          Page 2                                                                        GAO-03-677T
only recently written, although some forces may not be fully tailored to the
missions. First, DOD has established (1) the Office of the Assistant
Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and (2) U.S. Northern
Command to provide long-term planning and execution capability for
domestic missions. The new Assistant Secretary is to provide overall
supervision of DOD’s domestic missions. U.S. Northern Command is to
provide unity of command for U.S. military actions to counter threats to
U.S. territory and is to provide military assistance to U.S. civil authorities
when directed by the President or the Secretary of Defense. Neither
organization was fully functional at the time of our review, so we could
not yet evaluate the adequacy of these organizations for their new
missions. Second, U.S. Northern Command recently completed its
campaign plan for domestic military missions, making it unlikely that the
services have yet trained or equipped their forces for these missions. In
addition, the plan was developed prior to issuance of a Federal Bureau of
Investigation counterterrorism threat assessment and before DOD officials
had agreed amongst themselves on the nature of the threat and thus may
not take into account the current range of identified threats. Finally, forces
are not adequately structured for some current domestic missions, and
military readiness may erode. For example, following the September 11,
2001, terrorist attacks, the President deployed fighter aircraft to protect
U.S. cities under Operation Noble Eagle. In addition, DOD needed to
enhance installation security and deployed military police units. While the
missions are legitimate, these forces’ military readiness may erode
because they get limited training benefit from the missions and do not
have the opportunity to conduct required combat training while
performing the missions.

Current overseas and domestic missions are impacting U.S. forces as
measured by personnel tempo. DOD measures personnel tempo based on
three thresholds: 182 days, 220 days, and 401 days deployed5 away from
home. DOD believes that if servicemembers spend too much time away
from home, a risk exists that they will eventually leave the service and
military readiness may suffer. From September 2001 through December
2002, the number of Air Force personnel exceeding the personnel tempo
threshold of 182 days away from home rose from about 2,100 to about
8,300; the number exceeding the personnel tempo threshold of 220 days
away from home rose even higher, from about 1,600 to about 22,100. Army



5
 We used the thresholds to measure days away from home, which includes deployments
and activities such as individual training.



Page 3                                                                 GAO-03-677T
                       data also revealed that personnel tempo had increased during the period.
                       To prevent significant near-term attrition from the force, DOD has used its
                       stop loss authority6 to prohibit servicemembers affected by the order from
                       leaving the service. DOD has acknowledged that stop loss should only be
                       used for a short period of time and is not to be used as a long-term force
                       management practice.


                       Military missions differ from nonmilitary missions on a variety of factors,
DOD’s Military and     as shown in table 1.
Nonmilitary Missions
Differ                 Table 1: Differences between DOD Military and Nonmilitary Missions

                           Military missions                                     Nonmilitary missions
                           Acts as the lead federal agency and follows           Supports a lead federal agency.
                           orders issued by the President, as
                           Commander-in-Chief.
                           Performs missions under extraordinary          Provides support on a temporary or
                           circumstances that do not necessarily have     emergency basis with agreed upon end
                           defined end dates.                             dates.
                           Generally cannot reject these missions.        Has some discretion to accept or reject
                                                                          these missions based on six established
                                                                          criteria and uses an approval process
                                                                          guided by DOD Directive 3025.15a to
                                                                          determine whether to provide the
                                                                          requested support.
                           Applies military combat capabilities that only Augments U.S. civil authorities’
                           DOD possesses.                                 capabilities with DOD’s own military
                                                                          assets or capabilities from its existing
                                                                          force, which are applied in a non-combat
                                                                          manner.
                       Source: GAO analysis.
                       a
                           Military Assistance to Civil Authorities, Feb. 18, 1997.


                       Military missions involve coordinated military actions, such as campaigns,
                       engagements, or strikes, by one or more of the services’ combat forces.
                       Operations Desert Storm in 1991 and Iraqi Freedom in 2003 are examples
                       of overseas military missions, and Operation Noble Eagle is a domestic
                       military mission started on September 11, 2001, and continuing today. In


                       6
                         Stop Loss authority is provided by 10 U.S.C. §12305 (2002). It authorizes the President to
                       suspend any provision of law relating to the promotion, retirement, or separation of any
                       member of the armed forces when members of a reserve component are called to active
                       duty and the President determines the forces are essential to the national security of the
                       United States.



                       Page 4                                                                                GAO-03-677T
                            the latter mission, the President directed the Commander, North American
                            Aerospace Defense Command, to order combat air patrols to identify and
                            intercept suspect aircraft operating in the United States. Since these are
                            military missions, DOD is the lead federal agency and is prepared to apply
                            its combat power if needed.


                            Requests for nonmilitary missions are evaluated against criteria contained
DOD Evaluates               in DOD’s Directive, Military Assistance to Civil Authorities.7 These
Requests for                requests generally seek DOD support to help alleviate suffering, recover
                            from disasters or assist indirectly with law enforcement.8 DOD’s directive
Assistance from Civil       specifies that requests for nonmilitary support be evaluated against the
Authorities Against         following criteria:
Established Criteria    •   legality (compliance with laws),
                        •   lethality (potential use of lethal force by or against DOD forces),
                        •   risk (safety of DOD forces),
                        •   cost (who pays, impact on the DOD budget),
                        •   appropriateness (whether the requested mission is in the interest of DOD
                            to conduct), and
                        •   readiness (impact on DOD’s ability to perform its primary mission).

                            According to DOD, in fiscal years 2001 and 2002, it supported over 230
                            nonmilitary missions in a variety of settings, such as assisting in fighting
                            wildfires, recovering from tropical storms, providing post-September 11,
                            2001, assistance to New York City and Virginia, providing support for the
                            presidential inauguration, and for other purposes. According to DOD,
                            during this same period, the Department rejected a handful of missions
                            based on the above criteria.




                            7
                             DOD Directive 3025.15, Feb. 18, 1997, which establishes DOD policy and assigns
                            responsibility for providing military assistance to civil authorities.
                            8
                             DOD Directive 5525.5 provides specific guidance on requests for law enforcement
                            assistance.




                            Page 5                                                                     GAO-03-677T
                           The 1878 Posse Comitatus Act9 prohibits the use of the Army and Air Force
The Posse Comitatus        “to execute the laws” of the United States except where authorized by the
Act Restricts DOD’s        Constitution or Acts of Congress. Federal courts have interpreted “to
                           execute the laws” to mean the Posse Comitatus Act prohibits the use of
Role in Civilian Law       federal military troops in an active role of direct civilian law
Enforcement                enforcement.10 Direct involvement in law enforcement includes search,
                           seizure, and arrest.11 The act does not apply to military operations at home
                           or abroad. Further, it does not apply to National Guard personnel when
                           under the direct command of states’ governors.

                           Congress has expressly authorized the use of the military in certain
                           situations. For example, DOD can use its personnel and equipment to:

                       •   assist with drug interdiction and other law enforcement functions
                           (10 U.S.C. §§371-378 (excluding §375));
                       •   protect civil rights or property, or suppress insurrection (the Civil
                           Disturbance Statutes; 10 U.S.C. §§331-334);12
                       •   assist the U.S. Secret Service (18 U.S.C. §3056 Notes);
                       •   protect nuclear materials and assist with solving crimes involving nuclear
                           materials (18 U.S.C. §831);
                       •   assist with terrorist incidents involving weapons of mass destruction
                           (10 U.S.C. §382); and
                       •   assist with the execution of quarantine and certain health laws
                           (42 U.S.C. §§97-98).

                           The President identified as a major homeland security initiative a review
                           of the legal authority for military assistance in domestic security, which
                           would include the Posse Comitatus Act. The President maintained that the
                           “threat of catastrophic terrorism requires a thorough review of the laws
                           permitting the military to act within the United States in order to
                           determine whether domestic preparedness and response efforts would
                           benefit from greater involvement of military personnel and, if so, how.” 13


                           9
                               18 U.S.C. §1385 (2002).
                           10
                                See, for example, United States v. Red Feather, 392 F. Supp. 916 (D.S.D. 1975).
                           11
                             DOD Directive 5525.5, DOD Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Officials
                           provides other examples of prohibited direct involvement.
                           12
                             DOD Directive 3025.12, Feb. 4, 1994, Military Assistance for Civil Disturbances, which
                           identifies policy and responsibilities governing the planning and response by DOD for its
                           assistance to civil authorities, including law enforcement.
                           13
                                National Strategy for Homeland Security, Office of Homeland Security, July 2002.



                           Page 6                                                                          GAO-03-677T
                             In addition to this review, the Congress directed DOD to review and report
                             on the legal implications of members of the Armed Forces operating on
                             United States territory and the potential legal impediments affecting
                             DOD’s role in supporting homeland security.14 In March, 2003, the
                             Commander of U.S. Northern Command has stated, “We believe the [Posse
                             Comitatus] Act, as amended, provides the authority we need to do our job,
                             and no modification is needed at this time.”15 At the time of our review,
                             neither the President’s nor the congressionally directed legal reviews had
                             been completed.


                             It is too early to assess the adequacy of DOD’s new management
The Adequacy of New          organizations or its plans, although forces may not be fully tailored to the
Management                   current domestic missions. DOD has established new organizations for
                             domestic missions at the policy and operational levels, and written a new
Organizations, Plans,        campaign plan for the defense of the United States. At the same time, DOD
and Forces for               has used existing forces for these missions since September 11, 2001.
                             However, at the time of our review, the organizations were not yet fully
Domestic Missions            operational; plans had been developed before issuance of a
                             counterterrorism threat assessment and before DOD officials had reached
                             agreement on the nature of the threat; and force capabilities were not well
                             matched to their domestic missions, potentially leading to an erosion of
                             military readiness.


New DOD Organizations to     Two new organizations—the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense
Address Military Domestic    for Homeland Defense and U.S. Northern Command—together provide
Missions Are Not Yet Fully   long-term policy direction, planning, and execution capability but are not
                             yet fully operational, because they have only recently been established and
Operational                  are not fully staffed. Because these organizations had only recently been
                             activated and were still being staffed and structured, we did not evaluate
                             the adequacy of these organizations for their missions.




                             14
                               The Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003, P.L. 107-314,
                             (Dec. 2, 2002), Sec. 921(7) Report on Establishment of the United States Northern
                             Command and Sec. 1404(11) Report on the Role of the Department of Defense in
                             Supporting Homeland Security.
                             15
                              Statement of General Ralph E. Eberhart, U.S. Air Force, Commander, U.S. Northern
                             Command and North Aerospace Defense Command, before the House Committee on
                             Armed Services, March 13, 2003.



                             Page 7                                                                     GAO-03-677T
                             The Senate confirmed the President’s nominee to be Assistant Secretary of
                             Defense for Homeland Defense in February 2003, but this office was not
                             fully operational at the time of our review, with approximately one-third of
                             the staff positions filled. The new Assistant Secretary is to provide overall
                             supervision for domestic missions.

                             U.S. Northern Command was established by the President in an April 2002
                             revision to the Unified Command Plan16 and was activated in October 2002.
                             However, the command is not planned to be fully operational until
                             October 2003. As of last week, only about 46 percent of the command’s
                             positions had been filled. During our trip to U.S. Northern Command, we
                             found that a key challenge that the command is grappling with is the need
                             to conduct its ongoing missions while staffing the command’s positions.
                             The activation of the command marks the first time that there has been a
                             unity of command for military activities within the continental United
                             States. Prior to U.S. Northern Command’s activation, U.S. Joint Forces
                             Command provided for military actions to defend U.S. territory from land-
                             and sea-based threats. The North American Aerospace Defense Command
                             defended the United States from airborne threats (and still does). The
                             Commander of U.S. Northern Command is also the Commander of the
                             North American Aerospace Defense Command providing the new unity of
                             command for the three missions.


The Nature of the Threat     DOD’s planning process requires the Department and the services to staff,
Was Still Under Discussion   train, and equip forces for their military missions as outlined in campaign
When the Campaign Plan       plans and deliberate plans17 developed by the combatant commanders,
                             including the Commander of U.S. Northern Command. U.S. Northern
Was Written                  Command’s campaign plan was completed in October 2002 and is
                             classified. However, I can note, that although it may reflect current
                             intelligence from DOD and other intelligence community sources, it was
                             completed before the January 2003 issuance of the Federal Bureau of
                             Investigation’s counterterrorism threat assessment, so it may not take all
                             threats into account. Moreover, an official in the Office of the Secretary of



                             16
                               Unified Command Plans provide guidance to the combatant commanders and establish
                             their missions, responsibilities, force structure, and geographic areas of responsibility,
                             among other things.
                             17
                               Campaign plans represent the combatant commander’s vision of the arrangement of
                             operations to attain strategic objectives. Deliberate plans are designed to use forces and
                             apportion resources for potential contingencies.



                             Page 8                                                                         GAO-03-677T
                            Defense acknowledged that DOD officials continue to debate the nature of
                            the threat to U.S. territory, thus DOD itself has not yet reached internal
                            agreement on the nature of the threat facing the United States.


DOD’s Forces Are Not        Based on our review, DOD’s forces are not tailored for some of the
Tailored to Conduct Long-   missions that they have been performing since September 11, 2001, and
Term Military Missions      the result could be eventual erosion of military readiness. To respond to
                            the terrorist attacks of that day, the President identified the need to
Domestically                protect U.S. cities from air attack, and in response, DOD deployed 338 Air
                            force and about 20 Navy aircraft within 24 hours of the attacks. Air Force
                            fighter aircraft flew continuously from September 11, 2001, through March
                            2002, and intermittently thereafter. These combat patrols continue today.
                            While these forces may obtain some training benefit from actually
                            conducting the mission, the benefit is limited by the narrow scope of
                            maneuvers performed during these missions. Specifically, Air Force and
                            Air National Guard fighter units performing domestic combat air patrols
                            are inhibited from executing the full range of difficult, tactical maneuvers
                            with the frequency that the Air Force requires to prepare for their combat
                            missions. In one Air National Guard wing that we reviewed, the average
                            pilot could not meet their training requirements in 9 out of 13 months
                            between September 2001 and September 2002. Consequently, such units
                            may need to resume training after domestic combat air patrols end or they
                            are reassigned, to ensure their readiness for combat operations, their
                            primary missions. Similarly, DOD identified the need to enhance
                            installation security, and it subsequently deployed active, reserve, and
                            National Guard military police units for the mission. However, these units
                            were designed for a different mission, and received limited training benefit
                            from the domestic mission. For example, officials at a military police
                            internment and resettlement battalion told us that while the battalion can
                            provide installation security, its primary mission is to operate enemy
                            prisoner of war camps. Instead, for nearly a year, the battalion carried out
                            a domestic installation security mission, which while important, prevented
                            the battalion from completing required training for its primary overseas
                            combat mission. As a result, the battalion’s military readiness may become
                            eroded, which could mean accepting an increased risk to the battalion if it
                            deploys or resuming training before it deploys again.




                            Page 9                                                          GAO-03-677T
                       Current overseas and domestic missions are stressing U.S. forces as
Increased Overseas     measured in personnel tempo data. DOD believes that if servicemembers
and Domestic           spend too much time away from home, a risk exists that they will leave the
                       service and military readiness may ultimately suffer.
Missions Add to High
Army and Air Force     The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 200018 requires that
                       DOD formally track and manage for the number of days that each member
Personnel Tempo        of the armed forces is deployed and established two thresholds—
                       servicemembers deployed more than 182 or 220 days away from home out
                       of the preceding 365 days. The National Defense Authorization Act for
                       Fiscal Year 200119 established a third threshold, which requires that
                       servicemembers who are deployed for 401 or more days out of the
                       preceding 730-day (2-year) period receive a $100 high deployment per
                       diem allowance.20 Between September 2001 and December 2002, personnel
                       tempo increased dramatically for Army and Air Force personnel due to
                       ongoing missions or commitments around the world and their increasing
                       support of Operations Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom.21

                       DOD data that we obtained indicated tempo is high and increasing. For
                       example, as shown in figure 1, in September 2001, over 6,600 Army
                       personnel (including active, reserve, and National Guard personnel) had
                       exceeded a desired threshold, spending 182 to 219 days away from home
                       during the previous 365 days. By December 2002, that number had risen to
                       over 13,000. During the same period, the number spending 220 to 365 days
                       away, had risen from about 800 to over 18,000.




                       18
                            P.L. 106-65 (Oct. 5, 1999), §586(a) (codified at 10 U.S.C. §991).
                       19
                            P.L. 106-398 (Oct. 30, 2000), §574(c) (codified at 37 U.S.C. §436).
                       20
                         On October 8, 2001, DOD suspended the counting of deployed days for payment purposes
                       as permitted by law. Moreover, the statutory requirement for general and flag officers to
                       personally manage the deployments of servicemembers exceeding the 182- and 220-day
                       thresholds was also suspended at the same time.
                       21
                         The data does not include the impact on personnel tempo stemming from participation in
                       Operation Iraqi Freedom, which is not yet fully available. Operation Enduring Freedom is
                       the ongoing military mission in Afghanistan. While the Navy and Marine Corps did not
                       experience high levels of personnel tempo during the October 2000 to December 2002 time
                       frame, their tempo may have increased due in part to deployments for Operation Iraqi
                       Freedom.



                       Page 10                                                                    GAO-03-677T
Figure 1: Army Personnel Exceeding the Desired Personnel Tempo Thresholds




Note: Each data point represents the total number of servicemembers away from home in the
preceding 365 days from the last day of the month indicated.


The Air Force reported similar trends. As shown in figure 2, in September
2001, about 2,100 Air Force servicemembers were away from home for 182
to 219 days, but that had risen to about 8,300 by December 2002. Also, as
with the Army, Air Force servicemembers away 220 to 365 days had risen
from about 1,600 to over 22,100.




Page 11                                                                          GAO-03-677T
Figure 2: Air Force Personnel Exceeding the Desired Personnel Tempo Thresholds




Note: Each data point represents the total number of servicemembers away from home in the
preceding 365 days from the last day of the month indicated.


The number of Air Force active, Air Force reserve, and Air National Guard
Air Force personnel exceeding the third personnel tempo threshold of 401
or more days away from home in the preceding 730-day period also
increased during the latter period of 2002, starting at about 3,700
personnel in September 2002 and rising to more than 8,100
servicemembers in December 2002. Of those, about one-half of these
personnel were Air National Guard personnel, some of whom were tasked
with conducting air sovereignty alert missions in the continental United
States.22 In September 2002, 1,900 had spent more than 401 days away from


22
  These servicemembers are deployed from their home to another installation in the United
States.



Page 12                                                                          GAO-03-677T
home over a 2-year period. By December 2002, the number of Air National
Guard personnel spending more than 401 days away from home had
increased to about 3,900. Exceeding the threshold on a sustained basis can
indicate an inadequacy in the force structure or the mix of forces.

DOD has recognized the potential for retention problems stemming from
the current high personnel tempo but has balanced that against immediate
critical skill needs to support ongoing operations. Therefore, to prevent
servicemembers with key skills from leaving the services, DOD issued
orders to prevent degradation in combat capabilities, an action known as
stop loss authority. DOD took these actions because it recognized that
individuals with certain key skills—such as personnel in Army military
police and Air Force fighter units—were needed, in some cases, to
perform the increasing number of military domestic missions. These
orders affected personnel with designated individual job skills or in some
cases all of the individuals in specific types of units that were critical for
overseas combat and military domestic missions.

Officials from the four services who manage the implementation of these
orders cautioned that they are short-term tools designed to maintain unit-
level military readiness for overseas combat and military domestic
missions. Moreover, the officials added that the orders are not to be used
as a long-term solution to address mismatches or shortfalls in capabilities
and requirements, or as a substitute for the routine recruiting, induction,
and training of new servicemembers.


Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared statement. I would be happy to
answer any questions that you or members of the subcommittee may have.



Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments
For future questions about this statement, please contact Raymond J.
Decker at (202) 512-6020. Individuals making key contributions to this
statement include Brian J. Lepore, Deborah Colantonio, Richard K. Geiger,
Kevin L. O’Neill, William J. Rigazio, Susan K. Woodward, and Michael C.
Zola.




Page 13                                                           GAO-03-677T
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             Page 14                                                     GAO-03-677T
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           Page 15                                                     GAO-03-677T
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