oversight

Reserve Forces: Proposals to Expand Call-up Authorities Should Include Numerical Limitations

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-04-18.

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

                   United States General Accounting Office

GAO                Report to Congressional Committees




April 1997
                   RESERVE FORCES
                   Proposals to Expand
                   Call-up Authorities
                   Should Include
                   Numerical Limitations




GAO/NSIAD-97-129
          United States
GAO       General Accounting Office
          Washington, D.C. 20548

          National Security and
          International Affairs Division

          B-276516

          April 18, 1997

          The Honorable Strom Thurmond
          Chairman
          The Honorable Carl Levin
          Ranking Minority Member
          Committee on Armed Services
          United States Senate

          The Honorable Floyd Spence
          Chairman
          The Honorable Ronald Dellums
          Ranking Minority Member
          Committee on National Security
          House of Representatives

          To reduce costs and maintain as small an active peacetime force as
          possible, the Department of Defense (DOD) follows a total force policy that
          relies heavily upon reserve forces to augment active forces in wartime and
          peacetime operations and during national emergencies. With over
          1.5 million members and a fiscal year 1996 budget of about $20 billion, the
          reserve forces are an essential component of the national defense strategy.

          Because of concern over the accessibility and responsiveness of reserve
          forces, the Congress required DOD to prepare a report with
          recommendations for improving the timeliness, adequacy, and
          effectiveness of reserve component responses to domestic emergencies
          and national contingency operations. Section 1231 of the National Defense
          Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997 (P.L. 104-201) required DOD to
          address whether

      •   the statutory limitation on the time period for involuntary activation of
          reservists needed in response to domestic emergencies should be
          expanded;
      •   recommendations should be implemented from a 1995 RAND report on
          National Guard responsiveness to domestic emergencies;
      •   changes are needed in the statutory authorities for activating reserve units
          and individuals to facilitate current and future use of the reserve
          components; and
      •   statutory provisions are needed to help mitigate the effects of frequent
          mobilizations on reserve units and individual members, civilian employers,
          and employees of reserve member employers.




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             Section 1231 of the act also required DOD to discuss past and planned
             initiatives to improve reserve component responsiveness and include
             participation from the Reserve Forces Policy Board in the development of
             the report.

             In addition, the Congress directed us to assess the adequacy and
             completeness of the DOD report. This letter summarizes our assessment of
             the DOD report and recommends additional limitations on DOD’s proposals
             for expanded call-up authorities. A detailed analysis of our position with
             regard to each of the specific matters addressed in DOD’s report is provided
             in appendixes I through IV. The scope and methodology of our review are
             discussed in appendix V.



             In 1973, DOD adopted the total force policy, which recognized that active
Background   and reserve U.S. military forces should be readily available to support
             military operations. As a result, reserve forces were no longer considered
             to be forces of last resort; rather, they are now recognized as
             indispensable to the nation’s defense from the earliest days of a conflict. In
             addition, the reserves’ peacetime support to the active forces has taken on
             increased importance in areas such as peacekeeping missions,
             counterdrug operations, disaster aid, and exercise support. The seven
             reserve components are the Army Reserve, Army National Guard, Air
             Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Naval Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve,
             and Coast Guard Reserve.1

             As the role of reserve forces has expanded, concerns have been expressed
             over the adequacy of the statutory authorities for accessing reserve
             components. Various sections of title 10 of the United States Code provide
             authorities for the President to order DOD reserve units and individual
             members to active duty across a wide spectrum of operations.2 For
             example, these sections provide that (1) in time of national emergency
             declared by the Congress or the President, most reservists can be called
             involuntarily to active duty and (2) when the President determines that it
             is necessary to augment active forces for operational missions, up to
             200,000 members of the Selected Reserve can be called to active duty for



             1
              The Coast Guard Reserve reports to the Secretary of Transportation in peacetime but would be under
             the authority of the Navy during wartime.
             2
              See 10 U.S.C. 12301, 12302, and 12304.



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                   up to 270 days.3 This is known as the Presidential Selected Reserve
                   Call-Up (PSRC) authority. Title 10 U.S.C. 12301 also authorizes the service
                   secretaries to activate reservists for up to 15 days each year without their
                   consent and for any time period with their consent.

                   These authorities were primarily established during the Cold War when
                   reserve forces were mainly designed to expand active duty forces to defeat
                   a global threat from the Soviet Union. With the collapse of the Soviet
                   Union and subsequent changes in the national defense strategy, including
                   increased reliance on reserve forces, attention has focused on whether the
                   existing call-up authorities need to be modified. In some instances, the
                   Congress has modified call-up authorities. For example, the Congress has
                   increased the maximum number of Selected Reservists subject to
                   involuntary recall from 100,000 to the current limit of 200,000 4 and, in
                   October 1994, expanded the maximum time period for PSRC to 270 days.5
                   However, the Congress did not approve a prior DOD request to authorize
                   the service secretaries to activate up to 25,000 reservists to perform
                   critical tasks needed to prepare for mobilization prior to an expected PSRC
                   declaration. DOD refers to these tasks as “priming the pump” in anticipation
                   of a PSRC.

                   Concerns have also been expressed that the expanded role of the reserve
                   forces has increased the frequency that reserve units and individuals have
                   been called to active duty. Because most reservists (a term that includes
                   National Guard personnel) hold civilian jobs and perform their military
                   duties on a part-time basis, calls to active duty can cause major
                   disruptions in the lives of the reservists, their families, their employers,
                   and in some cases their employees. For this reason, increased use of
                   reserve forces could adversely affect the ability of the military to recruit
                   and retain the quantity and quality of people needed to achieve desired
                   readiness levels in the reserve components.


                   The DOD report on reserve component responsiveness appears to be a
Results in Brief   complete and appropriate response to the matters identified in the
                   legislative requirement for the report. The report was the result of a
                   collaborative effort among the key DOD organizations involved with reserve
                   matters and generally represented a consensus view based upon military

                   3
                    The Selected Reserve includes drilling reservists assigned to reserve units, full-time reserve personnel,
                   and individual mobilization augmentees assigned to active component commands.
                   4
                    See section 521(a) of Public Law 99-661, Nov. 14, 1986.
                   5
                    See section 511(a)(1) of Public Law 103-337, Oct. 5, 1994.



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judgment and experience. As required, the Reserve Forces Policy Board
fully participated in the development of DOD’s report.

DOD concluded that it would be useful to expand the statutory authority for
involuntarily accessing reserve component capabilities. Specifically, DOD
proposed that the service secretaries’ authority to call reservists
involuntarily to active duty should be expanded from 15 to 30 days each
year and presented two reasons for proposing such a change. First, the
expanded authority would provide DOD access to reserves for a longer
period, which could be helpful in responding to domestic emergencies and
disasters. Second, expanding the call-up authority would allow DOD to
activate reservists for up to 30 days to perform critical tasks in preparation
for an expected Presidential Selected Reserve Call-Up. Referring to this as
the “prime the pump” requirement, DOD stated that, in preparing its report,
it had revalidated the need to activate 25,000 reservists for this purpose.

Representatives from the Reserve Forces Policy Board and the seven
reserve components generally supported the DOD conclusion that
expanded call-up authorities were needed. However, concerns were
expressed that expanded authority could result in more frequent, longer,
and in some cases unnecessary activations, which could have adverse
impacts on reservists, their families, and employers and ultimately affect
reserve component recruitment, retention, and readiness.

To help mitigate potential adverse impacts, we believe the proposal for
expanded call-up authority should include limits on the maximum number
of reservists that could be activated in response to a domestic emergency
or in anticipation of a Presidential Selected Reserve Call-Up. These limits
should be in addition to a time period limitation as suggested by DOD.
Although DOD stated it requires 25,000 reservists for activities prior to a
Presidential Selected Reserve Call-Up, it has not determined the
appropriate maximum number of reservists needed to respond to a
domestic emergency or disaster. In addition, DOD has not validated that its
proposed 30-day time period is the appropriate time period needed to
effectively respond to domestic emergencies or perform the prime the
pump mission.




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                        The governor of each state can call the state’s Army and Air National
DOD Seeks Expanded      Guard units to active duty to help respond to domestic emergencies and
Call-up Authority for   disasters, such as those caused by hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. If
Domestic                additional help is needed, a governor can request federal assistance
                        through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). With a
Emergencies             presidential declaration of disaster, FEMA’s federal assistance can include
                        additional military support from DOD.

                        If requested to respond to domestic emergencies, DOD normally tasks
                        active duty units to provide the necessary assistance. Even if needed to
                        help respond to an emergency, units and members from the Army, the Air
                        Force, the Navy, and the Marine Corps reserve components are not
                        normally used because of statutory limitations. Specifically, 10 U.S.C.
                        12301(b) allows service secretaries to activate these forces involuntarily
                        for only 15 days each year. However, because this provision is also the
                        authority for the reservists’ 2-week annual training requirement, reservists
                        that have completed their annual training cannot be activated under this
                        authority. DOD stated that determining whether reservists have completed
                        their training takes time, which limits the value of any reserve component
                        response. For example, during the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992,
                        the U.S. Army Forces Command wanted to activate the 841st Engineer
                        Battalion, an Army Reserve unit located in Miami, Florida, to assist in
                        debris clearance, but it did not do so because of these limitations.

                        In its report, DOD stated that it would be useful to expand the authority for
                        using reserve components to support domestic emergencies. DOD stated
                        that its preferred option would be to have 10 U.S.C. 12301(b) amended to
                        expand from 15 to 30 days the time period that service secretaries could
                        activate reservists. DOD noted that increasing the time period to 30 days
                        would provide up to 15 additional days each year if needed for other active
                        duty missions, even if reservists had completed their annual training.
                        However, DOD did not perform analyses to validate that 30 days would be
                        the appropriate time period or determine the maximum number of
                        reservists needed to effectively respond to most domestic emergencies.
                        Such analyses could consider the experiences of National Guard and
                        active forces used to respond to previous domestic emergencies.

                        Representatives from FEMA and each of the seven reserve components
                        stated that they supported the DOD position because it provides increased
                        management flexibility to respond to emergencies. However, some
                        representatives stated that in most cases existing authorities were
                        adequate for reserve components to support domestic emergencies. They



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                        cited the use of volunteers, the authority of reserve unit commanders to
                        accelerate their units’ normal drill schedules to meet needs during an
                        emergency, and the existing authority of the Congress and the President to
                        declare a national emergency, which would provide access to all reserve
                        components. Representatives from two reserve components also
                        expressed concerns that increased authority could result in increased use
                        of reservists, which, in turn, could have adverse impacts on reservists,
                        their families, and their employers.

                        We agree with DOD that it would be useful to expand the authority to allow
                        more ready access to reservists during domestic emergencies. However,
                        we also agree with the reserve representatives that expanded authority
                        increases the risk that reservists could be activated more frequently,
                        which could have adverse impacts. To help mitigate this risk, an expanded
                        service secretary authority to activate reservists for domestic emergencies
                        could include a limitation on the number of personnel that could be
                        activated. For example, in addition to the limit on the number of days, an
                        expanded authority could limit the number of personnel that could be
                        activated to a number that DOD validates as the maximum needed to
                        respond to most emergencies. For emergencies that require access to a
                        greater number of reservists, the President already has existing authority
                        to declare a national emergency, which would provide access to 1 million
                        reservists.


                        DOD was required to assess the adequacy of the statutory authorities for
DOD Seeks Expanded      activating reservists for current and future missions. In its report, DOD
Call-Up Authority for   stated that the current reserve call-up authorities are sufficient and will be
Operational             adequate to implement the national security strategy into the 21st century.
                        DOD stated that the three-tiered system of statutory authorities (10 U.S.C.
Contingencies           12301, 12302, and 12304) gives the President a full menu of options with
                        inherent controls to satisfy the American people.

                        Despite this endorsement, DOD stated that one matter requiring attention is
                        the lack of authority for DOD to involuntarily activate reservists to perform
                        critical tasks prior to an expected PSRC declaration. DOD referred to this
                        need as the prime the pump requirement and stated that it has revalidated
                        the need to activate 25,000 reservists for this purpose. DOD stated that its
                        recommendation to expand the service secretaries’ call-up authority under
                        10 U.S.C. 12301(b) from 15 to 30 days for domestic emergencies would
                        also provide the authority needed for the prime the pump mission.




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                      However, DOD did not recommend limiting this expanded authority to
                      25,000 reservists.

                      Representatives from the Reserve Forces Policy Board and the seven
                      reserve components stated that they supported the DOD position. However,
                      several reserve component representatives stated that expanded authority
                      for involuntary call-up prior to an expected PSRC could result in
                      unnecessary activations, which could, in turn, waste funds and have an
                      adverse impact on reserve component retention. In addition,
                      representatives from two reserve components noted that the proposed
                      authority could be viewed as an extension of PSRC authority from 270 to
                      300 days because reservists could be activated for 30 days prior to a PSRC
                      and then for 270 days after a PSRC is authorized. They stated that the
                      increased risk of call-ups and the potential for a longer active duty time
                      period could have adverse impacts on reservists.

                      The Reserve Forces Policy Board noted that the activities required to
                      perform the prime the pump mission would require 30 days. To provide for
                      this time, plus the 15 days of required annual training, the Board stated
                      that a 45-day time period is more appropriate for an expanded authority
                      than the 30 days recommended by DOD.

                      We did not independently validate DOD’s stated need for 25,000 reservists
                      to prepare for an involuntary activation. However, we noted that there
                      appeared to be agreement within DOD that this need exists. To help
                      mitigate concerns that an expanded authority could have negative impacts
                      on reservists, a proposal for expanded authority could limit the number of
                      personnel that could be activated to the 25,000 personnel identified by
                      DOD. Also, in view of the Reserve Forces Policy Board’s comments, it
                      appears that DOD needs to validate the time period required to perform the
                      prime the pump mission to determine whether the suggested 30-day time
                      period is sufficient.


                      We recommend that the Secretary of Defense, prior to requesting
Recommendations       increased authority to access reserve components,

                  •   determine the maximum number of reservists that should be subject to
                      involuntary call-up during a domestic emergency and
                  •   validate the time periods required to respond to a domestic emergency and
                      perform critical preparation tasks in anticipation of a PSRC declaration to
                      ensure that the proposed time periods are appropriate.



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                     Should the Secretary of Defense request increased authority to access
                     reserve components, we also recommend that the proposal include limits
                     on the maximum number of reservists that could be activated in response
                     to a domestic emergency or in anticipation of a PSRC declaration.



                     In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD generally concurred with our
Agency Comments      conclusions and recommendations. DOD stated that the intent of its report
and Our Evaluation   was to respond to congressional direction and specific questions.
                     Although DOD determined that expanded call-up authority would be useful,
                     DOD stated that it was not yet at the stage of drafting proposals for
                     legislation. However, DOD agreed that limits must be considered when the
                     legislative proposals actually are made. DOD’s comments appear in
                     appendix VI.


                     We are sending copies of this report to other interested congressional
                     committees; the Secretaries of Defense, the Army, the Navy, and the Air
                     Force; the Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps; the Commandant, U.S. Coast
                     Guard; and the Director, Office of Management and Budget. Copies will
                     also be made available to others on request.

                     Please contact me at (202) 512-5140 if you or your staff have any questions
                     on this report. Major contributors to this report are listed in appendix VII.




                     Mark E. Gebicke
                     Director, Military Operations
                       and Capabilities Issues




                     Page 8                                          GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
Page 9   GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
Contents



Letter                                                                                              1


Appendix I                                                                                         12
                         Statutory Authorities for Using Reservists for Domestic                   12
Expanding Call-up          Emergencies
Authority for            DOD Recommends Expanding Authority                                        14
                         Our Assessment of the DOD Position                                        15
Domestic
Emergencies
Appendix II                                                                                        17
                         Need for Expanded Authority to Use Reserves in Domestic                   17
Previous                   Emergencies
Recommendations to       Need for a National Compact for Sharing Resources                         18
                         Need to Create Contingency Stocks to Support Disasters                    19
Improve Reserve          Need for Support for Federal-State Disaster Planning Exercises            20
Component Response
to Domestic
Emergencies
Appendix III                                                                                       22
                         Previous Accessibility Reports                                            22
Adequacy of Statutory    DOD Recommends Expanding Authority                                        24
Authorities for          Our Assessment of the DOD Position                                        24
Activating Reserve
Components
Appendix IV                                                                                        27
                         Releasing Reservists From Active Duty                                     27
Mitigating the Effects   Minimizing Impacts of Frequent Mobilizations on Recruitment               28
of Frequent                and Retention
                         Other Matters Related to the Needs of Reservists                          29
Mobilizations
Appendix V                                                                                         31

Scope and
Methodology




                         Page 10                                       GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
                        Contents




Appendix VI                                                                                    32

Comments From the
Department of
Defense
Appendix VII                                                                                   33

Major Contributors to
This Report




                        Abbreviations

                        DOD        Department of Defense
                        FEMA       Federal Emergency Management Agency
                        PSRC       Presidential Selected Reserve Call-up


                        Page 11                                    GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
Appendix I

Expanding Call-up Authority for Domestic
Emergencies

                        The Department of Defense (DOD) was required to assess the need to
                        expand reserve component call-up authority for domestic emergencies.
                        The issue deals with whether reserve forces, other than the National
                        Guard, should be available, if needed, to help respond to disasters, such as
                        those caused by major hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. Currently,
                        statutory limitations restrict the involuntary use of Army, Air Force, Navy,
                        and Marine Corps reserve units and members for domestic emergencies.
                        According to DOD officials, the service secretaries have no quick way to
                        gain access to these reserve units, or their equipment, if needed to respond
                        to a domestic emergency.

                        The resources needed to respond to major emergencies and disasters
                        often exceed the resources available at the local level. In these cases, the
                        governor of each state may activate the state’s Army and Air National
                        Guard units to provide additional assistance. The Guard is usually viewed
                        as the first line of support in responding to large emergencies and natural
                        disasters. However, if a state’s National Guard and other resources are not
                        sufficient to handle a crisis, the governor can request federal assistance
                        through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). With a
                        presidential declaration of disaster, FEMA’s federal assistance can include
                        requests to DOD for additional military support.

                        DOD  normally answers requests for military support during domestic
                        emergencies by tasking active duty units to respond. Even if needed,
                        reserve units, other than the National Guard, normally are not considered
                        to be available to provide assistance because of limitations in the call-up
                        authorities. Specifically, under 10 U.S.C. 12301(b), service secretaries can
                        activate reserve forces involuntarily for only 15 days each year. However,
                        because this time includes the reservists’ 2-week annual training
                        requirement, reservists that have completed their annual training cannot
                        be activated under this authority. DOD stated that determining whether
                        reservists have completed their training takes time, which limits the value
                        of any reserve component response.


                        The authorities that provide for activating reserve components for
Statutory Authorities   domestic emergencies are generally the same authorities that provide for
for Using Reservists    activating reserve components for operational contingencies. For
for Domestic            example, sections of title 10 of the United States Code provide authorities
                        for the President to order DOD reserve units and individual members to
Emergencies             active duty across a wide spectrum of operations. These authorities vary
                        by (1) the number of reservists who may be ordered to active duty at one



                        Page 12                                         GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
Appendix I
Expanding Call-up Authority for Domestic
Emergencies




time, (2) the duration of their service, (3) the categories of reservists
subject to be called, and (4) the purpose or conditions that must prevail to
warrant use of the statutes.

Title 10 U.S.C. 12301(a) provides that, in time of war or national
emergency declared by the Congress, the entire membership of all reserve
components or any lesser number can be called to active duty for the
duration of the war or national emergency plus 6 months. Although this
statute normally is viewed as the call-up authority for responding to a
major threat to national security, DOD stated that it could be used to
activate reservists for a domestic emergency. However, it has never been
used for this purpose.

Title 10 U.S.C. 12302 provides that, in time of national emergency declared
by the President, up to 1 million members of the Ready Reserve can be
called to active duty for not more than 24 consecutive months. Similar to
the previous authority, DOD stated that this statute could also provide
access to reservists for a domestic emergency, although it has never been
used for this purpose.

Title 10 U.S.C. 12304 provides that, when the President determines that it
is necessary to augment the active forces for any operational mission, up
to 200,000 members of the Selected Reserve can be called to active duty
for not more than 270 days. This is known as Presidential Selected Reserve
Call-Up (PSRC) authority. This provision also states that no unit or member
may be ordered to active duty under this authority to provide assistance to
either the federal government or a state in time of a serious natural or
manmade disaster, accident, or catastrophe. Thus, this authority cannot be
used to access reservists for domestic emergencies.

Title 10 U.S.C. 12301(b) provides that at any time a service secretary can
order any reservist to active duty for up to 15 days each year. This
authority traditionally has been viewed as the authority allowing the
services to enforce the reservists’ 2-week annual training requirement.
However, DOD’s Office of General Counsel provided an interpretation in
1994 stating that this authority could be used for operational missions as
well as annual active duty for training. The legal opinion noted that this
authority could not be used if a unit or member had already completed
15 days of annual training for the calendar year. DOD stated, however, that
this authority has not been used to call reservists involuntarily to active
duty for a domestic emergency.




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                      Appendix I
                      Expanding Call-up Authority for Domestic
                      Emergencies




                      In addition to the involuntary activation of reservists under the above
                      conditions, 10 U.S.C. 12301(d) provides for call-up of reservists who
                      volunteer for active duty. The number of volunteer reservists called to
                      active duty and the length of time they may be kept on active duty
                      generally depends upon the availability of funds and the end-strength
                      authorizations for the active force. In an April 1996 report on reserve
                      volunteers, we noted that thousands of reservists have volunteered for
                      recent peace operations and have performed well.1

                      In contrast to DOD, the Secretary of Transportation has specific statutory
                      authority allowing involuntary call-up of Coast Guard reservists during
                      domestic emergencies. Under provisions of 14 U.S.C. 712, the Secretary of
                      Transportation can activate members of the Coast Guard Ready Reserve
                      involuntarily to support domestic emergencies. Each reservist may be
                      required to serve up to 30 days in any 4-month period and up to 60 days in
                      any 2-year period.

                      Coast Guard representatives stated that the Coast Guard’s mission is
                      primarily to prevent and respond to emergencies on a daily basis. Since
                      this mission continues when a major disaster occurs, the Coast Guard
                      Reserve call-up authority provides ready access to additional resources
                      needed to respond to a disaster. According to Coast Guard officials, Coast
                      Guard reservists have been called involuntarily to active duty to respond
                      to 10 domestic emergencies since 1990, including the Midwest floods of
                      1993 and Hurricanes Andrew, Marilyn, and Fran. For the 10 emergencies,
                      956 reservists were activated and served a total of 16,218 days. The length
                      of service during these emergencies ranged from 1 to 38 days and averaged
                      about 17 days.


                      In its report, DOD stated that one of its goals is to maximize the reserve
DOD Recommends        component contribution to the total force and relieve active duty units
Expanding Authority   from operational tasks when feasible. To help achieve this goal, DOD stated
                      that it would be useful to expand the authority for using reserve
                      components during domestic emergencies. DOD’s preferred option would
                      be to amend 10 U.S.C. 12301(b) by expanding the time period that service
                      secretaries could activate reservists from 15 to 30 days.

                      The DOD report stated that a service secretary could activate reservists
                      now under this authority but would have to ensure that affected reservists
                      had not performed their annual active duty training. According to the

                      1
                       Peace Operations: Reservists Have Volunteered When Needed (GAO/NSIAD-96-75, Apr. 26, 1996).



                      Page 14                                                     GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
                        Appendix I
                        Expanding Call-up Authority for Domestic
                        Emergencies




                        report, checking the annual training status of units and members in the
                        area of a domestic emergency would slow the response time and therefore
                        reduce the value of the assistance provided by the reserves.

                        DOD stated that, since 15 days are generally used by the Selected Reserve
                        for annual training, increasing the statute to 30 days would provide up to
                        15 additional days each year for operations. The report stated that a 30-day
                        call-up authority for the service secretaries would, among other things,
                        (1) make it clear that the statute is for more than just training, (2) make
                        the authority similar to that already provided for activating members of
                        the Coast Guard Reserve, and (3) streamline access to local reserve
                        components. Although DOD stated that 30 days would be sufficient to
                        satisfy immediate response requirements for domestic emergencies, DOD
                        did not perform any analyses to validate that this time period is
                        appropriate. Also, the DOD proposal did not include a limitation on the
                        maximum number of reservists that could be called to active duty under
                        the expanded authority.


                        We discussed the DOD proposal to expand the authority from 15 to 30 days
Our Assessment of the   with representatives from FEMA, the Reserve Forces Policy Board, and
DOD Position            each of the seven reserve components. All of the representatives stated
                        that they supported DOD’s position. However, some representatives
                        expressed concerns that were not fully discussed in DOD’s report.

                        Representatives from the Army and Navy reserves stated that they
                        generally supported DOD’s proposal but were not convinced that any
                        change was needed. The representatives stated that they believed existing
                        authorities were adequate for reserve components to support domestic
                        emergencies. They cited the use of volunteers and the authority of reserve
                        unit commanders to accelerate their units’ normal drill schedules to meet
                        needs during an emergency. Army Reserve representatives cited numerous
                        cases in which Army reservists volunteered to help during domestic
                        emergencies, including 801 reservists who volunteered for the relief efforts
                        after Hurricane Andrew. The Army and Navy reserve representatives also
                        expressed concerns that increased authority could result in an increased
                        use of reservists, which, in turn, could have an adverse impact on the
                        reservists, their families, and their employers.

                        A representative from FEMA stated that the agency supported DOD’s
                        recommendation primarily because it added management flexibility for
                        cases in which reserve support might be needed for a major domestic



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Appendix I
Expanding Call-up Authority for Domestic
Emergencies




disaster. However, the representative noted that the likelihood of such a
case was small. The representative emphasized that most emergencies are
handled at the local or state level with support from the National Guard.
Also, for larger emergencies that required additional military support, the
use of active duty units was preferred over the use of reserve units
because active units normally can respond more quickly.

In our June 1993 report on DOD’s support for Hurricanes Andrew and Iniki
and Typhoon Omar, we noted that the availability of DOD forces to respond
to domestic emergencies is largely dependent on what else is going on in
the world.2 A major conflict abroad would limit the type and quantity of
support that active forces could provide during a domestic disaster. As a
result, we concluded that expanding the authority to provide easier access
to reserve forces would provide additional backup resources if needed to
respond to major disasters.

We continue to believe that it would be useful to expand the authority to
involuntarily activate reservists for domestic emergencies, and we
therefore agree with the intent of DOD’s recommendation. However, we
also agree with Army and Navy reserve representatives that expanded
authority increases the risk that reservists could be activated more
frequently, which could have adverse impacts on reservists and their
families and employers. To help mitigate this risk, a limitation could be
placed on the number of personnel that could be activated. For example,
an expanded authority could limit such activations to a number that DOD
validates as the maximum needed to respond to most emergencies. For
emergencies that require access to a greater number of reservists, the
President already has existing authority to declare a national emergency,
which would provide access to 1 million members of the Ready Reserve.




2
 Disaster Assistance: DOD’s Support for Hurricanes Andrew and Iniki and Typhoon Omar
(GAO/NSIAD-93-180, June 18, 1993).



Page 16                                                     GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
Appendix II

Previous Recommendations to Improve
Reserve Component Response to Domestic
Emergencies
                       In its report, DOD was required to address recommendations from a 1995
                       RAND study on the state and federal missions of the National Guard.1 With
                       the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War, and the adoption
                       of a national military strategy focused on regional conflicts, DOD developed
                       plans to downsize military forces, both active and reserve, including the
                       National Guard. Plans to downsize the National Guard in view of its state
                       domestic missions created concerns among the governors and in the
                       Congress.

                       One result of this concern was congressional direction that DOD conduct a
                       study to assess the ability of a smaller National Guard to meet both state
                       and federal mission requirements. RAND performed the study for DOD. The
                       study included four recommendations to assist states during major
                       emergencies and disasters, especially during times when National Guard
                       units could be faced with federal and state missions simultaneously.


                       The first RAND recommendation stated that federal law should be
Need for Expanded      clarified and amended to authorize presidential call-up of federal reserves
Authority to Use       of all military services during domestic emergencies and disasters without
Reserves in Domestic   any time constraint. Although National Guard forces are available to
                       respond to domestic emergencies and disasters, access to the other DOD
Emergencies            reserve forces, as discussed in appendix I, is limited by statute. RAND
                       concluded that, in times of peak demand, greater access to reserve forces
                       for domestic use would be beneficial and cost-effective.

                       In its report, DOD stated that the RAND recommendation was to amend
                       PSRC authority under 10 U.S.C. 12304 to allow use of reserves in domestic
                       emergencies. DOD stated that it did not concur with the recommendation
                       because the President has several other authorities at his disposal that
                       allow access to reserve forces. For example, DOD noted that, in the event
                       of a truly major disaster, the President could declare a state of national
                       emergency and gain access to 1 million reservists under 10 U.S.C. 12302.
                       Representatives from all of the reserve components agreed with DOD’s
                       position.

                       We believe that the DOD response to the RAND recommendation is
                       misleading because of DOD’s interpretation of the recommendation.
                       Although the recommendation calls for expanded presidential authority, it
                       does not specifically call for expanded PSRC authority. RAND

                       1
                         Assessing the State and Federal Missions of the National Guard, National Defense Research Institute,
                       RAND, 1995.



                       Page 17                                                         GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
                      Appendix II
                      Previous Recommendations to Improve
                      Reserve Component Response to Domestic
                      Emergencies




                      representatives told us that the intent of the recommendation was to
                      ensure that the federal government has access to all of its resources if
                      needed to respond to a domestic emergency. The intent was not to specify
                      which statutory authority should be changed. The RAND representatives
                      also stated that DOD’s proposal to expand the service secretaries’ call-up
                      authority from 15 to 30 days generally meets the intent of the
                      recommendation, since the service secretaries are under the President’s
                      authority. However, they said that the 30-day limit could be insufficient for
                      some domestic emergencies.

                      We agree that DOD’s proposed expansion to a 30-day call-up authority
                      generally meets the intent of the RAND recommendation. As stated
                      previously, however, we believe that having a time limit, as well as a total
                      personnel limit, on the expanded authority provides important safeguards
                      for reservists and their families and employers.


                      The second RAND recommendation stated that DOD should develop and
Need for a National   support the establishment of an appropriate national-level compact for
Compact for Sharing   interstate sharing of resources, including the domestic capabilities of the
Resources             state National Guards, during emergencies and disasters. RAND noted that
                      peak state demands for disaster assistance can require assets and
                      capabilities that exceed the available state supply. Compacts and mutual
                      support agreements could help ensure access to added personnel and
                      equipment resources needed during emergencies. This type of support
                      structure could also provide increased state access to scarce or special
                      capabilities otherwise not available to the states.

                      The RAND study noted that several state compacts or mutual sharing
                      agreements already existed. For example, during the Midwest floods of
                      1993, the Texas National Guard provided CH-47 helicopter support to Iowa
                      because Iowa and its Guard lacked the capabilities this aircraft provided.
                      However, RAND concluded that a national-level compact would be
                      preferable over state or regional compacts. A national compact would
                      (1) ensure universal access for special capabilities, (2) provide equal
                      access to other state resources, and (3) eliminate the establishment of
                      unnecessary regional coordinating organizations.

                      Since issuance of the RAND report, the Congress already has taken action
                      to help implement this recommendation. In October 1996, the Congress
                      passed House Joint Resolution 193 (P.L. 104-321), which provided
                      congressional consent to the Emergency Management Assistance Compact



                      Page 18                                         GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
                        Appendix II
                        Previous Recommendations to Improve
                        Reserve Component Response to Domestic
                        Emergencies




                        sponsored by the Southern Governors’ Association. The compact provides
                        for mutual assistance in managing emergency disasters among the states
                        entering into the compact. The compact also clarified several cost and
                        liability questions associated with the assets of one state being used to
                        provide assistance in another state. Further, the compact provides a
                        framework to become a national compact because other states can join it.
                        The President signed the resolution on October 19, 1996.

                        In its report, DOD noted that the RAND recommendation is already being
                        implemented and that DOD supported the Emergency Management
                        Assistance Compact. Representatives we interviewed from all of the
                        reserve components agreed with DOD’s position. RAND representatives
                        also stated that they agreed that the compact provides a basis for
                        implementing their recommendation.

                        We believe that DOD’s response was appropriate.


                        The third RAND recommendation stated that federal-level contingency
Need to Create          stocks should be created to support the National Guard during domestic
Contingency Stocks to   disasters. RAND noted that contingency stocks are available to support
Support Disasters       the National Guard during civil disturbances. However, contingency
                        stocks to support other domestic emergencies and disasters did not exist.
                        RAND suggested that DOD, by coordinating with FEMA, could identify and
                        provide standing stockpiles of equipment and items, such as emergency
                        lighting, cots, blankets, and tents, to assist National Guard responses to
                        domestic emergencies.

                        In its report, DOD stated it agreed that contingency stocks for domestic
                        emergencies constitute a worthwhile and beneficial asset. DOD supported
                        the continuation of the National Guard sites that stock items to support
                        the military during civil disturbance missions. DOD also noted that FEMA has
                        three regional sites in Georgia, Texas, and California that stock items
                        needed during domestic disasters. Because FEMA already has these sites,
                        DOD stated that additional DOD stockpiles were not needed.


                        Representatives we interviewed from all of the reserve components agreed
                        with DOD’s position. FEMA also supported DOD’s position. FEMA stated that its
                        logistics support centers are strategically located and stock critical items
                        that states most often ask the federal government to provide during
                        emergencies and disasters. Also, the centers’ resources are available to the
                        National Guard during declared emergencies and disasters. RAND



                        Page 19                                        GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
                         Appendix II
                         Previous Recommendations to Improve
                         Reserve Component Response to Domestic
                         Emergencies




                         representatives stated that FEMA’s centers were established after the RAND
                         study was completed and that the centers appear to fulfill the intent of the
                         RAND recommendation.

                         We believe that DOD’s response was appropriate.


                         The fourth RAND recommendation stated that federal funding and
Need for Support for     regulatory support should be provided for federal-state disaster
Federal-State Disaster   emergency response planning exercises. RAND reported that federal-state
Planning Exercises       exercises were beneficial in assessing plans for integrating the resources
                         of all involved agencies prior to an actual disaster. However, certain
                         funding and regulatory limitations hindered participation of key National
                         Guard planners in federal-state emergency response planning exercises
                         largely because such exercises were not considered to be related to
                         military functions.

                         In its report, DOD stated that, although it agreed that a civil exercise
                         program is important, funding for such exercises should come through
                         channels other than DOD. DOD also stated that the exercise planning and
                         funding process is a state responsibility and the issue should be addressed
                         by the states in conjunction with FEMA. DOD did not address the matter of
                         regulatory support or state whether any regulatory changes were needed
                         to foster Guard participation in federal-state emergency response planning
                         exercises.

                         Representatives we interviewed from the reserve components generally
                         agreed with DOD’s position. Also, Army National Guard representatives
                         noted that, after the RAND report was issued, the Congress amended
                         32 U.S.C. 503(a) to allow the National Guard to participate with the Army
                         or the Air Force in disaster and emergency response training and
                         exercises.2 These representatives stated they knew of no existing
                         regulatory limitations that restricted Army National Guard participation in
                         federal-state emergency response exercises.

                         A FEMA representative also agreed with DOD’s position, stating that
                         planning for and performing emergency response exercises is a state and
                         local function. In this regard, he stated that FEMA provides annual grants to
                         each state to plan and prepare for disasters. According to this



                         2
                          See section 517 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996, Public Law 104-106,
                         February 10, 1996.



                         Page 20                                                         GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
Appendix II
Previous Recommendations to Improve
Reserve Component Response to Domestic
Emergencies




representative, many states fund their own emergency response exercises
and usually invite federal agencies to participate.

Because of the reserve components’ and FEMA’s concurrence with DOD’s
position and the absence of specific examples of regulatory limitations on
reserve components’ participation in federal-state emergency planning
exercises, we believe that DOD’s response was appropriate.




Page 21                                       GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
Appendix III

Adequacy of Statutory Authorities for
Activating Reserve Components

                             DOD was required to assess the adequacy of the statutory authorities for
                             activating reservists for current and future missions. The adequacy of
                             statutory authorities for accessing reserve components has been a subject
                             of concern over the past several years as the role of reserve forces has
                             expanded. For the most part, the laws and policies providing access to the
                             reserves were established during the Cold War when reserve forces were
                             mainly designed to expand active duty forces to defeat a global threat from
                             the Soviet Union. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, continued reliance
                             on reserve components during major regional conflicts, and increased use
                             of reservists during peacetime operations and in some domestic
                             emergencies, attention has focused on whether the existing access
                             authorities need to be changed.


                             In response to the changing military strategy after the Cold War, DOD
Previous Accessibility       conducted a study in 1994 on how to improve access to the reserve
Reports                      components. DOD issued a report in March 1994 that recommended several
                             actions to improve accessibility, including the following:

                         •   Seek legislative change in PSRC authority to increase the maximum
                             duration of active duty time from 180 to 360 days.
                         •   Seek legislative change to provide the Secretary of Defense authority to
                             activate 25,000 members of the Selected Reserve to support time-sensitive
                             missions associated with mobilization while allowing the President time to
                             determine whether greater numbers of reservists should be ordered to
                             active duty under existing authorities.
                         •   Use existing authorities within DOD to provide involuntary access under
                             PSRC to individuals currently assigned to the Individual Ready Reserve.1
                             These reservists would be used to fill vacancies in early deploying units.
                             One option for achieving this access would be to create a new reservist
                             category by changing future enlistment contracts and officer agreements
                             to require service in this category for a period of time after release from
                             active duty.

                             On the basis of these recommendations, DOD requested that the Congress
                             make its proposed legislative changes and directed the Army to prepare an
                             implementation proposal for the new reserve category. The Congress




                             1
                              The Individual Ready Reserve is a category of non-drilling reservists who have previous military
                             experience. PSRC authority provided by 10 U.S.C. 12304 does not include call-up of reservists in the
                             Individual Ready Reserve.



                             Page 22                                                         GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
    Appendix III
    Adequacy of Statutory Authorities for
    Activating Reserve Components




    approved an extension of the duration of a PSRC call-up to 270 days, rather
    than the 360 requested by DOD.2

    According to DOD, the Congress did not approve implementation of call-up
    authority for the 25,000 reservists largely because of concern that not
    enough attention had been given to the possible effects on reservists, their
    families, and their employers. Instead, through section 511 of the National
    Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1995, the Congress directed DOD
    to prepare a separate report on the desirability of increasing the
    President’s authority to call reservists involuntarily to active duty.

    As a result of this direction, DOD studied the matter and in June 1996 issued
    a report that included the following points:

•   DOD  continued to report a need for early access to some reservists to
    support certain crises prior to an expected PSRC. One option to achieve this
    access continued to be a legislative change to provide the Secretary of
    Defense authority to activate 25,000 reservists. However, since the
    Congress had rejected this proposal, DOD reported that instead it would
    expedite access to critical reserve forces by (1) streamlining its
    procedures for requesting PSRC and (2) using existing authority to order
    members of the Selected Reserve to active duty for up to
    15 days—provided these members had not already performed their annual
    reserve training.
•   DOD continued to report a need to obtain access to members in the
    Individual Ready Reserve to fill vacancies in early deploying units during a
    PSRC call-up. Rather than using existing authorities to create a new
    category of reservists as proposed in the 1994 report, DOD reported that it
    would propose legislation to create a new subcategory of volunteers
    within the Individual Ready Reserve that would be subject to involuntary
    call-up under PSRC.
•   DOD reported that no other changes were needed in legislative authority to
    access reserve forces for domestic emergencies or operational
    contingencies.

    The Congress did not pass the proposed legislation for a new subcategory
    of reservists in the Individual Ready Reserve. However, because of
    continued concern over the adequacy of reserve accessibility, the
    Congress mandated a new DOD study of accessibility issues—the subject of
    this report.



    2
     See section 511(a)(1) of Public Law 103-337, Oct. 5, 1995.



    Page 23                                                       GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
                        Appendix III
                        Adequacy of Statutory Authorities for
                        Activating Reserve Components




                        In its current report, DOD stated that the present system of reserve call-up
DOD Recommends          authorities are sufficient and will be adequate to implement the national
Expanding Authority     security strategy into the 21st century. DOD stated that the three-tiered
                        system of statutory authorities (10 U.S.C. 12301, 12302, and 12304) give the
                        President a full menu of options with inherent controls to satisfy the
                        American people. Further, these authorities contain sufficient flexibility to
                        ensure that the forces required are available without mission-inhibiting
                        constraints.

                        Despite this endorsement, DOD stated that two shortcomings in the
                        statutory authorities need to be addressed. The first is the lack of authority
                        to involuntarily activate reservists to perform critical preparation tasks
                        prior to an expected PSRC declaration—the same issue discussed in the
                        two prior DOD accessibility reports. DOD referred to this need as the “prime
                        the pump” requirement and stated that it has revalidated the need to
                        activate 25,000 reservists for these tasks. DOD also stated that its
                        recommendation to expand the service secretaries’ call-up authority under
                        10 U.S.C. 12301(b) from 15 to 30 days for domestic emergencies would
                        also provide the authority needed for the pre-PSRC mission. DOD did not
                        recommend limiting this expanded authority to 25,000 reservists.

                        The second shortcoming noted in the DOD report is the lack of authority to
                        activate selected members in the Individual Ready Reserve when a PSRC is
                        authorized. According to DOD, since most Army units are not maintained at
                        full strength during peacetime, it needs individual replacements to bring
                        both active and reserve units to wartime strength. Existing authority
                        allows access to the Individual Ready Reserve only after a congressional
                        or presidential declaration of national emergency.

                        To provide a mechanism to access Individual Ready Reserve members
                        under a PSRC, DOD recommended an amendment to 10 U.S.C. 12304 to
                        accommodate its proposed Voluntary Early Access of Ready Reserves
                        Program. Under the proposed program, a new subcategory in the
                        Individual Ready Reserve would be created that consisted of volunteers.
                        Upon PSRC authorization, DOD could access up to 30,000 members of this
                        subcategory to bring units up to their wartime strength. The proposed
                        Voluntary Early Access of Ready Reserves Program is derived from similar
                        proposals discussed in the two prior DOD accessibility reports.


                        We discussed with representatives from the Reserve Forces Policy Board
Our Assessment of the   and the seven reserve components the DOD position that it needs access to
DOD Position

                        Page 24                                         GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
Appendix III
Adequacy of Statutory Authorities for
Activating Reserve Components




25,000 reservists prior to an expected PSRC. All of the representatives
stated that they supported the DOD position. However, some
representatives expressed concerns that were not fully discussed in the
DOD report. For example, Army National Guard, Army Reserve, and Naval
Reserve representatives stated that expanded authority to allow
involuntary call-up of reservists for up to 30 days prior to an expected PSRC
could result in unnecessary activations. Unnecessary activations could, in
turn, waste funds and have an adverse impact on reserve component
retention. A Naval Reserve representative noted that, under the existing
authority, reservists, their families, and their employers are somewhat
assured that any call-ups will be truly warranted because of the significant
effort that goes into the decision process leading to a PSRC declaration.

Army and Navy reserve representatives also noted that an expanded
authority could be viewed as an extension of the PSRC call-up authority
from 270 to 300 days because reservists could be activated for 30 days
prior to a PSRC and then for 270 days after PSRC is authorized. They stated
that the increased risk of call-ups and the potential for a longer active duty
time period could have adverse impacts on reservists and their families
and employers.

The Reserve Forces Policy Board agrees with the DOD position that access
to critical reserve capabilities is needed prior to an involuntary activation.
However, the Board believes that the statutory authority should be
increased to 45 days instead of 30 days as proposed by DOD. Board
representatives noted that the activities required to perform the prime the
pump mission would require 30 days. To provide for this time plus
15 days of annual training, the Board believes that 45 days is more
appropriate than the 30 days DOD recommended. In its report, DOD did not
state the time period required to complete the pre-PSRC tasks or note why
30 days was recommended as the appropriate time period.

We did not independently validate DOD’s stated need for 25,000 reservists
to prepare for an involuntary activation. However, there appeared to be
agreement within DOD that this need exists. One way to help mitigate
concerns that an expanded authority could have adverse impacts on
reservists would be to have an expanded authority that limited the number
of personnel that could be activated to the 25,000 personnel identified by
DOD. Also, it appears that DOD needs to validate the time period required to
perform the prime the pump mission to ensure that its proposed 30-day
period is sufficient.




Page 25                                          GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
Appendix III
Adequacy of Statutory Authorities for
Activating Reserve Components




We also discussed with representatives from the Reserve Forces Policy
Board and the seven reserve components the DOD position that it needs
access to Individual Ready Reserve members under PSRC. All of the
representatives stated that they supported the DOD position. However,
some representatives expressed concerns that were not fully discussed in
the DOD report. For example, several reserve component representatives
stated that only the Army has a need to access Individual Ready Reserve
members. For the most part, the Army’s mission is personnel intensive. As
such, it is less costly for the Army to rely on Individual Ready Reserve
members to bring units up to wartime strength because these members do
not regularly drill and do not get paid unless activated. A Marine Corps
reserve representative expressed concern that the Army’s practice of
relying on Individual Ready Reserve members could be forced on the other
reserve components. The concern is that these reservists might not have
the skills needed when called up because they do not regularly drill or
otherwise train. In such cases, a unit’s readiness could be affected.

We did not independently validate DOD’s need to access Individual Ready
Reserve members during a PSRC. However, we noted that there appeared to
be agreement within DOD that this need exists. Also, as currently
envisioned, only volunteers would be included in the Individual Ready
Reserve subcategory that would be subject to activation under PSRC.




Page 26                                      GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
Appendix IV

Mitigating the Effects of Frequent
Mobilizations

                       Calling reserve component members to active duty can cause major
                       disruptions in the lives of the reservists, their families, their employers,
                       and in some cases their employees. According to DOD officials, attention
                       must be given to ensure that reservists called to active duty are released as
                       soon as possible and that appropriate programs exist to minimize the
                       impacts from frequent mobilizations. Failure to do these actions can have
                       an adverse impact on the ability of the reserve components to recruit and
                       retain the quantity and quality of people needed to achieve desired
                       readiness levels.

                       DOD  was required to address (1) procedures for releasing reservists from
                       active duty, (2) ways to minimize the impact of frequent call-ups on
                       reserve component recruitment and retention, and (3) other matters
                       related to the needs of reservists and their employers.


                       According to DOD officials, many reservists involuntarily activated for
Releasing Reservists   Operation Desert Storm believed that they were retained on active duty for
From Active Duty       a longer period than was necessary. Some reservists and others perceived
                       that some reserve component units unnecessarily remained overseas after
                       active duty units had returned home. Such perceptions created a concern
                       that some reservists had not been used as intended under DOD policy.

                       In its report, DOD stated that DOD’s policy is to use reserve component
                       forces only during the most essential portions of an operation. DOD stated
                       that reserve component forces would normally be deployed into an area
                       after active component forces and would be first in line for return and
                       release from active duty at the conclusion of an operation. DOD also noted
                       that its policy for releasing reservists from active duty was clarified and
                       published on July 1, 1995, in DOD Directive 1235.10, “Activation,
                       Mobilization, and Demobilization of the Ready Reserve.”

                       DOD Directive 1235.10 states that reservists ordered involuntarily to active
                       duty will be retained on active duty for no longer than absolutely
                       necessary. These reservists will receive priority for redeployment from the
                       area of operations over active component units and be released from
                       active duty as expeditiously as possible, consistent with operational
                       requirements. The policy recognizes that the only capability to perform
                       certain functions, such as the Army’s water supply battalions, resides in
                       the reserve components. In such cases, some reserve units may be
                       required to be deployed for a longer period than some active duty units.




                       Page 27                                         GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
                        Appendix IV
                        Mitigating the Effects of Frequent
                        Mobilizations




                        DOD concluded that its policy and procedures for releasing reservists
                        called to active duty are sufficient and that no additional directives or
                        statutory provisions are needed at this time. Representatives we
                        interviewed from the Reserve Forces Policy Board and the seven reserve
                        components agreed with DOD’s position.

                        Because DOD has given attention to this issue, as evidenced by issuance of
                        its 1995 directive, and because we found no evidence that this matter
                        continues to be a major concern, we believe that DOD’s response was
                        appropriate.


                        To improve responsiveness and help keep recruitment and retention levels
Minimizing Impacts of   at acceptable levels, several initiatives have been implemented over the
Frequent                past several years. These initiatives attempted to improve the support
Mobilizations on        provided to reserve component members and their families and help
                        mitigate the impacts from active duty service.
Recruitment and
Retention               One key initiative was the Uniform Services Employment and
                        Reemployment Rights Act (P.L. 103-353), signed into law in October 1994.
                        This act clarified and strengthened the employment and reemployment
                        rights of military service members. The act supports the premise that,
                        upon completion of a period of military service, returning service
                        members are to be reinstated to their civilian jobs without loss of
                        seniority, status, or pay. In its report, DOD noted that the act does not
                        protect approximately 2,000 reservists employed abroad by foreign
                        companies. DOD stated that it is working with other U.S. government
                        departments and organizations to extend as much protection as possible
                        in these cases. Also, DOD stated that it is considering proposing changes to
                        the act that would extend coverage to reservists employed overseas by
                        U.S. employers.

                        The DOD report did not discuss several other recent initiatives that were
                        designed to help reservists and have a positive impact on reserve
                        component recruitment and retention. For example, at the direction of the
                        Congress, DOD implemented the Ready Reserve Mobilization Income
                        Insurance Program in October 1996. This self-funded, voluntary program
                        was intended to protect reservists against loss of income during activation.
                        The program is currently under review because of questions concerning
                        the program’s financial and actuarial soundness.




                        Page 28                                        GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
                        Appendix IV
                        Mitigating the Effects of Frequent
                        Mobilizations




                        In its June 1996 accessibility report, DOD noted another initiative that had
                        strengthened reserve component family support programs. DOD issued an
                        instruction in September 1994 that required all reserve components to
                        ensure that reservists and their families are adequately informed of their
                        benefits and entitlements and prepared in the event of mobilization. The
                        June 1996 accessibility report also noted that the National Committee for
                        Employer Support to the Guard and Reserve had improved its outreach
                        program to employer groups, its ombudsman program, and mechanisms to
                        gather employer views.

                        In its report, DOD stated that reserve component accession rates were
                        steady over the last several years with neither a clear increase nor decline.
                        DOD stated that present evidence seemed to indicate that increasing the
                        use of reserve members was not having an adverse effect on reservists’
                        willingness to participate. However, DOD noted that RAND was conducting
                        a major study for DOD to assess the impact of frequent mobilization on
                        recruiting and retention. Results from the study, due in September 1997,
                        should provide DOD with additional information to assess the need for
                        future initiatives in this area. Representatives we interviewed from the
                        Reserve Forces Policy Board and the seven reserve components agreed
                        with DOD’s position.

                        Although the DOD report did not fully discuss recent initiatives associated
                        with reserve component recruiting and retention, we believe that DOD’s
                        response was appropriate.


                        In its report, DOD noted that volunteerism should be the mode of choice for
Other Matters Related   accessing reserve component capabilities because of its minimal impact
to the Needs of         on reservists and the civilian community. According to DOD, the most
Reservists              important factor affecting the willingness of reservists to volunteer for
                        active duty is the attitude of their families and civilian employers.
                        Reservists say they are more likely to volunteer if their spouses and
                        employers are supportive and capable of carrying on without them while
                        they are gone.

                        DOD reported that recent surveys indicated that employers generally
                        supported reserve component involvement in major regional conflicts. The
                        surveys showed that employers were less likely to support their
                        employees’ participation in other operations, such as humanitarian or
                        peacekeeping missions. However, since Operation Joint Endeavor/Joint
                        Guard began in Bosnia in December 1995, there has not been a marked



                        Page 29                                         GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
    Appendix IV
    Mitigating the Effects of Frequent
    Mobilizations




    increase in complaints filed through ombudsman channels with the
    National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

    DOD stated that the need still exists to create employer incentives that will
    build support for their reservist employees to volunteer for active duty
    when needed. DOD identified the following areas as potential directions to
    explore to increase support for voluntary reserve active duty:

•   Tax breaks for employers of reservists. DOD stated that this issue was
    being addressed in a separate report, as required by section 1232 of the
    National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997.
•   Low-cost loans to reservists’ small businesses. DOD stated that this issue
    was being addressed in a separate report, as required by section 1234 of
    the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997.
•   Dental and medical insurance for reservists and their families.
•   Preferential consideration to employers of reservists for government
    contracts.

    We discussed DOD’s position with representatives from the seven reserve
    components and the National Committee for Employer Support of the
    Guard and Reserve. The National Committee representatives stated that
    they agreed with DOD that employers continued to be generally supportive
    of their reservist employees. They noted the results from a 1996 Air Force
    Reserve employer survey that included 1,318 responses. The survey found
    that (1) 62 to 64 percent of the employers believed reservists should serve
    as long as necessary during domestic emergencies, (2) 57 percent of the
    employers believed reservists should serve as long as necessary during
    regional conflicts, and (3) absences of 14 to 30 days were tolerable for the
    majority of employers.

    The National Committee representatives also stated that they agreed with
    the DOD position that additional employer incentives are still needed to
    continue employer support for the Guard and reserves. Representatives
    from the reserve components also agreed with the DOD position.

    We believe that DOD’s response to this matter was appropriate.




    Page 30                                         GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
Appendix V

Scope and Methodology


             Our work focused at the Office of the Secretary of Defense and at the
             headquarters level of the military services and the reserve components,
             including the Coast Guard reserve. We also performed our work at FEMA,
             the Reserve Forces Policy Board, the National Committee for Employer
             Support to the Guard and Reserve, RAND, the National Academy of Public
             Administration, the National Guard Association of the United States, and
             the Reserve Officers Association of the United States. At each location, we
             interviewed responsible agency personnel and reviewed applicable
             policies, procedures, and documents.

             To explore the issues addressed in DOD’s report, we (1) researched the
             matters identified in the legislation, (2) reviewed the current statutes
             related to reserve component call-up authority, (3) reviewed reserve
             component recruitment and retention statistics, (4) obtained information
             on recent and planned DOD initiatives designed to support reservists and
             mitigate the impacts from frequent mobilizations, (5) discussed the RAND
             study recommendations with cognizant officials from RAND, and
             (6) interviewed reserve component officials and other knowledgeable
             representatives to obtain their views of the issues discussed in the DOD
             report.

             To assess the adequacy and completeness of DOD’s report and its
             recommendations, we (1) reviewed the methodology and criteria used to
             develop the report’s findings and recommendations, (2) reviewed the DOD
             report to determine whether all of the matters required by the legislation
             were addressed in a complete and adequate manner, (3) considered
             whether the views of representatives from the seven reserve components
             and other interested organizations concurred with the report and its
             recommendations, and (4) determined whether the Reserve Forces Policy
             Board participated in report development as required by the legislation.

             We conducted our review between October 1996 and March 1997 in
             accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.




             Page 31                                        GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
Appendix VI

Comments From the Department of Defense




              Page 32         GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
Appendix VII

Major Contributors to This Report


                        Sharon A. Cekala, Associate Director
National Security and   Valeria G. Gist, Assistant Director
International Affairs
Division, Washington,
D.C.
                        Herbert I. Dunn, Senior Attorney
Office of the General
Counsel
                        Gary W. Phillips, Evaluator-in-Charge
Norfolk Field Office    James E. Ellis, Senior Evaluator




(703173)                Page 33                                 GAO/NSIAD-97-129 Reserve Forces
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