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Chapter 9

PERSONNEL AND QUALITY OF LIFE

With the drawdown essentially complete, the Department has maintained the highest quality, best-trained, and most diverse armed forces in history. To ensure continued success, the Department continues to resource and improve its recruiting, training, quality of life, and compensation programs. In January 1999, Secretary Cohen announced a major initiative to provide across-the-board pay raises for all service members, to target pay raises for non-commissioned officers and mid-grade commissioned officers, and to improve the military retirement system.

RECRUITING HIGH QUALITY INDIVIDUALS

To sustain the force and to ensure seasoned and capable leaders for the future, the Department of Defense must recruit some 200,000 youth for the active duty armed forces, and 150,000 for the Selected Reserve each year. Recruiting requirements for FY 1999 remain relatively steady as compared with FY 1998.

The Department uses two indices to measure recruit quality: level of education and scores on an enlistment test. Recruits with a high school diploma are especially valued because years of research and experience show that about 80 percent of recruits who hold a high school diploma will complete their initial three years of service. Alternatively, fewer than 50 percent of those who failed to complete high school will do that. Those holding an alternative credential, such as the General Education Development certificate, fall between those extremes. Over the past five years, more than 95 percent of all active duty recruits have held a high school diploma, compared to 77 percent of American youth ages 18 to 23.

Aptitude also is important. All recruits take a written enlistment test called the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), which measures math and verbal skills. Again, research and experience show that those who score at or above the 50th percentile on the AFQT demonstrate greater achievement in training and job performance compared to those below the 50th percentile. Roughly 70 percent of recent recruits scored above the 50th percentile of a nationally representative sample of 18 to 23 year olds.

In conjunction with the National Academy of Sciences, the Department developed a mathematical model that links recruit quality and recruiting resources to job performance. This model was used to establish recruit quality benchmarks of 90 percent high school diploma graduates and 60 percent scoring above average on the enlistment test. Those benchmarks were set by examining the relationship between costs associated with recruiting, training, attrition, and retention using as a standard the performance level obtained by the reference cohort of 1990, the cohort that served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Thus, the benchmarks reflect the recruit quality levels necessary to minimize personnel and training costs while maintaining Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm cohort performance. Since the mid 1980s, all Services have achieved recruit quality levels above the DoD benchmarks. While there has been some slight decline in quality over the past three years in comparison with historical results, todayís entering cohort quality is excellent.

Challenges in a Changing Recruiting Environment

Recruiting has been challenging over the past several years, but it was especially so in FY 1998 because of a robust economy, the lowest unemployment in 29 years, increased interest among potential recruits in attending college, and fewer veterans to serve as role models. In FY 1998, the Services recruited 179,212 first-term enlistees and 6,919 individuals with previous military service. This represents 97 percent of a Department-wide goal of 192,332. The Army reached 99 percent of its objective, missing its goal by 776, while the Navy achieved 88 percent of its mission, realizing a shortfall of 6,892 recruits. The Air Force and Marine Corps met their numeric recruiting goals. All Services achieved excellent recruit quality, as shown in Table 14.

As Table 15 shows, FY 1998 was a mixed recruiting year for the Selected Reserve, with three of six components meeting their accession goals. In general, the Selected Reserve exceeded Department recruit quality benchmarks, with only the Army National Guard falling short. Overall, the reserve components achieved a recruit quality mix similar to that of the active force, recruiting 89 percent high school diploma graduates, with roughly 64 percent of those recruits scoring above the 50th percentile of a nationally representative sample of 18 to 23 year olds. Sixty percent of reserve component enlisted accession had previous periods of military service.

Since 1975, the Department of Defense annually has conducted the Youth Attitude Tracking Study (YATS), a computer-assisted telephone interview of a nationally representative sample of 10,000 young men and women. This survey provides information on the propensity, attitudes, and motivations of young people toward military service. Enlistment propensity is the percentage of youth who state they plan to definitely or probably be serving on active duty in at least one of the Services in the next few years. Research has shown that the expressed intentions of young men and women are strong predictors of enlistment behavior.

Results from the 1998 YATS survey show that, overall, the propensity of youth for military service has not changed significantly in the last three years. In 1998, 26 percent of 16 to 21 year-old men expressed interest in at least one active duty Service, unchanged from 1997 and nearly identical to 1996 (27 percent). Young womenís propensity was up one percentage point from last year and the long-term trend appears to be constant. In 1998, 13 percent of 16 to 21 year-old women expressed interest in military service, the same as in 1995.

During the early 1990s, enlistment propensity declined as the Services experienced serious cuts in recruiting resources. From 1995 to 1998, recruitment advertising almost doubled as compared with 1994 expenditures. The YATS results for those years suggest that the earlier decline in propensity may have stabilized, even in the face of a robust economy. Given that the increases in advertising were successful in raising youth awareness about military opportunities, continued investment in recruiting and advertising resources is required to assure that the pool of young men and women interested in the military will be available to meet Service personnel requirements. Appendix G contains additional detail on 1998 YATS results by gender and race/ethnicity.

The Department has several initiatives underway to address the challenges of recruiting. First, the Department established a Joint-Service Attrition Roundtable, chaired by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Personnel Policy) and comprised of Service personnel chiefs and recruiting commanders. Recognizing that each service member who separates prior to the end of his or her enlistment must be replaced, the Roundtable focuses on formulation of policies designed to reduce first-term attrition. Second, the Department raised the upper limits for enlistment incentives to the statutory maximum: all Service four year or greater enlistment bonuses from $8,000 to $12,000, and Army three-year enlistment bonuses from $4,000 to $8,000; educational benefits (college funds) from $30,000 to $50,000 when combined with the Montgomery GI Bill; and education loan repayment from $55,000 to $65,000. Finally, the Department is sponsoring research to determine the optimal allocation of advertising dollars between television, radio, and newspapers at the local vs. national level, the development of a plan to test privatization of recruiting, and an analysis of college-bound youth with emphasis on how best to recruit in this lucrative market. The Department will continue to closely monitor the recruiting climate and is committed to maintaining the appropriate levels of recruitment and advertising resources necessary to ensure an adequate flow of young men and women into the armed forces.

Table 14

Quality and Numbers of Enlisted Accessions - Active

FY 1998 Indices

Accessionsa (in thousands)

Category
(OSD Standard)
Service

Percent
High School
Diploma
Grads
(90)

Percent
Above
Average
Cat I-IIIA
(60)

Percent
Cat IV
(4)

Total
FY 1998
Objectives
(000s)

Total
FY 1998
Actual
(000s)

Final
FY 1998
Percent Mission Accomplishment

FY 1999
Mission
(projectedb)
(000s)

Army

90

68

2.0

72.6

71.8

99

74.5

Navy

95

64

0

55.3

48.4

88

53.2

Marine Corps

96

64

0.6

34.3

34.3

101

34.6

Air Force

99

78

0.2

30.2

31.7

105

34.1

Total

94

68

0.9

192.3

186.2

97

196.4

a Includes prior service accessions. Only Army and Navy recruit to a prior service mission.

b Based on Service recruiting production reports and DoD FY 1999 budget estimates (includes prior service accessions).

 

Table 15

Enlisted Accessions - Reserve

Accessionsa (in 000s)

Category
(OSD Standard)
Service

Total
FY 1998
Objectives
(000s)

Total
FY 1998
Actual
(000s)

Final
FY 1998
Percent
Mission
Accomplishment

FY 1999
Mission
(projectedb)
(000s)

Army National Guard

56.6

55.4

98.0

56.3

Army Reserve

47.9

44.2

92.0

52.1

Naval Reserve

15.0

15.5

103.0

15.0

Marine Corps Reserve

9.6

9.7

101.0

9.5

Air National Guard

8.0

8.7

109.0

8.0

Air Force Reserve

9.1

7.5

82.0

10.2

Total

146.3

141.1

96.0

151.1

a Includes prior service accessions.

b Based on Service recruiting production reports and DoD FY 1999 budget estimates (includes prior service accessions).

 

National Service and Recruiting Programs

The Department reviewed the potential impact of National Service on military recruiting, and believes that both programs can coexist successfully since the National Service program is smaller and the value of its benefits is of lower monetary value than military enlistment benefits.

IMPROVING FORCE MANAGEMENT

Promotions

The Services have worked hard to provide consistent promotion opportunities in order to meet requirements, ensure a balanced personnel force structure, and provide a meaningful opportunity for all service members. Promotions will remain steady during the final stages of the drawdown. During FY 1998, the Services promoted 105,390 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines into the top five enlisted pay grades (E-5 to E-9). Officer promotion opportunity will also hold steady, remaining within 5 percent of pre-drawdown levels.

Force Stability

The Department of Defense is taking steps to return a sense of stability to the armed forces following the unavoidable turbulence of the drawdown. With the drawdown 98 percent complete, the Department has shifted its focus to personnel policies designed to manage a steady state force. Currently, retention is stable; however, pockets of retention difficulty are beginning to develop within each of the Services. The constant challenge to retain personnel with technical skills sought by civilian employers is exacerbated by the surging high-tech economy, which offers high salaries and a more predictable family life. To compete in this environment, the Department is focusing on retention initiatives that include compensation improvements and an expanded commitment to quality of life.

Personnel tempo (PERSTEMPO), the amount of time service members spend away from their home base, forms an important component of force stability. PERSTEMPO has increased as the Department has reduced forces stationed overseas, focusing instead on force projection from stateside locations. While certain units experience repeated deployments, the aggregate PERSTEMPO rate for DoD is sustainable today; however, these rates have adversely affected retention rates. PERSTEMPO remains a focus within the force stability equation. Anecdotal information gathered through FY 1998 serves as a reminder that PERSTEMPO must remain a priority focus within the force stability equation.

Equal Opportunity

Speaking to the 1998 Reserve Officer Training Corps graduates at Norfolk State University, Secretary of Defense Cohen addressed DoD policy with these words,

"Those who seek to make others unwelcome because of their racial or ethnic background must know that it is they who are unwelcome in todayís military. So we have to be intolerant of any activity of any behavior that undermines human dignity or respect or honor of the individual. We have to be intolerant of racism. And all those who wish to serve in the American military, be they policymaker or platoon leader, must demonstrate this by their deeds and by their words as well, if they hope to succeed."

The Norfolk speech was one of several events and activities undertaken by the Department of Defense in support of the Presidentís initiative on race. In 1998, DoD commemorated the 50th anniversary of President Trumanís signing of Executive Orders 9980 and 9981. Executive Order 9980 provided for nondiscrimination in civilian employment in the federal government. Executive Order 9981 established the Presidentís Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Forces and resulted in the desegregation of the U.S. armed forces.

To reaffirm the Departmentís vision, Secretary Cohen reissued the Departmentís Human Goals Charter with the words, "This Charter is about affirming DoDís long-term commitment to continuous progress in ensuring fair treatment of our men and women."

The Department maintained its focus on equal opportunity with events and activities that included:

Thirty "One America Conversations on Race that Bring Us Together" meetings at locations across the country, hosted by senior DoD officials.

A Pentagon salute to African American flag officers with the unveiling of the Stars for America exhibit in the African Americans in Defense of Our Nation Corridor of the Pentagon.

A worldwide equal opportunity conference during July 1998 in Birmingham, Alabama, focusing on the status of race and ethnic relations over the last 50 years.

The installation of permanent Pentagon exhibits paying tribute to African American military men and women from each of the Services.

The engagement of the National Science Foundation for continued research and study of race and ethnic issues in American society.

The Departmentís recent events and activities sustained the traditions of strong military and civilian equal opportunity efforts spanning 50 years, and continually evolving policy development and program implementation in areas of race and ethnic relations.

WOMEN IN THE MILITARY

Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services

The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) was established in 1951 to assist the armed forces in recruiting quality women for military service. The role of DACOWITS has since evolved into advising the Secretary of Defense on all policies relating to the utilization and quality of life of female service members, as well as general quality of life issues.

In 1998, DACOWITS members conducted over 78 continental United States (CONUS) installation visits covering all five Services. Additionally the Executive Committee conducted an overseas installation visit to the Atlantic, European, and Central Command areas of responsibility, visiting bases in the Azores, Sardinia, Bahrain, Turkey, Bosnia, Germany, England, and Iceland. Over 2,300 service women and men provided their views to DACOWITS members on such priority issues as increasing operating and personnel tempos, health care, promotion opportunity, and assignments. Notably, complaints and concerns about sexual harassment and discrimination have significantly declined from previous years. Command climates were, for the most part, realistic and generally supportive of women in the Services. In 1998, DACOWITS focused on:

Gender-integrated training, with a recommendation that each Service be allowed to determine the training methodology best suited to its mission.

Assignment policies and their impact on promotions, including an emphasis on the collocation policy.

The availability of health care with a focus on the impact of TRICARE implementation.

DACOWITS sponsored the Office of the Secretary of Defense commemoration of the signing of the Womenís Armed Services Integration Act of 1948. The celebration reflected on the progress of expanding womenís roles in the U.S. military over the last 50 years.

New Roles for Service Women

The Department continues to progress in integrating women into units and positions traditionally closed to them. In 1999, women will compete equally for assignment in 260,000 additional military positions from which they were previously excluded. Over 80 percent of the total jobs are open to women, providing DoD greater flexibility in assigning people to fill worldwide positions and enhances readiness in todayís smaller force. Consequently, the proportion of women in the Services continues to increase, standing at 14.1 percent today. Additionally, in 1998, the Army selected its first woman command sergeant major to serve for a 3-star general, the Air Force selected its first woman space shuttle commander, and the Navy selected five women to command combatant ships for the first time.

Gender-Integrated Training

The quality of training, particularly initial entry training, is critical to establishing good order and discipline in the armed forces and in providing for national security. During FY 1998, the Department conducted a complete review of initial entry training, which culminated with the appointment of the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender-Integrated Training and Related Issues. Secretary Cohen subsequently directed intense focus in three areas: training leadership, training rigor, and recruit billeting. In response, the Services submitted plans to improve initial entry training programs by emphasizing the value placed on an assignment as a basic trainer, and by increasing training rigor through toughened physical fitness standards, better physical conditioning, and more robust and challenging training exercises. Incorporating one of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee, the Services proposed plans that increasingly provide for the safety, security, privacy, and supervision of recruits in barracks.

The Department also approved Service plans for the continuation of gender integration in elemental training units as the optimum training format for the Army, Navy, and Air Force, yet affirmed the Marine Corps policy for gender-separate basic training, with a gender-integrated follow-on program. The decision was based on the different missions, traditions, and conditions of service, as well as differences in the ways the Services conduct basic training.

To ensure these changes are part of a continuing process, DoD established a formal mechanism to routinely monitor implementation of new standards and practices. The Department will continue to review standards to ensure basic training properly prepares young men and women for the demanding requirements of service and to ensure that basic training, while rigorous, is accomplished in a safe and secure environment.

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL

A countryís national security is only as strong as the people who stand watch over it. The men and women of the U.S. armed forces demonstrate their courage and excellence every day, protecting the lives and interests of the American people. In turn, the civilians provide the infrastructure that makes the military operations possible, while at the same time more of them face deployment and uncertainty as well.

Recruitment and Hiring

In support of the Presidentís pledge to end traditional welfare, DoD committed to hiring 1,600 welfare recipients during the four-year period of the Welfare-to-Work Program. In slightly more than one year, the Department hired 1,547 former welfare recipients into appropriated and nonappropriated fund jobs ranging from childcare giver to cashier to electrician.

Civilian Downsizing and Transition Assistance

DoD continues to be both humane and efficient as it eliminates civilian positions through streamlining and downsizing without disruption to the defense mission. Using innovative personnel and incentive programs, the Department reduced civilian employment by 33,100 positions during FY 1998. During nine consecutive years of successful downsizing, the Department has achieved an overall reduction of over 375,000 positions, with fewer than 9 percent of these separations being layoffs.

Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments (or buyouts, originated by DoD) have prevented the need for 130,000 layoffs since 1993. Likewise, early retirement authority has been used to save over 54,000 employees from involuntary separation, change to lower grade, or directed transfer outside their commuting area. The Departmentís buyout authority runs through FY 2001, and the Department is seeking a further extension. Largely due to DoD efforts, the early retirement authority was clarified and extended to September 30, 1999. The Department is seeking permanent authority beginning in FY 2001.

During the downsizing, the Department reabsorbed over 63,000 displaced employees through its award-winning Priority Placement Program, while the Defense Outplacement Referral System has helped workers facing dislocation to find employment outside DoD. Ongoing efforts to upgrade and streamline processes, as well as the use of Web technology, continue to enhance placement efforts and the ability to help DoD employees facing dislocation.

Civilian Training, Education, and Development

The training, education, and development of the Departmentís civilian work force has been a priority as downsizing has resulted in fewer new hires and as DoD seeks to avoid skill and experience imbalances among continuing employees. The Defense Leadership and Management Program (DLAMP) is a systematic, Department-wide program of joint civilian education and development. Implementing recommendations of the Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces, DLAMP provides the framework for developing future civilian leaders with a DoD-wide capability that complements service programs. It also fosters an environment that nurtures a shared understanding and sense of mission among civilian employees and military personnel. Inaugurated in 1997, DLAMP incorporates defense-focused graduate education, rotational assignments in a wide variety of occupations and organizations, and professional military education to prepare civilians for key leadership positions. It is designed to prepare people for 3,000 of the Departmentís top civilian leadership positions.

The program has grown to over 600 participants, with an anticipated addition of 300 new participants each year. Already 13 special graduate courses have been developed, with another 14 courses scheduled for completion in 1999. The program has dramatically increased civilian participation at the Senior Service Schools, with most DLAMP students scheduled to attend a special three-month professional military education-type course focusing on national security decision making at the National Defense University. In addition, volunteer mentors from across DoD at the GS-15 or Senior Executive Service and military equivalent levels actively support the program.

On October 2, 1998, Secretary Cohen appointed the first Chancellor for Education and Professional Development. The Chancellor will be the principal advocate for the academic quality and cost-effectiveness of all DoD institutions and programs that provide higher education and professional development for DoD civilians. The Chancellor will ensure that the educational policies and requirements set by the functional areas are implemented at the highest possible level of quality, effectiveness, and efficiency.

Defense Partnership Council

In 1998, the Department launched several groundbreaking partnership initiatives. Paramount in this effort was the Departmentís inclusion of its labor partners in discussions on issues that are key to the future of the Department and its civilian work force: the Quadrennial Defense Review, the Defense Reform Task Force, and the Defense Personnel System Initiative.

Through its labor-management cooperation training and facilitation programs, DoD has helped installation-level partnerships and labor-management relationships at 185 sites over the past three years. Training objectives moved to a higher level in 1998. In addition to the partnership, interest-based problem solving, and mediation training done in the past, DoD embarked on joint training initiatives with its union partners, involving not only joint planning, but also joint resource investment.

Civilian Personnel Regionalization and Systems Modernization

The Departmentís pathbreaking efforts to regionalize civilian personnel services and deploy a modern information management system are well underway. By the end of FY 1998, the ratio of employees served per personnel specialist had improved steadily from a baseline of 61 to an impressive 77. The ratio will continue to increase as the modern Defense Civilian Personnel Data System (DCPDS) is deployed and regionalization is completed. The Department seeks to attain a ratio of 88 employees served per personnel specialist by the end of FY 2001. Service regionalization capitalizes on economies of scale by consolidating processing operations and program management into 22 regional service centers. Operations requiring face-to-face service will remain at over 300+ customer support units at DoD installations worldwide. By the end of FY 1998, the military departments and defense agencies had established 21 of the 22 planned regional service centers and 75 percent of the planned customer support units, covering 65 percent of the planned service population. Regionalization will be completed during FY 1999.

During FY 1998, the Department eliminated all remaining legacy computer systems, completed the basic development of the modern DCPDS, and began the system qualification testing. Deployment of the modern DCPDS will begin in FY 1999 and will be completed in FY 2000.

Demonstration Projects

Personnel demonstration projects permit agencies to obtain waivers from federal civil service regulations to test alternative approaches. DoD continued to work closely with the Office of Personnel Management to make such efforts become a reality. Nine science and technology laboratories (five Army, three Navy, and one Air Force) are participating in human resources management demonstration projects. Also, the DoD-wide civilian acquisition work force personnel demonstration should be implemented during FY 1999.

Personnel Reform

As a result of its Quadrennial Defense Review, the Department of Defense began exploring options for improving its civilian personnel management infrastructure. Because of the pressures created by continuing downsizing, DoD needed to ensure that its personnel policies, programs, and procedures could cope effectively and humanely with the associated changes. Therefore, the Department decided to pursue its special Personnel System Initiative.

The Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the then National Performance Review encouraged DoD to pursue the initiative, with a view toward using it as a model for the rest of government. This process officially began at the meeting of the Defense Partnership Council on October 1, 1997. Members agreed that some topics (such as protection against employment discrimination, suitability, security, conduct, veteransí preference, and unemployment compensation) should be set aside so this effort could focus on major concerns. The Council also agreed to establish working groups with members from DoD components and functional areas, unions, and OPM. The five working groups focused on staffing, pay and classification, benefits and entitlements, performance management, and work force shaping.

Already nine legislative proposals have been jointly developed for consideration, while the groups have reached consensus in several other areas as well. Development will continue in FY 1999.

Injury and Unemployment Compensation

The Departmentís consolidated injury compensation and unemployment compensation programs again set the government-wide standard. The programís active evaluation and verification methods for reviewing claims included the use of DoD liaison personnel co-located with Department of Labor district offices, home visits, and a comprehensive automated data tracking system deployed at 415 installations. Since 1994, these methods directly contributed to a 2.1 percent decrease in the Departmentís injury compensation costs, avoiding $37.4 million in costs. During the same period, government-wide injury compensation costs increased by 4.1 percent or $73 million. Also, by auditing 222,668 unemployment compensation claims, DoD avoided $6.1 million in erroneous charges.

QUALITY OF LIFE

The Departmentís personnel/quality of life strategy recognizes that military members want good pay, educational opportunities, meaningful work, challenging off-duty opportunities, and good places to live. To achieve these goals, the Department remains committed to six guiding principles for quality of life (QoL):

Commit to fund raises in basic pay and to improve the fairness and efficiency of other elements of compensation, such as retirement and health care plans.

Drive personnel tempo as low as possible without jeopardizing mission and readiness.

Afford service members and their families safe, modern communities and housing.

Make educational opportunities a cornerstone of the Departmentís quality of life programs.

Ensure that parity is built into quality of life programs across installations and Services, and during deployments, while recognizing the unique operational cultures of each Service.

Build a solid communication line to service members and their families so as to understand their perceptions on quality of life.

Quality of Life Executive Committee

To institutionalize QoL improvements, Secretary of Defense Perry established a Quality of Life Executive Committee in 1995. The executive committee serves as the principal policy advisor to the Secretary on matters relating to the overall QoL of military personnel and their families. To further the Secretaryís objectives, a QoL Wedge was established in 1995, the benefits of which are just now coming to fruition in the field. The first major accomplishment of the executive committee was to review funding and work with the Services to decide where to increase spending to ensure adequate resourcing of key QoL issues. In 1999, DoDís focus is on the important issues of improving physical fitness centers and housing.

Through the leadership of the QoL Executive Committee and the Services, over 40 major policy, resource, and program accomplishments have been realized since 1995. These are particularly important in an era of increasing joint operations. As soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines work together more regularly in joint assignments and deployments, looking at issues collectively through the executive committee has promoted greater parity, while respecting different Service needs and philosophies.

Compensation and Benefits

The United States has the best military in the world. Every day, U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, along with members of the Coast Guard, work together to protect U.S. interests around the world, as well as freedom and prosperity at home. The key to U.S. strength is the men and women who serve in uniform. One of the Departmentís primary responsibilities is to assure that it recruits, trains, and retains the best people. Military training is difficult and extensive. It takes five to seven years to train an Air Force flightline maintenance supervisor, 18 years to become the commanding officer of a destroyer, and 28 years to groom an armored division commander. For this reason, the Department has been working with the President and the Service leaders to make sure that military pay and retirement systems adequately reward the dedicated and experienced servicemen and women.

To attract, motivate, and retain quality people, the armed forces must provide a competitive standard of living for service members. The Departmentís goal is to ensure the compensation system is robust enough to attract and retain the force needed for the 21st century. To ensure the maintenance of a highly qualified and ready force in the future and to maintain faith with the men and women who serve the nation in uniform, the Department has long recognized the importance of an appropriate level of compensation. The military compensation package is made up of both pay and nonpay benefitsóthe components of a standard of living. Operating together, these elements of the compensation package stimulate enlistment and retention of the high quality individuals essential to operational readiness.

Among the cornerstones of these commitments is a system of compensation and benefits which provides fair pay, retirement, and through special pays, recognition that military duty places extraordinary demands on service members and their families.

Improving Compensation

The Presidentís Budget for FY 2000 will include significant pay increases and retirement improvements for men and women in uniform. The pay and retirement package has three main parts:

The first part is across-the-board pay increases for all Service members. Beginning January 1, 2000, a pay increase of 4.4 percent is proposed. This increase is the largest in basic military pay in a generation. The Defense program also includes a 3.9 percent increase in fiscal years 2001 through 2005.

The second part is targeted pay raises and greater reward for performance. In addition to the across-the-board increases, DoD proposes targeted raises for noncommissioned officers and mid-grade commissioned officers. This will better reward performance, compensate people for their skills, education, and experience, and encourage them to continue their military service. The revised pay table will make raises for promotion larger than those for longevity. The maximum targeted pay increases will range up to an additional 5.5 percent. The targeted raises will come on top of the 4.4 percent that everybody will get beginning January 1, 2000. The targeted increases will take effect on July 1, 2000.

The third part is improvement of the retirement system. The retirement system that applies to service members who began uniformed service on or after August 1, 1986, has become a source of dissatisfaction. These members receive 40 percent of their basic pay if they retire after 20 years, while their immediate predecessors receive 50 percent. The change was made in the Cold War era following large pay raises. It was designed in part to encourage members eligible for retirement to stay longer. Today, in this uncertain time of high demand and smaller forces, this retirement change is perceived as inequitable. Therefore, the Department is committed to returning the 20-year retirement to 50 percent of basic pay.

This package addresses the real concerns that men and women in uniform have raised, responds to market forces, and rewards performance. These significant changes come in the broader context of a continuing effort to achieve adequate military compensation and benefits. That effort includes improved allowances for housing, food, and cost of living, as well as targeted bonuses and special and incentive pay to recruit and retain the skilled men and women who protect the nation.

The Department of Defense implemented a number of new compensation initiatives providing improved benefits to a broad range of service members in 1998. A significant compensation improvement is Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), a reform of the housing allowance that eliminated the complicated Basic Allowance for Quarters and Variable Housing Allowance formulas and cumbersome survey of service members, and replaced them with a single housing allowance based on commercially provided housing cost data. Housing allowance reform will stabilize the percentage of housing costs absorbed by the individual service member. It will also help ensure that allowances are sufficient to provide each member with the ability to obtain housing that meets a minimum adequacy standard. This reform will also uncouple housing allowances from pay raises and get the right amount of money to the right people, limiting the housing cost burden on service members. Cost neutral during the first year of implementation, BAH will be phased in over a multiyear period.

Additionally, the Department proposed a number of initiatives that were included in the FY 1999 National Defense Authorization Act, for example:

Extension of force drawdown transition authorities relating to personnel management and benefits.

Authorization of monetary allowance in advance or reimbursement for movements of household goods arranged by members.

Removal of the 10 percent restriction on Selective Reenlistment Bonuses paid during any fiscal year exceeding $20,000.

The leaders of the Department of Defense and the Services are deeply committed to providing for the welfare of the men and women who serve the nation so well, and for their families. The nation requires effort, dedication, and sacrifice from soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmenóthe pride of the nation. They are working harder than ever to take care of the nationóit must take better care of them. These initiatives all work to improve the quality of life of service members and their families, while preserving high levels of personnel readiness. Competitive compensation systems that aid the effort to recruit and retain quality people underpin the building of the 21st century military.

Managing Time Away From Home

The biggest quality of life challenge today is how to manage troopsí time away from home. The Department recognizes that deployments will always be a part of military service. However, excessive personnel tempo places stress on both the individuals and their families. Additionally, high PERSTEMPO may shift extra workload to those who remain at the home station. Therefore, a strong commitment to quality of life programs is essential to help mitigate the effects of high operating tempo and to drive down its effect on the troops and families. Examples of such programs include the development of incentive pays for deployments; space-available travel for spouses in overseas areas; rest and recuperation leave programs that allow families to reunite; extended hours of operation at QoL facilities; enhanced services such as counselors and chaplain support; and access to morale, welfare, and recreation for deployed personnel. All these programs positively impact morale.

Family Housing and Barracks

Approximately 50 percent of the total active force live in military-provided housing. Studies show that quality housing materially improves job performance and satisfaction and improves the retention of quality individuals. In fact, married and single service members continue to rate housing as a top quality of life issue. Since 1996, the Department has placed special emphasis on improving the overall quality of its 297,000 housing units for military families and over 400,000 barracks spaces for single military members. Currently, about 62 percent of DoD-owned family housing units need to be upgraded. To address this condition, the Departmentís FY 2000 budget request includes $1.14 billion to construct, replace, or renovate approximately 5,400 family housing units and 6,500 barracks spaces. The budget request also includes $2.9 billion to lease, operate, and maintain family housing units. When taken together, the FY 2000 request is consistent with the FY 1999 Presidentís Budget request. DoD intends to eliminate the vast majority of inadequate housing by 2010 and eliminate permanent party central latrine barracks by the year 2008. To achieve these goals, the Services funded their housing programs and developed installation-by-installation plans to monitor implementation.

DoD is tapping private sector expertise and capital to speed the revitalization of military housing through the Military Housing Privatization Initiative. Since the initiativeís inception in 1996, DoD has laid a solid foundation for housing privatization and is achieving success. The Navy completed projects at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, and Naval Station Everett, Washington, totaling 589 housing units. The Air Force awarded contracts and began construction on a project at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, for 420 new townhouse units. Using the new tools provided by Congress in FY 1996, DoD expects to be able to leverage military construction dollars by a factor of at least 3 to 1, which means that DoD will get at least three times the amount of housing as it would through military construction. DoD aims to award contracts for the construction or renovation of 200,000 military family housing units by FY 2010. This effort is discussed in detail in the Infrastructure chapter of this report.

Family Support

Family support is an integral part of the Departmentís strategy to maintain a ready force. Studies show family satisfaction with military life is a major determiner of retention. Often, family support is the lifeline for families in an unstable environment during deployments, frequent moves, and long work hours. The stresses of the military life require an ongoing commitment to familiesí quality of life.

The Departmentís new strategic plan for family support redefines family programs into three key functional areas: Family Well-Being, Economic Well-Being, and Children and Youth. This new model and philosophy for family support will integrate services and resources, enabling commanders to address emerging issues with a more flexible organization focused on achieving a common outcomeóthe well-being of troops and their families. The mission becomes clearer for service providers as the barriers of program lines and responsibilities merge to reach this common goal.

FY 1998 saw technology play a larger role in all family support areas. The number of publicly accessible, Military Assistance Program (MAP) Web sites grew to five. The MAP/Family Center Intranet, a password-protected Web site for family support staff, received the Vice Presidentís Hammer Award.

Family Well-Being

DoD addresses family well-being through a community network of interrelated programs that includes the Family Advocacy Program, the New Parent Support Program, Mobility/Deployment Assistance, and a variety of family service functions, e.g. Information and Referral, Crisis Assistance, and Life Skills Education.

A particularly important area of family well-being is the reduction of family violence. Both the total number of family violence incident reports and number of substantiated reports have declined 12 percent from FY 1995 through FY 1997. The Department continues its efforts to prevent child and spouse abuse through the Servicesí public awareness campaigns, support for new parents, and by providing services to support of at-risk families. A recent evaluation of the New Parent Support Program found significant reductions in a number of parent-child risk factors. Finally, to improve abuse identification and training about abuse in DoDís schools, a CD-ROM-based training program was fielded to all schools. This training will assist DoD Education Activity teachers and administrators in recognizing and reporting suspected child abuse and neglect.

Economic Well-Being

Economic well-being must address the personal financial management skills of a young military population, spouse employment, and military separation and transition issues. Some service members, like many civilians, experience difficulties in managing their personal finances. In response, the Department fielded 11 modules of an interactive, multimedia CD-ROM-based course in personal financial management. The course targets the Servicesí 611,981 junior enlisted members (E-4 and below). It also offers valuable information for members of all ranks and ages. For example, the relocation module projects the nonreimbursable costs of a military move, as well as entitlements, allowances, and benefits. These costs and benefits affect every military member who makes a change of station move.

Two major economic well-being projects for spouse employment reached key milestones in FY 1998. First, a demonstration project provided classes on computer, clerical, and health-related job opportunities to over 500 military spouses at ten locations worldwide. Second, a Small Business Administration project graduated 74 spouses in Norfolk, Virginia, and San Diego, California, from courses on the skills needed to start or expand a business. Future DoD spouse employment efforts will focus on using technology to enhance business and career opportunities.

Transition assistance remains one of the Departmentís most valued economic well-being programs. Through FY 1998, separating service members used DoD transition assistance employment services 401,175 times. The military departments sponsored more than 700 job fairs, which were attended by more than 170,000 service members and their spouses. DoD sponsored overseas job fairs in South Korea, Japan, and Europe for transitioning service members, DoD civilians, and family members. Some 4,008 job seekers attended the overseas job fairs, which produced 823 firm job offers and 325 hires.

Children and Youth

This functional area encompasses the Child Development System, youth programs, and Special Needs programs. At the end of FY 1998, 171,255 childcare spaces at over 300 locations met 58 percent of the need for DoD childcare services. 9,700 family childcare homes and more than 800 child development centers and school-age care programs comprise DoDís childcare network. The Departmentís reputation as a marked world leader in delivering childcare has placed DoD in a leadership role for the nation. President Clinton challenged the Department to share its childcare expertise with the nation. In FY 1998, DoD met that challenge by establishing the National Clearinghouse for the Military Child Development Program (MCDP), strengthening partnerships with federal agencies, and activating a MCDP Web site. The roster of the Clearinghouse speakerís bureau includes 130 childcare professionals trained to speak at national conferences, universities, local interagency councils, and community organizations. To ensure national outreach, the MCDP Web site features 46 downloadable documents, information from Service headquarters and installations, and a directory of child development programs. The site has averaged over 6,000 hits per month since its activation in May 1998. Local leadership efforts led to a partnership between the District of Columbia and 12 local bases to allow District childcare workers access to military childcare training, resources, and mentoring.

President Clintonís March 10, 1998, executive memorandum on federally sponsored childcare directed all federal childcare centers, including those of DoD, to achieve independent accreditation by 2000. To date, 86 percent of all eligible DoD centers have earned national accreditation. This far surpasses the national levels of 5 to 8 percent and easily leads the federal effort. In FY 1998, the Department conducted a thorough study of the cost of its childcare program to identify means of expanding the availability of childcare while maintaining costs. The Servicesí annual budget submissions will ensure funds are available to achieve DoDís goal to meet 65 percent of childcare need by the year 2003.

Youth Programs

Youth programs follow the life cycle of military children. Worldwide, 547 youth facilities at nearly 300 locations serve approximately 748,000 youth, 6 to 18 years of age. DoD youth programs feature before- and after-school programs, summer camps, youth sports and recreation, and classes. In response to concerns about youth gang activity and other issues related to adolescents, DoD, in coordination with the Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, conducted a Strategic Planning Conference on Youth. The conference brought together DoD stakeholders and decision makers to create an action plan that expands the focus of youth programs to include a more comprehensive vision of the needs of todayís youth. Two major youth initiatives were completed in FY 1998: Model Communities and a very popular Military Teen Web site. An initiative that funded innovative programs aimed at decreasing the risk taking behaviors of military adolescents, Model Communities Project, completed its final year with 17 of the original 20 projects completing the three-year evaluation. Projects focused on prevention strategies such as after school activities, teen jobs, conflict resolution, and parenting programs. At sites where increased activities were provided for at risk teens, the rates of juvenile misconduct decreased and the number of juvenile volunteer hours increased. A new Web site for military teens, Military Teens on the Move, focuses on relocation, schools, careers, and staying in touch. This site quickly became DoDís most popular family support Web site, recording over 90,000 hits in its first two months.

Morale, Welfare, and Recreation

Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) programs include fitness centers and gymnasiums, recreation centers, libraries, youth centers, sports, outdoor activities, and other programs normally found in civilian communities. These programs are funded, like those in downtown communities, through taxpayer support. MWR also consists of business enterprises, such as golf courses, clubs, and bowling centers that are essentially self-sustaining through fees and charges. Taken as a whole, MWR programs help maintain readiness and productivity by promoting physical and mental fitness, esprit de corps, positive leisure time opportunities, and a strong sense of military community, aiding in recruiting and retention, and providing beneficial quality of life.

To position these programs to continue to provide strong community support, the Department has engaged in the following strategic goals: modernize and upgrade MWR programs, with an immediate focus on physical fitness and library programs; ensure that MWR programs are funded with the right levels and types of funds; improve MWR program management; and continue robust MWR support of deployed forces.

A major goal within the Department is to modernize and upgrade MWR programs and facilities. Fitness centers and libraries not only rank as the top MWR programs, they are also the programs used by most people. A recent survey of DoD fitness facilities found that 24 percent of 576 facilities were in excellent condition; however, 22 percent are in poor condition requiring renovation or replacement. Recently, the Department launched Operation Be Fit, a special initiative to improve fitness programs and increase individual participation in fitness activities. The Department is developing standards to guide programs and facilities and has provided campaign awareness materials to installation programs. Additionally, the Services supported improvement in fitness facilities with facility renovations, equipment upgrades, increases in operating hours, and development of Service-specific operating standards. Finally, DoD plans to include a request for over $49 million for fitness construction in the FY 2000 budget.

As warfare becomes increasingly technical, continuous learning for service members takes on greater importance. Libraries form an essential part of the Departmentís educational infrastructure. DoD operates 595 general base libraries and provides library services aboard 330 ships and submarines. Libraries provide materials to enhance professional military and voluntary education programs, assist career transition, and facilitate leisure time reading and support family activities. They also function as community resources. To ensure that libraries keep pace with modern needs, the Department is developing standards for operation and a strategic plan to guide library development.

DoD desires to improve MWR program management. MWR programs are arranged in three categories: Category A - mission sustaining activities, Category B - community support activities, and Category C - revenue generating activities. They receive appropriated fund support based upon their relationship to the military mission. In 1995, the Department established funding standards to ensure an adequate appropriated fund base for these programs. The military departments have made steady progress in achieving these standards. MWR accounts increased overall by $80 million in the FY 1999 budget.

To ensure that program management encourages efficient operations of the program for future improvements and changes, the Department is in the midst of evaluating the results of the congressionally directed Uniform Resource Demonstration (URD) Project. This project allows appropriated funds authorized for MWR programs to be spent using the laws and regulations applicable to nonappropriated funds. This test was conducted at six installations. While the evaluation of the URD test is under way, the Department has initiated an interim MWR funding practice similar to URD called the Utilization Support and Accountability practice. Under Utilization Support and Accountability, nonappropriated fund instrumentalities provide MWR service on behalf of the government using nonappropriated fund procedures. Appropriated fund resource managers compensate the instrumentalities for costs incurred.

DoD is committed to continuing robust MWR support for its deployed forces. In Bosnia, for example, the Services deployed weight and fitness equipment, libraries, games, and recreation activities. They also provided top-name entertainment shows, first-run movies, and food and retail services. Both military and DoD civilian MWR specialists deployed to organize and manage these extensive operations. Similar improvements in the quality and availability of MWR fitness, movies, and recreation programs are being achieved aboard all deployed Navy ships.

Commissaries

The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) operates a worldwide system of 300 commissaries that provide quality groceries at cost, plus a 5 percent surcharge, to active duty military members, retirees, members of the National Guard and Reserve (limited access), and their families. Congress, through the General Accounting Office (GAO), has directed a study to determine the impact of expanding commissary access for reservists. Important to both recruiting and retention, commissaries provide patrons with an average saving of approximately 25 percent on purchases. DeCA has achieved major savings without impacting the level of the benefit or savings to the troops. It has already significantly reduced operating costs and continues to pursue additional efficiencies. DeCA has received two Hammer Awards from the National Partnership for Reinventing Government. The awards recognized the agencyís facilities directorate for engineering initiatives in commissary design and the DeCA Inspector Generalís office for improving management efficiency and integrity. Additionally, in 1998 DeCA received the Presidential Achievement Award in recognition of its leadership, vision, and innovative business practices.

Military Exchanges

Todayís exchanges form an important element of the military non-pay compensation package and a critical component of quality of life. There are three separate exchange systems: the Army and Air Force Exchange System, the Navy Exchange Command, and the Marine Corps Exchange. Exchanges not only benefit authorized patrons by providing the goods and services that military families want, they also have contributed to quality of life programs by distributing more than $2 billion to sustaining crucial MWR programs over the past ten years. To sustain and improve the exchange benefit, the Department, with the concurrence of congressional oversight committees, amended the regulations to permit exchange systems to expand merchandise assortments to better meet demands. A task force examined the merits of creating an integrated exchange system. This initiative identified potential opportunities to standardize systems and programs and to reduce costs and overhead. The study to determine the best means of realizing these benefits, while preserving the value of the exchange benefit for service members, is scheduled to be completed by April 1999.

Religious Ministries

Service chaplains ensure the free exercise of religion for all service members and their families. They provide and facilitate religious ministry, worship opportunities, pastoral care and counseling, religious education, and emergency and sacramental ministrations, in accordance with their respective ecclesiastical endorsements and in direct response to the religious rights and needs of service members.

Integral to the life and work of military communities, the chaplaincy works in close coordination with family support, medical, and quality of life programs. Chaplains are the primary advisors to the military commander in the areas of religious, morale, ethical, and quality of life matters. The chaplain places special emphasis on ministry of presence. The chaplaincy does this as an embedded and integral part of the operational structure and through full and continuing participation in Service global deployment schedules and commitments.

Off Duty/Voluntary Education

Counseling, testing, and degree programs are available at education centers on nearly 300 military installations around the world. In addition to classroom instruction, courses are available using various technology-supported modes of instructional delivery. Service members receive financial assistance to cover up to 75 percent of tuition costs. A DoD-wide tuition assistance policy was implemented for the first time in FY 1999. This uniform policy will ensure that all service members receive the same level of tuition assistance support. Participation in this program remains strong, with nearly 650,000 enrollments in undergraduate and graduate courses and 33,500 degrees awarded during FY 1998. The Services continue to support this important program. An additional $7.4 million is included in the budget for FY 2000.

Department of Defense Education Activity

The DoD Education Activity (DoDEA) operates schools overseas and on military installations in selected areas in the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territory of Guam. For school year 1998 to 1999, DoDEA operates 161 schools in 14 foreign countries, serving approximately 80,000 students overseas and approximately 35,000 students in 70 schools and 17 districts in the United States.

The DoDEA Community Strategic Plan provides an evolving framework for putting standards-driven reform in place in DoDEA. Through goals, benchmark strategies, and performance indicators, the plan established rigorous standards for DoDEA that will inspire and prepare all students for success in a dynamic, global environment. DoDEAís plan is in its third year of implementation and incorporates eight National Education Goals, two organizational goals to support teaching and the learning process. Benchmarks were created for each of the ten goals to determine desired levels of outcomes. Improvement efforts realized through the strategic plan are producing positive results.

Education is a national priority, and DoDEA supports the Presidentís national education agenda. Specific actions focus on improvements in teaching, student achievement, facilities, accountability, and technology. Some specific DoDEA actions include:

Technology. Technology continues to receive a major emphasis in DoDEA to facilitate implementation of the Presidential Technology Initiative worldwide. Funds continue to support increases in hardware and software applications to ensure that students are computer literate and well prepared for the information age and that all schools are connected to the Internet.

Facility Improvements. DoDEA has developed a long-term plan to address current facility deficiencies in both stateside and overseas schools with military construction projects in FY 2000 and future years. FY 2000 projects include Rota Elementary School, Feltwell Elementary School, Lakenheath Middle School, Tarawa II Elementary School (Camp LeJeune), and Andersen and Laurel Bay II Elementary Schools (Guam), for a total requirement of $84.3 million.

Gap Study. Through the process of accountability, DoD identified gaps in achievement among racial and ethnic groups. DoDEA has identified 16 schools that are farthest from meeting the benchmarks and has identified four critical areas that require intensive review: equity, family-related issues, student-related issues, and curriculum and instruction.

Safety Attendants. With world events playing a major role in the safety of Americans stationed outside the United States, DoDEA established a special committee to review the need for safety attendants on school buses in the most hazardous traffic locations. This committee will provide recommendations during FY 1999.

Military Community and Parental Involvement. DoDEA is committed to including stakeholders in decisions and in promoting partnerships that increase parental involvement and participation in promoting the social, emotional, and academic growth of children. The School Home Partnership is a plan of action involving the military command, organizations, and groups throughout the military community in the education process.

FY 2000 Budget. The Presidentís Budget for FY 2000 supports continued work toward improving the quality of education in accordance with the National Education Goals and DoDEA strategic plan. The Presidentís Budget includes funding to begin implementation of full-day kindergarten in overseas schools and reduce the pupil-teacher ratio in grades one through three. It also provides for a pilot summer school program. These initiatives respond to program priorities identified by the commanders in chief and support the Presidentís educational priorities.

Guam. DoD schools in Guam are now in their second school year. These schools improve perceptions of quality of life for military families assigned there on Guam.

HEALTH CARE

Health care continues to be a major quality of life factor for the Department of Defense. The Military Health System is committed to a philosophy of excellence in its role to provide:

Health care services to deployed forces.

Top quality, cost-effective health care benefits for members of the armed forces and their families, retirees, and others entitled to DoD health care.

Medical research, education and training, and prevention and health promotion.

The Military Health System strives to integrate technologies to enable the best possible and most cost-beneficial clinical and management outcomes.

The Departmentís health care responsibilities are complex and continually evolving. The Military Health System currently serves 8.24 million beneficiaries and delivers direct health care worldwide in 108 hospitals and over 480 clinics. The majority of civilian care is purchased through Managed Care Support contracts implemented under the TRICARE Program. DoD expends substantial resources to fulfill its DoD health care responsibilities. The FY 2000 Defense Health Program budget request is $16.2 billion, which represents 6.1 percent of the entire defense program.

Health Care Initiatives

TRICARE

The TRICARE program combines military and civilian resources into a regional, integrated health care delivery system. Since March 1995, DoD has phased in partnerships with civilian contractors to expand and supplement the capabilities of its military hospitals and clinics. On June 1, 1998, the Department completed full TRICARE implementation in all regions of the country when operations began in the northeastern United States.

DoD extended the TRICARE program to those active duty personnel and their families stationed overseas with the establishment of three TRICARE regions (TRICARE Europe, TRICARE Pacific, and TRICARE Latin America). These regions provide health care planning for personnel stationed outside the United States.

TRICARE SENIOR DEMONSTRATION

The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 requires DoD and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to implement a three-year Medicare demonstration project at six sites nationwide. Under the demonstration program, retirees eligible for benefits from both Medicare and the Military Health Services are offered enrollment in a DoD-operated managed care plan, called TRICARE Senior.

The Secretaries of DoD and HHS have selected six demonstration sites: Madigan Army Medical Center, Fort Lewis, Washington; Wilford Hall Air Force Medical Center and Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls, Texas, and Fort Sill, Lawton, Oklahoma; Naval Medical Center San Diego, San Diego, California; Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Mississippi; Fort Carson and the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Dover Air Force Base, Dover, Delaware. HHS has approved the DoD sites as Medicare + Choice plans. Four of the sites began health care services during 1998, and the Dover and Colorado Springs sites began in January 1999. Upon completion of the three year demonstration program, DoD and GAO will report to Congress with recommendations on whether to expand the TRICARE Senior Prime program nationwide.

HEALTH PROMOTION AND PREVENTIVE HEALTH

Military medicine has begun a new era in health care. The focus on quality clinical intervention has broadened to focus equally on health protection and health promotion. This expanded focus conserves and improves health status of individuals, families, communities, and populations. Preventive health is the proactive stance of engaging beneficiaries in the cooperative achievement of good health, safety, and fitness. Goals include a constantly fit and ready force, a high quality health care delivery system, and healthy communities. Prevention, health protection, and health promotion activities are essential to readiness and to success on the battlefield.

Executive Council

By focusing on joint efforts that benefit both Departments, DoD and the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) discovered and created unprecedented ways to capitalize on respective strengths and expertise. About a year ago, the two departments formed the DoD/DVA Executive Council. The council focuses on health care delivery, research, planning, information, policy, and performance.

A strategic tool, the Executive Council helps reinforce the search for sharing opportunities at both the local and the system-wide levels. Presently, the Executive Council oversees eight major initiatives involving discharge physical exams, information management and information technology, pharmacy benefits, pre- and post-deployment military and veterans health, cost reimbursement and rate setting, clinical practice guidelines, special treatment services, and the blood information system.

INFORMATION MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY

Identified as an outstanding model for effective, efficient, and responsive information technology management in DoD, the Military Health Services Information Management/Information Technology Program is a leader in the implementation of the Information Management Technology Reform Act of 1996.

One important success is the Defense Medical Logistics Standard Support (DMLSS), which received one of Vice President Goreís Hammer awards in 1998. DMLSS adopted just-in-time inventory concepts, electronic commerce, universal product numbers, and best price determination. Through implementation of the Prime Vendor Program, Health Affairs became a leader in DoD and industry in the application of Electronic Commerce/Electronic Data Interchange.

The Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program, also a 1998 winner of Vice President Goreís Hammer Award, provides DoD with assistive technology to ensure the disabled have equal employment and advancement opportunity in DoD. This program was reengineered to cut in half the time to acquire and deliver adaptive equipment to DoD users.

In partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs, military medicine is pursuing a Government-Computerized Patient Record (G-CPR) that will enhance medical quality and improve cost effectiveness and efficiencies of DoD and DVA health care. The G-CPR, which contains beneficiariesí health-related information, provides the foundation for supporting service membersí health care life cycle from enlistment to discharge or retirement. The G-CPR will have the capability to provide a seamless exchange of complete patient information between DoD and DVA.

In early 1999, a firm plan will exist to implement those initiatives that are most beneficial, make the best use of scarce resources, and strengthen the Military Health System. DoD envisions a state-of-the-art system able to protect the fighting forces in any environment, to provide care when necessary, and to ensure service members and their families receive the best care available.

CONCLUSION

Service members of all grades will continue to receive high quality realistic training, exceptional educational opportunities, genuine equal opportunity, challenging worldwide assignments, and excellent advancement and leadership opportunities. The Department will continue to recruit the high quality personnel necessary to keep U.S. forces ready and to maintain the proper mix of junior, mid-career, and senior service members. Recognizing the unique nature of military communities and the special demands of military lifestyle, the Department will reinforce its long-term commitment to providing a standard of living that matches the demands placed on the forceóa commitment characterized by adequate compensation, decent housing, challenging and rewarding career opportunities, and a robust and effective program of community and family support.

Just as they do today, U.S. forces of the 21st century will depend on a high quality, well trained, highly motivated, and appropriately rewarded work force comprised of service members and civilian employees. DoDís personnel and quality of life policies, programs, and plans support such a force and, in turn, make its personnel the strong link in the chain of national security.

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