GAO is due to submit a report on the Defense Evaluation System on 31 March. I spoke to these GAO team in depth on the many issues that have been raised on this board and else where. Congress in the 2006 Defense Bill requested the report as follows:
Department of Defense Disability Evaluation System
"The committee staff visited a number of locations during 2004
where military personnel are assigned in medical hold status. The
purpose of the visits was to evaluate the overall efficiency and effectiveness
of the medical hold program and examine the related
medical and administrative policies, processes, and procedures.
During these visits, the committee received complaints from reserve
component members that they were disadvantaged under the
Disability Evaluation Systems (DESs) operated by the military departments
when compared to the treatment received by active duty
members. The reserve component members contended that the disability
ratings granted to active duty members were consistently
higher than those granted to reservists for similar injuries and illnesses. This complaint was particularly prevalent at medical hold
locations operated by the Army. The committee believes that the
DESs operated by the military departments must provide fair and
equitable treatment to all service members. Accordingly, the committee
directs the Comptroller General of the United States to review
the results of the DESs operated by the military departments
and determine if they are operating in a fair and equitable manner.
The Comptroller General examination should include surveys of
the DES results at medical hold locations and other community
based sites where reserve component members are being evaluated
for disability ratings. The committee directs the Comptroller General
to submit a report of his findings by March 31, 2006, to the
Senate Committee on Armed Services and the House Committee on
Although Congress ask the GAO to determine if the DES was "operating in fair and equitable manner", the focus of the GAO investigation report appeared to be on reserve and guard issues with the DES. I emphasize to them that the specific guard and reserve are important, however,other issues of inequity needed to be address in the report that affect all members in uniform; active guard and reserve. I don't know how much of what we discussed will be addressed in the report but it will be interesting to read. I think one key point that will be made is that DOD has not done an adequate job of managing the system to ensure that laws and policies are being appropriately and uniformly applied by the PEBs of the Army Navy and Air Force.
I look forward to reading the report.