Army National Guard members experience pay problems

Army National Guard members called to active duty often experience problems in the processing of their paychecks, according to a new General Accounting Office report.

As a result of convoluted and error-prone manual data entry payroll processing systems, members of the Army National Guard are often underpaid or not paid at all after they are called to active duty, GAO reported (GAO-04-89). Soldiers are then burdened with trying to resolve the pay issues, and resulting financial problems, often while they are stationed in remote combat areas.

One sergeant had to make a trip to Kuwait from Uzbekistan to resolve pay problems for his unit, and during the trip the sergeant's plane came under enemy fire, GAO discovered. In another instance, active-duty orders were entered incorrectly for a group of soldiers, causing them to receive statements saying they owed the government an average of $48,000.

"The personal toll that these pay problems have had on mobilized soldiers and their families cannot be readily measured, but clearly may have a profound effect on reenlistment and retention," the watchdog agency concluded.

GAO blamed poor training, inadequate funding and ineffective customer service for the delays and errors. Confusion reigned among Guard and active Army finance personnel concerning who was responsible for processing pay transactions for Guard personnel called to active duty. Guard members stationed in Afghanistan complained of being sent from office to office when they attempted to resolve pay problems.

"Overall, we found the current stove-piped, nonintegrated systems were labor-intensive and require extensive error-prone manual data entry and reentry," the report said. "As a result, it was often difficult to ensure that mobilized soldiers received only and all the pays and allowances to which they were entitled."

GAO made 23 recommendations for improving pay systems and processing, including automating some manual processing activities.

Pentagon officials agreed with the recommendations and pointed to several initiatives already underway to address the problems. "As a first step, expanded central guidance will be published in the next 30 days, which will further articulate the specific responsibilities of the servicing finance activities," Defense Comptroller Dov Zakheim wrote.

In the next 60 days a task force of Defense Finance and Accounting Service and Army National Guard officials will contact various mobilization offices to verify they are complying with the pending guidance.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.