Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of
Defense's (DOD) proposed modifications of the Department of Defense
Reorganization Act of 1986 concerning tour length requirements for
joint officers. GAO found that DOD cited limited time, crowded
career paths, selection of officers, officer availability, problems
with mid-year moves, increased experience, increased number of
candidates, and less turbulence among officers in nonjoint
assignments to support its proposal to reduce the minimum and
average tour-length requirement for field-grade officers from 3.5
to 3 years and the tour-length requirement for general and flag
officers from 3 to 2 years. GAO also found that: (1) the degree of
difficulty in accommodating a 3.5-year joint tour for field-grade
officers varied among the services; (2) each service typically had
enough total non-war-fighting time to accommodate a 3.5-year joint
tour for field-grade officers; and (3) the services would have to
make significant changes in their assignment patterns to
accommodate a 3-year joint tour for general and flag officers.
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