The Defense Department must update its general and flag officer requirements to more adequately reflect changes in the Active Duty force, according to a Government Accountability Office report, released Tuesday. Since 2001, the number of general and flag officers has grown at higher rates than the enlisted population, states the report, which notes that DOD has not done a comprehensive update of GFO requirements since 2003. GAO also reported the full cost of GFOs and aides is unknown, as reporting practices, retention policies, inconsistent definitions, and reliability fluctuated from 2001-2013. DOD has contended it will not define costs associated with GFOs because of a need for flexibility, however, GAO maintains that “by defining the officer aide position and GFO and associated aide costs, DOD will be able to better account for the full costs of GFOs and improve its ability to make sound workforce allocation decisions.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.