The original lineup of the band was Brian Gay on bass, John Stabb on vocals, John Barry on guitar, and Mark Alberstadt on drums. Given the long running nature of the band, many participants in the DC hardcore scene went through G.I.'s membership over their lifespan. At various times, Government Issue featured Brian Baker of Minor Threat and Bad Religion, as well as Mike Fellows of Rites of Spring and many others.
The G.I.s became one of the longest-running bands in the DC hardcore scene. After numerous line-up changes, the band broke up in 1989. Vocalist John Stabb was the only member to stay the whole time. He later went on to form Betty Blue in the mid 90's then formed the DC quintet The Factory Incident in 2000, now also defunct. Tom Lyle, as well as bassist J. Robbins and drummer Peter Moffett, regrouped to record tro unrecorded GI songs. This was released as the Rollkicker Laydown EP.
Guitarist Tom Lyle formed an experimental outfit called Glee Club which released two albums in the eighties. Lyle also recorded two hard rock solo records in 1990 and 1992 respectively. Bassist J. Robbins went on to form Jawbox. Robbins later formed Burning Airlines with GI drummer Peter Moffett.
Stabb has remarked that "...there is much to be said about watching g.i. when you're not barely legal."
On July 17, 2007 John Stabb was attacked a block from his home, by a group of five teenagers; a series of benefit concerts for Stabb were held including August 10, 2007 at the Velvet Lounge, organized by Marc Ganancias, to help deal with the medical bills.
On September 23, 2007, during the second benefit show organized by Ganancias, "Government Re-Issue" took the stage again with Stabb at the fore, Tom Lyle on Guitar, Brian Baker on bass, and William Knapp on drums at the Rock n' Roll Hotel in Washington, DC. According to John Stabb, the band practiced together for the first time during the sound check on the afternoon of September 23, and managed to re-learn about fifteen songs.