Army Workload and Performance System:

Actions Needed to Complete Assessment of Unnecessary Overlap with Logistics Modernization Program

GAO-14-266: Published: Feb 28, 2014. Publicly Released: Feb 28, 2014.

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merrittz@gao.gov

 

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What GAO Found

The Army has not followed certain applicable statutory and regulatory requirements for implementing the Army Workload and Performance System (AWPS). The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 requires the Secretary of the Army to submit annual progress reports to Congress on the implementation of the AWPS master plan until the Secretary certifies to Congress that AWPS is fully implemented. Although the Secretary has not yet made this certification, the Army has not been submitting progress reports. According to Army officials, the Army does not plan to submit progress reports until a revised master plan for AWPS is completed. However, for many years the Army has been unable to complete an update to the master plan due to a lack of oversight. Additionally, the Army has not validated AWPS as a manpower requirements determination tool. Army regulation states that the U.S. Army Manpower and Analysis Agency (USAMAA) is responsible for reviewing and validating manpower requirements models like AWPS and that major commands—such as the Army Materiel Command (AMC)—are responsible for submitting their models to USAMAA for validation. AMC directs the activities of Army industrial sites and is the primary user of AWPS. USAMAA and AMC officials have discussed the need for AWPS to be validated, but AWPS has not yet been submitted to USAMAA for validation. USAMAA officials initially contacted AMC regarding submitting AWPS for validation; however, at the time, AMC was not prepared to proceed. Later, when ready to seek validation, AWPS officials told GAO they asked for assistance from USAMAA, but additional assistance had not yet been provided. Because USAMAA officials involved in these earlier contacts subsequently left USAMAA, GAO was unable to corroborate that USAMAA did not respond to AWPS officials' request for assistance. Through USAMAA validation, the Army would have greater assurance that AWPS workforce management reports are accurate.

The Army has begun to assess whether unnecessary overlap exists between AWPS and the Logistics Modernization Program (LMP), but its overall progress has been limited. At the direction of AMC leadership, a project team was established and has begun to assess the extent to which AWPS's software functionality can be replaced with existing or future LMP functionality. The team has distributed surveys to AWPS users to collect information on how they use AWPS, and whether they use other tools—such as LMP—to provide similar functionality. Initial responses to this survey indicate the potential for some overlap between AWPS and LMP. Identifying unnecessary overlap among government programs or activities is important because overlap can lead to unnecessary duplication and can result in unnecessary costs and less-efficient and less-effective services. However, the overall progress of the team's assessment has been limited, due primarily to the absence of senior-level leadership attention and involvement and to the lack of a fully developed and documented approach for the assessment. Best practices have shown that sustained leadership attention and involvement can help organizations achieve positive results, and internal control standards call for proper documentation of evaluation processes. The absence of these elements increases the risk that the Army will not make progress in identifying and eliminating unnecessary overlap between AWPS and LMP.

Why GAO Did This Study

AWPS is an information system that produces management reports intended to link the Army's industrial workload demands to workforce requirements. The Army has spent over $90 million on the system through fiscal year 2013 and plans to spend approximately $35.6 million over the next 5 years. AWPS relies on data from LMP, which was implemented after AWPS, and prior GAO reports have noted the potential overlap between AWPS and LMP. Pub. L. No. 111-139 mandates that GAO identify federal programs, agencies, offices, and initiatives that have duplicative goals or activities. This review evaluates the extent to which the Army has (1) followed certain applicable statutory and regulatory requirements for implementing AWPS and (2) assessed whether there is unnecessary overlap between AWPS and LMP. GAO reviewed laws, regulations, and prior GAO reports; analyzed Army documents related to its assessment of unnecessary overlap between AWPS and LMP; and interviewed Army officials.

What GAO Recommends

GAO is making four recommendations to the Army to (1) strengthen oversight for completing the update to the AWPS master plan, (2) direct that AWPS be submitted to USAMAA for validation, (3) identify a specific senior-level AMC manager or committee to provide oversight of the project team's efforts, and (4) establish a fully developed and documented approach for the team's assessment that includes a milestone for completing this effort. GAO requested comments from the Army, but none were provided.

For more information, contact Zina Merritt at (202) 512-5257 or merrittz@gao.gov.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the final report, the Army concurred and stated that the Secretary of the Army will direct the Under Secretary of the Army, in his role as the Chief Management Officer, to strengthen the development, review, approval, and oversight of the AWPS master plan, because AWPS has implications across the Army's business domains.

    Recommendation: To ensure completion of the update to the AWPS master plan, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) to strengthen oversight of the plan's development, review, and approval.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the final report, the Army concurred and stated that AWPS was developed to address deficiencies in the Army's manpower requirements determination process by capturing and using the actual hours of the work performed in previous periods to project future requirements. The Army also stated that an integrated AWPS/LMP solution may result in a different manpower predictive tool that must be validated through USAMAA, and that it is important the Army focus on developing a business case analysis to include AWPS functionality into the Army?s enterprise resource planning systems.

    Recommendation: To provide greater assurance of the accuracy of manpower requirements reports produced by AWPS for use at Army industrial sites, the Secretary of the Army should direct AMC--with assistance as needed from USAMAA--to submit AWPS to USAMAA for review and validation as a manpower requirements determination tool, in accordance with Army regulations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the final report, the Army concurred and stated that a two-tiered approach is being utilized to ensure that sound business decisions are made on how to most cost-effectively provide AWPS functionality. First, the Army stated that two senior-level AMC governance bodies-the Logistics Enterprise Steering Committee and the Logistics Executive Management Review-will review the work of the AWPS and LMP program offices to integrate AWPS functionality, where cost effective, with LMP, and will ensure that a strong and stable assessment team is maintained with the end result being recommendations regarding improving system efficiency and effectiveness, while reducing costs. Second, the Army stated that it is currently assessing the need for a single Army labor tracking process to meet existing requirements from all communities and systems, and whether even greater efficiencies can be achieved by a single integrated system. The Secretary of the Army will direct the Under Secretary of the Army, in his role as Chief Management Officer and acting through the Army Business Council, to develop an assessment and implementation plan for this effort.

    Recommendation: To complete the Army's assessment of unnecessary overlap between AWPS and LMP and to ensure that a sound business decision is made on how to most cost-effectively provide AWPS functionality, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Commanding General, AMC, to identify a specific senior-level AMC manager or committee to provide increased leadership involvement and attention of the project team's efforts, to include ensuring that a strong and stable team exists for managing change.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  4. Status: Open

    Comments: In commenting on the final report, the Army concurred and stated that it agrees that a fully developed and documented approach for assessing overlap is essential, but it will wait until after the Army has assessed the potential for a single Army-wide system to manage labor tracking before adding any additional oversight. Related to this, the Army also stated that the Secretary of the Army will direct the Under Secretary of the Army, in his role as Chief Management Officer, to develop recommendations on how to best provide AWPS functionality within the context of a broader Army enterprise approach to both time and attendance and labor tracking.

    Recommendation: To complete the Army's assessment of unnecessary overlap between AWPS and LMP and to ensure that a sound business decision is made on how to most cost-effectively provide AWPS functionality, the Secretary of the Army should direct the Commanding General, AMC, to establish a fully developed and documented approach for the team's assessment, including a milestone for completing it.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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