Air Force Manpower Program:

Improvements Needed in Procedures and Controls

NSIAD-87-137: Published: Jun 25, 1987. Publicly Released: Aug 3, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Air Force Management Engineering Program (MEP) to determine if the Air Force based its manpower requirements on sound and rigorous processes.

GAO found that: (1) although the program is sound and contains many of the basic elements necessary for an effective manpower system, there are weaknesses in operational procedures, standards controls, and recording procedures; (2) the Air Force strategy to defer updating standards could result in misleading manpower requirements and adversely affect managerial decisions regarding manpower resources; (3) errors occur in collecting and using accurate work-load counts and in recording the results due to insufficient guidance and monitoring of standards and applications; (4) there is little monitoring of compliance with standards application policy; and (5) commands do not visit bases to ensure that they adhere to manpower regulations.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Step-by-step instructions for the 20-percent verification policy have been developed and incorporated into AFR 26-1, which was published in fiscal year 1989.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should strengthen the management controls in the standards application and recording processes of MEP by clarifying the existing 20-percent verification policy.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Standards application and work-load verification are now emphasized in the manpower school at Kessler Air Force Base.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should strengthen the management controls in the standards application and recording processes of MEP by providing improved training on the standards application process.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force stated that it does not believe that additional controls are necessary.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should strengthen the management controls in the standards application and recording processes of MEP by establishing improved standards application procedures and guidance to ensure that: (1) standards application and recording is consistent across all commands; (2) work-load counts are extracted from prescribed sources; and (3) resulting manpower requirements are accurately recorded on manpower documents.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force instituted functional review policies to ensure that critical issues are raised to the proper level for resolution.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should strengthen the operational procedures and management controls in the standards development process used in MEP by ensuring that efficiencies identified through the functional review process receive an independent review.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Air Force initiated staff assistance visits to major commands. Commands have implemented internal controls to preclude overlooking currency review of guides.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should strengthen the operational procedures and management controls in the standards development process used in MEP by enforcing the requirement that staffing guides be reviewed for currency and establishing monitoring procedures to ensure compliance.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Procedures have been put in place for annual review of currency standards.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should strengthen the operational procedures and management controls in the standards development process used in MEP by developing a way to ensure that the currency of staffing standards is reasonably maintained during the transition to the functional review approach to developing standards.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: An April 1986 message to the commands emphasized the need for accurate coding. The commands are implementing internal commands. Also, the number of codes has been reduced.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should strengthen the operational procedures and management controls in the standards development process used in MEP by improving the accuracy of the staffing standards coding system to identify the type of standard or other method of determining manpower needs on which a given requirement is based.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Revised procedures for updating standards and monitoring compliance have been put into effect and the MEP quarterly report format has been revised.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should strengthen the operational procedures and management controls in the standards development process used in MEP by establishing specific procedures for documenting the review and update of standards and monitoring compliance.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Verification of these areas has been added to the Staff Assistance Checklist.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should strengthen the management controls in the standards application and recording processes of MEP by establishing a system for monitoring compliance with the verification process by incorporating controls, such as: (1) a periodic certification that work load has been verified; (2) a requirement that adequate documentation be maintained until the next application cycle; and (3) an independent spot check verification of work load.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

 

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