Force Structure:

Army Support Forces Can Meet Two-Conflict Strategy With Some Risks

NSIAD-97-66: Published: Feb 28, 1997. Publicly Released: Feb 28, 1997.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed how the Army determines its support force requirements, and the results of its most recent process for allocating support forces, known as Total Army Analysis (TAA) 2003.

GAO found that: (1) it does not appear feasible to have a smaller active Army support force at this time, but a smaller active combat force and institutional force may be possible in the future; (2) a smaller active support force today would certainly increase the Army's risk of carrying out current defense policy; (3) current initiatives being explored by the Army regarding its institutional force could lead to greater efficiencies and thus a smaller active force; (4) improvements in the requirements determination process for both support forces and institutional forces could provide greater assurance that the size and composition of the Army is appropriate to meet war-fighting needs; (5) on the basis of TAA 2003 results, the Army believes it can deploy sufficient support forces to meet the requirements of two nearly simultaneous major regional conflicts (MRC) with moderate risk; (6) because it lacks adequate active support forces and must rely on reserve forces that take more time to be readied to deploy, an estimated 79,000 support forces needed in the first 30 days would arrive late; (7) support forces needed for the second conflict would consist of only 12 percent active forces; (8) high reliance on reserves for use in the second MRC may entail risk if the second MRC occurs without warning, or if mobilization is delayed; (9) existing active support units are short another 19,200 required positions and some required support units exist only on paper; (10) TAA 2003 had some limitations and the Army's risk assessment depends largely on the assumptions and model inputs that were adopted for TAA 2003; (11) the Army used many favorable assumptions that, although consistent with defense guidance, understated risk; (12) the Army's recent efforts to streamline the institutional active Army by identifying better ways to organize and adopt more efficient business practices have identified up to 4,000 military positions that the Army plans to use to offset active support shortfalls; (13) the Army may reduce the number of major commands, which could result in some additional force savings in the future; (14) however, the Army's efforts to make its institutional force more efficient and potentially smaller are hampered by long-standing weaknesses in its process to determine institutional force requirements; (15) GAO's analysis indicates that the Department of Defense (DOD) has not supported its proposal to reduce the active Army to 475,000 by 1999 with sound analysis; and (16) DOD has an opportunity to explore these and other alternatives during its Quadrennial Defense Review.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army has taken some initiatives which address the intent of this recommendation.

    Recommendation: To improve the management and allocation of personnel resources to the institutional Army, the Secretary of the Army should report to the Secretary of Defense the Army's long-standing problem with implementing workload-based analysis as a material weakness under the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act to maintain visibility of the issue and ensure action is taken.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army has no plans to consider contractor personnel or civilians in the resourcing phase of Total Army Analysis (TAA). However, the Army did agree that some of the National Guard's aviation assets could be applied against warfighting requirements. GAO previously verified that the Army had assigned a warfighting role to two National Guard Blackhawk aviation companies. Further, in a March 15, 1999, report, GAO found that, in addition to these two aviation companies, the Army identified warfighting missions for one attack helicopter battalion, seven chemical companies, and three field artillery battalions, for a total of 3,600 National Guard divisional spaces. GAO's work this year shows that in TAA 2007, the Army was able to identify within the Guard three additional field artillery battalions and an additional attack helicopter battalion that could be tasked with warfight missions, an increase of about 2200 over the spaces noted previously. In addition, in TAA 2007, the Army, for the first time, included all military civilian, and contractor employees. This is a significant step toward establishing an analytical basis for all Army requirements. The Army TAA process has continued to evolve since TAA 2003, when this recommendation was made, and now encompasses much more than deployable war-fighting forces.

    Recommendation: To improve TAA's ability to accurately project war-fighting requirements and allocate the Army's personnel resources, the Secretary of the Army should determine how support units resident within the eight National Guard divisions, Table of Distribution and Allowances military personnel, contractor personnel, and DOD civilians can be used to fill some support force requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army adopted the recommendation in TAA 2005. According to the U.S. Army Concepts Analysis Agency (CAA), which models the Army's warfighting requirements, the Army reran the mobility model with the TAA 2005 required force to determine the impact on force flow and the campaign.

    Recommendation: To improve TAA's ability to accurately project war-fighting requirements and allocate the Army's personnel resources, the Secretary of the Army should rerun TAA models with the required force to assess the impact of force size on mobility requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army has taken some initiatives which address the intent of this recommendation.

    Recommendation: To improve TAA's ability to accurately project war-fighting requirements and allocate the Army's personnel resources, the Secretary of the Army should perform sensitivity analyses on significant model inputs, assumptions, and resourcing decisions to determine their impacts on war-fighting risk. For example, although the Army used assumptions established by defense guidance, determining the implications of less favorable conditions, such as delayed call-up of reserves, would provide the Army with additional information on which to base its assessment of risk.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In responding to this recommendation, the Army said that, during Total Army Analysis (TAA) 2005, it would analyze operations other than war (OOTW) support force requirements once the base case warfighting requirements analyses were completed. However, Army officials advised GAO that these analyses were not performed. GAO believes there may be opportunities to reduce the stress on high demand/low density specialties needed in peace operations, consistent with guidance. Further, the recommended analysis could prove useful to the Office of the Secretary of Defense in developing future policy. More recently, GAO found that during TAA 2007 the Army did, in fact, assess requirements for seven small scale contingencies based on the "moderate" posture of engagement contained in current defense guidance and determined the numbers and types of units needed to satisfy those seven contingencies. GAO used this data to determine if the Army's two-war force contained the right mix of forces to engage in multiple OOTWs. Both DOD and the Army have agreed to take corrective action in response to GAO's latest report, Force Structure: Army Lacks Units Needed for Extended Contingency Operations (GAO-01-198, February 2001), which was based on this analysis. The Army has agreed to assess the criticality of small scale contingency (SSC) shortfalls; however, the Army will use Quadrennial Defense Review 2001 Dynamic Commitment Games as the baseline. This data will be more current and robust than the data available from Total Army Analysis 2007. This analysis is ongoing and will be conluded later in 2001. Also, DOD has agreed to change Future Defense Planning Guidance to allow components to determine whether small scale contingency requirements should be considered as additive to Major Theater War assets and specific planning scenarios. However, prioritization of available resources will determine whether or not a particular requirement is funded. These are significant changes on the part of both the Army and DOD and substantially implement GAO's initial recommendation from this 1997 report.

    Recommendation: To improve TAA's ability to accurately project war-fighting requirements and allocate the Army's personnel resources, the Secretary of the Army should perform analysis to determine how multiple operations other than war support force requirements might differ from support force requirements based on two MRCs and bring any variances to the attention of the Secretary of Defense so that he can consider them in developing defense guidance.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army has taken initiatives which address the intent of this recommendation.

    Recommendation: To improve TAA's ability to accurately project war-fighting requirements and allocate the Army's personnel resources, the Secretary of the Army should reexamine key model inputs to ensure they are accurate and consistent with war-fighting scenarios.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation, but GAO's subsequent review disclosed that the Army had not carried it out. In a February 1998 report (NSIAD-98-65), GAO concluded that the Army's savings from institutional redesign would be less than projected and that the Army may not know the source of some of its savings because no single office monitors the status of redesign initiatives or their implementation costs. The February 1998 report recommended specific actions to improve the Army's ability to oversee reforms for increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of its Institutional Force. In response: the Army published a final version of Pamphlet 100-1 (the Army's Redesign "vision" document); the Army's Strategic Management Plan now contains specific performance goals and indicators for redesign initiatives; the Army's Program Analysis and Evaluation organization is responsible for tracking results for the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff; and the Chief of Staff is to validate Plan goals annually.

    Recommendation: To improve the management and allocation of personnel resources to the institutional Army, the Secretary of Army should closely monitor the military positions the Army plans to save as the result of Force XXI initiatives and have a contingency plan in place in the event that these savings do not materialize.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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