Force Structure:

Opportunities for the Army to Reduce Risk in Executing the Military Strategy

NSIAD-99-47: Published: Mar 15, 1999. Publicly Released: Mar 15, 1999.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Janet A. St Laurent
(202) 512-4402
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on the Army's plans to allocate its end strength to meet the force structure requirements of its combat and support forces, focusing on: (1) comparing the Army's 1996 and 1998 reviews to determine if there were changes in the Army's risk of not having sufficient forces to implement the national military strategy; and (2) assessing the Army's potential for mitigating risk by reallocating its existing end strength.

GAO noted that: (1) the Army did not assess risk in its 1998 force structure review, but GAO's analysis shows that the Army's risk in implementing the national military strategy increased since its 1996 review; (2) a comparison of both reviews shows that war-fighting requirements for two wars increased at the same time the Army's forces decreased, support force shortfalls are higher, and the number of support forces arriving late has increased; (3) further, risk is higher in a second war because few active forces are planned to be deployed in the second war and support force shortfalls are higher in the second war; (4) the Army's 1998 force structure review was based on the following best-case assumptions which are consistent with defense guidance--limited chemical use by the enemy, immediate access to ports and airfields, and immediate redeployment of forces involved in contingencies to a major theater war; (5) in contrast, the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) stated that U.S. forces should be prepared to encounter adverse conditions such as enemy use of chemical weapons; (6) support force shortfalls may be higher than Army data indicated because the Army's analysis did not include all the QDR reductions in reserve component end strength; (7) the 1998 analysis assumed that the National Guard will convert nonwar-fighting positions to war-fighting support forces; (8) shortfalls will be higher if the conversions do not occur as planned; (9) although the risk of not having sufficient forces to implement the strategy has increased, the full extent of the increase is unknown since the Army did not perform all the analyses needed to assess and quantify its risks; (10) the Army did perform sensitivity analyses in its 1996 review that concluded additional support forces would be needed if these best-case assumptions did not occur; (11) the Army's end strength exceeds its war-fighting requirements, yet the Army has allocated significant end strength to nonwar-fighting missions; (12) one option to mitigate risk is its plan to convert nonwar-fighting positions in two National Guard divisions to war-fighting support forces; (13) this would reduce shortfalls if implemented as planned; (14) another option is to analyze the extent to which nonwar-fighting missions may be performed by civilians or contractors rather than by military personnel; and (15) if the Army used civilians or contractors to perform more nonwar-fighting missions, it could then allocate a larger proportion of military positions to meet war-fighting support requirements.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Force XXI is the Army's reorganization of its divisions to incorporate new operational and organizational concepts. Total Army Analysis (TAA) 2005 modeling, which provides the basis for the Army's warfighting requirements, did not include redesigned divisions or corps as envisioned in Force XXI, even though two divisions and one corps were to be redesigned by 2005. In response to the recommendation on this matter, DOD stated that the Army would develop the doctrine and design the force structure necessary to support Force XXI Division and Corps organizations. Based on GAO's review of TAA 2007, the Army incorporated Force XXI divisions in its campaign modeling for TAA 2007. However, corps doctrine had not yet been developed and, thus, was not included.

    Recommendation: To more accurately identify support force requirements, the Secretary of the Army should expedite the incorporation of Force XXI concepts into doctrine that would provide the necessary information to update TAA models.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In GAO's March 1999 report, it found that the Army did not assess, as part of Total Army Analysis (TAA) 2005, whether civilians or contractors could perform the functions of institutional or unique military forces. Army institutional functions in particular have received increasing scrutiny in recent years because the Army has been unable to support requirements based on workload and ensure that these functions are carried out in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. If the Army reduced the number of military institutional forces, then more military positions would be available to meet war-fighting requirements. Accordingly, the report recommended that the Army identify non-warfighting positions that could be filled by civilians or contracts, and fill them with either civilians or contractors, and re-allocate the military positions to alleviate war-fighting support force shortages. During the TAA 07 process, the Army reviewed the institutional positions and identified about 12,000 spaces that were not inherently military, and could thus be filled with civilians. Re-allocation of these spaces will be pursued in the TAA 2009 analysis.

    Recommendation: To allocate end strength to nonwar-fighting force structure consistent with defense guidance, the Secretary of the Army should identify which nonwar-fighting positions could be filled by civilians or contractors, fill them with either civilians or contractors, and allocate the military positions saved to reduce war-fighting support force shortfalls.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: As part of the National Guard Division Redesign program, the Army plans to convert about 45,000 positions in two Guard divisions from non-warfighting missions to warfighting support, between 2000 and 2009. In GAO's March 1999 report, it said that if this program is successful, it will halve the Army's reported support force shortfall. However, GAO was concerned that the Army's plans did not include all the Army's expected equipment, training, and facilities costs. Accordingly, GAO recommended that Army plans fully reflect all such costs. Subsequently, the Army's fiscal year 2002-2007 POM submission programmed $1.7 billion to fund major cost categories including equipment, training, and construction in support of the Army's conversion plan. These funds complete Phase I and Part II of the plan. The Phase II construction costs are being deferred to POM 03-07. When completed, Phases I and II will convert over 22,000 positions.

    Recommendation: To improve the Army's ability to effectively monitor the progress of its National Guard Division Redesign Program, the Secretary of the Army should require the Process Action Team to prepare a periodic report on the program that includes: (1) total program costs (including equipment, training, and facilities); (2) unfunded requirements; (3) a comparison of planned converted units with unresourced requirements to determine whether the most critical shortfalls are being addressed first; (4) an assessment of the risks arising from delays in conversion; (5) a comparison of actual conversions with plans; and (6) identification of obstacles.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In agency comments, DOD concurred with this recommendation, and commented that TAA 2007 would capture the forces required to disengage from on-going contingencies and redeploy forces to a major theater war. While the Army told GAO that existing models do not lend themselves to this type of analysis, the Army did in fact use these models to analyze the effects of disengaging from small scale contingencies in order to redeploy to major theater war. Their results are classified.

    Recommendation: To determine the risks in implementing the national military strategy, the Secretary of the Army should include, as part of the next TAA, an analysis of the support forces required to extract forces from ongoing contingency operations and redeploy them to a major theater war and the effects of such redeployment on war-fighting timelines.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  5. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: In agency comments to GAO's report, DOD concurred with this recommendation, stating that the TAA models would be recomputed with the "resourced force" to assess effects of available end strength on the warfight. However, based on GAO's TAA 2007 work, this was not done. The Concepts Analysis Agency advised that the models do not lend themselves to this type of analysis and, even if they were able to conduct the analysis, the end result would vary very little.

    Recommendation: To determine the risks in implementing the national military strategy, the Secretary of the Army should include, as part of the next TAA, a rerun of TAA models using the resourced force to assess the effects of end strength allocation decisions on war-fighting, including the late arrival of critical support forces.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In its March 1999 report, DOD found that Army support force requirements would have been higher had the Army included the additional forces required in a chemical environment. However, Total Army Analysis (TAA) 2005, assumed enemy forces would employ only limited use of chemical weapons in both theaters, and thus did not increase war-fighting requirements. According to the QDR, U.S. forces must plan to fight and win theater wars in which adversaries use chemical or biological weapons because this is a likely condition of future warfare. In response to the recommendation, DOD stated that the revised TAA 2007 modeling methodology would address the effects of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In TAA 2007, enemy WMD employment (to include WMD warheads on theater ballistic missiles) was included in the campaign modeling. In addition, the allocation rules that determine the number of U.S. units needed to support the campaign plans were modified to reflect the greater likelihood of the enemy's employment of WMD.

    Recommendation: To determine the risks in implementing the national military strategy, the Secretary of the Army should include, as part of the next Total Army Analysis (TAA), an analysis of the number of support forces needed under a range of conditions such as the small, medium, or large use of chemical agents by an adversary.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In its March 1999 report (GAO/NSIAD-99-47), GAO found that the Army only modeled requirements for three of five campaign phases in Total Army Analysis (TAA) 2005. By not incorporating requirements for all five campaign phases for both theaters, the Army cannot know its total requirement, and cannot fully assess its risk in implementing the national military strategy. DOD agreed, and said that the Army would capture the projected land force requirements generated by all theater campaign phases in TAA 2007. In TAA 2007 (completed in December 1999), the Army used two processes to calculate requirements for all the campaign phases. The normal campaign models were used to determine requirements through the exploitation phase in both Major Theater Wars, while the Mission Task Oriented Force process was used to determine each theater's post-hostilities requirements. These requirements were included in the overall requirement.

    Recommendation: To improve the Army's ability to accurately determine war-fighting requirements, the Secretary of Defense should clarify guidance to require that the Army include all campaign phases in determining its war-fighting requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD reported that the effort to determine the delta between CICN OPLAN requirements and TAA requirements was completed. As DOD expected, the comparison of near year, resource constrained OPLANS and the TAA modeled future force Illustrative Planning scenarios resulted in some significant differences in requirements. DOD further reported that an interim report was presented in July 2001, in which several proposals were presented as possible solutions to the issue. Major differences are the results of (1) TAA executing a doctrinal deployment while CINCS conduct deployment planning based on individual CINC analysis, and (2) differences in the capabilities of the TPFDD process and TAA modeling capabilities. The Army is working with CINC and Army Service Component planners to determine why differences exist. This is the result GAO was looking for when it made the recommendation. GAO's goal was to improve the Army's TAA process so that Army requirements would more closely match combatant commanders needs.

    Recommendation: To determine the risks in implementing the national military strategy, the Secretary of the Army should include, as a part of the next TAA, an assessment of the differences between TAA models and theater commanders' plans in support force requirements in the first 30 days of a conflict.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 22, 2016

Sep 21, 2016

Sep 19, 2016

Sep 12, 2016

Sep 8, 2016

Sep 7, 2016

Sep 6, 2016

Aug 25, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here