Defense 1 Pentagon

Defense: Defense Headquarters (2012-34)

The Department of Defense could potentially save millions of dollars by reviewing and identifying further opportunities for consolidating or reducing the size of headquartersorganizations.

Year Identified: 2012
Area Number: 34
Area Type: Cost Savings & Revenue Enhancement

Actions

Action 1
Partially Addressed

To facilitate reliable reporting on headquarters staffing and improve information available for decision making, the Department of Defense (DOD) should revise its Instructionon tracking of headquarters resources to include all major DOD headquarters activity organizations. This action was revised in GAO's March 2012 report, Defense Headquarters:Further Efforts to Examine Resource Needs and Improve Data Could Provide Additional Opportunities for Cost Savings (GAO-12-345). Specifically, GAO recommended that theSecretary of Defense direct the Director of Administration and Management, in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, to revise DODInstruction 5100.73, Major DOD Headquarters Activities, to include all major DOD headquarters activity organizations and establish a time frame for the revision to improve thetracking and reporting of headquarters resources.

Type
Executive Branch
Last Updated
March 31, 2020
Progress:

DOD has begun updating DOD Instruction 5100.73, Major DOD Headquarters Activities, to include all major DOD headquarters activity organizations but has not issued the revisedinstruction or established a time frame for doing so, as GAO recommended in March 2012. Specifically, in June 2012, DOD completed a technical update of DOD Instruction5100.73, but this update did not include substantive revisions to the major DOD headquarters activity organizations identified in the instruction. In August 2015, DOD statedthat it had established a comprehensive definition of major DOD headquarters activities. According to a DOD official, this definition more accurately reflects what should beconsidered a major DOD headquarters activity organization. However, as of January 2020, DOD had not updated Instruction 5100.73 with the organizations, or portions oforganizations, that should be included in its count of headquarters activities in accordance with this definition. It had not established a time frame for the revision either.The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 includes a requirement that the department revise applicable guidance on DOD major headquarters activities asneeded by late March 2016. A DOD official stated that an update to the instruction has been delayed by a need to complete a more comprehensive update of the instruction beyondan updated list of organizations, reduced staff capacity to dedicate toward updating the instruction in light of headquarters reductions, and a need to focus on more pressingpriorities, such as establishing a governance process for controlling growth in headquarters. Until DOD issues its revised instruction stating which organizations and portionsof organizations should be considered as headquarters and establishes time frames for the revisions, DOD organizations will not have the information necessary to reliablyreport their entire headquarters staff.

Implementing Entity:
Department of Defense
Department of Defense
Action 2
Not Addressed

To facilitate reliable reporting on headquarters staffing and improve information available for decision making, the Department of Defense (DOD) should specify how contractorsperforming headquarters functions will be identified and included in headquarters reporting. This action was revised in GAO's March 2012 report, Defense Headquarters: FurtherEfforts to Examine Resource Needs and Improve Data Could Provide Additional Opportunities for Cost Savings (GAO-12-345). Specifically, GAO recommended that the Secretary ofDefense direct the Director of Administration and Management, in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to revise DOD Instruction5100.73, Major DOD Headquarters Activities, to specify how contractors performing major DOD headquarters activity functions will be identified and included in headquartersreporting and establish a time frame for the revision to improve tracking and reporting headquarters resources.

Type
Executive Branch
Last Updated
March 31, 2020
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
Progress:

As of January 2020, DOD had not revised DOD Instruction 5100.73 to identify an approach to include contractors as part of its major DOD headquarters reporting or established atime frame in which to do so, as GAO recommended in March 2012. DOD had previously stated that it would use its Inventory of Contracts for Services to improve overallvisibility and accountability of all contracted services, including those performed in support of major DOD headquarters activities. For fiscal year 2019, DOD intends to relyon the Federal Procurement Data System—Next Generation (FPDS-NG) as the basis for collecting information on contracted services. GAO has previously reported that FPDS-NG hascertain limitations, including not being able to (1) identify and record more than one type of service purchased for each contracting action entered into the system, (2)identify the requiring activity specifically, and (3) determine the number of contractor full-time equivalents used to perform each service. Consequently, it is unclear theextent to which using FPDS-NG will enable DOD to determine the number of contractors and the functions they are performing in support of headquarters activities. To fullyimplement this action, DOD should revise DOD Instruction 5100.73 or include language in its implementation plan to identify the process by which it will identify how manyheadquarters personnel it has, including contractors performing major headquarters activities.

Implementing Entity:
Department of Defense
Action 3
Addressed

To facilitate reliable reporting on headquarters staffing and improve information available for decision making, the Department of Defense (DOD) should clarify how componentsare to compile the major DOD headquarters activities information needed to respond to the reporting requirements in section 1109 of the National Defense Authorization Act.This action was revised in GAO’s March 2012 report, Defense Headquarters: Further Efforts to Examine Resource Needs and Improve Data Could Provide Additional Opportunitiesfor Cost Savings (GAO-12-345). Specifically, GAO recommended that the Secretary of Defense direct the Director of Administration and Management, in consultation with the UnderSecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to revise DOD Instruction 5100.73, Major DOD Headquarters Activities, to clarify how components are to compile the major DODheadquarters activities information needed to respond to the reporting requirements in section 1109 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010.

Type
Executive Branch
Last Updated
March 6, 2013
Progress:

DOD has clarified reporting requirements for the compilation of major DOD headquarters activities information in its Defense Manpower Requirements Report, as we recommendedin March 2012. In April 2012, DOD released its fiscal year 2012 Defense Manpower Requirements Report, which addressed new reporting requirements for major DOD headquartersactivities identified in Section 1109 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 and codified in section 115a of Title 10 of the United States Code, amongother things. Specifically, DOD reported aggregate military and civilian major DOD headquarters activity personnel by component and included details on increases to militaryand civilian personnel due to the in-sourcing of contract workyears as well as adjustments made to limitations on personnel performing major DOD headquarters activityfunctions. As a result, DOD and Congress should have greater ability to monitor the military, civilian, and contractor personnel performing major DOD headquarters activitieswhen determining whether headquarters organizations are appropriately sized.

Implementing Entity:
Department of Defense
Action 4
Consolidated or Other

To facilitate reliable reporting on headquarters staffing and improve information available for decision making, the Department of Defense (DOD) should establish time framesfor implementing actions 1 through 3 to improve tracking and reporting headquarters resources. This action was revised in GAO's March 2012 report, Defense Headquarters:Further Efforts to Examine Resource Needs and Improve Data Could Provide Additional Opportunities for Cost Savings (GAO-12-345). Specifically, GAO recommended that theSecretary of Defense direct the Director of Administration and Management, in consultation with the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to revise DODInstruction 5100.73,Major DOD Headquarters Activities,to establish time frames for implementing actions 1 through 3 to improve tracking and reporting headquarters resources.

Type
Executive Branch
Last Updated
March 21, 2018
Progress:

GAO is assessing this action as part of actions 1 and 2 of this area.

Implementing Entity:
Department of Defense
Action 5
Addressed

To further the Department of Defense'’s (DOD) ability to find efficiencies in headquarters and other overhead, DOD should continue to examine opportunities to consolidate oreliminate defense headquarters organizations that are geographically close or have similar missions, as well as seek further opportunities to centralize administrative andcommand support services, functions, or programs. This action was revised in GAO's March 2012 report, Defense Headquarters: Further Efforts to Examine Resource Needs andImprove Data Could Provide Additional Opportunities for Cost Savings (GAO-12-345). Specifically, GAO recommended that the Secretary of Defense direct the secretaries of themilitary departments and the heads of the DOD components to continue to examine opportunities to consolidate or eliminate military commands that are geographically close orhave similar missions, and to seek further opportunities to centralize administrative and command support services, functions, or programs.

Type
Executive Branch
Last Updated
March 21, 2018
Progress:

DOD developed a plan to streamline its management headquarters and has begun implementing the plan, consistent with GAO's March 2012 recommendation. In December 2013, basedin part on GAO's body of work on DOD headquarters, Congress required DOD to develop the plan. Specifically, in section 904 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FiscalYear 2014, Congress directed DOD to develop a plan for streamlining by changing or reducing the size of staffs, eliminating tiers of management, cutting functions that providelittle or no added value, and consolidating overlapping and duplicative programs and offices. Congress directed DOD to report on this plan no later than 180 days afterenactment. The plan was to include a description of the planned changes or reductions in staffing and services provided by military personnel, civilian personnel, andcontractor personnel; a description of the planned changes or reductions in management, functions, and programs and offices; the estimated cumulative savings to be achievedover a 10-fiscal-year period beginning with fiscal year 2015; and estimated savings to be achieved for each of fiscal years 2015 through 2024. DOD was also directed to submita status report on the implementation of its plan along with the President's budget materials for fiscal years 2016 through 2024. In May 2015, DOD issued its Plan forStreamlining DOD Management Headquarters, reflecting its initial and first status report to Congress. In July 2017 we reported that DOD had taken some steps to implement theplan, such as directing that certain headquarters organizations review service-related contracts and propose reductions that would yield a 10 percent cut. The actions taken byCongress and DOD, partly in response to GAO's work, should help DOD to more efficiently manage headquarters resources and find cost savings as it seeks to resource itsstrategic priorities.

Implementing Entity:
Department of Defense
Action 6
Partially Addressed

The Secretary of Defense should conduct a comprehensive, periodic evaluation of whether the combatant commands are sized and structured to efficiently meet assigned missions.This action was identified in GAO's May 2013 report, Defense Headquarters: DOD Needs to Periodically Review and Improve Visibility Of Combatant Commands' Resources(GAO-13-293), and was added to the Action Tracker in April 2014 under the "Combatant Command Headquarters Costs" area.

Type
Executive Branch
Last Updated
March 31, 2020
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
Progress:

The Department of Defense (DOD) has taken some actions to better manage the combatant command headquarters activities and personnel as GAO recommended in May 2013. First, DODhas taken actions to control management headquarters authorized positions and funding levels across the department, including those at the combatant commands, through thebudget process. For example, in a May 2017 memorandum entitled: Lifting the Hiring Freeze for Civilian Employees, the Deputy Secretary of Defense stated that components mustoperate within the full-time equivalent authorization and funding limits established in the fiscal year 2017 President's Budget, including the Future Years Defense Programprofile. Notably, current baselines, divestiture requirements, and hiring limitations applicable to Major Headquarters Activities remain in effect. Major HeadquartersActivities billet adjustments or growth was not authorized unless approved through the program review and budget process. Additionally, in the Conference report accompanyingthe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, Congress directed the Secretary of Defense to provide a report to the defense committees by January 1, 2020 thatprovides a description of the headquarters staff of each geographic combatant command, as well as each sub-unified command and service component command under the geographiccombatant command. According to DOD officials, the Department has not completed the report and they could not provide an estimated timeframe for its completion. As part ofthis effort, the Secretary of Defense was also directed to submit a report by January 1, 2021 recommending the number of military and civilian personnel required in theheadquarters element to execute the missions and functions of each geographic combatant command. Further, in a January 6, 2020 memorandum entitled: Department of DefenseReform Focus in 2020, the Secretary of Defense announced plans to lead a series of reviews with the combatant commands in 2020, to focus on strategic priorities, harvestopportunities to reduce costs, and realign forces/manpower in order to support National Defense Strategy priorities and rebuild readiness. This effort includes establishing acommon baseline understanding of all tasks, missions, and overall resources and costs within the commands. According to the memorandum, the goal is to review all the commandsin time to inform the fiscal year 2022-2026 program budget review. GAO will continue to monitor DOD's efforts to better manage the combatant command headquarters activitiesand personnel. Although the department has taken some positive steps, GAO continues to believe that institutionalizing a comprehensive, periodic evaluation of the combatantcommands would help to ensure efficient use of resources.

Implementing Entity:
Department of Defense
Action 7
Not Addressed

The Secretary of Defense should develop a process to gather information on authorized positions and assigned personnel at the service component commands. This action wasidentified in GAO's May 2013 report, Defense Headquarters: DOD Needs to Periodically Review and Improve Visibility Of Combatant Commands' Resources (GAO-13-293), and was addedto the Action Tracker in April 2014 under the "Combatant Command Headquarters Costs" area.

Type
Executive Branch
Last Updated
March 31, 2020
Progress:

No executive action taken. The Department of Defense (DOD) has not developed a process to gather information on authorized positions and assigned personnel at the servicecomponent commands, as GAO recommended in May 2013. In its comments on GAO's report, DOD concurred with the recommendation to develop a formal process to gather information onauthorized and assigned personnel at the service component commands, but did not provide comments on the corrective action to be taken. In March 2020, Joint Staff officialstold GAO they continue to have no insight into the authorized positions of the service component commands, which are managed and tracked by the military services. The JointStaff and combatant commands continue to request information from the service component commands when needed to track authorized positions and actual personnel, the sameprocess GAO reported on in 2013. Without a formal process to gather information on the authorized positions and assigned personnel at the service component commands, thecombatant commands may not have the visibility that is necessary to appropriately size themselves to meet their assigned missions, and they are at risk for unnecessarilyduplicating functions between the combatant commands and their service component commands.

Implementing Entity:
Department of Defense
Action 8
Not Addressed

The Secretary of Defense should conduct a more comprehensive and well-documented analysis of options for the permanent placement of the headquarters for the U.S. AfricaCommand (AFRICOM), including documentation explaining how operational benefits are weighed against the costs. This action was identified in GAO's September 2013 report,Defense Headquarters: DOD Needs to Reassess Options for Permanent Location of U.S. Africa Command (GAO-13-646), and was added to the Action Tracker in April 2014 under the"Combatant Command Headquarters Costs" area.

Type
Executive Branch
Last Updated
March 31, 2020
Progress:

No executive action taken. The Department of Defense (DOD) has not conducted a more comprehensive and well-documented analysis of options for the permanent placement of theheadquarters for AFRICOM (currently in Stuttgart, Germany), including documentation explaining how operational benefits are weighed against the costs, as GAO recommended inSeptember 2013. DOD partially agreed with GAO's recommendation. DOD noted in its comments on GAO's September 2013 report that to meet the requirements of the Budget ControlAct of 2011 it would consider a wide range of options, and if any of these options required additional analysis of the location of AFRICOM headquarters, DOD would conduct amore comprehensive and well-documented analysis. However, in June 2019, DOD officials stated that the department had not conducted any additional analysis on the permanentplacement of AFRICOM headquarters. Furthermore, the officials stated that AFRICOM would remain in Stuttgart, Germany, for the foreseeable future and no additional analysis wasbeing planned. As of January 2020, DOD had not provided additional information to indicate progress on this recommendation. GAO maintains that such an analysis is needed anduntil the costs and benefits of maintaining AFRICOM headquarters in Germany are specified and weighed against the costs and economic benefits of moving the command, thedepartment may be missing an opportunity to accomplish its missions successfully at a significantly lower cost.

Implementing Entity:
Department of Defense
Action 9
Addressed

To improve the management of the Department of Defense's (DOD) headquarters-reduction efforts and to allow the department to respond to congressional reporting requirements,the Secretary of Defense should set a clearly defined and consistently applied starting point as a baseline for the reductions. This action was identified in GAO's June 2014report, Defense Headquarters: DOD Needs to Reevaluate Its Approach for Managing Resources Devoted to the Functional Combatant Commands, and was added to the Action Tracker inApril 2015 under the "DOD Headquarters Reductions and Workforce Requirements" area.

Type
Executive Branch
Last Updated
October 10, 2018
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
Progress:

As of May 2018, DOD had established a clearly defined and consistently applied baseline for management headquarters activities, as GAO recommended in June 2014. To supportthe fiscal year 2018 budget request, DOD added 53 program element codes in the Future Years Defense Program that align with its definition of headquarters-related spending andestablished a clearly defined and consistently applied baseline for management headquarters activities. In May 2018, DOD reported that this re-baselining effort establishesboth an authoritative management headquarters manpower and operating cost baseline for the purposes of reporting and tracking. DOD also reported that measuring the workforcebaseline was an essential foundational step in determining the overall headquarters costs. The action taken by DOD to set a baseline should help it more reliably track andreport any future reductions in management headquarters.

Implementing Entity:
Department of Defense
Action 10
Addressed

To improve the management of the Department of Defense's (DOD) headquarters-reduction efforts and to allow the department to respond to congressional reporting requirements,the Secretary of Defense should track reductions against the baselines in order to provide reliable accounting of savings and reporting to Congress. This action was identifiedin GAO's June 2014 report, Defense Headquarters: DOD Needs to Reevaluate Its Approach for Managing Resources Devoted to the Functional Combatant Commands, and was added tothe Action Tracker in April 2015 under the "DOD Headquarters Reductions and Workforce Requirements" area.

Type
Executive Branch
Last Updated
October 10, 2018
Progress:

As of May 2018, DOD had begun to track its headquarters reductions efforts, as GAO recommended in June 2014. To support DOD's fiscal year 2018 budget request, it added 53program element codes in the Future Years Defense Program that align with its definition of headquarters-related spending and established a clearly defined and consistentlyapplied baseline for management headquarters activities. In addition, in May 2018, DOD reported that this re-baselining effort establishes both an authoritative managementheadquarters manpower and operating cost baseline for the purposes of reporting and tracking. DOD's May 2018 report to Congress also indicates that the information providedwith DOD's fiscal year 2018 budget will represent an official consistent baseline going forward upon which the department can reliably track and report future reductions inmanagement headquarters. In its May 2018 report, DOD used this baseline data to track its progress on reductions as presented in the 2019 budget request. As the departmentseeks additional reforms and reductions in its management headquarters, it is important that it continues to track any progress made against this baseline. Byestablishing a baseline and tracking reductions to headquarters in the Future Years Defense Program, DOD is better positioned to track and report future headquartersreductions.

Implementing Entity:
Department of Defense
Action 11
Addressed

To ensure that the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Joint Staff, and the military secretariats and staff are properly sized to meet their assigned missions anduse the most cost-effective mix of personnel, and to better position the Department of Defense (DOD) to identify opportunities for more efficient use of resources, theSecretary of Defense should conduct a systematic determination of workforce requirements for these organizations, which should include an analysis of mission, functions, andtasks, and the minimum personnel needed to accomplish those missions, functions, and tasks. This action was identified in GAO's January 2015 report, Defense Headquarters: DODNeeds to Reassess Personnel Requirements for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, and Military Service Secretariats (GAO-15-10), and was added to the ActionTracker in April 2015 under the "DOD Headquarters Reductions and Workforce Requirements" area.

Type
Executive Branch
Last Updated
March 31, 2020
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
Progress:

DOD has taken actions to conduct a systematic determination of workforce requirements as GAO recommended in its 2015 report. In a July 2015 memorandum, Implementation ofInstitutional Reform Opportunities, the Deputy Secretary of Defense charged the Deputy Chief Management Officer to lead a delayering of the management structure of the Officeof the Secretary of Defense, and associated Defense Agencies and DOD Field Activities. Organizations were required to (1) conduct a review of their organizational structuresand rationalize organizational layers and supervisory span of control; (2) identify redundant and obsolete work load; (3) capture potential cost savings; and (4) developstandardized organizational frameworks and titling schema to the extent possible. This was accomplished through a position by position manpower review. Comparable delayeringreviews have been successfully completed by the Army and the Air Force over the last several years. This delayering initiative is expected to be completed at the end of fiscalyear 2020, and along with the comparable reviews done by the services, meets the intent of GAO's recommendation to conduct a systematic determination of workforcerequirements and better positions DOD headquarters organizations to reduce the potential for headquarters-related growth.

Implementing Entity:
Department of Defense
Action 12
Addressed

To ensure that the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Joint Staff, and the military secretariats and staff are properly sized to meet their assigned missions anduse the most cost-effective mix of personnel, and to better position the Department of Defense (DOD) to identify opportunities for more efficient use of resources, theSecretary of Defense should establish and implement procedures to conduct periodic reassessments of workforce requirements. This action was identified in GAO's January 2015report, Defense Headquarters: DOD Needs to Reassess Personnel Requirements for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, and Military Service Secretariats(GAO-15-10), and was added to the Action Tracker in April 2015 under the "DOD Headquarters Reductions and Workforce Requirements" area.

Type
Executive Branch
Last Updated
March 31, 2020
Progress:

DOD has taken actions to establish and implement procedures to conduct a periodic reassessment of workforce requirements, including at the Office of the Secretary of Defense(OSD), the Joint Staff, and the military secretariats and staff, as GAO recommended in its 2015 report. First, in August 2015, DOD established a comprehensive definition ofmajor DOD headquarters activities, to include all DOD headquarters components, such as OSD, the Joint Staff, and the military secretariats and staff of each of the services.According to DOD, this review included a major rebaselining effort to establish both an authoritative headquarters manpower and operating cost baseline across all DODcomponents. Similarly, in August 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense directed that ongoing efforts to reduce headquarters funding by 20 percent be increased to 25 percentacross all headquarters appropriations, including the military departments, OSD, and the Joint Staff. As part of their efforts, the military services and the Joint Staff alldeveloped plans to streamline their headquarters staffs to address these reductions through fiscal year 2020. Furthermore, as part of DOD's 2015 delayering initiative, theOffice of the Deputy Chief Management Officer reviewed the workforce requirements and required annual certification of those requirements within each DOD organization acrossthe Future Years Defense Program through fiscal year 2020. The actions taken by DOD address the intent of GAO's recommendation and will better position DOD to effectivelyidentify opportunities for efficiencies and limit personnel growth at these organizations.

Implementing Entity:
Department of Defense
GAO Contacts