Highlights of a Report on Staffing and Organization of Top-Management Headquarters in the Department of Defense

FPCD-76-35A: Published: Jul 6, 1976. Publicly Released: Jul 6, 1976.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) top-management headquarters to determine the size and decisionmaking processes of the Offices of the Secretaries of Defense, the Army, Navy, Air Force, the Army Chief of Staff, Chief of Naval Operations, Air Force Chief of Staff, and Marine Corps. GAO surveyed about 1,000 offices employing approximately 14,000 people.

The large number of organizations performing the same type of activities provides insights into potential redundancies for further consolidations and or cutbacks. These insights are the key to an alternative to across-the-board headquarters' reductions. Difficulties in identifying areas in which reductions should be made arise through organizational peculiarities and inconsistent reporting of headquarters strength. The current method of defining management headquarters relates to the primary mission of an organization, such as policy development. An estimated 14 percent of Defense headquarters' personnel were required to work on congressional requests for information in fiscal year 1975. This effort cost about $54.9 million. DOD reporting requirements have been permitted to expand without effective controls, so that military departments spend $850 million annually to produce reports and related information. The various Secretaries have circumvented the formal control system and established their own reporting requirements. This has resulted in redundant and inconsistent data which required extensive amounts of additional work to produce.

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