Development and Use of Military Services' Staffing Standards:

More Direction, Emphasis, and Consistency Needed

FPCD-77-72: Published: Oct 18, 1977. Publicly Released: Oct 18, 1977.

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Personnel costs represent the largest part of the Department of Defense's budget, with over half of the personnel serving in support rather than combat functions in fiscal year 1977. The military services use a variety of management tools and techniques such as manpower surveys, staffing guides, criteria manuals, and staffing standards in determining support personnel requirements.

With the exception of the Air Force, the services have made little progress in developing and using these techniques. The Office of the Secretary of Defense has not provided adequate leadership in the development and use of staffing standards which would eliminate ambiguity. This ambiguity has led to vast differences in the services' approaches to staffing standards and has limited the Office's ability to evaluate personnel budget requests. Differences exist within and among the services in: policies for and control of staffing standards and programs; assignment and training of personnel for standards development; personnel covered by standards; and use of standards in determining staffing requirements. Unlike the other services, the Air Force has saved money and gathered more accurate work force figures by extensive use of standards for determining staffing requirements. Work measurement is considered to be the most reliable basis for staffing standards.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: The Secretary of Defense should require greater use of staffing standards by: establishing a comprehensive program that would delineate basic assumptions, definitions, and methods; establishing realistic goals for increased coverage by standards and monitoring progress; insuring high priority for proper personnel assignment for standards development; directing the use of civilian rather than enlisted personnel unless otherwise justified; and requiring personnel requests to specify positions supported by standards. The Committee should require the Office to periodically report to Congress on the services' progress in developing staffing standards, the extent to which personnel budgets are based on the standards, and the Office's progress in managing a staffing standards program.


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