Improvements Needed in Army's Determination of Manpower Requirements for Support and Administrative Functions

FPCD-79-32: Published: May 21, 1979. Publicly Released: May 21, 1979.

Additional Materials:


Martin M. Ferber
(202) 275-5140


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Army manpower survey teams make on-site appraisals and recommend the number of people needed for support and administrative functions at Army installations. The recommendations of the survey team are also the basis for the garrison staffing guide, which provides criteria for subsequent surveys. The surveys, although useful for some installation and major command management decisions, are not coordinated with the major manpower activities of planning, programming, and budgeting; allocating human resources to installations and work centers; and evaluating manpower use. Consequently, the Army supports its garrison budget by adjusting prior year budgets. However, the Army cannot quantify the effect of not receiving the personnel which survey teams say are needed for garrison work and cannot accurately predict manpower needs.

In order to improve its justifications for budget requests, the Army needs to overcome various problems. The Army's manpower survey program is not designed to provide input to the budget. Since the survey teams determine garrison needs by organizational element and the Army budgets by activity, the survey team recommendations cannot be summarized into the activity used for budgeting. Survey team recommendations have exceeded congressional authorizations; in fiscal year (FY) 1978 the shortage was 20 percent. Survey teams and work measurement staff make recommendations without regard to the source of labor, even though garrison labor is funded by four appropriations and can be managed under about nine different programs. Installation commanders have been given a great deal of flexibility in distributing available resources, organizing activities, and using other labor sources, but this decentralized management contributes to a number of problems. Commands have been directed to develop work measurement standards for total programs or missions, but the Army headquarters has not provided the top level management direction on selecting the appropriate technique, how to relate work center requirements to program changes in the budget, how to develop standards to compare similar activities, the extent methods studies should be conducted to improve and standardize operations before setting standards, and collecting reliable labor and work load data.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO will resurvey the Army's manpower requirements system in FY 1987.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the Army to use experienced personnel to design a manpower management system with the following characteristics: (1) an organizational structure that combines the manpower-related responsibilities and staffing into one organization at all levels; (2) a methodology for determining manpower needs based on work measurement where it is feasible and cost-effective; (3) a management information system which uses a common database for work center needs, garrison costs, budget requests, allocations, and evaluations of manpower use; and (4) a determination of the spaces needed to implement the system and an allocation of these manpower resources to the program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should identify the type of information the Army needs to prepare and support its manpower budget.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Jan 19, 2021

Jan 13, 2021

Dec 16, 2020

Dec 9, 2020

Dec 3, 2020

Nov 30, 2020

Nov 24, 2020

Nov 23, 2020

Nov 18, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here