Estimates of Available Hours for Military Personnel in Wartime Distort Force Requirements and Planning

FPCD-80-6: Published: Dec 11, 1979. Publicly Released: Dec 11, 1979.

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An evaluation was made of the military services' policies for estimating the availability of wartime military personnel. The estimates are used in calculating personnel needed for future contingencies, and the potential need is then taken into consideration for establishing peacetime personnel requirements. The scope of this evaluation was extended beyond that of previous reports in that it considered interservice differences in determining wartime requirements.

There was no reason to change the conclusions of previous reports which stated that: availability determinations were not based on common criteria; estimates were often old, incomplete, and unsupported; and variances within organizations were not accounted for. One exception lies with the Air Force, which supports its availability estimates with detailed and fairly current studies. Personnel requirements based on inaccurate and out-of-date available hours may be greatly understated or overstated. In addition to a possible impact on readiness, this can also create hardships and morale problems which affect retention.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should develop guidelines for: defining availability and identifying the types of absences such as leave and training that must be accounted for in estimating available hours; defining the workweek criteria to be used as a basis for developing the combat force available hours; requiring the annual validation or adjustment of available hours; and requiring the maintenance of documentation supporting the available hours.

    Agency Affected:


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