Military Training:

Actions Needed to Assess Workforce Requirements and Appropriate Mix of Army Training Personnel

GAO-11-845: Published: Sep 20, 2011. Publicly Released: Sep 20, 2011.

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To support ongoing operations, the Army gives priority to providing personnel to its operating forces over its support organizations, including Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC).TRADOC performs various functions, such as developing warfighting doctrine and providing training. To help manage its workforce, TRADOC has taken certain actions, such as relying more on contractors and reassigning other staff to be instructors. In a February 2010 memorandum, the TRADOC Commander stated that because of various factors TRADOC's ability to successfully perform its core competencies and functions was increasingly at risk. House Armed Services Committee report 111-491 directed GAO to evaluate the availability of Army trainers. GAO assessed the extent to which TRADOC has (1) identified the number and type of personnel needed to carry out its training mission and (2) evaluated the impact of its workforce management actions on the quality of training. GAO interviewed key Army and TRADOC officials and reviewed relevant doctrine, guidance, curricula, personnel requirements data, and training survey results.

TRADOC annually determines its requirements for key training positions, but limitations exist in its underlying approach, such as the use of outdated personnel requirements models. From fiscal years 2005 through 2011, TRADOC's requirements for instructors, training developers, and training support personnel have remained relatively steady while the student workload has increased by about a third. To determine personnel requirements, TRADOC uses various models involving formulas that rely on a range of assumptions and inputs. Army guidance requires Army commands to update models at least every 3 years, but TRADOC has not updated its model for determining the number of instructors it needs since 1998. As a result, assumptions and inputs used in the model may not reflect changes in how training is currently provided, such as the greater use of self-paced computerized learning in place of classroom instruction. Such changes could affect the number of instructors required to teach a course. In addition, TRADOC has used the same number, with minor modifications, for training developer requirements for the last 3 fiscal years. TRADOC officials recognize that using the same number for training developer requirements is not a valid approach and that an updated model is needed; however, they are unsure when they will be able to update the model. Lastly, TRADOC has not conducted an assessment to determine the optimum mix of military, Army civilian, and contractor personnel to use to execute its training mission. Without the benefit of models that are updated to more closely reflect current training conditions and without conducting a mix analysis, TRADOC does not have a sound basis for accurately identifying the number and types of personnel needed for key training personnel and making the most cost-effective use of training resources. TRADOC has taken various workforce management actions in order to execute its training mission, but its quality assurance program does not collect certain information needed to evaluate the impact of these actions on the quality of training. Among other things, TRADOC has increased the number of students that an instructor teaches, relied on more contractors as instructors, and reassigned doctrine and training developers to serve as instructors. Through surveys and other tools, TRADOC evaluates factors such as students' knowledge of course materials and whether an instructor is teaching from the curriculum, but it does not systematically collect the data needed to evaluate the impact of changing the student to instructor ratio or the type of instructor on the quality of training. TRADOC officials expressed mixed views about the impact of using contractors on the quality of training. Some believed that more military trainers are needed because these personnel have the knowledge and credibility gained from combat experience to teach soldiers. While others stated that contractors provide the same quality of training as military personnel. GAO noted that TRADOC's use of doctrine and training developers to serve as instructors is among the factors that have led to a backlog in updating doctrine and curricula, which could affect the quality of training. GAO recommends that TRADOC establish a plan to (1) update its personnel requirements models, doctrine, and curricula; (2) complete a personnel mix assessment; and (3) establish metrics to evaluate its workforce management actions. DOD concurred with the recommendations.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On April 9, 2015, the Director of U.S. Army Manpower Analysis Agency(USAMAA) signed a memorandum validating the model for determining manpower requirements for instructors. The model is a multilayered constructive equation that uses structured manning decision review input, updated programs of instruction (POIs), and validated indirect workload to identify the overall instructor requirements for all of TRADOC's Centers of Excellence. Application of the model--Instructor Requirements Model(IRM)--has been conditionally approved for the next three years. Once all of the new POIs have been used in the model and application results reviewed by USAMAA, USAMMA will issue a new memo unconditionally validating the model for use in determining instructor manpower requirements for an additional three years. This action meets the intent of our recommendation to update the model for instructors. In March 2012, HQDA approved the training model for Ammunition Delivery and Recovery and according to officials the results were reflected in FY 2014 manning documents. This model will directly support field training using a mixture o full-service and self-service methods to deliver training ammunitions to the user. According to officials, a stand alone staffing model for classroom setup is not required, because this function is captured by the IRM. This action meets the intent of the recommendation. In a separate modeling study of the Training Developments (TD) function, data collection has been completed and Product Action Times (PATs) calculated. Model development is nearing completion. TRADOC G-8 is projecting submission to USAMAA in 4th Qtr FY 2015. This recommendation will remain open until this action is implemented.

    Recommendation: To ensure that TRADOC is requesting the appropriate number and mix of personnel to serve as instructors, training developers, and training support personnel, the Secretary of the Army should direct TRADOC to develop a plan with specific implementation milestones to update its personnel requirements models for training personnel, including (1) updating models for instructors and training developers and (2) developing models for field training and classroom setup personnel not covered in the training support personnel model, and adjust requirements accordingly.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to TRADOC documentation, in June 2015, Headquarters Department of the Army approved the TRADOC Instructor Requirements Model to determine manpower requirements for program of instruction training at TRADOC Centers of Excellence schools. The approval of this model increases precision and transparency of POI based instructors functions and identifies the unique training requirements associated with individual courses. The model will be re-applied every year during the Structure Manning Decision review and POM process. The model is to be implemented over time with yearly updates on implementation progress to G3/FMP until fully implemented. These actions address the our recommendation that TRADOC ensure it is requesting the appropriate number and mix of personnel to serve as instructors. We previously closed the other part of the recommendation related to training developers and training support personnel.

    Recommendation: To ensure that TRADOC is requesting the appropriate number and mix of personnel to serve as instructors, training developers, and training support personnel, the Secretary of the Army should direct TRADOC to perform an assessment to determine the right mix of military, civilian, and contractor personnel needed to accomplish the training mission and make necessary adjustments to the current mix.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: 7/12 TRADOC officials stipulated that if they were given needed resources, the would have developed the metrics by August 2012. However, TRADOC did not receive the resources and do not anticipate getting resources. As a result, TRADOC believed they will not be able to address this recommendation.

    Recommendation: To ensure that TRADOC is requesting the appropriate number and mix of personnel to serve as instructors, training developers, and training support personnel, the Secretary of the Army should direct TRADOC to establish metrics within its quality assurance program to enable TRADOC to evaluate how its workforce management actions, such as increasing reliance on contractors, affect the quality of training and use the data collected from these metrics to make adjustments to training as needed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command created a task force focused on making fewer doctrine publications that would be shorter, more collaborative and more accessible. Besides dramatically changing the doctrinal structure itself, the resulting Doctrine 2015 program leverages emerging technology to accelerate and modernize the entire doctrine development and delivery processes. The Doctrine 2015 strategy calls for the doctrine development process to be faster, and the body of doctrine to include manuals that are fewer, shorter, clearer, and more accessible to the force. Doctrine 2015 separates doctrine into four major categories: Principles, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures, with each category having its own manual, or part of a manual. In this hierarchy, the top manuals drive those below them. For conflicts, the higher level manual is authoritative. These manuals go from high level Army Doctrine Publications (ADP) down to detailed Army Techniques Publications (ATP). Breaking the body of doctrine into separate manuals facilitates updating information more rapidly with the lower levels changing the fastest. According to TRADOC officials, TRADOC has further improved the accessibility of doctrine information by initiating a program to make doctrine publications available in an electronic format that facilitates reading on all types of mobile devices. In addition to the doctrinal manuals, supporting Interactive Multimedia Instruction and electronic storybooks are being developed, as well as apps, for access to doctrine through multiple platforms from virtually anywhere in the world. Work continues on the web-based guide for doctrine and related information. The Doctrine 2015 transition timeline is: 31 August 2012: Army Doctrine Publications / Army Doctrine Reference Publications complete. 30 June 2014: 43 of 50 Doctrine 2015 Field Manuals now complete. 31 December 2015: All remaining knowledge transitioned to Army Techniques Publications with a draft version of each on a milwiki site. These actions meet the intent of our recommendation and we are closing this recommendation as implemented.

    Recommendation: To ensure that soldiers are being trained on the most current and recent information, the Secretary of the Army should direct TRADOC to establish a plan to enable TRADOC to develop, review, and update doctrine and curricula by (1) setting additional priority areas beyond initial military training on which doctrine and training developers should focus and (2) identifying timelines by which these reviews should be completed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army


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