Substantial Staff And Cost Reductions Possible At Military Telecommunications Centers Through Use Of Uniform Staffing Standards

LCD-74-120: Published: Jan 7, 1975. Publicly Released: Jan 7, 1975.

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GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) management and operation of its telecommunications systems and the significant cost of staffing the telecommunications centers.

GAO noted: (1) the Office of the Secretary of Defense has not issued specific guidance or instructions for staffing of DOD telecommunications centers; (2) military departments or subordinate commands, however, have established their own criteria which, in many instances, are not conducive to determining proper staffing requirements; (3) most land-based, nonmobile military telecommunications centers have operational functions--message handling, message distribution, message relay, and traffic analysis--similar enough to permit application of a uniform staffing standard; (4) GAO constructed a composite message-handling and traffic analysis standard for application to the traffic workload at centers where the operational functions are considered to be done manually; (5) using the composite standard and the related number of onboard personnel, centers--represented by GAO's statistical sample--were in the aggregate overstaffed; (6) by projecting the sample results to the universe, GAO estimates that the net overstaffing totalled about 2,170; (7) monetary impact of this overstaffing is $21.7 million each year in increased communications center operating costs; (8) such costs and personnel could be applied to improve combat effectiveness within the military departments; (9) included in the sample were seven centers each having one or more optical character readers--automated equipment--which are supposed to reduce manual operator functions; (10) GAO's study indicates that introducing automated equipment into these centers has not resulted in the staffing reductions that could be achieved; and (11) potential cost reductions shown in this report emphasize the need for management to direct its attention toward developing and maintaining adequate and current staffing standards for operating telecommunications centers.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense or his designee, such as the director, Telecommunications and Command and Control Systems, should: (1) develop uniform DOD telecommunications center staffing standards; (2) update the standards, as necessary, to encompass evolving telecommunications automation advances; and (3) insure that staffing levels are consistent with the standards.

    Agency Affected:


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