The Army Continues To Have Serious Problems Identifying Its Resource Requirements

LCD-80-67: Published: Jun 30, 1980. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 1980.

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The Army's systems for identifying, monitoring, and reporting the needs of its combat units for people and equipment are not compiling accurate information. As a result, inaccurate information is being used in critical management processes that ultimately determine whether the Army can efficiently and effectively accomplish its mission. Resource requirements are based on the requirements that major field commands report for individual combat units. Without accurate information on these requirements millions of dollars may be wasted in buying and maintaining the wrong equipment, recruiting and training programs may be aimed at providing the wrong job skills, crucial resources may be distributed to the wrong locations, and the Army may not be organized and equipped to accomplish its mission. These conditions may not be apparent through the Army's readiness reporting system. To identify resource needs the Training and Doctrine Command first translates approved plans into model organizations and requirements for prototype units. The major field commands pattern their actual units and requirements after the models, with modifications to reflect the needs of units with unusual missions or operating environments. The models must be periodically reviewed and revised and the major field commands must pattern their units after current models. To a large extent, neither of these conditions is being met and invalid requirements are being used in many critical management processes. Major field commands often fail to reorganize their units and revise their requirements as prescribed by changes in the Army's models; this affects the accuracy of their unit's readiness reports.

With these weaknesses in its systems, the Army cannot ensure that requirements reported by major commands accurately reflect the resources combat units need to accomplish their missions, the requirements data used in critical management processes are valid, or combat units are actually organized and equipped in accordance with current plans. The Army must make additional personnel available to conduct more thorough reviews of its requirements. Some major field commands give more emphasis on their readiness ratings than they do to the Army's actual readiness condition. The Army's efficiency and effectiveness depend on compliance with the models developed by its experts. Army headquarters recently adopted a policy that permits field commanders to forgo changes unless they have the resources available, thus Army headquarters has lost an essential element of control over the requirements reported for individual combat units. In some cases, reported requirements unjustifiably deviate from approved models because of human error. As the GAO review was limited to an analysis of the system and did not include the Army's need for specific resources, or the quality of resource management, GAO does not know the full extent to which the Army's reported requirements are invalid or the full effect invalid requirement reports are having on critical management decisions. GAO believes that the Army does not know either.

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