Defense Headquarters

Status of Efforts to Redefine and Reduce Headquarters Staff Gao ID: NSIAD-00-224 September 6, 2000

This report focuses on the status of Department of Defense's (DOD) efforts to redefine and reduce defense headquarters staff. GAO found that DOD's implementation of new management headquarters has resulted in a more accurate reporting of positions in headquarters activities, even though some inconsistencies still exist.

GAO noted that: (1) in implementing the revised directive, the Department has more accurately reported the number of positions in headquarters activities; (2) the number of positions reported in headquarters activities as of September 30, 1999, increased by about 15,300, or by 32 percent--from about 47,700 to 63,000; (3) the primary reason for the increase was that for the first time the military services and Defense agencies reported positions in subordinate activities such as field operating agencies that provide direct support to headquarters and major commands; (4) however, GAO did identify some inconsistencies in how the service components designated positions as headquarters and implemented the directive; (5) for example, the Air Force reported 1 of 65 positions in its cost analysis center as management headquarters, and the Army and the Navy reported all positions in their cost centers as management headquarters; (6) additionally, officials in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the services indicated that the overall management headquarters personnel count could change--increase or decrease in selected areas--based on ongoing internal reviews; (7) DOD does not plan to reduce positions in management headquarters activities by 15 percent (9,460) by the end of fiscal year (FY) 2002, as required by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000; (8) rather, the Department plans to reduce the number of headquarters positions by 2,769, which represents about 29 percent of the mandated reductions by the end of FY 2001, and is seeking relief from the larger reduction requirement; (9) some additional reductions may be made in FY 2002, but according to Department officials, a final estimate has not been approved; and (10) Department officials have expressed concern that positions in headquarters activities have already been significantly reduced over the last 10 years and that further reductions would jeopardize the combatant commanders' ability to manage demands associated with global military presence and would threaten the military departments' ability to meet their financial and program oversight responsibilities.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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