Improvements Needed in Defense Programs for Training Transportation Officers and Agents

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-07-20.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                           DOCUMENT RESUME

03059 - [42033124]
Improvements Needed in Defense Programs for Training
                                              9; B-189179. Jujy
Transportation Officers and Agents. LCD-77-22
20, 1977. 8 pp.
                                                     J. Shafer,
Report to Secretary, Department of Defense; by Fred
Director, Logistics and Communications  Div.
Issue Area: Facilities and Material Management:
    Transportation of Things (7C4).
Contact: Logistics and Communications  Div.
                                               of Defense -
Budgqt Function: National Defense: Department
    iilitary (except procures.nt & contracts) (051).
          The Department of Defense's (DOD's) traffic management
                                                        exist in the
training programs lack uniformity, and differences
selection of personnel for traffic   management   training.
                                                      a year for
Pindin•s/Conclusion£: DOD spends over $3 billion is involved in
commercial transportation  services.  Each  year  it
                                                           subject to
hundreds of thousands of4 transportation procurements and
numerous statutes, polic es, regulations,     directives,
                                                most important
comlercial and industrial fund tariffs. The       the caliber of the
element in the traffic aanagement   programs   is
people who do the work. Although the skills and requirements are
traffic management positions throughout    the  Department
essentially the same, there is a diversity of
                                   Wide  differences   exist among
Philosophies among the services.                    management
the three £ervices in the  selection  of  traffic
personnel for training. Recommendations: The Department School
Defense should: consider making   the 3avy's   Transportation
the primary interservice traffic management facility;  sales  in
instruction in intermodalism  and  forei(n   military
                                                         for all
 school curricula; require in-residence instruction the staffing
 installation transportation officers;   and  reexamine
of installation transportation officer positions and replace
 the extent to which senior enlisted  personnel    could
 officers and civilians. (Author/SC)

     .   /   UNITED STATES

             Improvements Needed In
             Defense Programs For
             Training Transportation
             Officers And Agents
             Department of Defense
             The Department of Defense's traffic manage-
             ment training programs lack uniformity, and
             differences exist in the selection of personnel
             for traffic man;agement trabning. Also, we
             found officers ane civilians occupying traffic
             management positions which could be staffed
             by enlisted personnel. The Department
                  -- Consider makitig the Navy's Transpor-
                    tation School the primary interservice
                    traffic management facility.
                  -- Include instruction in intermodalism
                    and foreign military sales ir, school cur-
                  -- Require in-residence instruction for all
                    installation transportation officers.
                  --Reexamine the staffing of installation
                   transportation officer positions and
                   determine the extent to which senior
                   enlisted personnel could replace offi-
                   cers and civilians.
             LCD-77-229                                          JULY 20, 1977
                                      WASHINGTON, D.C. 20548



    The Honorable
    The Secretary of Defense

    Dear Mr. Secretary:
         We surveyed the Department of Defense's training pro-
    grams for transportation officers and agents but do not plan
    to study these matters in further detail.  We are providing
    the following observations which may be useful in strength-
    ening the services' training programs.

         The Department spends over $3 billion a year for commer-
    cial transportation services. Each year it is involved in
    hundreds of thousands nf transportation procurements subject
    to numerous statutes, policies, regulations, directives, and
    commercial and industrial fund tariffs.

         The most important element in the tracfic management
    programs is the caliber of the people who do the work. The
    Department's traffic management personnel must have a great
    deal of special knowledge, skill, and dedication if the Na-
    tion's defense and public interest are to be well served.

         In March 1976 the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff for Lo-
    gistics was concerned about the qualifications of officers
    assigned to installation transportation officer (ITO) posi-
    tions. He said in part:

            "I am concerned about the professional qualifi-
             cations and quality of officers assigned to In-
             stallation Transportation Office (ITO) positions
             in the field. I have received several recent
             indications from such sources as the DAIG [De-
             partment of the Army Inspector General], GAO,
             and the Commander, MTMC [Military Traffic Man-
             agement Command], that there are serious defi-
             ciencies in the educational program and career
             development of personnel occupying ITO positions.


     "The magnitude of the portion of the Army's budget
      which ITO's obligate and the significant impact
      which the services they prcvide have on the morale
      and welfare of soldiers and their families war-
      rants intensive management. We must insure that
      qualified personnel serve in such positions of
            *        *           *        *     *

     "I am convinced that formal education in trans-
      portation management is essential to develop
      technical skills of ITO's in order to improve
      management capability in the field to a level
      of competence commensurate with the signifi-
      cance of this function. * * *"

     We agree with these observations. The primary method
of obtaining and maintaining the skills necessary to effi-
ciently manage these transportation activities is through
the Department's training programs. The following are our
suggestions for improving these programs.


     Although the skills and requirements for traffic man-
agement positions throughout the Department are essentially
the same, we found a diversity in training philosophies
among the services.

     For example, the Army's Training and Doctrine Command
has directed all Department of the Army schools to deinsti-
tutionalize as many training courses as possible. This
program aims at avoiding formalized training as much as
possible to keep soldiers with their units for most of their
service time. The Training Command set two primary objec-
tives for the Army's Training School:   (1) to provide formal
training for "hard skills" (for example, helLcopter ma_,.-
tenance and stevedoring abilities) which must be taught in
school and (2) to develop "export training packages" to be
sent to Army units for in-house administration. The Training
Command considers traffic management a "soft skill" which can
be learned through correspondence.  We disagree.
     Correspondence courses supplemented by indepth on-the-
job training would foster a limited technical competence.
Traffic management, which we define as the direction of


efforts concerned dith shipment of military cargo, has long
been recognized as a discipline requiring college-level, in-
residence training. Typical college courses in transporta-
tion, traffic management, and the broader topics of dis-
tribution management are taught to senior undergraduate and
graduate students.

     In the Navy most basic traffic management skills, good
or bad, are acquired through on-the-job training. The Navy
has an excellent traffic management school at Oakland, Cali-
fornia, which provides the type of in-residence, college-
level courses we believe necessary to develop well-trained,
competent traffic managers. However, attendance at this
facility is voluntary.

     The Air Force, on the other hand. requires most of
its traffic managers to attend in-residence transportation
courses appropriate to the complexity c¢ the positions to
which they are to be assigned. We believe the Air Force's
training philosophy is more likely to produce adequately
trained traffic managerJ.


      Wide differences exist among the three services in
.electing traffic management personnel, for training. For
example, almost all Army career transportation officers
attend the transportation officers advanced course. Only
about half of the noncommissioned officers in the traffic
management career field are school trained. We were unable
to determine how many Department of the Army civilians have
been school trained. The only training available to these
civilians consists of specialized short courses and corres-
pondence courses which are not required for career develop-

     In the Air Force virtually all officers an-' -oncommis-
sioned officers in the traffic management field are school
trained. As in the Army no data was available to determine
the extent to which Air Force civilians have been school
trained. They also normally attend specialized short courses
subject to school quotas and funding.

     Navy officers assigned to traffic management positions
are not required .oube trained by the Navy's Transportation
School. However, most Navy transportation officers choose


to attend the school.  Few Navy enlisted personnel occupy
traffic management posititns. Thus, they do not have to
be school trained. Navy civilian traffic managers are not
required to be school trained. However, they may volunteer
for the Navy's Transportation School and many do so.


     The Navy's Transportation School, located in Oakland,
California, is close to a variety of military and civilian
transportation system activities. Consequently, its class-
room instruction can be readily supplemented by visits to
such activities. The training schools of the Army and the
Air Force, for the most part, do not have this advantage.
Therefore, the Navy school would seem to be the logical
location for establishing the primary interservice traffic
management training facility, with a program appropriately
designed for the needs of all the services.

     The Navy school has other favorable aspects. Its
traffic management curriculum is the most intensive (88
hours) and advanced of the three service schools. Alse
the Commandant of the Navy school told us that the class-
room facilities could accommodate the additional workload.
A slight increase in the teaching staff might be necessary;
however, this should be offset by commensurate reductions
in the staffs of the Army and Air Force schools.

     The Air Force school is located at Sheppard Air Force
Base, Wichita Falls, Texas. From a transportation opera-
tions viewpoint, this school is poorly located. The Air
Force deals with this handicap by scheduling 1-week trips
to Oakland to review the transportation operations that
the Navy school has available on a continuing basis at no

     The Army's Transportation School at Fort Eustis, Vir-
ginia, is better located than the Air Force school since it
is near Norfolk. Visits to rail and truck carriers as well
as sea container operators are possible. However, this
school lacks the wide range of transportation activities
which are accessible to the Navy's school, and it does not
now offer the college-type transpcrtation and traffic man-
agement training so well developed at th- Navy school.

     It should be noted that the Department's Inter-service
Training Review Organization has been established to review


the services'   training courses and, when a consensus has
been reached,   recommend training courses for consolidatfo..
At this time,   the Organization has taken no position on the
consolidation   of traffic management training.

     At the Army's Transportation School, the transportation
officers' advanced course, which covers 26 weeks of intensive
training, devoted less than 6 hours to defense traffic man-
agement (that is, the procedures and problems involved in
moving Army cargo by commercial common carriers). A lot of
time is spent on tactics; other logistic and administrative
matters; and service-peculiar transportation subjects, such
as the operation of Army boat, truck, and rail units. de
found a need for training in the special problems involved
in transporting foreign military ales materiel shipments,
which now constitute about 40 percent of the Army's trans-
portation work.

     We also found a lack of training in the complex area of
hintermodalism"--the shipment of uargo from point to point
by more than one means of transport. Obvious difficulties
exist in coordinating and dealing with many carriers. The
mechanics of internodalism are known. The subject, one of
the most important in today's transportation world, is not
taught by any of the transportation schools even though most
shipments in the Department's distribution system involve
intermodalism. We believe that the subjects of foreign mili-
tary sales transportation and intermodalism should be in-
cluded in defense traffic management instruction.

     We reviewed a number of Army correspondence courses and
found some to be outdated.  Such courses are supposed to be
updated every 3 years, yet some have not been revised for
more than 5 years. For example, the "Traffic Management in
Procurement" course, which had not been reviewed or revised
since 1969, contained some erroneous and misleading passages.
Several other courses had similar problems.

     An unresolved paradox exists under the Training Command's
policy which requires the Army schools to eliminate formal
classroom training as much as possible.   Instead, the schools
are to develop correspondence courses to be administered by
the individual commands. However, the Army's Transportation
School develops its correspondence courses from classroom
instructors' lesson plans. Most classroom instructors and
classroom training in traffic manageme..t have been or are


 scheduled to be eliminated. Thus, this basis
                                                for preparing
 and updating traffic management correspondence
                                                 courses will
 no longer be available. At the time of our review,
 were no plans to retain this capability and expertisethere
 the school.                                            at

      The Air Force's Transportation school provides
                                                      a 400-
 hour, 10-week technical transportation training
 emphasizing the air mode. Included in the course
 aforementioned 1-week visit to various defense     is the
 tion activities in the Oak.and area.

     The curriculum is designsd to produce
expertise within officer and noncommissionedtransportation
                                              officer corps.
As with the Army, the Air Force school does not
instruction on the problems involved with the    provide
                                               shipment of
foreign military sales materiel and intermodalism.

     The Navy's Transportation
hensive curriculum of the three School has the most compre-
                                 schools we reviewed. Sub-
jects cover the full range of physical distribution.
attempt to cover intermodalism problems is made        in
heading of "Quantitative Aspects of Distribution under the
This subject embraces the systems aspects of physical
tribution, including transportation, intermodal
as part of the totally integrated system.        or other,

     The Navy school has recently instituted a special
course addressing the problems involved with transportation
under the foreign military sales program.


     There is a need for the services to reexamine
installation transportation officer                 the
                                    positions to determine
whether enlisted personnel could replace most,
                                                if not all,
of the officers and many of the civilians currently
There are more than 1,500 ITO positions in the       assigned.
which are normally staffed with officers in grades
0-4 or civilians in grades GS-9, GS-11, and GS-12. 0-3 and
lieve that enlisted personnel in grades E-7, E-8,    We be-
                                                   and E-9,
if properly trained, could more than adequately
duties                                           perform the
       of these ITOs at less cost.   Our premise is
the fact that enlisted personnel assigned to trafficbased on
ment normally progress through assignments which      manage-
close to the details of day-to-day operations.    keep them
                                                Through nor-
mal career rotation, they are assigned to various


management jobs throughout the world. This experience
allows them to obtain perspective and dev:Liop vlose rapport
with receivers of the shipments. For example, in the area
of household goods movements, enlisted Personnel are likely
to have had first-hand experience with foor service, loss,
and damage, thus creating empathy with the sezvice member.

     An officer with a traffic management job classification
will normally serve only one or two working tours. After
that his assignments will probably be to a headquarters level
or to an entirely different field, such as procurement or
comptroller. Generally, the enlisted person's career will
be devoted to the "nuts and bolts" of traffic management.

     Civilian traffic managers, unlike officers, generally
have continuous assignments at the working traffic manage-
ment level. However, they, rarely a-e reassigned from one
location to another, and thus they cannot acquire the
breadth of e:-perience acquired by enlisted personnel.

     The Air Force leads in the use of enlisted personnel
assigned to key transportation management positions. The
Army makes good use of its enlisted personnel in this area,
but additionel emphasis is needed. Both the Army and the
Air Force train enlisted personnel extensively in the trans-
portation area. The Navy has few enlisted personnel in
transportation management positions. We consiOdr this a
deficiency in the Navy's personnel management program. We
also believe that increased use of enlisted personnel wouild
clearly result in substantial economic benefits.


     In summary, we believe:

     -- Consideration should be given to making the Navy's
        school the primary interservice traffic management
        training facility, with a program designed for the
        needs of all the services. The Army and the Air
        Force should continue to teach those transportation
        subjects peculiar to each service.

     -- Comprehensive instruction covering the problems
        associated with intermodalism and the shipment of
        foreign military sales materiel should be included
        in the services' transportation school curriculums.

     -- In-residence training of installation transportation
        officers should be required.


     -- The Department should reexamine the staffing of the
        installation transportation officer positions and
        determine the extent to which senior enlisted per-
        sonnel can replace the officers and c!vilians occu-
        pying these positions.

     We would appreciate hearing your views on our observa-
tions. If you have questions or comme.its, please contact
Mr. Allen W. Sumner at 275-3637,

                              Sincerely yours,

                              Fred J. Shafer