Defense Reorganization: DOD's Efforts to Streamline the Transportation Command

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-10-26.

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

                         DOD’s Efforts to
                         Streamline the

                                                  RELEASED ---
                         RESTRICTED --Not      to be released outside the
                         General Accounting Offlce unless speciflcally
                         approved by the Office of Congressional

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                       United States
                       General Accountlug Office
                       Washlugton, D.C. 20648

                       National Security and
                       International Affairs Division


                       October 26,199O

                       The Honorable Nicholas Mavroules
                       Chairman, Subcommittee on Investigations
                       Committee on Armed Services
                       House of Representatives

                       Dear Mr. Chairman:

                       As you requested, we reviewed the implementation of recommendations
                       concerning the U.S. Transportation Command contained in a February
                       1988 Department of Defense (DOD) task force report. The report was
                       entitled Review of Unified and Specified Command Headquarters (com-
                       monly referred to as the Vander Schaaf Report) and recommended,
                       among other things, the elimination of the separate component com-
                       mand headquarters. You wanted to know what progress had been made
                       in eliminating the separate Army, Navy, and Air Force component com-
                       mand headquarters and thereby creating a single integrated headquar-
                       ters for the U.S. Transportation Command. In particular, you requested
                       information on command staff reductions, and any other actions taken
                       by the commands that would affect the organizational relationships
                       between headquarters and components.

                       We briefed members of your staff on the preliminary results of our
                       efforts. This letter provides additional details on the matters discussed.
                       It must be recognized that the information for this letter was developed
                       prior to the initiation of Operation Desert Shield. Thus, it does not
                       address the activities of the Transportation Command in moving large
                       payloads of equipment and personnel to Saudi Arabia.

                       Our review showed the following:
Results in Brief
                   . The Secretary of Defense did not accept the February 1988 report’s rec-
                     ommendation to eliminate the separate service component command
                     headquarters. He directed that 204 positions be eliminated from Com-
                     mand and component headquarters instead of the 1,O15 positions recom-
                     mended in the report. However, due to budget reductions since the
                     Secretary’s decision, over 250 additional positions have been eliminated.
                   l The Transportation Command was established as a command oriented
                     toward wartime and national emergencies. In peacetime the component
                     commands operate within their respective services, and the Transporta-
                     tion Command does not function as a fully operating unified command.

                       Page 1                               GAO/NSIAD-91-36BR   Transportation   Command


               The Commander of the Transportation Command stated the Command
               should be given comparable responsibility for peacetime operations as it
               has for wartime.
             . The Transportation Command’s Reorganization Task Force, which
               included representatives from Command headquarters, the service com-
               ponent commands, and the Joint Staff, reviewed the command’s opera-
               tions and recommended a number of changes. The Task Force’s
               recommendations, designed to improve operations and submitted to the
               Joint Chiefs of Staff in July 1990, are currently under review.

               The Transportation Command, headquartered at Scott Air Force Base,
Background     Illinois, was established in April 1987. It was established as a unified’
               command to provide global air, land, and sea transportation to meet
               national security needs. The Command has three service component
               commands: the Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC), the Mili-
               tary Sealift Command (M%), and the Military Airlift Command (MAC).

               MTMC,the Army’s component command, is headquartered in Falls
               Church, Virginia. It serves as the single manager for land transportation
               and controls procurement of commercial transportation for movement
               of cargo. MTMChas three major subordinate field commands with field

               MSC,the Navy’s component, is headquartered in Washington, D.C. Its pri-
               mary mission is to provide strategic sealift in support of U.S. military
               forces worldwide. MSChas four subordinate commands with field offices
               overseas. Most MSCfield offices are located with, or very near, MTMC
               field offices.

               MAC,the Air Force’s component, is headquartered at Scott Air Force
               Base, Illinois. Its mission is to provide global military airlift during both
               peace and war. The major MAL=components are the Zlst and 22nd Air
               Forces, which operate the airlift system. Because of its proximity to the
               Transportation Command headquarters, personnel in 94 MACpositions
               also perform functions for the Transportation Command. Currently, the
               same person serves as the commander of both the Transportation Com-
               mand and MAC.

                In a memorandum dated December 14,1987, the Secretary of Defense
                directed that the DOD Deputy Inspector General conduct a review of the

                ‘unifiedcommands   are composed of force3 from two or more services.

                Page 2                                           GAO/NSIAD91-36B1&     Tmuwportation       Command
                       unified and specified command headquarters. The primary objective of
                       the review was to reduce staff levels and overhead costs, giving partic-
                       ular attention to overlapping responsibilities, duplication of functions,
                       and excessive organizational layering. The task force issued its report in
                       February 1988.

                       The task force recommended eliminating 1,015 of the 7,317 positions it
                       identified as associated with headquarters functions of the Transporta-
                       tion Command, its component commands, and field offices of the compo-
                       nents. A major part of the proposed personnel reductions would have
                       resulted from eliminating service component command headquarters,
                       which are subordinate to the Transportation Command.

                       The Secretary of Defense did not agree to eliminate the 1,015 positions
Component Command      that the task force recommended. Instead, the Secretary directed, in
Headquarters Have      September 1988, that Command headquarters and component staffs be
Not Eken Eliminated,   reduced by 204 positions. The Secretary indicated he was persuaded by
                       a compelling case made by senior military leadership that the service
but Staffs Have Been   components of the unified commands needed to be retained. Therefore,
Reduced                he rejected most of the proposed reductions associated with that

                       According to Transportation Command officials, their headquarters
                       received only minor cuts because it was a new command that was not
                       fully operational at the time of the task force report. DOD recognized that
                       headquarters staffing had not yet reached planned levels and based its
                       cuts accordingly. Table 1 shows the Command’s authorized staff base-
                       line used by the task force, the changes recommended by the task force,
                       and the changes that were directed by the Secretary of Defense.

                       Page 3                               GAO/NSIAD-9136BR   Transportation   Command

Table 1: Command Baseline Staff Levels,
Proposed Task Force Changes, and DOD                                                  Baseline staff    Proposed task              DOD directed
Directed Changes                          --                                                  levels    force changes              staff changes
                                          Transportation Command                                 388                +2,468
                                                                                                                    --         ______-.---     -4
                                          Major component
                                                        ----- headquarters
                                              MTMC                                               604                  -604 -                  -50
                                          -~-MSC                                                 508      __...       -354
                                                                                                                    __-.-                     -45
                                          -.---.--                                             2,512                -2,345~-..~-             -105
                                          Subtotal                                             4,012                  -835
                                                                                                                     --~~-...                -204
                                          Subordinate offices
                                          ___--                                                                                      ..~            -
                                          --.-.-                                              1,271     ___       ...____..-.0 ~--____              0
                                              MSC                                           - 1,125                   -180                          0
                                              MAC                            ____.-             909                        0                        0
                                          Subtotal                                            3,305           -____-  -180                          0
                                          Total                                               7,317                 -1.015                   -204
                                          Transfer MSC headquarters to Navy
                                          -~                                                      (a)                   154                         0
                                          Transfer MAC headquarters to
                                          Special Operations Command                              (4                    167                         0
                                          aNot applicable

                                          The task force recommended eliminating 1,O15 positions by transferring
                                          positions from the service component headquarters to the Transporta-
                                          tion Command and eliminating positions from MSC subordinate activities.
                                          The task force recommended transferring 154 positions representing
                                          service unique functions from MSC headquarters to other Navy activities.
                                          In addition, the task force recommended transferring 167 positions rep-
                                          resenting the special operations portions of the 23rd Air Force from MAC
                                          headquarters to the Special Operations Command.

                                          Effective May 22, 1990, the Air Force established the Air Force Special
                                          Operations Command as a major command and component of the U.S.
                                          Special Operations Command, absorbing all MAC special operations func-
                                          tions. This action, in effect, implemented the task force recommendation
                                          to transfer MAC special operations functions to the Special Operations

                                          Since the implementation of the staff reductions directed by the Secre-
                                          tary of Defense, additional reductions have been made. As shown in
                                          table 2, staff authorizations have generally decreased from fiscal years
                                          1988 through 1991. These decreases reflect both the 204 positions cut as
                                          a result of the task force’s recommendations and general budget cuts
                                          imposed by the services on the component commands.

                                          Page 4                                           GAO/NSIAD-91-36BR        Transportation     Command


Table 2: Transportation Command Staff
Authorizations-Fiscal   Years 1988                                                                 Fiscal year                            Chan e
Through 1991                                                                             1988      1989     1990       1991               1988-fl 1
                                        Transportation Command                            302__-   371         411       390               --. +88
                                         Service component headquarters
                                        -____-                                         __----
                                        -. MTMC                                           628      593         596       575                  -53
                                            MSC                                           501      502         428       416                  -85
                                            MAC .___                                    2,538    2,495       2,396     2,247 ---‘--?iii
                                         Subtotal                        ___-           3,969    3,961       3,831     3,628-                -34i-
                                         Subordinate offices                                                              -____-
                                            MTMC                                     1,328        1,354     1,230     1,278 ~_----.            -50-
                                            MSC                                       1,117       1,117     1,115     1,115                      -2
                                            MAC                  ..-.-.-          ____ 906        1.126       896       799                  -107
                                        Subtotal                                     3,351        3,597     3,241     3,192                  -159
                                        Total                                        7,320        7,558     7,072     6,820                  -500

                                        Transportation Command officials said they expect substantial staffing
                                        changes in future years. The services are currently planning major cuts
                                        in component headquarters and subordinate staff manning levels for
                                        fiscal year 1992 and succeeding years, These cuts will reflect the compo-
                                        nent’s proportionate share of the overall staff reductions required by its
                                        respective service. Transportation Command officials expect that, by
                                        the end of fiscal year 1993, the total cuts will exceed those recom-
                                        mended in the task force report.

                                        Under its charter, the Transportation Command has, during wartime
Transportation                          and national emergencies, authority over airlift, sealift, and land trans-
Command Given                           portation required for strategic mobility. The services-through     MTMC,
Limited Peacetime                       MSC, and MAC-retain peacetime operational authority. The service com-
                                        ponents have operational control of forces assigned to the Transporta-
Authority                               tion Command and responsibility for service-unique missions, as well as
                                        control of industrial funds.2 Each component is a major command of its
                                        parent service, which organizes, trains, and equips its forces.
                                        To perform as a fully operating unified command, Transportation Com-
                                        mand officials believe that the command should be responsible for oper-
                                        ation of strategic lift during peace, war, and national emergencies. This
                                        change, which command officials believe would insure a smooth transi-
                                        tion to war and a more efficient peacetime operation, would require the
                                        Secretary of Defense’s approval to amend its charter.

                                        2An industrial fund provides working capital for industrial and commercial activities that provide
                                        common services within DOD.

                                        Page 6                                             GAO/NSIAD-Sl-36BR      Transportation     Command

                     As evidence of the need to change its charter, command officials cited
                     the results of an exercise conducted in October 1989. At that time, the
                     Transportation Command participated in its first major joint exercise
                     since the command’s formation. In its December 20,1989, report, a
                     senior evaluation team suggested that the command consolidate some
                     peacetime tasks at the command’s headquarters. The team suggested
                     that the consolidation begin with traffic management and contracting
                     functions to improve the coordination between transportation modes.
                     Such changes, the team believed, would help facilitate the transition
                     from peacetime to wartime operations.

                     The Transportation Command’s Reorganization Task Force has pro-
Transportation       posed major changes designed to improve transportation operations,
Command Task Force   reduce staff requirements, and increase management efficiency. These
Has Recommended      proposals are under consideration by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the
                     Office of the Secretary of Defense.
                     The Commander of the Transportation Command directed that a Reor-
                     ganization Task Force conduct a functional review of the Command
                     structure, including the service component commands. The objectives
                     were to strengthen capabilities, improve operating efficiencies, and
                     better utilize resources. The Reorganization Task Force included repre-
                     sentatives from Command headquarters, the service component com-
                     mands, the services, and the Joint Staff. The Task Force began work in
                     March 1990 and submitted its recommendations to the Joint Staff in
                     July 1990. The recommendations are currently under review.

                     The Task Force proposed amending the Transportation Command’s
                     charter to include responsibility for strategic lift during peacetime, as
                     well as during war and national emergencies. The Commander of the
                     Transportation Command envisions a fully operating unified Command
                     that functions as the single DOD manager for transportation in both
                     peace and war. The service component commands would be retained,
                     and the services would retain control over service unique functions per-
                     formed by the components.

                     Another proposed change would involve centralizing peacetime traffic
                     management functions at Transportation Command headquarters. In
                     addition, there has been a proposal to consolidate the three individual
                     service industrial funds managed by MTMC, MX, and MACinto one com-
                     bined fund at Transportation Command headquarters. However,
                     because of stiff opposition from the services to losing their industrial

                     Page 8                               GAO/NSIAD9136BR   Transportation   Command
              funds, the Task Force recommended a 3-phased gradual transition. The
              Command expects to achieve many of the same staff savings and oper-
              ating efficiencies through its Reorganization Task Force that were origi-
              nally recommended by the DOD Inspector General’s task force. However,
              the extent of such savings has not yet been identified.

              We conducted our review primarily at the Transportation Command
Scopeand      headquarters, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. We discussed the com-
Methodology   mand’s implementation of the task force report with command officials
              and obtained documents related to changes in authorized staff levels
              and other aspects of the task force recommendations. We conducted our
              review from April through August 1990 in accordance with generally
              accepted government auditing standards.

              We did not obtain written agency comments, but we discussed the infor-
              mation contained in this letter with Transportation Command officials
              and included their comments where appropriate.

              Unless you announce its contents earlier, we plan no further distribution
              of this report until 30 days from the date of this letter. At that time, we
              will send copies to the Chairmen, House Committees 0%Armed Services,
              Appropriations, and Government Operations, and the Chairmen, Senate
              Committees on Armed Services, Appropriations, and Governmental
              Affairs; the Director, Office of Management and Budget; and other inter-
              ested parties. We will make copies available to others upon request.

              Please contact me at (202) 275-3990 if you or your staff have any ques-
              tions concerning this briefing report. Other major contributors to this
              briefing report are listed in appendix I.

              Sincerely yours,

              Paul L. Jones
              Defense Force Management Issues

              Page 7                               GAO/NSLADBl-B6BR   Transportation   Command
Appendix I

Major Contributors to This Report

                        George E. Breen, Jr., Assistant Director
National Security and
International Affairs
Division, Washington,
                        Gary L. Billen, Assistant Regional Manager
St. Louis Sublocation   Gregory J. Symons, Evaluator-in-Charge
                        Diane S. Gadberry, Staff Evaluator

(891123)                Page 8                                GAO/NSIAD-91-36BR   Transportation   Command
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