Oversight and a Coordinated Strategy Needed to Implement the Army Workload and Performance System
GAO-11-566R: Published: Jul 14, 2011. Publicly Released: Jul 14, 2011.
In 1996, the Army began development of the Army Workload and Performance System (AWPS) at the direction of the House National Security Committee. AWPS is a capstone information system that receives data from other systems, primarily the Logistics Modernization Program (LMP), and produces management reports and decision support tools intended to assist the Army in linking its industrial facility workload demands to its workforce requirements. AWPS defines workload demands in terms of the amount of work projected to be completed in an 8-hour period and labels each such period as one "resource." Based on the calculation of these resources, reports from AWPS are designed to aid decision makers in determining workforce needs. In 1998, the House National Security Committee directed that the Army provide the committee with a long-range master plan to implement AWPS. The committee also directed that we provide a report on the Army's plan to implement AWPS, and in 1999 we recommended that the Army strengthen its oversight of AWPS development efforts. In 2001, Congress enacted statutory requirements related to the use and implementation of AWPS. Specifically, Section 346 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 stated that AWPS would continue as a standard Army-wide manpower system under the supervision and management of the Secretary of the Army. The act also required the Secretary of the Army to submit annual progress reports to Congress on the implementation of the AWPS master plan until the Secretary certified to Congress that AWPS was fully implemented. The act additionally required GAO to submit an evaluation of the annual reports not later than 60 days after their submission to Congress. In May 2002, the Army submitted to Congress its first and only progress report on the implementation of the AWPS master plan. During our evaluation of the report, we identified several weaknesses and recommended improvements. Although the Army concurred with our recommendations, since 2002, the Army has not submitted any additional required annual reports to Congress, and the Secretary of the Army has not certified that implementation is complete. In this context, Congress asked us to assess the Army's development and use of AWPS. In response, we evaluated (1) the extent to which the Army is using AWPS and (2) the Army's plans regarding the future use of AWPS.
The Army uses AWPS to generate reports on a variety of workload and workforce issues at its industrial activities located throughout the United States, but the accuracy of the reports varies. As we previously reported, information must be accurate in order for it to be useful in decision making. Some AWPS reports--such as those used to monitor the status of efforts to repair equipment and to assess whether the Army is maintaining a core logistics capability--are accurate, and Army users express satisfaction with the reports. Other AWPS reports--specifically, those reports that are used to forecast workload at Army depots--are substantially inaccurate. For example, we reviewed the workload forecast reports for all five Army maintenance depots in February 2011, and found that the workload forecasted for the depots was higher than the workforce that was actually needed to complete the anticipated work. These AWPS reports overestimated the workforce actually needed by amounts ranging from 1,500 resources per day to 200,000 resources per day. Consistent with findings from our prior reports, we determined that these inaccurate AWPS reports are a result of inaccuracies in data that AWPS receives from LMP. Army officials stated that they are continuing to correct the underlying data inaccuracies, and in May 2011, they provided us AWPS reports that indicate slight declines in the overestimation at some of the five depots, but the workload forecast reports continue to estimate more workforce than is needed to complete ongoing and anticipated work at all five Army depots. Without accurate information, the Army's ability to use AWPS to serve as a standard Army-wide manpower system and to link its industrial facility workload demands to its workforce requirements is limited. The Army does not have a coordinated strategy for AWPS development and implementation. At present, the users and oversight of AWPS are dispersed among several Army entities. Our prior work has shown that strategic planning is the foundation for achieving desired results. However, the Army has not maintained or updated the AWPS master plan since 2002. Moreover, the Army is not following its original master plan, and certain AWPS capabilities are no longer being developed or used. Through 2010, the Army has spent more than $63 million to develop and sustain AWPS, and expects to spend another $22.75 million through 2012. One reason that the Army has not submitted the required reports or developed a strategic plan for AWPS is because the Army's oversight of AWPS is fragmented. For example, several Army organizations are pursuing developments in AWPS, but officials from these organizations told us that they were not responsible for providing overall oversight of the system. Even without a strategy guiding AWPS implementation and with fragmented oversight, the Army nevertheless intends to use AWPS in the future and is continuing development of the system, but the end point for AWPS development is unknown. Until the Army develops a long-term strategy guiding the development and implementation of AWPS, the Army will not have assurance that AWPS is meeting its objectives, and the Army will be unable to inform Congress on its progress. To improve the accuracy and efficiency of the Army plans for utilizing its industrial facility workforce, we are recommending that the Secretary of Defense direct the Secretary of the Army to take two actions: (1) Identify which Army organization is responsible for the overall oversight of AWPS. (2) Report--as required by law--to Congress annually on the implementation of the system's master plan, and specifically address any changes made to the master plan.
Recommendations for Executive Action
Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation, and in its comments to our draft report, designated the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs as the organization responsible for providing overall oversight of AWPS. In response to a subsequent GAO review of AWPS (GAO-14-266), the Army stated that AWPS was transferred to the Logistics Domain from the Human Resource Management Domain, and that the Under Secretary of the Army, in his role as Chief Management Officer, will strengthen the development, review, approval and oversight of the AWPS Master Plan across the Army's business domains. We will continue to monitor DOD's actions in this area. In its Agency comments, the Army designated the Assistant Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs as the organization responsible for AWPS. However, since the Army has yet to submit a plan, we are unaware if ASA(M&RA) is actually providing oversight for the system. DOD IG closed this recommendation on 12/01/2011. Update (08/15/2014): The Army did not provide official comments to GAO-14-266. However, in a memo dated March 19, 2014, the Deputy Under Secretary of the Army provided written comments that stated AWPS had transferred from Manpower and Reserve Affairs to the Logistics Domain. No actions to the program, however, have taken place.
Recommendation: To improve the accuracy and efficiency of the Army plans for utilizing its industrial facility workforce, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to identify which Army organization is responsible for the overall oversight of AWPS.
Agency Affected: Department of Defense
Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation. However, as of March 14, 2014, the Army had not submitted any reports to Congress on the implementation of the system's master plan. We will continue to monitor DOD's actions in this area. The Army has yet to submit a formal update of the AWPS Master Plan to Congress. According to the DOD IG, the AWPS Master Plan has been updated by the AMC, reviewed by the ASA(M&RA), and is currently undergoing legal review by the Army's Office of General Counsel (OGC). Remaining actions include updating the AWPS Master Plan based on the HQDA OGC review comments and resubmitting it to the ASA (M&RA) and OGC for another review, holding a teleconference final resolution meeting with all stakeholders involved, and staffing the master plan for final changes. Revised estimated completion date is July 2, 2013. Update 08/15/2014: The Army has not submitted a master plan. In comments provided to the Army in response to GAO-14-266, the Deputy Under Secretary of the Army wrote that the Under Secretary fo the Army will now strengthen the development and oversight of the AWPS Master Plan. To date, no plan has been published.
Recommendation: To improve the accuracy and efficiency of the Army plans for utilizing its industrial facility workforce, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to report--as required by law--to Congress annually on the implementation of the system's master plan, and specifically address any changes made to the master plan.
Agency Affected: Department of Defense