Forces and Resources Policy Center
The NSRD Forces and Resources Policy Center (FRP) helps improve policy and decision making governing personnel management and use of defense resources to enhance readiness and sustain the nation's all volunteer force.
FRP's history dates to the beginning of the all-volunteer force nearly 40 years ago. The Center has been a major source of analysis on issues relating to the creation and sustainment of an all-volunteer military.
FRP also conducts analyses to improve policy and decision making for allied nations related to defense manpower and for other U.S. government agencies related to human capital strategy, management, and policy evaluation.
FRP's research today explores five dimensions of defense policy:
- Force management, to include manpower requirements and policies and programs governing accession, compensation, and personnel management of active and reserve component military members, government civilians, and contractors. This domain includes diversity management.
- Readiness, to include readiness programs and readiness measurement, training infrastructure and unit and individual training programs, language and culture capabilities, resilience, family readiness, medical readiness, and force health protection and safety (including suicide prevention, substance abuse prevention, and sexual assault prevention).
- Support programs and services for active and reserve military members and families, DoD government civilians and families, and veterans and military retirees. This includes quality of life programs, child care services, commissaries and exchanges, spouse and family employment, tuition assistance and education, DoD schools, transition assistance programs, and employer and community relations, as applicable.
- Health services and systems, including the organization and delivery of physical and behavioral health care for TRICARE beneficiaries, health benefit design, medical resourcing methods, medical support to military operations, wounded warrior care, and disability evaluation.
- Logistics and supply chain management, including the overall design, optimization, and management of supply chains, the procurement of supplies, inventory management, distribution management and the use of transportation, the infrastructure and personnel needed to execute and manage logistics, and the management of surges in demand for contingency operations.
The Center's sponsors have included the offices of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness), the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology), OSD/Cost Analysis and Policy Evaluation, the Joint Staff, the Navy, and the Intelligence Community.
How can the United States continue to ensure the high quality of its all-volunteer force? How can it most effectively recruit and retain its personnel — active and reserve, military and civilian? Should elements of current military compensation for active and reserve component personnel, including military retirement, be changed in response to rising personnel costs and pressures on the defense budget? If military end strength is reduced, how should this be accomplished to ensure the military retains needed skills and experience while maintaining opportunities for advancement? How should the civilian defense workforce and the civilian acquisition workforce in particular be managed to accomplish critical missions at high levels of performance? Which functions should be considered for outsourcing and which should be performed in house? How can the DoD improve demographic diversity in key workforces (e.g., among science, technology, engineering, and math professionals)? Should policies governing the assignment of women to occupations and positions that are currently closed to them be changed? Now that "Don’t Ask/Don't Tell" has been repealed, what benefits can be made available to same-sex partners of gay and lesbian members of the armed forces?
How should military forces be configured and managed to ensure readiness and meet future requirements with a changed mission set and smaller forces? How can forces be reduced in size but avoid being made "hollow?" What can be done to ensure future adaptability and to preserve hard-won niche capabilities developed in recent operations? What will be the role of the reserve component forces in the future? Can they remain "operational" and how should reserve component units be trained and be made ready to deploy? Given the effects of recent deployments, how can the DoD and the services ensure future individual and family readiness, enhance the resilience of service members, other defense personnel, and their families, and prevent behaviors detrimental to health and safety? Specifically, what new programs and policies are needed to ensure a comprehensive suicide prevention strategy across the department? What promising practices can be adapted to prevent and manage prescription drug misuse among military personnel?
Support Programs and Services
In the face of a declining pace of deployment and pressures on defense resources, which services and programs are essential to preserve and how can they be delivered with greatest efficiency? Are benefits such as housing, child care, education, spouse and family employment, and quality-of-life programs meeting needs, achieving desired outcomes, and being delivered cost-effectively? Which family support programs have proven to be effective in enhancing outcomes and resilience within military families? What can be done to improve reintegration within families and communities, both among service members who return from deployment or separate from service and among reservists who demobilize and return to the civilian labor market? Given an "operational reserve" force experiencing rotational deployments, are current protections under the law adequate for both members of the reserve components and their employers?
Health Services and Systems
As the DoD strives to achieve cost savings and greater efficiency, what measures will be required to ensure there are no changes to beneficiaries' access to high-quality, safe, and effective care? What effects would benefit changes have on costs borne by the DoD and beneficiaries and on the retention of military personnel? How can the DoD ensure the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of care in its in-house Military Health System (MHS)? As forces are reshaped and end strength is drawn down, will the medical system have the right structure and resources to support future military operations, and to meet the health care needs of beneficiaries? What are the implications for the MHS workforce? For example, what should the size and composition of the MHS be to meet the demands on it across the Quadruple Aim? Are the programs the DoD has implemented to support psychological health and traumatic brain injury providing high quality treatment and improving outcomes for service members, veterans, and their families, including those who are geographically distant from mental health services? More specifically, are these efforts effective and do they have the desired impact? Are efforts to reduce stigma associated with seeking mental health services working?
Logistics and Supply Chain Management
What opportunities exist for further improvements in efficiency through increased integration across the supply chain, including the armed services, defense agencies, combatant commands, and supplier base? What policies and practices can ensure improved collaboration across organizations and functions? How can the assets and capabilities of the services and agencies be better allocated and what policy changes are necessary to enable such changes? How can the comparative advantages of DoD organizations and the private sector best be leveraged and integrated? How can supplier relationship management practices and information flow be improved to engender increased collaboration between the DoD and suppliers and reduce the need for inventory and other costs? Where could further investments in automated information technologies prove cost-effective? What can be learned from recent efforts across the components about best practices for implementing new information systems? How can surge demands from new operations be most efficiently prepared for and what can be learned from recent operations to improve policies and resources and ensure a seamless transition to war?
Inquiries about the Forces and Resources Policy Center or its activities can be directed to:
Director, Forces and Resources Policy Center
1200 South Hayes Street
Arlington, VA 22202-5050
(703) 413-1100 x5511