Cover: Army Full-Time Support Processes

Army Full-Time Support Processes

Considerations for Enhancing Common Understanding, Transparency, and Unity of Purpose

Published Apr 26, 2023

by Michael E. Linick, Joshua Klimas

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Although the Full-Time Support (FTS) program is important and highly visible across the Army, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), and Congress, it is also highly complex and not fully understood by many key stakeholders. Certain changes could promote greater unity of purpose, commonality, transparency, and traceability across FTS processes and data systems.

FTS requirements are linked to day-to-day workload, not to readiness or responsiveness criteria for specific units that can be linked to the strategy or to specific aspects of reported unit readiness. This day-to-day workload is important to setting the foundational conditions for reserve component unit readiness — even if a direct, quantifiable relationship cannot be established between FTS levels and the readiness measures on which units are required to report. Discussions about FTS funding levels should move away from attempting to link FTS funding to implications for reported unit readiness levels and should instead focus on the foundational functions of the FTS program. Reframing the discussion in this way could serve as a starting point that could help clarify FTS priorities, better shed light on the implications of funding decisions, and enhance common understanding among key stakeholders within the Army, as well as with OSD and Congress.

Additionally, partially decentralized processes for determining and allocating FTS labor are generally reasonable. However, certain aspects of the overall process are not clearly defined in Army policy. Moreover, there are challenges in data transparency and traceability that inhibit the development of a common understanding among stakeholders.

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This research was sponsored by the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, United States Army and conducted bu the Personnel, Training, and Health Program within the RAND Arroyo Center.

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