Policy and Methodology to Incorporate Wartime Plans into Total U.S. Air Force Manpower Requirements
Nov 30, 2004
A New Methodology Improves the Estimation Process
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Every few years, the U.S. Air Force reviews its manpower requirements to ensure that it is planning for enough people with the right skills and experience to meet national security demands. The most recent review was the Total Force Assessment (TFA), the first phase of which was carried out from 1999 to 2001. TFA-I was based on the traditional assumption that the Air Force should be able to prosecute two major theater wars (MTWs) at the same time. In recent years, however, defense planners have considered the need to estimate manpower requirements for smaller scenarios of between one and two MTWs. In such cases, presumably not all existing forces would actually be used, and manpower needs might vary. As of 2001, the Air Force lacked a sanctioned method of estimating requirements for these smaller scenarios.
RAND Project AIR FORCE (PAF) observed the TFA-I process and developed an improved methodology for estimating manpower requirements. The main features of the methodology are as follows:
In addition to developing an improved methodology, PAF made some observations about the overall process for conducting total force assessments. A major lesson learned from TFA-I is the need to exercise greater control and to have a detailed auditing trail of the process. This could be accomplished by centralizing the initial assessment of manpower needs and the final analysis and reporting of results. TFA-I looked to functional area managers (FAMs) in the major commands to furnish manpower requirements, creating the potential for inconsistent classification of personnel and lack of an auditing trail for major decisions. PAF suggests that a handful of experts make initial manpower assignments and then solicit input from FAMs. Greater control over the process will ensure that methodologies such as PAF's will be most effective at providing more accurate estimates of future manpower needs.
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