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Research Questions

  1. How can manpower decisionmakers better estimate the budget implications of alternative total force mixes?
  2. How can cost estimation using FCoM be streamlined for large DoD organizations?

Manpower decisionmakers need to produce consistent and repeatable cost estimations to understand the budget implications of alternative total force mixes. This report describes a prototype tool researchers created that uses data from the Office of the Secretary of Defense's Full Cost of Manpower (FCoM) model, which includes such cost factors as compensation, health care, recruiting, and training. The prototype tool expands on FCoM by creating a method to streamline cost estimations for large Department of Defense (DoD) organizations, providing summary output in the form of graphs and tables, and allowing the user to run various scenarios in which billet counts are changed and the effect on cost can be observed.

In this report, researchers describe the prototype tool and demonstrate its utility on a hypothetical organization to show how it could be used when determining costs for a real organization. With additional development, this tool could be useful for DoD and service personnel involved in manpower policy and decisionmaking, as well as the broader DoD research community.

Key Findings

  • The process of developing cost estimations for large DoD organizations can be streamlined.
  • The prototype tool developed in this study can be used by DoD to estimate the cost of alternative force mixes.
  • There are several options to expand the prototype tool's capabilities further.
  • The prototype tool is one piece of a broader research agenda focused on work-mix optimization.

This research was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and conducted within the Forces and Resources Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

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