WASHINGTON (June 26, 2013) -- A study in the Army is exactly what you might expect. It is the pursuit for greater knowledge or insight in order to work smarter and to inform Army senior leadership on issues that are important to the Army.
According to Meghan Mariman, director of the Army Study Program Management Office, known as ASPMO, at Headquarters Department of the Army or HQDA, under the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, "a study is a research project or an effort to make a process more efficient or effective."
The ASPMO, which funded nearly 30 studies at about $335,000 each for 15 different agencies in fiscal year 2013, is funding studies this year that focus on traumatic brain injury monitoring, risk assessment, leadership development and cyberspace operations, to name a few.
The Army Study Program, or ASP, a service-wide initiative established after the 1979 Review of Army Analysis, known as RAA, provides a great service and insight for the Army, all the while saving the Army money and resources. The integrated program of studies and analysis are aligned with the Army's top priorities and are overseen by the ASPMO.
Why does the Army perform studies? How does the Army get a return on investment for the funds applied to studies?
There is a simple answer to these questions, but first consider this.
Do you buy a car without first test driving it? Would you invest your money without first knowing if you will get a return on your investment? Of course not. The Army must follow the same common sense logic when exploring solutions to a variety of issues. This is why the studies funded by the Army are closely aligned with the top priorities of Army senior leadership. By investing a minimal amount in to a study, the Army is able to avoid potentially costly mistakes, saving the Department both money and resources.
The Army invests in studies to determine the best course of action in addressing specific issues. Army analyses range from studies to support network operations, terrain identification and energy policy, to studies that focus on the morale and welfare of Soldiers and their families, and a wide variety of other high profile topics. By performing such studies up front, the Army is able to save resources and avoid investing in inappropriate solutions that will result in a waste of money and other precious resources.
Now that we know why the Army performs studies, one may ask just how the Army executes studies. The ASPMO has overall responsibility for policy and guidance regarding coordination and management of Army Studies and Analyses as defined by Army Regulation 5-5.
Studies and analysis, which provide a logical basis for decisions to improve military operations, leverage information technology to support information exchange. ASPMO maintains both a collaborative website and a database (https://secureapp2ako.hqda.pentagon.mil/ako/aspmo/database.aspx), promoting visibility of all studies including those that are completed, planned or on-going.
Both the database and the collaboration site facilitate and incorporate guidance to achieve a multitude of goals which address the overall objectives of the ASP. These include informing senior Army leadership with timely, high quality insight on the critical issues impacting the Army, eliminating unnecessary redundancy in analysis efforts and expanding upon lessons learned and best business practices to achieve cost-effective stewardship.
The ASP encompasses studies from numerous internal and contract organizations, as well as Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, or FFRDC. The principal Army analysis resources include the internal assets: the Center for Army Analysis, known as CAA, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Analysis Center, or TRAC, and the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity, known as AMSAA.
The RAND Arroyo Center is the Army's primary analysis FFRDC.
The Center for Army Analysis is an organization that supports HQDA and Army commands. CAA develops information that helps Army leaders address the issues of greatest importance to the Army. This is accomplished by conducting studies employing analysis techniques appropriate to the issues at hand. CAA maintains special expertise in the analysis of issues pertaining to theater-level operations and Army-wide processes, especially those involving resource allocations. You can learn more about CAA by visiting them online at: www.caa.army.mil.
Training and Doctrine Command Analysis Center primarily supports the Training and Doctrine Command, known as TRADOC. Its mission is to conduct tactical and operational analyses to inform decisions about future concepts, requirements, capability development and integration, and programs while supporting the needs of the Operating Force. TRAC leads Army efforts to model and analyze Soldiers, systems and formations from tactical units to Corps level conducting full-spectrum operations. Learn more about TRAC at: www.trac.army.mil.
Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity supports the full range of Army decision makers (Army Materiel Command, TRADOC, and HQDA) with system/item level analyses. Its mission is to conduct responsive and effective materiel and logistics system analyses to support decision making for equipping and sustaining the Army. AMSAA conducts performance analyses, cost-benefit studies, technology tradeoff analyses and risk assessments to answer questions posed about Current Operations as well as Army Transformation. For more information, visit the AMSAA website at: www.amsaa.army.mil.
The three in-house study organizations conduct trilateral meetings in order to collaborate on a number of issues. Some major focus areas of this group effort include strategic communications, strategic partnerships to include deployed analysts, Army Regulation 5-5, which prescribes policy and guidance for managing the Army Study Program, the Army integrated analysis program and other pressing issues affecting the studies and analyses community.
The Senior Analyst Advisory Board, or SAAB, is a further step taken to ensure that the ASP is working effectively and focused on the Army's high-priority issues while saving money and avoiding redundancy. The SAAB provides guidance and oversight of critical and high priority analysis requirements across the Army. Additionally, the SAAB assists in developing annual Army Study Planning Guidance and policy related to analysis to ensure that planned studies address all critical Army issues.
The SAAB also advises on funding for unprogrammed study funding requests. The Board is chaired by the Assistant DCS, G--8 and includes senior analyst representatives from the Army's principal analytic organizations to include CAA; TRAC; AMSAA; Army Capabilities Integration Center; DCS, G--3/5/7 Capability Integration Division; Deputy Assistant Secretary Army for Cost and Economics; Deputy Under Secretary of the Army, Test and Evaluation; and the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command.
The ASPMO has the overall Department of Army responsibility for the ASP, and each Army Staff agency and command is represented by a Study Coordinator who serves as the point of contact to the ASPMO and implements Study Program policy at the agency level. ASPMO accepts requests for studies from commands and HQDA agencies, and seeks out the most appropriate research agency to perform those studies, including the internal Army agencies, an FFRDC, or other commercial contractors that can perform studies for the Army.
"We manage the program, we provide the resources, and then work with the sponsoring command to help them identify a performer," Mariman said. "If we have the expertise in-house, of course, we try to keep it in house. We're trying to do the analysis in the most cost-effective way."
Studies and analyses are clearly pertinent to the overall success of the Army, as well as the demonstration of good stewardship of taxpayer dollars. It is important that we continue to ensure we are making the right decisions at the right time in an era of fiscal austerity. The Army Study Program provides the appropriate system of checks and balances to guarantee that the Army makes smart decisions based on a solid foundation resulting from studies and analyses, making certain that taxpayer dollars are used as effectively and efficiently as possible.
To learn more about the Army Study Program Management Office and the important work they do for the Army, follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/armystudies.