By Sharon Watkins Lang, USASMDC/ARSTRAT Historical OfficeOctober 27, 2016
In the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, the autumn is a time for reassessment. Each October for the past several years, the command has reviewed its missions and personnel numbers to ensure that those areas are properly manned given the 25 percent phased reductions mandated in 2013.
Reductions like these are not new. They are a regular occurrence after a major engagement -- World War I, World War II, the Cold War, etc. USASMDC/ARSTRAT has seen two such reductions.
The first took place in the 1970s following the termination of the Safeguard program. The second came with the end of the Cold War in 1994, when the Department of the Army mandated a 20% reduction in headquarters personnel. At the time, the command, then known as the U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command, or USASSDC, was a direct reporting unit to Army headquarters. As a result, much of the Table of Distribution and Allowances was on the headquarters staff.
To address this tasking, the commander, Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, established a Staff Realignment Study, or SRS, Team on Oct. 27, 1994. Headed by Robert Connell, assistant chief of staff for Information Management, the six member team, composed of military and civilian personnel from across the command, was "directed to examine and recommend the best staffing structure for the staff."
The goal was to achieve the reduced staffing levels without a reduction in force nevertheless, "based upon our reduced program funding levels, we must take action to 'right size' our command accordingly."
They began with a set of specific assumptions. The command was in a period of declining funding and changing missions. The USASSDC would continue to provide support, matrixed personnel, etc., to the Program Executive Office for Missile Defense. Per the directive, the Huntsville personnel numbers were to be downsized and growth in the Arlington, Virginia, headquarters would be limited.
There would be some organizational realignments, the chief of staff, for example, would move to DC. Non-value added organizations and functions were to be eliminated and remaining organizations were to be streamlined, with goals such as a one-to-13 supervisor to employee ratio; one-to-eight clerical to staff; and smaller offices would be co-located and where feasible the command would contract out.
Each office was surveyed to assess its organization and missions. As part of the survey, they were asked to provide the following information: What law or regulation required the office's functions? How are you organized identifying number of personnel and location? Who are your customers? How is your workload divided? Do you have counterparts at other USASSDC locations? What are you not doing that you should be? What functions could you give up without jeopardizing the command's mission? How much of your workload is reimbursable? How much funding do you provide to other government agencies or SETA contractors to support your functions? Should part of your staff be located at the D.C. headquarters?
And finally, each office was to provide a marketing plan to sell their services to other agencies, as the commanding general sought to increase funding levels to minimize the number of personnel cuts.
Following an intensive interview with each office chief, a review of the command's missions and functions and previous command studies, the SRS team submitted their recommendations for reorganizations and personnel strengths in January 1995. Each affected office chief then provided a response to the commander and deputy commander.
Prior to the SRS review, USASSDC had 459 authorizations and 437 on board. The SRS Team recommended a reduction to 384. The commander's final decision was 390 personnel, leaving 47 over-strength.
While some offices were increased due to new missions to include the Theater Missile Defense Advocate role, cuts were made across the board. Thirty-seven temporary employees were converted permanent or term positions. The number of liaison officers was reduced from 18 to 12, and field offices at Los Angeles and Norton Air Force Bases in California were closed, while the Boeing field office was reduced to one engineer.
Having focused on vacant allocations, the goal was to reduce the command through attrition, cross-leveling, priority placement, retraining, and VERA/VSIP incentives.
Key changes included the realignment missions and personnel to create the Missile Defense Battle Integration Center and the Missile Defense Space Technology Center, with a new Program Analysis and Evaluation Office.
In the headquarters, the Operations Group for Theater Missile Defense, National Missile Defense and Space also restructured. At the same time Army Space Programs Office was to be transferred into the USASSDC.
On the staff, the SRS Team recommended five Assistant Chiefs of Staff - Personnel, Resource Management, Intelligence, Information Management and Installation, Logistics and Environmental. The Personnel, Resource Management and Treaty Advisor positions were transferred from Huntsville to D.C.
While the others remained in Huntsville with the deputy commander, they were to report to the chief of staff in D.C. not the Huntsville management. The reorganization sought to clear lines of communication and authority and provide Major Command-level support command-wide.