Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Improving the DoD's Tooth-to-Tail Ratio
Authors: Jacques S. Gansler
William Lucyshyn
Keywords: Defense Budget
Military Personnel
Military Force
Issue Date: 4-Mar-2014
Publisher: Acquisition Research Program
Citation: Published--Unlimited Distribution
Series/Report no.: Tooth-to-Tail
Abstract: It is projected that the Department of Defense (DoD) will see a funding reduction of $487 billion over the next 10 years (Office of Management and Budget [OMB], 2013). In order to stay within budget, the DoD plans to implement targeted reductions in force structure, reprioritize key missions and the requirements that support them, promote efficiency improvements in acquisition, and continue to reform other business practices. However, these efforts, at least in their current form, will prove insufficient. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) asserts that the DoD's costs will soon outstrip its budget as expenditures for manpower, maintenance, and health care continue to increase, thereby eliminating the funds necessary for the planned recapitalization, modernization, and transformation of the military (CBO, 2013). The DoD must make hard decisions in order to prevent such an outlook from becoming a reality. In the past, the DoD has reduced the number of military personnel (and to a lesser extent, equipment orders and program funding) in order to constrain costs. At present, however, the active military force structure is already near an all-time low, and existing equipment inventories are becoming older, smaller, and less effective against emerging technologies. It is within this challenging environment that the DoD must strive to improve its tooth-to-tail ratio. This term, familiar to defense analysts, refers to the relative level of support personnel (military, civilian, and contractor) required to maintain combat forces. The tooth refers to the personnel that train for and perform operational missions, whereas the tail refers to the personnel that support the combat forces. As of 2011, the active-duty military end-strength was 1,459,409 (BLS, 2012). Of these personnel, only 17% are identified as performing combat specialties. This compares to an average of 26% assigned to combat roles in other countries, according to a recent survey of 29 nations (Gebicke & Magid, 2010). Note that these figures do not take into account civilian and contractor personnel, the majority of whom provide support functions.
Description: Acquisition Management / Grant-funded Research
Appears in Collections:Sponsored Acquisition Research & Technical Reports

Files in This Item:
File SizeFormat 
UMD-AM-14-007.pdf1.49 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.