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DoD Function Codes

Assessment of Currency and Relevancy
Jessica WolfangerTom WooJen Atkin
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The Total Force Manpower & Resources Directorate (TFM&RS) within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Manpower and Reserve Affairs (OUSD P&R/M&RA) maintains a list of Department of Defense (DoD) function codes that identify the type of work performed by all activities in the defense infrastructure and operating forces. Every manpower authorization (or billet)—to include active, reserve, and civilian—is assigned a DoD function code to describe the work performed. This coding occurs in authoritative manpower systems and is critical to articulating the size and composition of the department’s workforce from a perspective of requirements and work being performed rather than personnel inventory.

Historically, DoD function codes, submitted annually in the Inherently Governmental and Commercial Activities (IG/CA) Inventory, have been relied on to identify work that could be considered for competition with the private sector and have been associated with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-76 processes. Although the A-76 program has been suspended, the congressional reporting requirement remains. Further, the pressure to shape the total force effectively and economically—coupled with sustained scrutiny on the size, shape, structure, and workload alignment across the total force—means that these function codes must remain relevant and current.

The current set of function codes, however, has not been reviewed or updated in over a decade. The codes do not reflect (among other things) emergent domains and operations, such as cyberspace and unmanned systems. They also do not reflect areas that have received significant congressional or departmental attention in recent years, such as operational contract support planning, force resiliency functions, and security cooperation activities, to name a few. TFM&RS asked CNA to review the function codes to determine their currency and relevancy and to update and revise the codes accordingly.

Our recommendations contain revisions to the current DoD function codes. Significant recommended additions include new or revised codes for the following functional areas:

  • Security cooperation
  • Cyberspace
  • Operational contract support
  • Unmanned systems
  • Space

We also recommend the revision or relocation of many existing function codes. Details on these recommended revisions can be found in Appendix A. In addition, we recommend revisions to the organization of the codes, such as removing the Infrastructure category and the Forces and Direct Support category to eliminate the need to duplicate certain functions that are performed in both the infrastructure and the operating forces and to allow for more precise coding of functions performed in the operating forces. We also recommend revisions to the coding guidance, such as coding functions based strictly on the work being performed regardless of where that work is performed or if that work is closely associated with another function.

We provide recommendations to improve the currency and accuracy of the function codes in authoritative manpower systems. Our discussions with the Services, Joint Staff, and other DoD offices revealed that existing function codes are not reviewed and updated in authoritative manpower systems regularly; function codes typically remain unchanged from year to year even if a change to the billet warrants a review of the function code. We heard several suggestions for mitigating these issues. Among the most compelling is an OSD policy that requires function codes to be included in billet change requests. Components could also adopt a system that allows for the automated checking of DoD function code assignment when another billet element is changed.

More oversight is required to improve the quality of function code data as part of the annual IG/CA Inventory data submission. Whereas all components’ IG/CA Inventories were previously subjected to a quality control process, reviewed extensively for errors, and analyzed to ensure consistency, little attention has been paid to the quality of IG/CA Inventory data since the A-76 program was suspended. The data should again be subjected to a rigorous quality control process and analysis to ensure that the data fields are being consistently used and populated by the components.

Another recommendation to improve the quality of the data is to develop training for those responsible for applying function codes. Ideally, manpower analysts/specialists with knowledge of the work being performed in the billets would be applying, reviewing, and updating the codes as necessary. In reality, the personnel applying function codes to billets often do not understand the purpose of function codes or the work being performed in the billets. Instead, they rely on the occupation code of the person sitting in the billet to assign a function code. This is problematic because often the occupation code of the person in the billet does not match the work being performed by that person. Training a cadre of personnel across DoD on how to use function codes would ensure greater accuracy and consistency in how function codes are applied across the department. More consistent functional coding would enable better manpower analysis across DoD and is a critical step to improving the data necessary for a reconstituted A-76 program.

In addition to ensuring that the data are reviewed and updated periodically and subjected to a quality control process, the larger purpose and value of function codes need to be communicated by OSD leadership. Although some components indicated that they use function codes to conduct manpower analysis, others expressed the opinion that function codes were not useful outside of fulfilling the IG/CA Inventory requirement. Further, many of the OSD Functional Community Managers (OFCMs) and some DoD offices we met with were unfamiliar with function codes and how they differ from occupation codes. Therefore, we recommend that OSD communicate the intent and purpose of function codes as well as the value of accurate and up-to-date functional coding for manpower analysis and workforce mix decision-making throughout DoD. Function codes are currently the only formal construct that bridges military and civilian billets performing similar work; the purpose and value of these data need to be conveyed by leadership.

Finally, we recommend that components explore the value of adding a secondary function code to their authoritative manpower systems. A secondary function code would provide visibility on functions being performed in addition to the primary function. At the time of the discussions, all of the Services indicated that a secondary function code would not be useful to them. Concerns were expressed about the cost to add a secondary function code field to authoritative manpower databases as well as the manpower required to assess and assign a secondary function. At a later discussion with Navy personnel, however, we learned that the Navy has decided to add two additional function code fields in its authoritative manpower system, the Total Force Manpower Management System (TFMMS). Although it isn’t yet clear how the Navy intends to use these fields, it will be informative to watch how the Navy decides to use them and to assess the costs and benefits of adding the additional fields.

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  • Pages: 268
  • Document Number: DRM-2019-U-019326-Final
  • Publication Date: 4/22/2019
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