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6 Army Work and Approaches to Occupational Analysis This chapter focuses on the U.S. Army as a case study in the changing nature of work. It focuses on the application of the concepts, issues, and principles presented in previous chapters. The Army is a unique organization in many ways, set apart from the civilian sector with respect to its function, structure, and place in society. Yet it is also important to recognize that the Army is part of the social fabric of the nation, experiencing in various ways the same trends that affect civilian employers. For example, demographic changes in the general population will ultimately be reflected in the military, along with the forces of change that influence the content and structure of work. In our analysis, we draw on the framework for conceptualizing the changing nature of work and occupational analysis (Figure 1.1), which has been used as a unifying theme throughout the book. However, before examining the Army in the context of this framework, it is important to recognize the similarities and differences between the Army and employers in the civilian sector. Key Features of Army Mission and Employment Understanding the nature of work in the Army means first understanding the nature of the Army. The U.S. Army mission,
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as officially stated, is to preserve the peace and security and provide for the defense of the United States; to support national policies; to implement national objectives; and to overcome any nations responsible for aggressive acts that imperil the peace and security of the United States (http://www.army.mil/mission-vision.htm). In much simpler terms, the Army exists primarily to be the nation's warriors and protectors. Both officers and enlisted personnel must be prepared to use force as required and must be willing to stand in the way of prospective violent acts committed by others. The armed services are the only organizations that forthrightly presume that their employees will sacrifice their lives as part of their jobs. Some social scientists suggest that the central skill of military officers is "the management of violence" (Huntington, 1959). The recent end of the cold war and other geopolitical events have placed Army personnel in new situations and redefined its role with respect to "preserving peace and security." Along with its central and more traditional role of warfighter, the Army and the other services have been asked increasingly to act as peacekeeper and peacemaker, and as an instrument of international humanitarian aid. These added roles are often strange to many military members who may not have received adequate training to deal with the varied aspects of operations other than war. New missions can be sources of profound change since they may call for major modifications in the way people are selected, trained, assigned, evaluated, managed, and used. Army personnel are currently governed by a highly structured set of rules and regulations. Some of these rules are presented below as a means for drawing distinctions between the Army and the civilian sectors. Although most of the features are fixed at the present time, it may be useful to revisit the rules in light of new missions and personnel mixes, the long-range impact of all-volunteer recruiting, and changing performance requirements. Structure All of the aspects of bureaucratic structure in the Army and other services can be translated into a loss of independent control
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on the part of the individual members. The details of service are strictly and widely regulated to ensure smooth operation and equity in a very large organization. First, the Army has a fixed-rank structure, determined by federal law, with the number of incumbents fixed at each rank. Individuals who enter the Army generally do so at the very lowest level. Since there is no lateral entry into the organization, as there is in most civilian enterprises, the Army must "grow its own" employees and leaders. Individuals who remain in service form a pipeline to higher grades or levels of authority and experience in occupations. Second, Army enlisted personnel serve fixed terms of service, although the Army has experienced a first-term attrition rate (that is, recruits who fail to complete their first obligated term of service) of approximately 30 percent since the end of conscription in 1973. Unlike procedures in the civilian sector, employee dissatisfaction cannot usually be translated into an immediate resignation or separation from duty because of contractual requirements. Also, Army personnel are not allowed to organize for the purpose of collective bargaining or for claims regarding working conditions, pay, or benefits. Third, the pay structure of the Army is fixed. It is entirely determined by rank and time in service, although there is the option of supplementary or special pay and bonuses (such as for reenlistment or service extension of persons in hard-to-fill specialties). A key element of the pay system is that bonuses or merit pay cannot be used in individual cases for rewards or incentives. Merit is recognized through awards (nonmonetary) and medals, whereas superior performance over the longer-term may be rewarded with special honors, early selection (within limits) for promotion to the next higher rank, or selection for a higher position of leadership within the rank pyramid. Military compensation also includes many facets not found in civilian employment, such as pay allowances, benefits, and supplementary pay for support of dependents. In addition, the retirement system requires a minimum of 20 years of service before qualification (unless a special release program authorizes early retirement, as was the case during the force reduction of the 1990s). Fourth, the conduct of the Army's members is subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, along with the U.S. criminal
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and civil codes. As an earlier report of this committee (National Research Council, 1997a:257) observes: In most organizations, a violation of company policy may result in being fired; in the military, violation of company policy may result in formal charges, trial, and imprisonment. . . . And to enforce its standards of conduct, the military maintains its own judicial and penal systems. The mechanisms of control of military members stands in sharp contrast to the treatment of civilians employed by the organization. In addition, the Army maintains strict control over aspects of its members' personal life, including mandatory drug screening, engagement in fraternization, and sexual conduct, among other areas. Functions and Culture The Army is designed as a community of workers that can be nearly self-sufficient if necessary. A core of soldiers is dedicated to combat activities that are complementary and interdependent. The culture of these fighting units is centered around discipline and a teamwork approach to tasks. They are augmented by large numbers of support personnel who provide everything from administrative services to equipment repair to transportation to meals and housing to medical and dental services to training and all other aspects of organizational need. All active-duty soldiers are considered to be on a permanent 24-hour call for service, they may be called to duty at any time, including while on leave, and they may be deployed to a duty station far from their home on very short notice. This is a condition of their employment contract and they do not have the right to refuse such duty or to resign. In fact, during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, a "stop loss" action was initiated in order to postpone the discharge of active-duty personnel, regardless of scheduled transitions, expired terms of service, or retirement. The greatest distinction between the Army and the civilian workforce is one of culture. The structure of military units is hierarchical and their operation is guided by rules of order and discipline. Discipline, in the military context, is more than a
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requirement to obey the orders of a superior, it also involves following a set of general rules of behavior, even in the face of distractions that include lethal threats. The emphasis on discipline serves two purposes: it facilitates the accomplishment of difficult missions and it supports the creation and maintenance of esprit and morale. The families of service members are considered to be a part of the Army community. The Army expects certain forms of compliance from family members but also offers a wide scope of support to them. Such support includes religious or pastoral services, social work assistance, family housing, schools for dependents, day care for small children, commissary facilities, and medical care. The work culture of the civilian economy as contrasted to the Army is less formal and the trend is toward less hierarchical, flatter work structures. Civilian workers have more flexibility in work hours and more choices in terms of the jobs they perform and the organizations for which they work. Even with the military downsizing, however, civilian workers have less job security than their military counterparts. Although the Army and the other services have continued distinctive organizational practices based on rank and discipline, there are those who believe that changes are coming (Moskos and Wood, 1988; Moskos, 1992; Segal, 1993). These researchers suggest that, because the all-volunteer nature of the force requires competition with the civilian sector for employees, military jobs will become more like civilian jobs in order to appeal to potential recruits. For example, over the years there has been some movement toward making military pay more equal to pay for similar civilian jobs. Also, the Army has become more lenient regarding the justification for attrition during an enlistee's first term. Control The Army, as an organization, is controlled in many important respects by the American people and their elected representatives. Indeed, the Army has been called the "service of the people," because of its size, history, tradition, generally high profile, and previous dependence on "citizen-soldiers" through con-
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scription. One of the most effective controls over the organization is the Army's annual budget, which is approved by Congress each year and affects the authorized number and distribution of personnel. The adoption or elimination of weapon systems can likewise affect the occupational distribution of soldiers, as do congressional decisions regarding the Army's missions, structure, or function. The budget process allows for a level of subcategory specification that targets specific programs or operations; staffing of these operations must frequently be accomplished by diverting personnel from other programs, rather than by adding new personnel to the organization. Downsizing Procedures The Army's post-cold war downsizing is in some respects closer to the personnel cuts in other public or private organizations than it is to armies of previous eras, which demobilized largely conscripted forces after the conclusion of a major war (McCormick, 1998). This relates to the fact that service in the Army has been entirely voluntary since the end of America's involvement in the Vietnam war. The end of conscription and the later conclusion of the cold war have also been identified as seminal events in transforming the very nature of the U.S. armed forces. Since 1987, the Army's active-duty force has been reduced by more than one-third and the budget has decreased by 40 percent. The reduction of the force called for at the end of the cold war was guided by four principles: protecting quality, shaping the force, maintaining personnel readiness, and demonstrating care and compassion (McCormick, 1998). The need for "force shaping" was driven by the understanding (mentioned above) that the Army would basically be stuck with the results of the reduction-in-force for a long time. Thus, the downsizing was aimed at maintaining the "experience content" of the force, gauged in terms of years in service (Timenes, 1996); a great effort was made to ensure that the loss of personnel would be proportional within all categories of soldiers by their years of service, across certain broad skill areas. Programs and policies for force reduction also attempted to ensure that the vast majority of people leaving the
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Army would do so voluntarily. This was achieved primarily through two monetary separation incentives, the special separation bonus (a lump-sum payment) and the variable separation incentive (an annuity). As McCormick (1998) found, the long-term effects of the force reduction are still undetermined, although the Army appears to have been relatively successful in achieving its goals. These procedures illustrate the drive within the Army to make political decisions into rationalized practices. External Contexts of Work This section presents a brief discussion of trends in demographics, missions, and technology and their roles in influencing the structure and content of Army occupations. These forces need to be taken into account by occupational analysts in the Army in the same way that similar forces in the civilian sector are considered in the development and use of occupational analysis systems for civilian work. Demographic Change Personnel in the Army and the other military services share certain demographic characteristics that are quite unusual when compared with their counterparts in the civilian workforce. This is due largely to laws and policies that restrict military service to persons who meet specific qualifying standards—including requirements related to age, health, moral background (e.g., arrest records and previous use of drugs or alcohol), physical attributes, marital status and dependents, cognitive ability, gender, citizenship status, education, and sexual orientation, among other personal or background characteristics. However, as the data below show, the Army workforce, like its civilian counterpart, is becoming more diverse. General Trends Since the end of the draft in the mid-1970s, the Army has experienced several noteworthy shifts in its demographic content. First, the proportion of black soldiers in its enlisted ranks has risen
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TABLE 6.1 Selected Characteristics of Active-Duty Army Personnel, by Enlisted/Officer Status, September 1996 Percent of Personnel Characteristic Enlisted Officer Female 14.3 14.3 Black 29.9 11.2 Hispanic 6.2 3.3 Ages 20–24 33.8 10.6 Ages 25–29 23.3 23.4 Ages 40 and above 5.8 24.4 High school graduate (with diploma) or above 95.8 100.0 College degree or above 10.5a 99.1 Married 56.0 71.4 Pay grade E4–E5 45.0 — Pay grade 03–04 — 54.6 a Includes persons with college credit but no degree, as well as those with a degree. SOURCE: Defense Manpower Data Center, Monterey, California. from 14 percent in 1971 to close to 37 percent of new recruits and nearly one-third of all enlisted personnel by 1979. As of 1996 (Table 6.1), the proportion of enlistees who are black had declined by 30 percent, but the relatively high representation of this racial/ethnic minority group remains as one of the most distinguishing demographic characteristics of the all-volunteer Army (Binkin and Eitelberg, 1982). Second, in 1973, women comprised about 2 percent of enlisted personnel and 4 percent of officers in the Army. By the late 1980s, this proportion had risen to 11 percent in both the active-duty enlisted and officer ranks; and by 1996, it stood at 14 percent of the Army's enlisted force and 14 percent of the officer corps (U.S. Department of Defense, 1997). Third, in 1973, white men of European descent accounted for about 75 percent of Army active-duty enlisted personnel and 9 in 10 officers; by the mid-1990s, these proportions had declined to 44 percent of the enlisted force and 66 percent of officers (Defense Manpower Data Center, 1998; U.S. Department of Defense, 1997).
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Another noteworthy trend has been the increasing age of the Army's active-duty personnel over the past two decades. This has continued throughout the history of the all-volunteer force, as experience levels (number of months or years in service) have risen across the board. The Army's smaller career force has also extended its efforts to recruit enlisted personnel who are somewhat older than the traditional 18- or 19-year-old youth fresh out of high school. In 1989, over 62 percent of all new Army recruits were 19 years old or younger, including 33 percent at age 18 and more than 6 percent at age 17. In 1996, just about half (53 percent) of the Army's recruits were 19 years old or younger, with 27 percent at age 18 and fewer than 4 percent at age 17. (By law, recruits must be between 17 and 36 years old, and those who are 17 must have parental permission.) Compared with the other military services, the Army has recently tended to take relatively larger proportions of older recruits (over age 21) and lower proportions of younger recruits (17 to 18 years old) (U.S. Department of Defense, 1997). Overall, in 1990, approximately 72 percent of the Army's active-duty enlisted population (men only) were under the age of 30; 6 years later, this proportion had fallen to 66 percent. Some people have referred to this trend as the "maturing" of the Army. Two related consequences, one considered positive and the other negative, have been attributed to this so-termed maturing: higher levels of experience tend to translate into improved performance, allowing (in theory) for a trade-off between quality and quantity; at the same time, older soldiers tend to place a greater demand on the personnel support framework (since they have more dependents) and they cost more (with higher salaries, a greater expense for moving families, and so on). The demographic trends in the U.S. population described in Chapter 2 and their effects on the general workforce are expected to have both direct and indirect effect on the characteristics of Army personnel. For example, as the proportion of minorities increases in the general population, manpower planners expect to see a corresponding, but smaller, increase of minorities in the Army's ranks; as the mean age of American workers rises, so, too, will the mean age of Army personnel; and, as more women enter the American labor force, most observers anticipate an increasing
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presence of women in the Army. It should be noted, however, that the Army's workforce is younger and includes a smaller proportion of women than the civilian workforce. Sociodemographic Trends Certain sociodemographic trends in the general population are also expected to affect the Army in ways that are similar to the anticipated impact on civilian employers. Of all the changes that the American family has undergone in recent decades, the Army's personnel planners are perhaps most concerned about the growth of two-income couples, who are expected to represent three-quarters of all married couples by the year 2000. This particular trend has been accompanied by a more equitable sharing of parental responsibilities between men and women—which, along with certain demographic changes, has forced all employers to take greater interest in developing responsive workplace policies and a more family-friendly working environment. More civilian employers are thus implementing flexible work schedules and job-sharing plans, offering expanding opportunities for people to work at home, placing greater emphasis on participatory management, and introducing new compensation packages tailored to the needs of individual workers and their families. It is clearly more difficult for the Army to create a responsive workplace environment than it is for many civilian employers, given its mission and its corresponding demands on people for their time, availability for deployment, geographic mobility, periodic separations and possible isolation from family, foreign residence, and related obligations of service life. Indeed, both the Army and the family have been called "greedy" institutions, in the sense that each places a great (and often conflicting) demand on the individual for his or her commitment, loyalty, time, and energy (Moskos and Wood, 1988). Yet if the Army is to survive as an all-volunteer organization in a changing demographic landscape, it may have to adapt in a way that can keep step with the movement toward family-friendly work settings. Recruit quality is another concern of U.S. military manpower planners: that is, whether tomorrow's recruits will have the necessary abilities to perform certain complex tasks in a high-tech
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Figure 6.1 Percentage of high-quality recruits attracted by the Army during fiscal years 1973–1996. force. According to Kageff and Laurence (1994:93), military recruits will have to be more versatile: "They will be required to operate and maintain several technically sophisticated systems and, during a course of service, may have to be retrained and transferred laterally." The Army's efforts at attracting high-quality recruits have been quite successful throughout most of the 1980s and early 1990s (Figure 6.1). Applying the Army's own definition of high quality—that is, possession of a high school diploma and a score at or above the 50th percentile (population mean) on the Armed Forces Qualification Test—the trend appears quite positive, although more recently observers have noted test score declines in the military pool of potential recruits (Kageff and Laurence, 1994:92). One other general demographic trend should be mentioned here. Over the years, considerable concern has centered on the socioeconomic status (SES) of Army personnel relative to that of the U.S. population. When the draft ended, some observers claimed that economic conscription would replace the draft and fill the ranks with disadvantaged young people and that the Army would become an employer of last resort. During the early years
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geared toward rapid response and tailored personnel and equipment mixes. On the other hand, nonstandard operations—particularly operations other than war that require less "warrior" and more "warrior-diplomat" skills—may become the norm for the future Army. The Force XXI Operations document (1994) identifies Army battlefield requirements through the year 2010 and suggests that the smaller force will have fewer individual specialties for both officers and enlisted soldiers, and individual soldiers will be trained for a wider variety of missions. That would argue for a thorough reconsideration of the existing work structure in light of the requirements for these nonstandard missions. As discussed in previous chapters, changes in technology and organizational context have contributed to two challenges that face occupational analysts in the civilian sector: the need to define and respond to the higher skill requirements of jobs, and to the blurring of distinctions between jobs. These two challenges are also salient for the Army. Higher Skill Requirements (Upskilling) The mix of Army jobs in the post-World War II period shows a shift from blue-collar to white-collar jobs, reflecting the move away from work requiring general military skills toward that requiring special skills (Binkin, 1994). The most conspicuous change has been the increase in electronics-related occupations. It should be noted, too, that the growth in the proportion of technical jobs has been accompanied by an increase in the technical complexity of specific jobs. These trends are closely parallel to those in the civilian sector. As the armed services draw down their forces, the requirements for bright, technologically literate personnel are not likely to diminish proportionately. It is more likely that the requisite personnel qualifications in the leaner military of the future will grow commensurate with the sophistication of the systems that are fielded. Paige described the skills associated with using and maintaining sophisticated equipment as follows (1996b:5): Let me give you a vivid example of our world of changing technology. Today 82 percent of what (a particular person) maintains is computer controlled. He averages 100 hours of training a year. His
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average age is 36. Twenty-seven percent of his peers attend college. He deciphers 500,000 pages of technical manuals. The best and brightest who are skilled in computer diagnostics can command $75,000 per year. Does this technician maintain the new Comanche helicopter with its four onboard supercomputers? No. The technician I have described maintains your new automobile. If this is what today's mechanic(s) need to do their job, think what tomorrow's warfighter will need. A related question is whether "smart" systems of the future will permit use and maintenance by smaller staffs of people. Binkin (1994) suggests that the number of personnel needed by the armed services depends on many factors, such as what tasks specific units are expected to do, how they are organized (combat-to-support ratio), what skills are required, and guiding personnel policies (how people are assigned and used). The influence of technology comes into play when calculating the number of people needed and the qualifications that specialists and technicians need to operate and maintain the military equipment. As new systems and advanced technologies are introduced, the effects on the military workforce will largely depend on the degree of equipment complexity, which is directly related to its reliability, maintainability, and availability. Binkin concludes, for example, that the military has consistently been underestimating the number of maintenance personnel that will be needed for new equipment. The Army's current job classification system distinguishes between electronic equipment repairers and electrical/mechanical equipment repairers; there are currently twice as many of the latter than the former. However this level of distinction is far too coarse. Some truly advanced systems, for example, are likely to require maintenance MOSs that are system-specific. These new MOSs will need to be supported by analyses of tasks, knowledge, skills, and abilities—especially cognitive tasks (National Research Council, 1997b). Different jobs using similar equipment can involve different tasks and skills. By the same token, apparently dissimilar tasks can involve similar fundamental jobs and skills. Only comprehensive task analyses can decompose the nuances of such jobs. In any case, most military leaders caution against assumptions that future "smart" technologies will replace human sol-
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diers' and commanders' abilities to plan and to make decisions. Although there are clear cases in which complete automation of human tasks is a goal (e.g., mine clearance operations, surveillance under extremely dangerous conditions), improved technologies are intended to augment and assist, not replace, human control of the battle area. Technology will not negate the requirement for basic human warrior skills (Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1997; Holmes, 1997). Military experts endorse the notion that future technology will require not only continued employment of human warfighters, but also higher levels of skill (Sanders, 1997:3). In addition, the Army's future work structure will have to contend with the fact that workers who deal with information technology must keep up with a staggering rate of growth in the relevant knowledge base. One study found that the half-life for material covered in college engineering classes is between 5 and 10 years, and engineering reference library documents have an even shorter useful half-life of only 1 to 2 years. As a result, workers in information technology careers must constantly enhance their knowledge just to keep up, and today's graduates must be prepared to change careers many times in response to technology changes. The same considerations will apply to military workers (Kaminski, 1996). Blurring of Distinctions Between Jobs Distinctions between jobs may be increasingly blurred due to changes in technology-based skills and new mission requirements. In at least two cases, previously distinct jobs may be at least partially melded in the future. One pair of job types that is losing its distinction is operational users (e.g., tank crews, helicopter crews) and maintainers. The modular design and self-test capabilities of advanced technologies will increasingly permit "pull and replace the box" maintenance, which requires no special tools and can be performed in the field by operational users. In addition, equipment and systems are becoming more software-intensive, and in the future it is possible that operational personnel may be trained to monitor, diagnose, and reconfigure their systems through software control—a significant increase in maintenance responsibilities.
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Distinctions are also being lost between commanders and subordinates. Since new information distribution and processing technologies will permit (and strategies will require) commanders to perform their monitoring, planning, decision-making, and controlling functions through interaction with common computer-based systems, they will have to be proficient in the technical skills required to interact with and understand the capabilities and limitations of those systems. That is, command tasks will require more technical skills and knowledge. The same strategy and technologies will permit and require subordinate soldiers to operate at a distance from the commander and to assume more responsibility and authority for tactical actions based on immediate situational feedback and awareness. Osborne observes (1997:14): "The evolution of smart computer terminals has unleashed the potential of the individual to control information flows. The armed forces have already made great use of this process by empowering individual soldiers to make decisions on the battlefield. The new [organizational] structures often require supervisory and nonsupervisory personnel, trained to function in diverse capacities, to cross the lines of conventional job descriptions. That is, a subordinate's tasks will often require some command skills and knowledge." However, as noted earlier in this chapter, rules regarding recruitment, compensation, and status difference remain throughout the enlisted and officer ranks. New Organizational Structures and Processes In the civilian sector, the conventional management hierarchical pyramid is being flattened to provide faster information flow horizontally and from the top down and from the bottom up (Osborne, 1997). Reducing the number of organizational levels promotes teamwork, speeds product development, and allows flexible, rapid response to market changes. Although the military's new strategic emphasis on speed and flexibility of response has implications for a wider distribution of information and work responsibilities, there is little serious consideration being given to flatter, nonhierarchical organizational structures. The Force XXI Operations document (1994) suggests that, in the future, physically dispersed Army organizations are likely to be electronically
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linked and structured to provide the most timely information directly to soldiers so that they can exercise their full potential for initiative and action within the overall intent of the commanders. In any case, the military assumes that, in the future, warfare will require adjustments to organizational structures that take advantage of, and may even be organized around, the processes and systems for information processing and distribution (Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1997; Force XXI Operations, 1994). Such changes may include changes in the nature of command authority (e.g., authority corresponding to possession of knowledge—and therefore changeable—rather than purely on the basis of rank), are likely to diffuse authority, and will change the dynamics of leader-to-led in ways that are yet to be fully explored and exploited (Force XXI Operations, 1994). Such explorations are likely to benefit from investigation of new work structures being developed in association with the concept of computer-supported cooperative work, in which teams work together using common information-processing and distribution systems, while individual tasks are allocated dynamically based on overall team actions, performance, and requirements (National Research Council, 1998). Army work structures in the future are likely to benefit from inclusion of detailed descriptors for team tasks and knowledge, skills, and abilities. Developing an Effective Occupational Information System In 1965, the Army recognized the need to make use of occupational analysis methodology for creating, revising, and merging occupational specialties. The first effort in this direction was the development of the Military Occupational Data Bank, which later evolved into the Army Occupational Analysis Survey. In 1972, the Army abandoned these systems for the Comprehensive Occupational Data Analysis Program (CODAP), developed by the Air Force. CODAP is based on the assumption that occupational analysis begins by defining all jobs of interest down to the task performance level. In this approach, the list of specific job tasks is the primary anchor for job data; this list can be augmented or modified by other factors, such as equipment used. Once the task list
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is completed and appropriate rating scales are added, this preliminary job inventory is reviewed for accuracy and completeness by experienced job incumbents, supervisors, trainers, or other subject-matter experts. The next step is to administer the inventory to a large number of job incumbents to collect quantitative data on the time spent and the importance of tasks (in some cases, other data are also collected). These data are then analyzed, interpreted, and used for a number of manpower management purposes, including especially the development of training programs and the definition of career paths with specific details about the increases in responsibility at each level of advancement. This approach, although labor-intensive and time-consuming, provides a common framework for commanders, personnel managers, and trainers. In an effort to streamline the occupational analysis process, the responsibility for the system was transferred to the Army Research Institute in 1994. The three biggest concerns of the users of the system at that time were (1) the need to shorten the time needed to obtain occupational data once a requirement was identified, (2) the need for a central on-line database to facilitate analysis, and (3) the need for timely analysis and easy interpretation and use of results. In 1996, the Army Research Institute's occupational analysis group stated its goal (U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, 1996:00): The mission of the Occupational Analysis Program is to provide the Army's manpower, personnel, and training communities the individual task information critical to job design, analysis, and training development. It is through the integration of the requirements of these three communities at the military occupational specialty or job level, that the OA Program supports the field commander, the ultimate customer for occupational analysis in the Army. Its definition of occupational analysis encompasses all aspects of work organization, performance, and training. Job analysis, which is central to creating an effective fighting force, is a critical subset of occupational analysis. In its Army application, it focuses on defining MOSs through detailed description of both the
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tasks and the knowledge and skills required for effective performance. Recent efforts to modernize the job analysis process and make it more efficient led to the development of a new computer-based survey system called Operational Data, Analysis, and Structure (ODARS). By combining psychological and computer methodologies, this system offers (1) automated surveys, (2) continuous data collection, (3) a centralized and accessible occupational analysis data base, and (4) flexible, easy analysis and report generation. ODARS has been used with some success in characterizing changing task requirements in selected MOSs and for developing responsive and targeted training programs (U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, 1996). The greatest use of occupational analysis is in the training function; task and knowledge lists are regularly reviewed to ensure that training is up to date. Training courses now are on a 6-to 8-year revision schedule. Experienced job incumbents and supervisors provide task ratings and updating. The goal is to obtain ratings by 100 percent of soldiers in small MOSs, and by every trainee attending a training school in one year for larger MOSs. There is limited capacity to validate task lists; it is assumed that raters are qualified subject-matter experts. Training developers analyze task lists and decide when, where, and how to train. On average, approximately 250 development hours are devoted to every instructional hour per program. Consolidation of MOSs is an important current issue. A redesign is instigated by a "proponent office" at one of the 26 training schools, in response to one or more sources of pressure to change. These pressures occur due to changes in command, doctrine, technology, quality of human resources, performance problems, downsizing, and so on. Consolidation of MOSs is done on the basis of common knowledge, not common tasks, because MOSs are designed to have nonoverlapping tasks. There are no set procedures on how to design or redesign an MOS, and proponents have no formal training in MOS design. The recent drawdown in military personnel can have dramatic effects on this process due to attrition of professional expertise. The occupational analysis staff has identified three programs
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for future development. The first will focus on creating approaches to MOS analysis and job design that will provide a database of common tasks, skills, and knowledge across MOSs. It is suggested that such a database could be extremely valuable for designing new jobs or combining existing jobs. The second development concerns evaluating the applicability and usefulness of various civilian job classification systems, such as O*NET™, both for relevant methodology and for matching military and civilian jobs. The third development involves exploring the use of the Internet for data collection and information dissemination. In a report prepared for the Army Research Institute, Russell, Mumford, and Peterson (1995) proposed the application of O*NET™ to occupational analysis in the Army. They begin their discussion with a statement of the role of occupational analysis in the Army of 2010 with regard to changing missions, tailoring units to missions, developing new technology and weapons systems, changing battle command, emerging information technology, and ongoing rapid change. Table 6.10 (taken from this report) provides an overview of the implications of these changes for manpower, personnel, and training as well as for occupational analysis. The report further proposes an ideal Army occupational analysis system that would "be used by manpower, personnel and training professionals and perhaps Army commanders in the Army 2010. Its linked data bases would allow easy access to descriptions of training courses that teach a particular skill, to lists of soldiers who have skills and abilities relevant to a particular type of mission, to Army jobs that have similar requirements, and so on. It would have a menu-driven, user-oriented interface that allows users to access data at the level of aggregation and specificity that is best suited to the application" (Russell et al., 1995:11). The three linked databases—readiness, occupations, and training—would be related to each other through a common language provided by O*NET™ variables. Together, these databases would provide all the information needed for such tasks as assembling a special operation in the field or for developing training requirements for a combined MOS. The specific characteristics of an ideal Army Personnel Network (AP*NET) and their relationship to existing O*NET™ char-
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TABLE 6.10 Implications of Anticipated Changes in the Army for Manpower Personnel and Training and Occupational Analysis Systems Anticipated Change Implications for Manpower Personnel and Training Systems Implications for Occupational Analysis Changing missions Must address interpersonal, cross-cultural, and other non-technical knowledges, skills, and abilities in selection and training. Include descriptors for interpersonal and other non-technical knowledges, skills, and abilities. Tailoring units to missions Must provide information for rapid team formation. Describe jobs, people, and missions in a common language. Developing new technology and weapons systems Must enhance transfer of training across jobs and specific pieces of equipment. Must select soldiers who are adaptable. Include descriptors of broad technological skills. Changing battle command Must ensure that soldiers have needed decision making, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. Include descriptors for decision making, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. Emerging information technology Must realize that manpower personnel and training information can become a part of the battle. Include descriptors useful to commanders in the database. Develop policies and controls for use. Ongoing rapid change Must be continually updated and accessible. Take advantage of automation and on-line services. Develop future-oriented job analysis approach. SOURCE: Russell et al., (1995).
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TABLE 6.11 Mapping of Desirable AP*NET Characteristics Against O*NET™ Characteristics Desirable AP*NET Characteristic O*NET™ Characteristic Uses a common language. Uses a common language developed through extensive literature reviews and analyses. Includes descriptors for a wide range of person attributes (e.g., interpersonal, problem solving). Includes a comprehensive set of personal characteristic descriptors. Includes descriptors for general work activities, skills, and knowledges that are relevant across jobs. Includes cross-job descriptors that would need to be supplemented with Army-specific cross-job descriptors. Includes occupation-specific descriptors (e.g.,specific tasks, equipment, and technology). Includes a process for gathering occupation-specific descriptors. Does not include task, equipment, or technology descriptors. Includes descriptors at varying levels of specificity arranged hierarchically. Includes hierarchically organized descriptors. Includes a taxonomy of missions and linkages among missions, work activities, skills, and knowledge. Does not include Army-specific variables. Includes variables or aggregates of variables likely to be useful to commanders. Does not include Army-specific variables. Is linked to civilian occupational analysis databases. Is linked to the Bureau of Labor Statistics databases. Is automated and on-line. Is planned to be automated and on-line. Is coupled with a top-down future-oriented analysis procedure. Does not include a built-in future-oriented job analysis approach. SOURCE: Russell et al., (1995).
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acteristics is shown in Table 6.11 (taken from the report). It can be seen from this table that some of the areas proposed for the AP*NET have corresponding characteristics in O*NET™, whereas others would require specific development for Army use. For example, O*NET™ uses a common language, includes a comprehensive set of personnel characteristic descriptors and cross-job descriptors, uses hierarchically organized descriptors, provides a process for gathering occupation specific descriptors, includes civilian jobs, and is planned for on-line automation. The Army would have to develop: Army-specific cross-job descriptors; Equipment and technology descriptors to be linked to tasks; A taxonomy of missions and linkages among missions, work activities, skills, and knowledge; this taxonomy will need to be included in the common language so that missions can be linked to tasks, skills, and knowledge; Variables of use to commanders; and Coupling with top-down, future-oriented job analysis procedures. Russell et al., (1995) suggest that the Army build a prototype of AP*NET and then run a pilot test to identify development problems and to assess usefulness. In addition, their report makes the following long-term recommendations. First, develop procedures for assigning individuals to teams that optimize on multiple personnel considerations associated with readiness. Second, initiate studies to identify and measure individual and teamwork requirements for new missions. Third, develop performance measures to be used in career development, training, and job classification. Finally, develop simulation exercises to allow officers to run what-if scenarios based on various mixes of force capabilities. The key is to develop an occupational analysis system that efficiently links workforce capabilities with mission planning and provides the structure for recruiting, training, and assignment and promotion of personnel.
Representative terms from entire chapter: