New Unit of Measure: The Lance Corporal Equivalent (LCE)
I just read a sobering blog post over at the USNI. While some in the business may look at the forthcoming budget reduction efforts as academically stimulating, it’s important to keep in mind the toll end strength reductions will have on the young men and women who’ve done nothing wrong except wanting to serve their country. The navy’s approach to personnel reduction says a great deal about leadership priorities.
During the height of the Cold War smart folks in the defense analysis industry came up with the concept of a standardized unit of measure – the Armor Division Equivalent – as a useful tool to run through sophisticated models to predict the results of attrition warfare engagements that never occurred.
We now face a different form of attrition warfare – attrition of end strength and force structure due to the inevitable reality of budget reduction efforts. Today, a useful tool to make comparisons is to use the Lance Corporal Equivalent. The Lance Corporal is a highly adaptable weapon system used successfully across the full spectrum of military operations from HA/DR to MTW and everything in between.
The LCE is a great tool when examining the budget trade space. Some tradeoffs are acceptable. In many cases it makes perfect operational and fiscal sense to commit funds to an effective weapon system. However, all too often, senior leaders in DoD accept inefficiency at the expense of operational capabilities.
The LCE equates to $25K. It takes into consideration annual salary and incidentals such as chow and living expenses for a single leatherneck living in the barracks. This does not consider ammo, personal weapons, training, etc. It is not a perfect model but it is effective to bring to light the tradeoffs for accepting status quo programs and processes. Here are a few examples:
1 Senior Program Analyst on OSD Staff : 6.2 LCE
1 Graduate of Army War College : 6.6 LCE
1 Schedule C SES at the Pentagon : 7.6 LCE
1 Married set of 0-5s working on acquisition programs at the Pentagon : 10.6 LCE
1 Naval Academy Graduate : 14.6 LCE
Graduating Class at USMA : 16,800 LCE
1 COCOM HQ Staff : 64,000 LCE
Military Personnel doing civilian work – 2.24M LCE
This is a very short list generated with the level of analysis that could be conducted on the back of an MRE box. I am not advocating eliminating any of the above items so need to go into the D, I am simply attempting to place the tradespace in perspective. By accepting inefficiency in whatever form within the DoD we are eliminating valuable operational capacity. Framing the issue in LCEs may help reinforce this fact.
Zacchaeus was a Greek tax collector hated by his peers for perceived collaboration with the enemy. It is the pseudonym of a retired Marine, working at the Pentagon. He lives in fear for his children, family pet and automobile should his real identity fall into the hands of status quo thinkers in the Marine Corps.