Army manpower estimate expert brings Human Systems Integration, veteran knowledge to help DoD leaders resource right

July 31, 2012

Story Highlights

  • HRED's Retired Chief Warrant Officer James Minninger is considered the Army expert on manpower estimate reports.

At the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, counterterrorism, counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations proved that, while effective, the military's best technological innovations were no substitute for Soldiers. But for as long as there have been U.S. military weapon systems, little existed to unilaterally estimate the number and skill mix of Soldiers required to fight our way to victory.

So James Minninger helped create one.

He was serving as the assistant program manager (APM) for Manpower and Personnel Integration (MANPRINT) for the RAH-66 Comanche helicopter program. He was charged with considering, from a systematic view, the impact the Comanche's enhanced system designs would have on the Soldiers that pilot, maintain, and support it.

"I needed to develop a manpower estimate report that would be staffed through the Department of Defense to Congress. No process, procedures, or guidance was available from Headquarters, Department of the Army or the Office of the Secretary of Defense, which forced my team to unilaterally develop an acceptable process," said Minninger, a Human Factors Specialist within the Army Research Laboratory's Human Research and Engineering Directorate. He is based at Redstone Arsenal, Ala.

Manpower estimates predict the number of personnel required "to operate, maintain, support, and provide system-related training in advance of approval of the development, or production and deployment" of a system, according to the Department of Defense Acquisition Guidebook.

"The estimate identifies resource shortfalls, i.e., discrepancies between manpower requirements and authorizations, in any fiscal year addressed by the estimate. It compares manpower levels for the new system with those required for similar legacy systems, if any," explained Dr. Pamela Savage-Knepshield, chief of ARL's Human Factors Integration Division. "The manpower estimate also describes the scope of each functional area included in the analysis such as, operations, maintenance, support, and training, and the methods, factors, and assumptions used to estimate the manpower for each."

She said manpower estimates consider continuous, sustained operations, and manpower required to fill a surge capability and this information is used to determine the most efficient and cost-effective mix of DoD manpower and contract support, and to identify issues like resource shortfalls that could impact the program manager's ability to execute the program.

"The majority of my work involves the application of several existing manpower and personnel management processes to provide data, required by law for 28 years, for which there has been no published guidance at the HQDA or OSD/DoD levels," said Minninger, who retired from active duty in 1992 as a chief warrant officer.

While on active duty, he served as a rotary wing aviator, aircraft maintenance technician, supply management technician, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Integrating Center action/staff officer, and Comanche's assistant program manager for MANPRINT. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa native completed undergraduate studies at Chaminade College of Honolulu and received a master's degree from Florida Institute of Technology.

Since 2002, Minninger has provided Title 10, US Code, compliant manpower estimate reports for Major Defense Acquisition Programs and select Acquisition Category II programs including the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS)-Handheld, Manpack, and Small Form Fit radios; JTRS-Ground Mobile Radios; JTRS -Network Enterprise Domain; MQ-1C Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft System; Joint Light Tactical Vehicles; Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles; Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor; Indirect Fire Protection Capability portion of the Counter Rocket Artillery Mortar; Early Infantry Brigade Combat Team; Integrated Air and Missile Defense and the OH-58F Kiowa Warrior.

"Every assessment, evaluation, analysis, test, and minute of program management support provided by the field element is a success story. When we find issues with a system, we assist PMs with resolutions to help ensure the equipment being provided our Soldiers is optimized for their tactical use. When we don't find issues, PMs can be assured they don't have to waste development resources looking for problems that don't exist."

In 2008, he received a MANPRINT Practitioner Award recognizing his expertise and contributions to the Army when preparing these reports for acquisition programs.

"This input is critical when one considers that manpower is the most costly logistics element of any weapon system, and training is next in line. If it can be determined that the manpower requirement can be reduced by only one Soldier, over the lifetime of a system that is issued to multiple units, a cost saving of millions of dollars could potentially be realized," Savage-Knepshield explained.

The ARL HRED Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) Field Element provides Manpower and Personnel Integration (MANPRINT) / Human Systems Integration (HSI) domain related analyses, assessments, test design, evaluations, and program management support to our customers. Those customers include, but are not limited to, the Program Executive Offices (PEO) for Aviation, Missiles and Space, Command Control Communications Tactical (C3T), Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS), Combat Support & Combat Service Support (CS&CSS), Enterprise Information Systems (EIS), Ground Combat Systems (GCS), and Future Combat Systems (FCS); the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC); the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM); and the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research and Engineering Command. The Field Element also provides direct MANPRINT / HSI consultation support to the U.S. Army Materiel Command headquarters.

Redstone Arsenal is an expanding enterprise hub for the development and exploitation of defense and space technologies and applications. "An ARL HRED presence provides program managers ready access to a fully trained and diverse workforce to assist with the integration of the human dimension of their systems as a component of their systems engineering process."


Last Update / Reviewed: July 31, 2012