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Personnel support describes those systems which belong to the manning and the personnel service support portion of sustaining soldiers and their systems. Personnel doctrine, as outlined in FM 12-6, establishes the foundation for the personnel support activities of personnel organizations and authorities throughout the U.S. Army. At the tactical and operational level, personnel support divides into eight critical systems/functions:

  • Personnel Readiness Management
  • Personnel Accounting and Strength Reporting
  • Casualty Operations Management
  • Replacement Management
  • Personnel Information Management
  • Postal Operations Management
  • Morale, Welfare, and Recreation and Community Support (Functions)
  • Essential Personnel Services (Functions)

Success on the battlefield will depend, in part, on the effective management of personnel functions. Through the execution of these functions, essential personnel information is managed, analyzed, and used by commanders in the decision-making process.

Personnel support activities provide an integrated system that sustains the fighting force and contributes to both national will and the will of the soldier to fight. Figure I-1 depicts the relationships between manning and sustaining soldiers and their systems. Figure I-2 emphasizes the critical role of the personnel information management system as the connective force for the entire military personnel support system.

The key to understanding personnel support concepts is recognition that its activities serve two major areas of concentration: support for commanders and units (manning) and support to soldiers (sustaining soldiers). Each personnel services function can be described in terms of command support and soldier support activities. For instance, personnel readiness management supports soldiers by making certain they are prepared to deploy, and their personal documents, such as SGLI and DD Form 93, are current. This function also manages unit readiness, ensuring the unit is manned with deployable soldiers. It further supports the commander by providing him with real-time information about the combat-ready strength of his unit. Personnel operations, therefore, enhances combat power by providing information and support to both the commander and the soldier.

In many cases, systems which clearly seem to contain soldier support functions contribute to both unit and commander support. For instance, postal and morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) activities appear to support primarily the soldier. However, the morale of the unit is a combat multiplier. The ability to provide soldiers with services that improve the morale of the unit supports both the commander and soldier.

Personnel support directly affects success in combat. The requirement to provide timely personnel readiness management, casualty operations, replacement operations management, and other essential personnel services is critical. Whether committed to a forward presence or OOTW mission, personnel support must be tailored to satisfy tactical and operational requirements of the commander, either Army alone or in concert with a joint or combined force.

Enhanced communications allow accomplishment of some personnel functions, such as personnel information management, from CONUS or another theater, requiring deployment of only critical functions. Split-based operations, however, require careful consideration of the commander's vision and intent.

The objective of personnel support is to ensure operational success. Personnel support activities begin with the initial planning of an operation through mobilization, deployment, war or OOTW, and redeployment. They encompass the full range of military operations from nation and humanitarian assistance to peace enforcement and conflict.

Personnel support is a major function at each level of war. At the strategic level, personnel support encompasses national mobilization and falls within the purview of national political and military-strategic leadership. Strategic personnel support deals with mobilization of reserves and national manpower, acquisition and integration, deployment, and demobilization. It links the nation's natural resources (people) to theater military operations. Operational personnel support focuses on reception, allocation, management, and redeployment of units and soldiers. It also focuses on reconstitution operations. Tactical personnel support focuses on the specific functions of manning units and sustaining the soldiers of the unit. Centralized management and assignment of soldiers and systems at the strategic level facilitate decentralized execution of personnel support at the operational and tactical levels.


The manning challenges are to assure the uninterrupted flow of soldiers to the battlefield and to account for all soldiers and civilians. Manning the force encompasses personnel readiness management, replacement management, casualty management and civilian personnel management. The following sections highlight these manning functions and discuss how these systems maintain the unit's fighting strength and assist the commander during the command estimate process.

The systems of personnel readiness management, replacement management, and casualty management meet Army personnel requirements from mobilization and deployment through redeployment and demobilization. The Army personnel readiness system provides a flexible tool for selecting and assigning soldiers with the correct skills to meet the requirements before, during, and after combat. The replacement management system moves soldiers and civilians through continental United States (CONUS) replacement centers to the unit commander in the theater of operations. The replacement system responds to commanders through the personnel readiness management system. Civilian personnel management provides essential civilian personnel and the services necessary for their sustainment. The battlefield requirements of joint and combined operations mean that commanders need to know the status of all personnel under their control. The personnel system may be asked to account for joint, allied, or host nation personnel and/or provide services in a similar manner as that for Army personnel.

The personnel information management system interconnects the manning subfunctions. It collects, validates, processes, and stores critical information, manual and electronic, about soldiers and units through distributed and command data bases. The personnel information data base is used as follows: by personnel readiness managers to assess unit readiness and support personnel allocation decisions; by casualty managers for basic personnel information and casualty information verification; and by replacement managers to track replacement flow through the replacement system to the ultimate unit of assignment. The analysis of the data base information is provided to the commander to support the commander's decision-making process.


Sustaining soldiers and their systems includes personnel service support, health services support, field services support, quality of life, and general supply support. Personnel service support, as defined in Chapter 12 of FM 100-5, is the management and execution of six personnel-related functions: personnel services, resource management, finance services, chaplaincy activities, command information services, and legal service support. These functions are usually within the purview of the tactical unit's G/S-1, although at different echelons they may be represented by different staff officers and unit commanders. This manual will discuss only the personnel services systems.

Personnel services are the products of the personnel system which provide services essential to sustain the highest possible level of readiness. The challenge of the personnel services function is to provide the postal and MWR necessary to sustain soldiers and civilians. Personnel services also provides essential services to soldiers, civilians, and family members to sustain the human dimension of the force.


The following paragraphs preview Chapters 1 through 9 which describe critical personnel systems and functions.


The mission of the PRM system is to distribute soldiers to subordinate commands based on documented manpower requirements and/or authorizations to maximize wartime preparedness. Personnel readiness describes a state of mission preparedness. PRM is a process for achieving and maintaining that state. The process involves analyzing personnel strength data to determine current combat capabilities and project future requirements. It starts with the comparison of an organization's personnel strength against its requirements or authorizations, and it ends with a personnel readiness assessment and allocation decision.


The mission of the Army's management system is to account for soldiers, report other strength-related information, and update command data bases at all levels. Personnel accounting is the reporting system for recording by-name data on soldiers when they arrive and depart units, when their duty status changes, for example, from duty to hospital, and when grades change.

Strength reporting is a numerical end product of the accounting process. The process starts with a strength-related transaction submitted at battalion and separate unit level and ends with a data base update through all echelons of command to the total Army personnel data base (TAPDB).


The mission of the COM system is to record, report, verify, and process casualty information from unit level to Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA); notify appropriate individuals; and provide assistance to family members. Casualty information from a number of sources must be collected, collated, and analyzed to determine the appropriate action and ultimate case disposition.


The mission of the replacement management system is to move personnel from designated points of origin to ultimate destinations. Replacement management is the physical reception, accounting, processing, support, and delivery of military and civilian personnel. This includes replacements and return to duty (RTD) soldiers. The system provides primarily for individual replacements in all military occupational specialties (MOS) and groupings of individuals up through company level as required by operations. Replacement management requires real-time access to basic information about all replacements, movement status from the point of selection, and personnel readiness management information to determine the final destination of replacements and RTD soldiers.


This system collects, validates, processes, and stores critical information about soldiers and units. Personnel information management provides essential personnel information to commanders, soldiers, and families. This system integrates and distributes the information products necessary to man and sustain soldiers and their systems on the battlefield.


This system operates a network to process mail and provide postal services within the area of operations. Processing mail involves receiving, separating, sorting, dispatching, and redirecting ordinary and accountable mail. Postal services involve selling stamps; cashing and selling money orders; providing registered, insured, and certified mail services; and handling casualty, EPW, and contaminated mail.


This system enables commanders to provide soldiers and Army civilians with recreational activities and goods and services not available through appropriated finds. For contingency operations, the MWR network provides services to the theater of operations. These are in the form of unit recreation and sports programs and rest areas for brigade-sized and larger units. American Red Cross representatives are available at division and higher levels to handle family emergencies. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) will provide mobile field exchange service in forward corps and division areas whenever the tactical situation allows. The deployment of soldiers during war or operations other than war creates substantial stress on soldiers and their family members throughout the period of separation. The chain of command helps soldiers and Army civilians solve personal problems and communicate with their families through the family support system. The morale of both the soldier and the family has a significant impact on soldier performance.


These services include awards and decorations, noncommissioned officer and officer evaluations, enlisted promotions and reductions, officer promotions, enlisted and officer transfers and discharges, identification documents, leaves and passes, line of duty investigations, officer procurement, and band operations. Other personnel services include general services such as voting, safety, and heraldry.


The civilian personnel management system ensures that deployed civilians are accounted for and receive personnel services. The civilian TDA structure with support from the military personnel support system provides personnel support to deployed civilians during war and operations other than war. The support begins prior to the deployment and lasts until redeployment. Deployed (or alerted for deployment) DA civilian personnel/families are entitled to the same benefits and privileges afforded to soldiers/family members unless precluded by statute.


The nature of contingency operations, coalition warfare, and support for the range of operations from war to OOTW, suggests that most operations will be joint. Personnel units will deploy incrementally to support forces ranging in size from task force to Army-level organizations. This means that personnel unit commanders and functional area managers at all echelons must be familiar with joint operations and prepared to function to some degree in the role of the J1.

The J1 role in support of a Joint Task Force (JTF) commander, whether or not that is the CINC, ARFOR commander, or commander of another service, is demanding and requires planning and coordination to meet a number of considerations. There is not a set structure for a JTF. The J1 must be prepared to assist in developing JTF structure based on the situation. This will often include integration with NATO and or the UN. Simultaneous support may be necessary to support concurrent NEO, humanitarian relief life support, and combat operations. There may be no clean break between war and OOTW and the services' personnel systems must be integrated, task-organized, resourced, and coordinated to meet these competing demands. There must be provisions to account for non-Army military members, civilians, and even host nation personnel at the theater level. Theses provisions must be viable even when no ARFOR commander is designated. Coordination with Red Cross, national, and international agencies, as well as with Department of State, Department of Defense, and Joint Staff organizations and officials will need to be a planning factor as well.

The J1 is required to provide responsive support to the war-winning package of forces while considering and accounting for service-unique requirements and procedures. Individuals with specific language or technical skills may be required, yet individual, service and host unit concerns must also be considered.

This includes promoting equity among the different rating systems, service benefits, postal operations, entitlements, travel, and pay by coordinating for common services, policies, and procedures; coordinating requirements for intransit travel with host or third country national authorities; and ensuring families, military members and civilians receive appropriate documentation, passports, and environmental health and morale support.

The role of the J1 has become more demanding as the use of the JTF has become the norm. Individuals selected to act in this capacity must be familiar with the similarities, differences, and requirements of the other services. Personnel unit commanders and staff officers must familiarize themselves with the procedures, terminology and organizations found at the joint level to ensure integration of Army personnel systems to meet the needs of the JTF commander. It may be helpful for personnelists to become familiar with The Joint Staff Officer's Guide, AFSC Pub 1, which provides a background and overview of joint staff operations.

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