Monday, December 17, 2007

Capabilities inadequate? Enlarge your staff!

I have been wondering for quite a while whether CSE's staffing target of 1650 employees, first reported in 2005, was increased at some point. The fact that CSE's staff has been consistently larger than 1650 since the summer (it reached 1686 as of November) certainly gives reason for suspicion. Chief Adams's April comment that the agency employs "1700 individuals" might also be considered a tipoff, although you can't always count on the reliability of TESTAMINT.

Looks like it's about time to revisit the documentary record and see what conclusions are waiting to be drawn. No staffing projections at all in DND's 2007-2008 Report on Plans and Priorities. "Salary and personnel" cost figures are provided out to fiscal year 2009-2010, but since those don't change by a single buck they look to me like placeholder numbers. If they were accurate we would have to expect reductions in the number of full-time equivalents (FTEs) at CSE over the next few years. I'm not buying it.

Going back a year, we come to... what's this in the 2006-2007 Report on Plans and Priorities? A table of DND's projected civilian requirements. No specific figures for CSE, but a footnote to the table states that totals include "interim Communications Security Establishment (CSE) FTE's pending review by CSE. Interim CSE FTE's are based on RPP 2005-2006 planned FTE for fiscal year 2005-2006, and increased by 5% for every subsequent year" [emphasis added].

We don't know whether these "interim" projections still hold. (Institutions being what they are, it is hard to imagine that CSE's "review", whatever exactly that was, ended with a call for fewer resources. Given the amount of effort now apparently dedicated to Afghanistan, if given the option to do so it very likely called for more.) But at least this information gives us some numbers to work with.

The 2005-2006 RPP planned FTE number for CSE was 1546. Increasing that number by 5% in each of the three fiscal years projected in the 2006-2007 RPP gives us the following figures:
  • 2005-2006: 1546
  • 2006-2007: 1623
  • 2007-2008: 1704
  • 2008-2009: 1789
Is CSE headed for a total of nearly 1800? Or more? It would be stretching a bit too far to draw that conclusion on the basis of "interim" figures in a out-of-date budget document. But the 1704 projected for the current fiscal year looks just about dead on at the moment, so it certainly seems plausible.


Blogger Pete said...


As well as the ongoing Afghanistan commitment I think it possible that more people might have been recruited for an increased US liaison representation and aviation security worries.


January 22, 2008 7:55 am  

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