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Federal Bureau of Investigation Casework and Human Resource Allocation

Report No. 03-37
September 2003
Office of the Inspector General


Chapter 2: Resource Allocation, Time Utilization, and Casework Data

Before discussing the results of our analyses of the FBI's resource utilization and casework, we first discuss the Bureau's resource allocation process and the systems in which the utilization and casework data are maintained. We then describe the terminology and evaluative instruments the agency uses.

Resource Allocation

The FBI allocates its human resources by establishing Funded Staffing Levels (FSLs) within each of its investigative program areas. For example, Exhibit 1-2 shows that the Violent Crimes and Major Offenders program was allocated 1,762 special agents in 2002. This means that the FBI manager in charge of the program had that many agents to divide among the 56 field offices. The FBI Resource Management and Allocation (RMA) office is responsible for establishing the allocations annually as part of the budget planning and execution process.

Process - The process for setting agent and support FSLs begins when the FBI Finance office directs the Headquarters program managers to submit resource requests. Each manager reviews annual reports submitted by the field offices, develops a consolidated request for resources dedicated to the specific program area, and submits it to the Finance office. The Finance office reviews each request to ensure it supports the FBI's strategic plan and is sufficiently justified. The resource requests are then incorporated into the budget request that is submitted to the Department's Justice Management Division. A flowchart of the FBI budget process is on the following page.

Using the approved budget figures and in consideration of the FBI's priorities and historical use of resources, the RMA office sets the FSLs, by program, for the fiscal year. Based on a needs analysis completed by each field office, which includes the Annual Field Office Reports (AFORs), crime surveys, statistical accomplishments, how the offices have utilized resources in the past, and direct consultation with field office management, Headquarters program managers and the RMA office determine the personnel to be allocated to each field office and submit the information to the Director for approval.24 After the Director approves the annual FSLs, the RMA office may make minor adjustments to reflect the occasional transfer of positions between programs or offices.

EXHIBIT 2-1 graphic outlining the FBI budget process. Click the graphic for a text version.

Special agent FSLs reflect only non-supervisory agents in the field offices; Headquarters and supervisory personnel are not included. Similarly, FSLs are established for support personnel in FBI field offices only. However, the FBI does not allocate support FSLs by investigative program. Instead, field offices are allocated a total number of support personnel in each of three categories: clerical/administrative, investigative, and technical.

OIG Data Collection - We obtained annual special agent and support FSL information for each fiscal year in the review period. The annual agent FSL data was broken down by field office and by program and/or sub-program. We also obtained annual support FSLs for each field office. In our analyses using FSL data, we utilized the final allocations for each fiscal year that reflected any mid-year adjustments.

Resource Utilization Data

Automated System - The FBI uses the Time Utilization and Recordkeeping (TURK) system to track time spent by most investigative personnel. Because TURK is used to track investigative efforts, only certain personnel are required to record their time in the system. According to FBI guidelines, TURK data input is limited to the following field office personnel:25

  • non-supervisory special agents grade GS-13 and below
  • grade GS-14 Chief Division Counsels
  • grade GS-14 Assistant Division Counsels
  • investigative specialists
  • language specialists
  • financial assistants/analysts
  • information technology specialists-forensic examiners
  • intelligence research specialists
  • surveillance specialists

These agents and support personnel are referred to as "TURKing" personnel. These TURKing personnel physically record their time on a paper form called the FD-420a. Rather than recording the actual number of hours they spend working on a particular matter, they record the percentage of time they work by investigative classification.26 For example, if an agent spent an entire day working on bank robberies, he would record that 100 percent of his time was expended in the "91" classification, which falls in the Violent Crimes and Major Offenders (VCMO) program. If, however, that agent evenly divided his time between bank robbery matters and financial institution fraud, he would record 50 percent of his time in the VCMO program and the remaining 50 percent in the "29" classification, found in the White Collar Crime program. While it is possible to work on several classifications in a single day, all the percentages listed on the timesheet must equal 100 percent for each day (these percentages are based on a 10-hour day for agents27 and an 8-hour day for support personnel).

In general, the TURK system tracks time by investigative program or sub-program, not by individual case.28 However, the FBI has designated a small number of investigations as "major cases" and TURKing personnel working on these investigations record the appropriate major case number on their TURK forms in addition to all normal data.29 This enables the FBI to capture the total time expended on its highest profile investigations while still capturing investigative time by classification.

The FBI Finance Division maintains the TURK system, which is a module of the FBI's payroll system called the Administrative Time Capture (ATC) system. Although the information is entered into the system biweekly along with time and attendance data, TURK data collection is divided into 13 TURK periods per fiscal year, making each TURK period consist of 2 pay periods. For example, September 11, 2001, occurred in TURK period 13 of FY 2001, which ran from August 26, 2001, through September 22, 2001.30

Data Elements - TURK data is presented in the form of straight work hours, Direct Agent Work Years (DAWYs), Direct Support Work Years (DSWYs), and Average On Board (AOB). The ATC system calculates DAWYs and DSWYs to provide an idea of work effort in FBI programs and sub-programs for each TURK period. In general, one DAWY equals 2,600 work hours (10 hours per day times 260 work days per year) and one DSWY equals 2,080 work hours (8 hours per day times 260 work days per year).31 DAWYs and DSWYs are based upon total hours and are indicators of overall work effort, but they actually reflect a larger number of people than are actually working at a particular time because the calculations allow for a level of effort beyond the standard workday. Further, prior to calculating DAWYs and DSWYs, the ATC system prorates all recorded leave and miscellaneous time back into the TURK record of each employee. This is accomplished through use of an automated Investigative Program Allocator, which prorates the data back into the TURK record of each employee based on investigative activity in that employee's previous six pay periods.

The ATC system also calculates AOB at the end of each TURK period to approximate the equivalent number of actual agents that achieved the DAWY expended in a particular program and/or sub-program. Unlike with DAWYs and DSWYs, though, it does not prorate leave and miscellaneous time back into TURK prior to performing the calculation. The ATC system computes AOB directly from the percentages entered on the FD-420a, and no matter how many hours an individual employee works, he or she can never be counted as more than one person. Over the course of a year, this number should closely approximate the average number of TURKing agents that were on-board during the year. Thus, AOB is the best indication the FBI has of estimating the actual number of personnel that are working at any particular time. In general, we performed our analyses using this AOB data.

FBI Programmatic Use of TURK Data - The FBI refers to the rate at which personnel resources are expended as the "burn rate." It uses the term "underburn" to indicate when resource usage is less than resource allocation, and the term "overburn" when resource usage is greater than resource allocation. TURK program officials prepare quarterly reports of TURK resource utilization data for distribution to all Headquarters program managers, which includes resource allocation figures and burn rates. Therefore, each Headquarters program manager is aware of the rate at which their program is using the resources allocated.

In addition to these quarterly reports, the FBI Inspection Division obtains resource utilization and allocation data, as well as burn rates, from TURK program officials, which it uses during its triennial reviews of FBI field offices. Field office management, including Special Agents in Charge, Assistant Special Agents in Charge, and Supervisory Special Agents responsible for investigative squads, are evaluated in part on their utilization of allocated resources and resulting burn rates.

OIG Data Collection - We obtained TURK work hour information for both agent and support personnel from October 1, 1995, through June 1, 2002. This universe included 559,661 records consisting of TURK work hours, captured for each field office at the program and sub-program levels, for each TURK period in the reviewed timeframe.32 The data included hourly miscellaneous and leave time, as well as hours captured, when appropriate, in FBI major cases.

In addition to work hour data, we also obtained AOB data for both agent and support personnel from October 1, 1995, through June 1, 2002. This accounted for a total of 36,588 records representing the AOB for each field office (captured at the program and sub-program level) for each fiscal year in the review period.32

FBI Casework Data

Automated System - The Automated Case Support (ACS) system is the centralized electronic case management system used by the FBI. It contains both historical and current case data for all FBI cases, except those that have been destroyed or archived. All FBI facilities, including field offices, resident agencies, Headquarters, and Legal Attaché offices, have access to ACS. The system, which came on-line on October 16, 1995, consists of the following three components:

  • Investigative Case Management - used to open a case and assign a unique 9-digit case number, called the Universal Case File Number, which consists of the FBI crime classification number; a two-letter alpha code designating the field office that opened the case; and a consecutive, numerical designator generated by the system.
  • Electronic Case File - used to maintain investigative documentation, such as interview transcripts.
  • Universal Index - used to maintain index records for a case and allows the searching of records in a variety of ways.

Investigative Programs, Sub-Programs, and Classifications - The FBI assigns each of its cases to an investigative classification according to the nature of the case. Each of these classifications fall into one FBI program, and, if appropriate, a sub-program. As of June 2002, the FBI had 10 programs, 48 sub-programs, and 311 investigative classifications.33 The programs and their areas of responsibility, as illustrated by the accompanying sub-program and investigative classification examples, are as follows:

NFIP National Foreign Intelligence Foreign Counterintelligence
FBI Security
International Terrorism
NIPCIP National Infrastructure Protection/Computer Intrusion Computer Intrusion Criminal Matters
Protection of Transportation Facilities
DT Domestic Terrorism Counterterrorism Preparedness
Weapons of Mass Destruction
WCC White Collar Crime Bankruptcy Fraud
Health Care Fraud
Wire and Mail Fraud
OC/D Organized Crime/Drugs Mexican/Criminal Syndicates
Asian Criminal Enterprise
VCMO Violent Crimes & Major Offenders Fugitives
Violent Gangs Crimes
Against Children
CR Civil Rights Racial Discrimination
Involuntary Servitude and Slavery
APP Applicant Matters Background Investigations
Recruitment and Processing
Investigations of White House Staff & Visitors
TRAIN Training Federal Training
State and Local Training
MISC Miscellaneous Matters Freedom of Information Act Issues
Public Relations Matters
Source: FBI Finance Division and FY 2002 Investigative Classifications booklet

These programs and sub-programs are not static; during our review period, the FBI created one new program (the National Infrastructure Protection/Computer Intrusion Program) and several sub-programs, eliminated certain sub-programs, and transferred some classifications and sub-programs into other programs. Generally, when a program ceases to exist the FBI re-classifies the cases in that program in order to have them assigned to the most appropriate current program. The elimination of programs does not affect the resource data we collected from the TURK system because TURK data is captured by investigative classifications, which are updated each year and always assigned to current FBI programs.

ACS officials said that the FBI has analyzed a variety of methods for classifying cases. Currently, once a case is accepted, the FBI classifies it according to the nature of the criminal violation and the program area that has the greatest expertise involving the investigation of that particular crime. The FBI will, though, reclassify a case if it discovers the case more appropriately belongs in a different classification than the one in which it was first placed. For example, officials in the Organized Crime/Drugs (OC/D) program described a recent investigation that began as a small White Collar Crime program stock fraud case until it was discovered there were ties to organized crime. When that occurred, the field office converted the case to an OC/D case.

Case Acceptance - As noted in Chapter 1, the FBI has the authority to investigate any federal crime not specifically assigned to any other federal agency. Individual FBI field offices decide if they will investigate a particular matter, basing their decision on priorities set by Headquarters, knowledge of the local criminal environment, the interest of other federal agencies in the jurisdiction, and the prosecution threshold of the local U.S. Attorney's Office. While field office managers usually make this determination, they occasionally elevate the decision to program managers in Headquarters.

FBI Programmatic Use of ACS Data - Supervisors in field offices are required to periodically review all open cases with their agents. To accomplish this, the supervisor can print a report from ACS of all cases assigned to the agent. In addition, field offices complete Monthly Administrative Reports that detail activity in each investigative program. Included in these reports are the numbers of previously open cases, case openings, and case closings by type (e.g., U.S. Attorney declinations). These reports are electronically submitted to Headquarters and distributed to the program managers. Some program managers considered the reports to be helpful and used them in managing their programs, but others thought their utility was negligible. Further, the FBI does not currently use ACS data to perform any long-term reviews of case-related activity for the Bureau as a whole.

OIG Data Collection - We obtained ACS data consisting of all cases recorded in the system between October 1, 1995, and June 14, 2002. This reflected all cases that were opened during our review period, as well as those that were opened prior to the start of the review period but remained open as of October 1, 1995. The file contained 1,799,198 records, and provided, among other things, the case number, open date, close date, and investigative program for each case.


  1. Because the FSLs cannot be established until after Congress approves the budget, the allocations are not finalized until after the start of the fiscal year. For example, the FY 2003 budget was not approved until February 2003, and the FSLs were not established and sent to field offices until May 7, 2003.
  2. FBI Headquarters personnel are not required to record their time in TURK because, generally, they do not work on investigative matters.
  3. As of FY 2002, the FBI had 311 separate investigative classifications.
  4. Generally, federal law enforcement officers are not granted overtime pay. Instead, they receive Law Enforcement Availability Pay amounting to 10 hours above a standard workweek.
  5. For a more detailed discussion of FBI programs and sub-programs, see page 15.
  6. See Appendix II for examples of major cases.
  7. A list of dates for each TURK period in the review timeframe appears in Appendix III.
  8. The actual calculation of DAWYs and DSWYs can change slightly each year, depending on the exact number of workdays in the year. The formulae appear in Appendix I.
  9. In addition to data from the field offices, our universes included resource utilization data for three special, non-field office units (related to campaign finance investigations, independent counsels, and the Critical Incident Response Group) that operated out of Headquarters during our review period. Individuals in these units were required to record their time in the TURK system.
  10. A crosswalk of FBI programs and sub-programs appears in Appendix IV.