GAO calls for impovements in DoD’s acquisition workforce training program

////GAO calls for impovements in DoD’s acquisition workforce training program

GAO calls for impovements in DoD’s acquisition workforce training program

The General Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that said DoD’s certification training program is providing the necessary training to meet certification needs, but that there is much room for improvement.  Specifically GAO said that improvements are necessary to enable DoD to identify skill set gaps and to assess the overall performance of the acquisition organization.  The FY2010 Defense Authorization Act directed GAO to study DoD’s training program for its acquisition and audit workforce.  In its study, GAO focused on those personnel covered by the provisions of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA).  They interviewed training providers from the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) and the Defense Contract Audit Institute (DCAI) to gain an understanding  of the training program.  GAO also sampled a cross section of training customers (from program offices within one command for each military service) and met with Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) staff to determine the effectiveness of the DAU training.  GAO visited two Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) offices to review the effectiveness of the DCAI training.  In the report, GAO concluded that the acquisition workforce training program, administered centrally by DAU, has a formal process that incorporates strategic and tactical changes promptly, provides feedback, and assesses training effectiveness.  However, the report cites two areas for improvement:  1) identifying the skill sets and competencies needed to accomplish DoD’s acquisition mission and 2) using metrics to determine how the training program is meeting training objectives.  GAO criticizes the lack of complete data for developing an annual training schedule, but acknowledges that most in the acquisition workforce receive the training needed for certification.  The report also stated that DAU has moved aggressively to meet the increased training demand and has data showing that most acquisition personnel receive necessary training within the required timeframe.  However, GAO warned that even with its heightened efforts, DAU may not be able to fully support all the acquisition training demands.  Finally, GAO reported that DoD has implemented most of the training recommendation of the Panel on Contracting Integrity, but that DCAA has not fully implemented any of the four recommendations made by GAO in 2009 to improve auditor training: 1) establish a risk-based audit approach; 2) consult with outside experts to set audit training policy; 3) develop agency-wide training on government standards; and 4) provide training to ensure that corrective actions have been taken to address deficiencies in the audit assurance program.  The report states that DCAA has taken some action in each of these areas, but needs to take more comprehensive action to fully implement their recommendations.

About the Author: