GAO criticizes DoD’s civilian workforce plan

////GAO criticizes DoD’s civilian workforce plan

GAO criticizes DoD’s civilian workforce plan

A new report from the General Accountability Office (GAO) criticizes the DoD strategic workforce plan as failing to meet the legislative requirements to improve the development and training of the department’s civilian workforce.  The FY2010 Defense Authorization Act directed GAO to review the DoD's workforce plans for FY2009 through FY2012 to determine how they address the Act’s requirements for the total civilian workforce, the senior leader cadre, and the acquisition component.  According to GAO, the department’s FY2009 plan only partially addresses three important requirements:  1) assessing competency gaps; 2) identifying training strategies; and 3) using results-oriented performance measures to asses the plan’s progress.  The report charges the DoD plan does not discuss contingency gaps for 19 of the 22 mission-critical occupations, which makes it difficult for the department to develop effective workforce strategies and measure progress.  However, GAO does acknowledge that the department has issued guidance to determine the appropriate workforce mix.  Also, GAO reported that DoD does not identify the needed funding resources for its training strategies, but states it did not review a DoD report on funding requirements that was issued after GAO completed its study.  And, while some DoD reports provide information on workforce plan performance measures, GAO reports that the plan itself does not use metrics to judge progress.  By not fully meeting all the legislative requirements, GAO says DoD leaders do not have access to complete workforce information on the size, composition, and needs of its civilian workforce.  As a result, according to GAO, the department will not be able determine if its strategy is efficiently and effectively meeting stated goals for its civilian workforce of 718,000, of which 118,000 work in acquisition.  GAO points out that the department’s recent plans to achieve significant savings in the DoD budget and change the culture of how the department does business increases the importance of the need for a complete and effective work force strategic plan.

About the Author: