Pentagon looks to reshape acquisition workforce

With 50 percent of the Defense Department's acquisition workforce eligible for retirement in the next five years, the Pentagon could find itself having to hire about 65,000 procurement specialists. Now is the time, officials said, to examine the acquisition workforce and plan how it should face the future.

Pete Aldridge, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said this week that his office is developing a strategic plan to revitalize the quality and morale of the acquisition workforce.

"The purpose … is to start doing some human capital planning," said Rick Sylvester, deputy director of acquisition initiatives for systems acquisition. "In the military, they look at careers and missions and continuation rates, etc. We don't do that for civilians."

Aldridge's plan will look at areas where DoD may need more people--and fewer.

For instance, Aldridge said during an Aug. 15 meeting with reporters in the Pentagon, DoD will need more specialists in information technology and a workforce that understands the uses of information technology in the acquisition process. DoD will probably not need as many specialists in procuring traditional logistics items, he noted.

The strategic plan is a work in progress. "Part of it is tied to the Quadrennial Defense Review," Sylvester said. "We will continue to work with the services."

The average age of civilian acquisition workers today is 48. Many will become eligible to retire in the next five years, officials said. People generally have retired as soon as they are eligible, they said. The real problem is the lack of skilled, experienced staff to take their places, they said.

DoD will have to replace retirees by hiring across the breadth of age groups. During the 1990s drawdown, hiring freezes and attrition caused the workforce's average age to rise as younger, lower-graded employees were promoted but not replaced. A drove of retirements would ravage the workforce's middle and upper management, so the department cannot solve the workforce problem by simply hiring young people to fill lower positions, officials said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.