Pentagon’s Plan for Civilian Workforce Falls Short, GAO Finds

Flickr user afagen

The Defense Department’s five-year strategic workforce plan fails to address five of 32 reporting requirements, largely in financial management, the Government Accountability Office reported.

Notably, Defense “has not yet addressed the requirement to assess the appropriate mix of civilian, military, and contractor capabilities in its plan,” auditors found in a report released July 9.

The Pentagon is required by statute to assess critical skills and competencies as well as gaps in the workforce. In summarizing progress made since the GAO began monitoring the project in 2008, auditors concluded the department’s’ “efforts to address strategic workforce planning requirements have been mixed.”

A key principle “not addressed in the statutory requirements is strategic alignment, which links workforce strategies to an agency's mission and goals, and aligns them with, among other things, budget formulation,” GAO noted. The current 2013-2018 plan “noted the need to integrate the department's plan with the budget process but did not include specific details and, according to officials, DOD does not have actions underway to do so.”

Unless the Pentagon can align its workforce plan with its budget and other initiatives in related areas such as recruiting and retention, which have been associated with declining morale, auditors said, “the department will not be in the best position to make informed management and resource decisions.”

GAO advised the Defense secretary to direct the undersecretary for personnel and readiness to align the department’s strategic workforce plan with the budget and other management initiatives.

Pentagon officials largely agreed.

(Image via Flickr user afagen)

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