Defense needs one departmentwide personnel strategy, report says

The Defense Department needs one broad personnel plan that includes military and civilian employees and ensures they can properly oversee an increasing number of contractors, according to a new report from the General Accounting Office.

The department is working with three separate workforce plans-one for the military, one for civilians, and one for the families of service members, according to the GAO report (03-475). None of those plans include a strategy to ensure Defense has enough skilled managers to oversee an expanding contractor workforce, the report said.

"Without an integrated strategy, DoD may not effectively and efficiently allocate its scarce resources for optimal readiness," the report said.

Civilian personnel are critical to Defense missions and help fight the global war on terrorism by gathering intelligence, managing finances, and acquiring and maintaining weapons systems, GAO said. But civilians are not incorporated into the Pentagon's plans for putting the "right people, in the right place, at the right time and at a reasonable cost."

Officials from the Air Force, Marine Corps, Defense Contract Management Agency, and Defense Finance and Accounting Service are working with civilian human resources offices to discuss personnel needs. A similar partnership is emerging in the Army, but is nonexistent in the Navy, the report said.

GAO recommended that Defense set a timetable for merging its three personnel strategies. The resulting departmentwide plan should include a plan for collecting data on the current workforce's skills and identify where gaps exist, the report said. To get a complete picture of current workforce talents, Defense will also have to gather information on contractors' skills.

Departmentwide information on workforce skills sets would help Defense cut jobs wisely, GAO said. From 1989 to 2002, the department eliminated 38 percent of civilian jobs. Defense plans on cutting 55,000 additional civilian positions by the end of fiscal 2007.

In the past, Defense had no logical plan for eliminating jobs, GAO claimed. Instead, the department "let people go willy nilly because it had to get down to a certain number," according to Derek Stewart, director of defense capabilities and management at GAO. "DoD does not have a clear vision in terms of what it wants its civilian workforce to look like," he said.

In addition, Defense needs a better set of measures to determine how its civilian workforce is performing, GAO said. The performance goals established by agencies within Defense should relate directly to the department's broader mission, according to the report.

David Chu, undersecretary for personnel and readiness at the department, told GAO that he appreciated the recommendations and will take steps to address them. But he also said the report did not reflect progress on civilian management. GAO began its research in May 2002, a month after Defense released its first comprehensive civilian human resources strategic plan, Chu said. The department is still working on implementing the plan, he 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:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

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