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entitled 'Defense Acquisitions: DOD Needs to Establish an Implementing 
Directive to Publish Information and Take Actions to Improve DOD 
Information on Critical Acquisition Positions' which was released on 
September 8, 2006. 

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September 8, 2006: 

The Honorable Terry Everett:
Chairman:
Subcommittee on Strategic Forces:
Committee on Armed Services:
House of Representatives: 

Subject: Defense Acquisitions: DOD Needs to Establish an Implementing 
Directive to Publish Information and Take Actions to Improve DOD 
Information on Critical Acquisition Positions: 

Dear Mr. Chairman: 

During the course of our work for you examining the space acquisition 
workforce, we learned that the Department of Defense (DOD) may not be 
periodically publishing a list of designated critical acquisition 
positions as required by statute. We are bringing this matter to your 
attention not only because it is a requirement to publish this data, 
but because having it is critical to effectively managing DOD's current 
workforce. To ensure that an organization's workforce is able to meet 
its mission, the organization must develop strategies to address 
management challenges such as any gaps that may exist in personnel 
resources. Strategic workforce management entails having accurate and 
comprehensive data concerning the workforce,[Footnote 1] and especially 
concerning those positions deemed critical to the success of the 
organization's mission. Operating without this critical information may 
result in flawed decisions regarding this part of the workforce and may 
put the organization's ability to sustain its mission or function 
effectively at risk. 

The designation "critical acquisition positions," according to the 1990 
Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA)[Footnote 2], 
refers to certain senior-level military and civilian positions that 
carry significant responsibility and primarily consist of supervisory, 
oversight, and management duties in the DOD acquisition system. They 
are a key factor in ensuring that DOD acquisitions--some of which are 
very expensive and critical to the success of current combat 
operations--are effectively managed. In accordance with DAWIA and as 
was later codified in Title 10 of the United States Code, the Secretary 
of Defense is required to periodically publish a list of critical 
acquisition positions. The service Secretaries are responsible to 
ensure that the individuals who hold these positions have the 
appropriate skills, experience, and rank to perform their duties 
effectively. According to a DOD instruction on the reporting of DOD 
acquisition personnel data, the services are required to provide data 
on their critical acquisition positions to the Defense Manpower Data 
Center (DMDC).[Footnote 3] In the course of conducting a broader review 
of the space acquisition workforce at your request, we also we sought 
to determine whether DOD is publishing a list of these positions. 

We gathered information regarding critical acquisition positions during 
an engagement we are conducting for you on the space acquisition 
workforce. In response to your June 2005 request, we conducted a review 
of the Air Force portion of DOD's space acquisition workforce. One of 
our objectives was to determine the extent to which the Air Force's 
space acquisition workforce is managed using a strategic workforce 
planning approach. While conducting our work, we learned that DOD may 
not have published a list of critical acquisition positions, as 
required by statute. In order to address the broader issue of whether 
the workforce, including that segment that occupies critical 
acquisition positions, is managed under a strategic approach, we then 
investigated whether DOD had the ability to identify whether these 
critical positions were filled. To do this, we interviewed officials in 
the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, 
Technology, and Logistics, Alexandria, Virginia; as well as a database 
management official at the Defense Manpower Data Center, Monterey, 
California. In keeping with the space cadre focus of our original 
request, we also discussed the issue with officials in the office of 
the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. We asked each 
of these officials for lists of space-related critical acquisition 
positions, compared the answers we received to each other and to Air 
Force Space Command's space professional database, and examined these 
lists for internal consistency. We conducted our review from October 
2005 through June 2006 in accordance with generally accepted government 
auditing standards. We expect to issue our final report on strategic 
management of the space acquisition workforce in September 2006. 

Results in Brief: 

It is not clear that the Secretary of Defense has published a list of 
critical acquisition positions, as he is required to do by Title 10 of 
the U.S. Code. In reviewing the DAWIA requirement to publish the data, 
officials in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for 
Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (AT&L) said that the information 
on critical acquisition positions is publicly available through DMDC; 
however, they were unsure whether this availability constitutes 
compliance with the DAWIA requirement to publish the data. We believe 
that the information has not been published in a more direct method 
because the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense have not 
established a specific implementing policy to direct AT&L to create 
such a list and to publish it.[Footnote 4] The Director of AT&L 
Workforce and Career Management stated that he planned to seek a legal 
interpretation of the DAWIA requirement in order to clarify whether 
AT&L needed to produce a paper document or DMDC's information on these 
positions, which is publicly available, would satisfy the requirement 
to "publish" the information. In any event, however, we found that AT&L 
and DMDC data on these positions may not be accurate. We asked DMDC for 
information on critical acquisition positions, but DMDC officials told 
us that the services, including the Air Force and the civilian 
personnel data reporting system, were not providing them accurate 
information. For example, of those personnel who are reported, it is 
not clear how many work for organizations outside the military 
services, such as the joint staff or defense agencies.[Footnote 5] 
Additionally, when we asked AT&L to list space-related critical 
acquisition positions, we received two different replies, each 
containing data that were nearly a year old. According to the AT&L June 
2006 Human Capital Strategic Plan, AT&L will be undertaking a number of 
initiatives, including actions to improve the accuracy of the 
acquisition personnel data that reside at DMDC. Having accurate 
personnel information is critical to an organization's analyzing its 
workforce and determining what actions need to be taken to improve it. 
Without accurate data on critical acquisition positions, DOD decisions 
regarding the management of these positions may be flawed. Moreover, 
without maintaining and periodically publishing a list of critical 
acquisition positions as well as maintaining a reliable methodology for 
identifying who occupies these positions, the Secretary of Defense 
cannot ensure that key positions in critical programs are filled by 
individuals of sufficient expertise and experience. Further, he cannot 
be in a sound position to assure Congress that these positions are 
adequately filled. 

We are making recommendations to publish DOD critical acquisition 
position data as required by statute, and to improve the accuracy of 
that data. In its comments, AT&L concurred with our recommendations. 
AT&L comments are reprinted in enclosure I. 

Background: 

Congress enacted the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act 
(DAWIA) as part of the fiscal 1991 Defense Authorization Act. DAWIA 
directed the Secretary of Defense to establish policies and procedures 
for the effective management of people serving in DOD acquisition 
positions[Footnote 6] and delegated implementation of the law to the 
Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics.[Footnote 7] 
DAWIA also required that the Secretary of Defense designate which 
positions are critical acquisition positions, and periodically publish 
a list of the positions so designated.[Footnote 8] 

Within DOD, the Office of the Under Secretary for Acquisition, 
Technology, and Logistics office (AT&L) is responsible for establishing 
DOD acquisition workforce policies and procedures and for maintaining a 
suitable management information system to ensure that the DOD 
acquisition workforce is effectively managed. To better manage the 
acquisition workforce, AT&L issued its Human Capital Strategic Plan in 
June 2006, which includes initiatives to improve its data management of 
the DOD acquisition workforce. The Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), 
also within DOD, is responsible for maintaining all automated records 
on DOD personnel, and it provides personnel, manpower, training, and 
financial data to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, including 
AT&L. DOD components report information on critical acquisition 
positions to DMDC, but AT&L can also request this information from the 
DOD components. 

DOD Instruction 5000.55 implements a DOD-wide capability for 
monitoring, reporting, and tracking the composition, education, 
experience, and training status of the acquisition workforce. It also 
establishes uniform procedures for submitting manpower, personnel, and 
assignment information on selected civilian and military positions and 
personnel of DOD. DMDC is designated as the custodian of all the 
information to be collected according to the instruction. DOD 
components are required to establish and maintain accurate management 
information systems to record this data, and they are required to 
submit records on acquisition positions and acquisition personnel to 
DMDC. 

AT&L's June 2006 Human Capital Strategic Plan contains initiatives to 
improve its ability to analyze its workforce. Goal 3 of the plan 
includes such efforts as reviewing data requirements and reviewing the 
accuracy of data submitted to DMDC. 

It Is Not Clear That DOD Has Published Critical Acquisition Positions: 

It is not clear that DOD has published a list of its critical 
acquisition positions, though it is required to do so by Title 10 of 
the U.S. Code. DMDC officials told us that the information is available 
to the public through DMDC; however they indicated that they were not 
sure that this method meets the requirements of the statute. We believe 
that the information has not been published in a more direct way 
because DOD has not established a specific implementing policy to 
direct AT&L to create such a list and to publish it. For lack of an 
implementing policy, AT&L is still trying to determine what the 
requirement to publish entails. 

DMDC receives, from the services and other DOD activities such as 
defense agencies, position information that includes critical 
acquisition position designators. But DMDC and AT&L told us they 
believe that information is inaccurate. Officials told us that the 
services report only data about filled civilian positions to DMDC, and 
that DMDC receives no information to indicate how many total positions, 
including vacant ones, exist. DMDC also expressed uncertainty regarding 
how many of the personnel who work for defense agencies are reported. 
Thus, not only is the data list not published, but the information that 
is available regarding critical acquisition positions may not be 
accurate. 

In the course of our review of the space acquisition workforce, we 
asked AT&L to list space-related critical acquisition positions, and 
received two different replies, each containing nearly year-old data. 
We noted inconsistencies between the two AT&L lists. The Air Force 
portion of the first submission contained only data bearing Space 
Command Unit Identifier Codes, meaning that critical acquisition 
positions at the National Reconnaissance Office and other offices or 
commands were omitted. Although the second submission, which AT&L 
provided two weeks later, contained more unit identifier codes, we 
noted that the total number and the number of Air Force positions both 
declined. Therefore, it appears that the data that is available is not 
a full, internally consistent, or accurate listing of space-related 
critical acquisition positions. 

We also asked the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force 
for Acquisition for information on Air Force critical acquisition 
positions because of our work for you on the space acquisition 
workforce. That office was able to identify critical acquisition 
positions within U.S. Air Force Space Command, but we believe the list 
was incomplete because Space Command's space professional database 
shows that there are also senior-level space-related acquisition 
positions in other Air Force major commands. Since the Under Secretary 
of Defense for AT&L relies on inputs from the services and DMDC to 
compile his list, gaps in Air Force data would likely indicate the 
existence of gaps in departmentwide knowledge. 

Without maintaining and periodically publishing a list of critical 
acquisition positions and assuring a reliable methodology for 
identifying who occupies them, the Secretary of Defense cannot ensure 
that key positions in critical programs are filled by individuals of 
sufficient expertise and experience, or be in a sound position to 
assure Congress that these positions are adequately filled. 

In June 2006, AT&L issued its Human Capital Strategic Plan, which 
includes a number of initiatives to improve its ability to analyze and 
manage the DOD acquisition workforce. The Director of AT&L Workforce 
and Career Management stated that the goal is to have the data reported 
as required by DOD 5000.55 and to move to a Web-based system to improve 
transparency of the DOD acquisition workforce. The Director stated that 
DOD components have raised concerns about the quality of the data that 
resides with DMDC. The Director also stated that in a few months AT&L 
will be issuing a report on the status of its human capital plan 
initiatives. 

Recommendations: 

In order to ensure that DOD has data needed to effectively plan and 
manage its space acquisition workforce, we recommend that the Secretary 
of Defense take the following two actions: 

* Direct that the Under Secretary of Defense for AT&L issue 
implementing instructions that establish the method by which 
information on critical acquisition positions will be published. 

* Direct the Under Secretary of Defense for AT&L, as part of its Human 
Capital Strategic Plan, to include in its initiatives a review of the 
accuracy of critical acquisition position data that DOD components 
submit to DMDC; identify the causes of any inaccuracies; and take 
corrective actions to ensure that this information is accurate and 
complete. 

Agency Comments: 

In written comments on a draft of this report, DOD concurred with our 
recommendations. These comments are reprinted in enclosure I. 

We are sending copies of this report to the Secretaries of Defense, the 
Army, the Navy, and the Air Force; the Commandant of the Marine Corps, 
and the DOD components. Copies will be made available to others upon 
request. In addition, this report will be available at no charge on our 
Web site at [Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. 

Major contributors to this report are Lorelei St. James, Assistant 
Director; Gabrielle Carrington, Linda Keefer, Julie Matta, Sally 
Newman, and Cheryl Weissman. Contact points for our Offices of 
Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last 
page of this report. If you or your staff have any questions about this 
report, please contact me at 202-512-5431 or DAgostinoD@gao.gov. 

Sincerely yours, 

Signed by: 

Davi M. D'Agostino: 
Director, Defense Capabilities and Management: 

Signed by: 

Cristina Chaplain: 
Director, Acquisition Sourcing and Management: 

[End of Section] 

Enclosure I: Comments from the Department of Defense: 

Department Of Defense: 
Defense Acquisition University: 
Office Of The President: 
9820 Belvoir Road: 
Fort Belvoir, Va 22060-5565: 

August 31, 2006: 

Ms. Davi M. D'Agostino: 
Director, Defense Capabilities and Management: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
441 G. Street, NW: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

Dear Ms. D'Agostino: 

This is the Department of Defense (DoD) response to the GAO draft 
report, "Defense Acquisitions: DoD Needs to Establish an Implementing 
Directive to Publish Information and Take Actions to Improve DoD 
Information on Critical Acquisition Positions," dated August 7, 2006 
(GAO Code 350898/GAO-987R): 

The Department concurs with each recommendation as outlined in the 
enclosed. The Department appreciates the opportunity to comment on the 
draft report. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

Frank J. Anderson, Jr. 
President: 

Enclosure: 
As stated: 

GAO Draft Report-Dated August 7, 2006 GAO Code 350898/GAO-06-987R: 

"Defense Acquisitions: DoD Needs to Establish an Implementing Directive 
to Publish Information and Take Actions to Improve DoD Information on 
Critical Acquisition Positions" 

Department Of Defense Comments To The Recommendations: 

Recommendation 1: The GAO recommended that the Secretary of Defense 
direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and 
Logistics to issue implementing instructions that establish the method 
by which information of critical acquisition positions will be 
published. (page 7/GAO Draft Report): 

DOD Response: Concur. We are establishing a publishing method which 
will require posting the list of Critical Acquisition Positions through 
the AT&L workforce web site. We intend the first posting to be 
completed by 31 December 2006. 

Recommendation 2: The GAO recommended that the Secretary of Defense 
direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and 
Logistics, as part of its Human Capital Strategic Plan, to include in 
its initiatives a review of the accuracy of critical acquisition 
position data that DoD components submit to DMDC; identify the causes 
of any inaccuracies; and take corrective actions to ensure that this 
information is accurate and complete. (page 8/GAO Draft Report): 

DOD Response: Concur. We note that the AT&L Human Capital Strategic 
Plan issued in June 2006, as referenced by the GAO, includes Goal #3 - 
"Establish a comprehensive, data-driven workforce analysis and decision-
making capability." The supporting initiatives include improving data 
management, quality, analysis, and transparency. These initiatives will 
address Critical Acquisition Positions. Our plan calls for updated 
policy and guidance on workforce data by November 2006. 

[End of Section] 

(350898): 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] GAO, Social Security Administration: Strategic Workforce Planning 
Needed to Address Human Capital Challenges Facing the Disability 
Determination Services, GAO-04-121 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 27, 2004). 

[2] National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1991, Pub. L. 
No. 101-510,  1201-1211 (1990) (codified as amended at 10 U.S.C.  
1701-1764). In 1990, Congress passed DAWIA in order to enhance the 
quality and professionalism of the defense acquisition workforce. DAWIA 
specifies the minimum qualification standards of those personnel 
performing functions integral to the acquisition process, formalizes 
career paths for personnel who wish to pursue careers in acquisition, 
and defines critical or senior management acquisition positions. 

[3] DODI 5000.55  5.3.3. 

[4] AT&L officials expressed uncertainty about what the requirement to 
publish entails. An implementing policy might include such a 
definition. 

[5] Defense agencies are not service-specific and typically conduct 
operations that are DOD-wide, such as the Defense Logistics Agency, 
which provides certain DOD-wide logistics operations. 

[6] 10 U.S.C. 1701. 

[7] 10 U.S.C. 1702. 

[8] 10 U.S.C. 1733 (b). 

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