Automated Career Management for DOD Civilians:

Performance and Potential

FPCD-81-3: Published: Nov 14, 1980. Publicly Released: Nov 14, 1980.

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The manner in which the Department of Defense (DOD) recruits, selects, develops, and uses its civilian personnel determines its ability to provide an effective defense work force and maintain ongoing military readiness. The Automated Career Management System (ACMS), a computer-based civilian personnel inventory, appraisal, and referral system, has unrealized potential as an information tool for managing the defense civilian work force.

GAO found that employee and managerial complaints about the present and future uses of ACMS have made it a subject of controversy. Several problems noted were: (1) questionable objectivity of the ACMS appraisal instrument; (2) doubtful reliability of the rating system; (3) unknown validity of the appraisal and promotion process; (4) no assurance that the evaluation and selection of candidates for promotion referral is job related; and (5) supervisors' insufficient understanding and training in the ACMS rating and ranking process. Under the present procedures, getting consistent ratings from different raters may be more a matter of chance than of real performance or potential. Since DOD has no clearly defined performance benchmarks, supervisory ratings tend to be inconsistent and difficult to compare. Research indicated that the relevance, objectivity, reliability, and validity of supervisory appraisals are increased when supervisors are trained to make appraisals and avoid common rater errors.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary (Manpower, Reserve Affairs and Logistics) to: (1) insure supervisors are adequately trained in how to make objective appraisals; (2) clarify the relationship between the purpose of Automated Career Management System (ACMS) appraisals and DOD components' performance appraisals; (3) obtain feedback from individuals placed through ACMS and their supervisors to identify weaknesses and improve evaluation procedures; and (4) develop a systematic, coordinated approach to researching, developing, and using appraisal instruments throughout DOD.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower, Reserve Affairs, and Logistics to: (1) redefine and restate the need for a DOD-wide automated personnel system; (2) determine what information is needed, why, and by whom in connection with management planning, performance, and evaluation of work force planning; recruitment and selection; employee, manager, and executive development; equal employment opportunity; and defense mobilization planning for civilian employees; (3) evaluate the extent to which the Automated Career Management System (ACMS) can presently satisfy identified informational requirements; (4) determine necessary system improvements to meet unsatisfied informational requirements and direct the system operators to make such changes as are needed; and (5) develop specific guidance on management uses of ACMS as a general-purpose personnel information system.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower, Reserve Affairs, and Logistics), DOD agencies, and military services to: (1) establish an organized user evaluation and feedback procedure for suggestions on innovative system use and improvements; and (2) develop guidance on the interaction between DOD-wide civilian personnel information systems and component service systems, as well as between military and civilian information personnel systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary (Manpower, Reserve Affairs, and Logistics) to: (1) determine the costs, benefits, and results of DOD-wide appraisal, referral, and selection; and (2) professionally validate Automated Career Management System appraisal instruments and rating and ranking procedures to insure their objectivity, reliability, and job relatedness.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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