Post-Hearing Questions Related to the Department of Defense's National Security Personnel System

GAO-05-641R: Published: Apr 29, 2005. Publicly Released: Apr 29, 2005.

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Derek B. Stewart
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GAO was asked to respond to congressional requests regarding questions about a previous testimony entitled, "Critical Mission: Ensuring the Success of the National Security Personnel System."

GAO found that human capital reform is a critical element in the Department of Defense's (DOD) overall business transformation effort. Appropriate presidential appointees need to take the lead in selected meetings and communications. That will be necessary in order to assure that top union and other officials also participate in key activities. Also, the active involvement of employees and employee representatives will be critical to the success of DOD's National Security Personnel System (NSPS). Further, because people are the drivers of any transformation, it is vital to monitor their attitudes about the system. Active and ongoing communication is critical for the successful development and implementation of both the Department of Homeland Security's new personnel management system and DOD's human resources management system. GAO found that including employees, their representatives, and employee unions is a key practice to help increase the acceptance of organizational goals, improve morale, and for achieving overall success. Organizations undergoing a transformation should establish a communications strategy that creates shared expectations and seeks to genuinely involve stakeholders in the process as well. Finally, the recommendation that GAO audit the training program for managers and employees has merit, and GAO is willing to entertain a congressional request to evaluate DOD's training plan for the implementation and operation of NSPS.

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