Acquisition Reform:

Military Departments' Response to the Reorganization Act

NSIAD-89-70: Published: Jun 1, 1989. Publicly Released: Jun 20, 1989.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO assessed: (1) whether the military departments' reorganizations satisfied the requirements and objectives of the Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986; (2) the roles of the military staffs in the acquisition process; and (3) the changes in the civilian/military balance within the acquisition organizations.

GAO found that: (1) although the act was succeeding in its goal of strengthening civilian control of acquisition functions, the extent of independent program expertise within the military secretariats remained a concern; (2) the Army undertook the most extensive restructuring of its headquarters acquisition activities by integrating the former secretariat functions and staff and its acquisition organizations; (3) the Army has eliminated some of its systems coordinators for specific weapons systems programs by putting some of the functions in its chief of staff organizations, which may result in program expertise migrating to those organizations and detract from strengthening civilian control; (4) the Air Force merged its chief of staff acquisition office with the secretariat acquisition office, but retained military officers as the dominant leadership positions and assigned certain acquisition functions to readiness support, which did not comply with the act's requirements; (5) although the Air Force reorganization resulted in a transfer of some program element monitors to the acquisition secretariat, other program element monitors remained in the chief of staff organization and limited the Secretary's direct access to program information; (6) although the Navy made less extensive changes, a planned staff restructuring to augment the acquisition secretariat staff was still in process; (7) although civilians dominated the leadership positions in the Navy's acquisition organization, its reorganization did not consolidate the acquisition authority into one office; (8) the Navy's program expertise resided with the chief of naval operations (CNO) staff and detracted from strengthening civilian control over the acquisition process; and (9) the Marine Corps made substantial realignments, which brought it into compliance with the act.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The primary Acquisition Executive will monitor this aspect of acquisition through review of actions and is ready to take decisive actions at anytime they appear warranted.

    Recommendation: To provide the secretariat with direct access to program information, a key ingredient to strengthening civilian control, and to ensure that the concept of civilian control is reflected in the organizational structure of each of the acquisition secretariats, the Secretary of the Army should monitor implementation of the program executive office concept to ensure that a sufficient level of program expertise remains under the direct control of the Army Acquisition Executive.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A new acquisition management structure is in place. Program management flows directly from the Service Acquisition Executive to the Program Executive for major programs and the ALCC for all other programs. One of the six program executives will be civilian, and senior civilians will be placed in the primary mission area directorates as associate directors.

    Recommendation: To provide the secretariat with direct access to program information, a key ingredient to strengthening civilian control, and to ensure that the concept of civilian control is reflected in the organizational structure of each of the acquisition secretariats, the Secretary of the Air Force should consider: (1) enhancing secretariat management of logistics programs; and (2) seeking a more balanced mix of civilian and military personnel in leadership positions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Defense Management Report requires that a single ASN be designated as the Acquisition Executive.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should take appropriate action to bring the Navy into compliance with the requirements of the act.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Responsibility for acquisition logistics has been transferred to ASAF for Acquisition.

    Recommendation: To bring the Air Force into compliance, the Secretary of the Air Force should transfer responsibility for acquisition activities now assigned to the Assistant Secretary for Readiness to the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Vice CNO issued a memo changing the program coordinators' titles to requirements officers. The functions are limited to support CNO responsibilities. They are prohibited from independent review of acquisition programs and cannot issue program direction involving the business of financial management.

    Recommendation: To provide the secretariat with direct access to program information, a key ingredient to strengthening civilian control, and to ensure that the concept of civilian control is reflected in the organizational structure of each of the acquisition secretariats, the Secretary of the Navy should clarify the roles and responsibilities of secretariat staff and CNO program coordinators in line with the objective of ensuring that independent program expertise resides within the secretariat.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

 

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