Acquisition Management:

Implementation of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act

NSIAD-93-129: Published: Apr 26, 1993. Publicly Released: Apr 26, 1993.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO determined whether the Department of Defense (DOD) has effectively implemented the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act.

GAO found that: (1) DOD has established an acquisition workforce management structure and issued implementing policies and regulations as required by the act; (2) DOD has identified and designated 127,000 acquisition workforce positions, but the process of determining specific qualifications of each member of the workforce is time-consuming and delays in the process may lengthen the time individuals take to meet qualification requirements; (3) uncertainties and concerns exist within DOD regarding the intent and implementation of the act's requirement to select the best qualified individual for an acquisition position and ensure that no preference is given to military personnel; (4) administrative and legal concerns have resulted in actions that do not achieve the act's objectives; (5) additional uncertainties exist concerning the act's requirement to substantially increase the proportion of civilians in critical acquisition positions; and (6) DOD is experiencing difficulties in developing the required management information system.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD has revised its policy on selecting the best qualified individuals for certain acquisition positions. This policy is consistent with GAO's recommendation.

    Matter: Congress should consider whether the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act's prohibition on preferences for military personnel for acquisition positions should, at least in the interim, be limited to senior acquisition positions for major programs, as well as other critical positions that have been predominantly held by military personnel. Since those positions account for a large share of those that have been limited to military personnel, such a limitation would appear to be consistent with the objectives of the act. Also, such a limitation would significantly reduce administrative difficulties cited by DOD and would be consistent with the Navy and Air Force proposals.

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Committees have provided oral guidance to key DOD officials.

    Matter: Congress should also consider clarifying: (1) the act's requirement to substantially increase the proportion of civilians in critical acquisition positions; and (2) whether this requirement applies to each service individually or to DOD as a whole.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Each of the services has assigned a member of its senior executive service as either Director or Deputy Director of Acquisition Career Management. These individuals would appear to have sufficient authority to meet the intent of the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the services are consistent in providing sufficient authority to the management positions required by the act to effectively and efficiently carry out the provisions of the act.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OSD reviewed the services' proposals addressing this issue and developed subsequent policy that takes applicable features of each. An accomplishment report based on OSD's action has been approved.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should assess Navy, Air Force, and any other proposals for selecting the best qualified individual for an acquisition position to ensure that service procedures satisfy the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act and any other laws and policies.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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