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    Subject Term: "Acquisition workforce"

    7 publications with a total of 18 open recommendations
    Director: Timothy J. DiNapoli
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of Human Capital Initiatives should clarify whether and under what conditions DAWDF funds could be used to pay for personnel to help manage the fund.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics: Office of Human Capital Initiatives
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation, and indicated that it plans to take action to address it. Section 822 of H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, authorizes the use of DAWDF to pay salaries of personnel at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, military departments, and Defense Agencies to manage the fund. The Human Capital Initiatives Office plans to update the DAWDF Desk Operating Guide based on the final legislation.
    Recommendation: In collaboration with cognizant officials within DOD components, the Director of Human Capital Initiatives should ensure that components have processes in place to verify the accuracy and completeness of data on the execution of initiatives funded by DAWDF.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics: Office of Human Capital Initiatives
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation, and indicated that actions will be taken or have already been taken to address it. DOD noted that it had made significant management and other changes to improve the accuracy and completeness of data used and provided by components on the execution of initiatives funded by DAWDF. DOD noted that it had, among other actions, issued guidance to improve data validity, consistency, and alignment; instituted a midyear program execution review; and established a requirement for a data-driven year in review. The midyear program execution review now requires additional information from components. In addition, as part of the fiscal year 2018 proposal process, components were required to propose hiring by career field. If these management and policy changes are effectively translated into practice, we believe these actions will address the intent of the recommendation.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    8 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to ensure universal usage and reduce duplicate work, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Office of Acquisition and Logistics (OAL) to work with the National Acquisition Center to develop a plan for adding functionality to the Electronic Contract Management System (eCMS) that will alleviate the need for National Acquisition Center contracting officers to enter obligations for high-tech medical equipment into two different data systems.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken actions necessary to implement it. However, in its letter to OMB and the Congress, VA stated that it plans to pursue a new financial and contracting systems that will be interoperable.
    Recommendation: In order to ensure that VA's procurement data is complete and accurate, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Office of Acquisitions and Logistics to develop policies and procedures to ensure that obligations made through prime vendor orders--such as medical-surgical orders--are consistently captured in eCMS.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken actions necessary to implement it. In its letter to OMB and the Congress, VA noted an April 2016 policy that requires monthly reporting of orders to contracting officers, but additional guidance and processes are required to implement this policy.
    Recommendation: In order to ensure that contracting officers have clear and effective policies as soon as possible, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the OAL to identify measures to expedite the revision of the Veterans Affairs Acquisition Regulation (VAAR), which has been ongoing for many years, and the issuance of the VA Acquisition Manual.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it. However, in its letter to OMB and the Congress, VA stated that it anticipated that the updated VAAR would be issued by December 2018.
    Recommendation: To help contracting officers use current policy that is in effect in the period before the updated VAAR and VA Acquisition Manual are released, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct OAL to take interim steps to clarify its policy framework, including establishing and adhering to set time frames for completing the process of reviewing all Information Letters, and either rescinding them or reissuing updated policy through Procurement Policy Memoranda.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation but has not yet completed the actions necessary to implement it. In its letter to OMB and the Congress, VA stated that some Information Letters are still awaiting review and rescission or reissuance.
    Recommendation: To address remaining ambiguities in roles and customer relationships, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction to assess whether additional policy or guidance is needed to clarify the roles of VA's national contracting organizations, beyond that provided in its March 2013 memorandum outlining the current structure.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it. However, in its letter to OMB and the Congress, VA stated that it planned to issue updated guidance on roles for its national contracting organizations.
    Recommendation: To facilitate consolidation of similar requirements and leverage buying power across medical centers within VISNs, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct VHA Procurement and Logistics to conduct a review of VISN-level strategic sourcing efforts, identify best practices, and, if needed, issue guidance.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation. In July 2017, Veterans Health Administration officials stated that they would take further action to collect and disseminate best practices, which they estimate will be complete by late 2017.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Senior Procurement Executive to issue guidance to the Heads of Contracting Activity to focus internal compliance reviews on ensuring that required contract documents are properly prepared and documented.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation. In its letter to OMB and the Congress, VA stated that it is beginning coordination between the Senior Procurement Executive (SPE) and its Heads of Contracting Activity (HCA) on using the findings of OMB A-123 reviews to focus its contract compliance reviews. The SPE and HCA developed a memorandum of understanding for this effort in late 2016, but VA has not yet provided information on any new guidance to focus compliance reviews.
    Recommendation: To maximize compliance with mandatory national contracts during the transition to the new medical-surgical prime vendor (MSPV) process, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Strategic Acquisition Center (SAC) and VHA Procurement and Logistics to take steps to ensure that: (1) SAC has mechanisms in place to collect and monitor transaction data to determine the extent to which Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) and their medical centers are complying with the requirement to use national contracts. (2) They establish achievable time frames for eliminating the ability for ordering officers to directly order Federal Supply Schedule items from the MSPV catalog once SAC awards national contracts for these items and monitor progress on an ongoing basis. (3) The ordering interfaces developed by the prime vendors clearly distinguish and prioritize standardized national contracts over items on Federal Supply Schedule contracts.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, VA concurred with this recommendation. VA has taken steps to monitor compliance with mandatory national contracts. However, VA has not yet established achievable timeframes for replacing Federal Supply Schedule items made available through non-competitive agreements its new Medical-Surgical Prime Vendor program, nor has it taken steps to distinguish these items from competitive national contracts in the ordering interface.
    Director: Timothy J. DiNapoli
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD has the right people with the right skills to meet future needs, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics should direct the Director, Human Capital Initiatives to issue guidance to focus component hiring efforts using the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund on priority career fields.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation, but has not taken the full actions necessary to implement it. Human Capital Initiatives issued updated guidance on the use of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund in 2016 and 2017 but the guidance did not focus component hiring efforts on specific career fields. The officials stated that the DOD military departments and other DOD components determine their own requirements for the acquisition workforce, including which career fields to identify as critical. In a March 2017 report, we noted that the Army's fiscal year 2017 DAWDF guidance, which was issued in 2016, identified priority career fields where DAWDF funded hiring efforts could be focused, while the Air Force's and Navy's guidance did not. The Army's fiscal year 2018 DAWDF guidance also identified priority career fields, including business (which includes financial management and cost estimating) contracting, systems engineering, and science and technology.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD has the right people with the right skills to meet future needs, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics should direct the Director, Human Capital Initiatives to ensure the functional leader for the production, quality, and manufacturing career field completes an initial competency assessment.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation. Officials within the Human Capital Initiatives (HCI) office stated that DOD initiated a strategic analysis in fiscal year 2017 to better understand the acquisition workforce performing Production, Quality, and Manufacturing (PQM) functions. This analysis will help identify how best to structure the PQM career field in order to manage this workforce in a more effective and efficient manner. Initial analysis findings are expected by the end of 2017 and will be used to inform a PQM competency assessment. HCI will partner with the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to use their competency assessment team to conduct competency assessments for each acquisition functional career field. The plan is to conduct four assessments annually, starting in October 2017 with an anticipated completion date for all career fields by 2021.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD has the right people with the right skills to meet future needs, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics should direct the Director, Human Capital Initiatives to establish time frames, in collaboration with functional leaders, to complete future career field competency assessments.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation and has taken some steps to implement it. The Human Capital Initiatives (HCI) office issued an updated strategic acquisition workforce plan in 2016. This plan stated that conducting career field competency assessments at a minimum of every five years helps the acquisition workforce to effectively manage their careers. Officials within the HCI office stated that they will partner with the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to use their competency assessment team to conduct competency assessments for each acquisition functional career field. The plan is to conduct four career field assessments a year, starting in October 2017 with an anticipated completion date for all career fields by 2021.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To gain visibility and enable efficient management on the use of bridge contracts in federal agencies, the Administrator of OFPP should take appropriate steps to develop a standardized definition for bridge contracts and incorporate it as appropriate into relevant FAR sections.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, staff from the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) stated that OFPP will be convening the FAR Council to discuss regulatory action after it completes the development of management guidance. The management guidance, which, according to OFPP staff includes a definition of bridge contracts, has been drafted and reviewed by agency Chief Acquisition Officers and Senior Procurement Executives. OFPP staff told us that they received many comments on the draft guidance and that they were in the process of addressing these comments. OFPP staff could not provide a date as to when they expected the management guidance would be finalized.
    Recommendation: To gain visibility and enable efficient management on the use of bridge contracts in federal agencies, the Administrator of OFPP should, as an interim measure, until the FAR is amended, provide guidance to agencies on (1) a definition of bridge contracts, with consideration of contract extensions as well as stand-alone bridge contracts; and (2) suggestions for agencies to track and manage their use of these contracts, such as identifying a contract as a bridge in a Justification and Approval (J&A) when it meets the definition, and listing the history of previous extensions and stand-alone bridge contracts back to the predecessor contract in the J&A.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2017, OFPP has drafted management guidance, which, according to OFPP staff, includes a definition of bridge contracts. The guidance, which was reviewed by agency Chief Acquisition Officers and Senior Procurement Executives, was originally expected to be issued to agencies by the end of calendar year 2016. However, OFPP staff told us that they received many comments on the draft guidance from the agencies, and that they were in the process of addressing these comments. OFPP staff could not provide an update as to when management guidance would be completed.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure the department maintains its critical skills and competencies, when planning for and implementing future civilian workforce actions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to involve functional community managers and to the extent possible, use information from gap assessments of its critical skills and competencies as they are completed to make informed decisions for possible future reductions or justify the size of the force that it has.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, the Associate Director, Total Force Requirements & Sourcing Policies; OUSD(P&R), stated that the Department has taken some actions and that there are ongoing efforts in this area. We will continue to monitor DOD's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help mitigate the risk of poor acquisition outcomes and strengthen the department's investment management activities, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Under Secretary for Management to, once the department's acquisition programs comply with DHS acquisition policy, prioritize major acquisition programs departmentwide and ensure that the department's acquisition portfolio is consistent with DHS's anticipated resource constraints.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DHS concurred with this recommendation, and stated that its effort to more fully reflect portfolio management practices in its acquisition policy will help DHS prioritize its major acquisition programs departmentwide. DHS also stated that the revised portfolio management approach will help ensure that the department's acquisition portfolio is consistent with anticipated resource constraints. However, it has taken years for some of the department's major acquisition programs to comply with DHS's acquisition policy, which requires getting approval for key acquisition documentation that contains the critical knowledge needed for DHS to make effective portfolio management decisions. In February 2017, we found that DHS had approved the required acquisition documentation for all of its major acquisition programs and planned to continue to ensure that all major acquisition programs have approved documents, such as acquisition program baselines. Now that major acquisition programs are in compliance with DHS's acquisition policy, GAO will evaluate the department's implementation of its revised portfolio management approach to determine whether DHS has met the intent of this recommendation by ensuring that the department's acquisition portfolio is consistent with DHS's anticipated resource constraints.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202) 512-7773

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To capitalize on the increase in knowledge gained by creating new baselines for Deepwater assets, and to better manage acquisitions of further assets and capabilities, the Commandant of the Coast Guard should complete, and present to Congress, a comprehensive review of the Deepwater Program that clarifies the overall cost, schedule, quantities, and mix of assets that are needed to meet mission needs and what trade-offs need to be made considering fiscal constraints, given that the currently approved Deepwater baseline is no longer feasible.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Coast Guard
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, the agency concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken actions necessary to implement it. Since this report, DHS and the Coast Guard have each completed studies examining the mix of assets that composed the Deepwater Program. To date, the Coast Guard has not yet provided the Congress with a comprehensive review that clarifies the program's cost, schedule, quantities, and mix of assets or takes into account the Coast Guard's needs and available resources and makes recommendations about what trade-offs may be necessary. In 2015, we found that the Coast Guard is currently conducting a fleet-wide analysis, including surface, aviation, and information technology, intended to be a fundamental reassessment of the capabilities and mix of assets the Coast Guard needs to fulfill its missions. The Coast Guard is undertaking this effort consistent with direction from Congress. Specifically, the Coast Guard plans first to rewrite its mission needs statement and concept of operations by 2016. Then, it will use a complex model to develop the full fleet mix study. Based on this, the Coast Guard plans to recommend a set of assets that best meets these needs in terms of capability and cost. The Coast Guard plans to complete the full study in time to inform the fiscal year 2019 budget, though specific dates for these events have not been set forth. As of July 2016, the Coast Guard informed GAO that the modeling is complete and the CONOPS report is being developed with a target date of September 30 for completion.