Followup on Actions To Improve Coordination and Utilization of Human Resources Research and Development

FPCD-81-62: Published: Jul 23, 1981. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 1981.

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GAO reported earlier that the Department of Defense (D0D) needed to improve its management of the use of human resources research and development results. GAO recently completed a limited examination of the actions taken by each of the services and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) to coordinate and increase the use of human resources research and development. Although it has taken many positive initiatives, OSD needs to ensure that these initiatives are carried out and that other improvements to research coordination and utilization are made.

To identify the actions taken to coordinate and encourage the use of human resources research and development, GAO interviewed key personnel within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense-Manpower, Reserve Affairs and Logistics (MRA&L) and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. GAO also interviewed personnel at the major laboratories in each service which conduct human resources research. The scope of the review was limited in that it did not assess how much the action taken had increased utilization. The two OSD staffs most concerned with human resources research, MRA&L and Research and Engineering, have been working together to improve its management and utilization. The efforts of these staffs have been geared to insuring that the research community is working on pertinent manpower problems and that researchers and users communicate effectively. While GAO was impressed with the coordination of the two OSD staffs, it believes that additional attention should be given to the following matters: (1) establishing a DOD directive which specifies individual and mutual responsibilities for the entire manpower and personnel community; (2) getting OSD-level priority for the development of an automated research information system; (3) hiring additional staff for certain departments; and (4) producing an annual report on the past years' research and development efforts. GAO also believes further attention should be paid to improving the effectiveness of joint service actions.

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