Defense Management:

Implementation of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act

NSIAD-92-97: Published: Jan 31, 1992. Publicly Released: Jan 31, 1992.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) compliance with Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act provisions that permit DOD to waive specific qualification requirements pertaining to program managers and other acquisition personnel.

GAO found that: (1) the act requires newly appointed program managers of major and significant nonmajor defense acquisition programs to complete a program management course, agree to a tenure requirement that they remain in their position until the completion of the first major milestone closest in time to the date they had served 4 years, and possess at least 8 years of acquisition experience for major defense programs and at least 6 years for significant nonmajor programs; (2) all five of the managers DOD appointed to major or significant nonmajor programs between October and December 1991 met the qualifications and did not require waiver; (3) as of December 1991, there had been no waivers to the tenure requirements, since all five appointees signed the required written tenure agreements; (4) as the act requires, DOD has begun to identify individual positions to be included in the work force and to accumulate information on work force personnel, although this process can be time-consuming and may delay DOD implementation of key act provisions; (5) DOD has not determined its funding requirements for act implementation for fiscal year 1993 and beyond; (6) accurately estimating funding requirements for future years is difficult when the services have not identified members of their acquisition work forces or training needs; (7) the requirement to significantly increase the number of civilians in critical positions has been controversial to some military officials who believe that the military will be eliminated from many critical acquisition positions; and (8) DOD and service officials believe that the number of critical positions will be too large and costly to manage if the act's criteria requiring special training, education, and experience for designated critical acquisition positions are used.