Defense Acquisition Organizations:

Status of Workforce Reductions

NSIAD-98-161: Published: Jun 29, 1998. Publicly Released: Jun 29, 1998.

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Louis J. Rodrigues
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) acquisition workforce reductions, focusing on: (1) DOD's progress in reducing its workforce in acquisition organizations by 25 percent; (2) the potential savings associated with these personnel reductions; (3) the status of DOD efforts to redefine its acquisition workforce; and (4) DOD's efforts to consolidate and restructure acquisition organizations.

GAO noted that: (1) DOD has been reducing its acquisition workforce at a faster rate than its overall workforce and is on schedule to accomplish a 25-percent reduction by the end of fiscal year 2000; (2) however, potential savings from these reductions cannot be precisely tracked in DOD's budget; (3) in addition, some of the potential savings from acquisition workforce reductions may be offset by other anticipated costs; (4) such costs include those for contracting with private entities for some services previously performed by government personnel; (5) DOD developed a new definition for the acquisition workforce and is using it to identify individuals who perform acquisition functions throughout the Department; (6) DOD is also exploring a process by which it can, for the first time, link management of the acquisition workforce to DOD's overall manpower and budget processes; (7) although far from assured, success in this arena could allow better planning and budgeting for workforce training and tracking changes in the workforce; (8) GAO recently reported that DOD's efforts to streamline and consolidate the research, development, test, and evaluation segment of its acquisition organizations have not resulted in significant infrastructure reductions; and (9) GAO's further analysis of the results of one Air Force effort confirmed GAO's earlier conclusions that such initiatives have been unable to overcome numerous obstacles, which often impede them.

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