This testimony discusses GAO's three-stage approach for addressing the federal government's human capital challenges. First, agencies must take all administrative steps available to them under current laws and regulations to manage their people for results. While much of what agencies need to accomplish these steps is already available to them, they will need the sustained commitment from top management and the support from both the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management to do so. Second, the Administration and Congress should pursue selected legislative opportunities to put new tools and flexibilities in place that will help agencies attract, motivate, and retain employees--both overall and, especially, in connection with critical occupations. Third, all interested parties should work together to determine the nature and extent of more comprehensive human capital (or civil service) reforms that should be enacted over time. These reforms should include placing greater emphasis on skills, knowledge, and performance in connection with federal employment and compensation decisions, rather than the passage of time and rate of inflation, as is often the case today.
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