Defense Space Activities: Management and Guidance Performance Measures Needed to Develop Personnel

GAO-05-833 Published: Sep 21, 2005. Publicly Released: Sep 21, 2005.
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The Department of Defense (DOD) employs space to support critical military capabilities and funding for space is about 5.4 percent of DOD's budget. In 2001, the Space Commission noted that DOD needs a force composed of educated, motivated, and competent personnel, but DOD was not yet on course to develop the space cadre the nation needs. DOD has a defensewide space human capital strategy and implementation plan and an Executive Agent for Space responsible for space planning, programming, and acquisitions. Congress required two GAO reports assessing DOD's strategy and the military services' efforts to develop their space personnel. GAO's first report was issued in August 2004. In its second report, GAO (1) determined DOD's progress in implementing defensewide space cadre actions, (2) assessed if DOD's space cadre management approach is consistent with a results-oriented management approach, and (3) determined the progress the services have made in planning and completing space cadre initiatives.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should issue defensewide guidance to provide accountability by defining and institutionalizing space cadre authorities and responsibilities, to include: defining the Executive Agent's specific authority and responsibilities related to the defensewide space cadre and leadership role in synchronizing the services' space cadre activities; specifying space cadre human capital development and management functions for the services and other DOD components; and defining the defensewide structure related to developing and managing the space cadre, such as the Space Professional Oversight Board.
Closed – Implemented
In January 2009, DOD issues DOD Directive 3100.16 "DOD Management of Space Professional Development." The directive establishes policy and assigns responsibility for managing and providing oversight of a cadre of DOD space professionals and to establish a focused management approach for the cadre by, among other goals, institutionalizing management authorities and responsibilities as GAO recommended.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should direct the DOD Executive Agent for Space, in conjunction with the military services, to develop appropriate performance measures for each service and an evaluation plan to indicate results related to goals in order to help evaluate DOD's progress in integrating and developing its space personnel over time.
Closed – Implemented
In January 2009, DOD issued DOD Directive 3100.16, "DOD Management of Space Professional Development." This directive contained a provision that the DOD Executive Agent for Space should coordinate with each military service and the joint staff to develop DOD-wide performance measures and an evaluation plan to measure and report results of space professional management activities, as outlined in GAO's report. This directive will assist the Executive Agent, the Secretary of Defense, and Congress to better monitor the services' progress in meeting its goals for space professional development.

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