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Highlights

In fiscal year 2010, more than half of the $367 billion dollars the Department of Defense (DOD) spent on contracts was spent on services. Buying services is fundamentally different than buying weapon systems, yet most acquisition regulations, policies, processes, and training remain structured for acquiring weapon systems. Over the last decade, reports from GAO, DOD, and Congress have raised issues about services acquisitions and have also highlighted the importance of acquisition training. GAO previously reported on the training provided to the acquisition workforce as defined by the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA). This report addresses personnel working on services acquisitions who were outside the DAWIA acquisition workforce--termed non-DAWIA personnel with acquisition-related responsibilities--and the extent to which (1) DOD knows the composition of this population, (2) this population is taking acquisition training, and (3) DOD has implemented past recommendations related to this population. To complete this work, GAO reviewed a nongeneralizable sample of 29 service contracts, relevant policies, and recommendations from previous reports and met with key DOD officials.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense To help ensure that training and development efforts for non-DAWIA personnel with acquisition-related responsibilities are deliberate and contribute to successful services acquisitions--meaning DOD buys the right thing, the right way, while getting the desired outcomes--the Secretary of Defense should establish criteria and a time frame for identifying non-DAWIA personnel with acquisition-related responsibilities, including requirements officials.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOD concurred with our recommendation to establish criteria and a time frame for identifying the non-Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) population with acquisition-related responsibilities, including requirements officials. On August 30, 2013, DOD established an organization, the Acquisition of Services Functional Integrated Product Team (FIPT), responsible for the identification the non-DAWIA personnel with acquisition-related responsibilities, including requirements officials. DOD has taken some steps to implement this recommendation. For example, in order to establish criteria ongoing Air Force pilot has been in place since 2015 to inform DOD's approach for identifying this population. However, the timeline for the Air Force pilot and time frame to identify non-DAWIA personnel with acquisition-related responsibilities across the department remains unclear almost 6 years since our recommendation was made and so we are closing this recommendation.
Department of Defense To help ensure that training and development efforts for non-DAWIA personnel with acquisition-related responsibilities are deliberate and contribute to successful services acquisitions--meaning DOD buys the right thing, the right way, while getting the desired outcomes--the Secretary of Defense should assess what critical skills non-DAWIA personnel with acquisition-related responsibilities might require to perform their role in the acquisition process and improve acquisition outcomes.
Closed - Implemented
Our report found that DOD needed to identify the critical skills non-DAWIA personnel with acquisition-related responsibilities might require to perform their role in the acquisition process to improve outcomes. In response to our recommendation, on January 12, 2017 DOD completed a services acquisition competency crosswalk identifying specific competencies personnel with acquisition-related responsibilities should have and courses to obtain these competencies. Further, in June 2017 DOD incorporated this crosswalk into the DOD Handbook for the Training and Development of the Services Acquisition Workforce.
Department of Defense To help ensure that training and development efforts for non-DAWIA personnel with acquisition-related responsibilities are deliberate and contribute to successful services acquisitions--meaning DOD buys the right thing, the right way, while getting the desired outcomes--the Secretary of Defense should designate an organization that has the responsibility to track DOD's progress in identifying, developing, and overseeing non-DAWIA personnel with acquisition-related responsibilities to help ensure they have the skills necessary to perform their acquisition function.
Closed - Implemented
Our report found that there was no designated organization within DOD who had responsibility for the non-Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) personnel with acquisition-related responsibilities, to manage their training, track the population, and plan for its needs. DOD concurred with the recommendation and said it would designate an organization. On August 30, 2013 DOD appointed a Functional Leader to head a Functional Integrated Product Team (FIPT) for the acquisition of services. The Functional Leader of the acquisition of services FIPT has the responsibility to identify, develop, and oversee both DAWIA and non-DAWIA personnel with acquisition related responsibilities.

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