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    Subject Term: "Career planning"

    7 publications with a total of 18 open recommendations including 4 priority recommendations
    Director: Brown Barnes, Cindy S
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should publicly report DOD's performance regarding participation and career readiness attainment for all TAP-eligible servicemembers and members of the National Guard and Reserve rather than exclude those for whom data are missing or clarify the extent of missing data. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially agreed with this recommendation. The agency partially agreed to base its publicly reported performance on all those who are TAP-eligible or to clarify the extent of missing data. DOD said that compliance should only be computed based on data that are known, but the agency agreed that its public reports should include a description of the extent of missing data. DOD also noted that in FY17 it had disclosed the extent of missing data when reporting performance on the Transition to Veterans agency priority goal and that this will be included in all its public reporting starting in the first quarter of fiscal year 2018 and beyond. The agency indicated that it would also continue working to reduce the extent of missing data. We will consider closing this recommendation when DOD has completed these efforts.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should monitor and report on the extent to which servicemembers participate in TAP within prescribed timeframes. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD agreed with this recommendation. Based on feasibility of data collection and availability of funds, DOD anticipates starting data collection in fiscal year 2019, followed by data reporting in fiscal year 2020 at the earliest. We will consider closing this recommendation when DOD begins reporting on participation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should monitor and report on the extent to which servicemembers who elect to receive additional 2-day classes are able to receive the training. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD disagreed with this recommendation, noting that it ensures access by offering 2-day classes both in classrooms and online. Moreover, the agency stated that the purpose of 2-day classes is to help servicemembers achieve Career Readiness Standards. However, GAO does not believe this is sufficient for DOD to know whether it is ensuring compliance with this particular law. We continue to believe that DOD needs to track whether those who elect to take these classes are able to receive the training.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should monitor and report on the extent to which servicemembers attend TAP in a classroom setting unless allowed by regulation to participate online. (Recommendation 4)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD agreed with this recommendation. Based on feasibility of data collection and availability of funds, DOD anticipates starting data collection in fiscal year 2019, followed by data reporting in fiscal year 2020 at the earliest. We will close this recommendation when DOD begins reporting on attendance.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should enable unit commanders and their higher-level commanders to access DOD reports on timeliness, 2-day classes, and the use of online TAP--after DOD begins monitoring and reporting this information--to help ensure the specific units they oversee are compliant with all TAP requirements. (Recommendation 5)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially agreed with this recommendation. DOD noted that once it has the capability to collect and report data on timeliness and extent of online and classroom participation, the military services will provide these data to commanders when feasible. DOD added that the intent of this recommendation should be met at the service level where transition staff can make this information available to commanders. Our report noted that some services share information on certain aspects of the program, such as participation and Career Readiness Standard attainment. However, DOD does not yet monitor timeliness of participation, access to 2-day classes, and online participation. Therefore, DOD is unable to share this particular information with commanders. While we understand that DOD needs to build its capability to collect these additional data, we urge DOD to disseminate this important information to commanders as soon as possible to enable them to fulfill their responsibility toward TAP compliance within their specific units. DOD did not address the monitoring and reporting of the additional 2-day classes, therefore, we urge DOD to also report data on access to the additional 2-day classes so that commanders are able to ensure compliance with all statutory TAP requirements.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should seek ways to minimize the subjectivity involved in making career readiness determinations, particularly where judgments are involved, such as the quality of the individual transition plan and the resume. This could include developing guidance or training that provides quality standards for assessing career readiness materials. (Recommendation 6)

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD agreed with this recommendation. The agency stated that, by the end of FY18, it will work with the military departments and the Department of Labor to seek ways to minimize subjectivity in assessing such things as quality of the resume or job application package. This may include developing guidance on quality standards for assessing particular career readiness materials. DOD also noted that all military services have personnel at the installation level who are trained in resume writing, resume review, and career planning and that installations can also call upon their local DOL partners for further support. Finally, DOD said it was important to note that commanders be allowed to exercise their best judgment on attainment of career readiness for their servicemembers, knowing that experts are housed within the transition assistance centers at their installation and are available to assist servicemembers.
    Director: Timothy J. DiNapoli
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD has the right people with the right skills to meet future needs, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics should direct the Director, Human Capital Initiatives to issue guidance to focus component hiring efforts using the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund on priority career fields.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation, but has not taken the full actions necessary to implement it. Human Capital Initiatives issued updated guidance on the use of the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund in 2016 and 2017 but the guidance did not focus component hiring efforts on specific career fields. The officials stated that the DOD military departments and other DOD components determine their own requirements for the acquisition workforce, including which career fields to identify as critical. In a March 2017 report, we noted that the Army's fiscal year 2017 DAWDF guidance, which was issued in 2016, identified priority career fields where DAWDF funded hiring efforts could be focused, while the Air Force's and Navy's guidance did not. The Army's fiscal year 2018 DAWDF guidance also identified priority career fields, including business (which includes financial management and cost estimating) contracting, systems engineering, and science and technology.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD has the right people with the right skills to meet future needs, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics should direct the Director, Human Capital Initiatives to ensure the functional leader for the production, quality, and manufacturing career field completes an initial competency assessment.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation. Officials within the Human Capital Initiatives (HCI) office stated that DOD initiated a strategic analysis in fiscal year 2017 to better understand the acquisition workforce performing Production, Quality, and Manufacturing (PQM) functions. This analysis will help identify how best to structure the PQM career field in order to manage this workforce in a more effective and efficient manner. Initial analysis findings are expected by the end of 2017 and will be used to inform a PQM competency assessment. HCI will partner with the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to use their competency assessment team to conduct competency assessments for each acquisition functional career field. The plan is to conduct four assessments annually, starting in October 2017 with an anticipated completion date for all career fields by 2021.
    Recommendation: To ensure that DOD has the right people with the right skills to meet future needs, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics should direct the Director, Human Capital Initiatives to establish time frames, in collaboration with functional leaders, to complete future career field competency assessments.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation and has taken some steps to implement it. The Human Capital Initiatives (HCI) office issued an updated strategic acquisition workforce plan in 2016. This plan stated that conducting career field competency assessments at a minimum of every five years helps the acquisition workforce to effectively manage their careers. Officials within the HCI office stated that they will partner with the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to use their competency assessment team to conduct competency assessments for each acquisition functional career field. The plan is to conduct four career field assessments a year, starting in October 2017 with an anticipated completion date for all career fields by 2021.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist DOD in determining whether CIPP is meeting its intended purpose of enhancing retention and providing greater flexibility in the career path of servicemembers, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the service secretaries, to develop and implement a plan to evaluate the pilot that includes key features such as well-defined, clear, and measurable objectives and standards for determining pilot-program performance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with our recommendation, and recognized the importance of developing well defined measures to evaluate the effectiveness and utility of the career intermission pilot program (CIPP). In November 2015, DOD acknowledged receipt of our final report and noted that its position on the report has not changed since providing official written comments. In May 2017, we issued GAO-17-623R, which provided an update to the CIPP participant data in our initial report, and noted that DOD had not established performance measures in response to our recommendation. As of September 2017, DOD had still not developed these measures, noting the program was still in a pilot stage, and the final consolidated report due to Congress in June 2023 will include narratives from the service secretaries discussing the effectiveness and value of the program.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the ability of the federal veterinarian workforce to carry out its activities, and to prepare for an emergency involving a large-scale animal disease outbreak, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to assess the veterinarian workforce needs under possible scenarios for an emergency response to a large-scale animal disease outbreak. Building on the Talent Management Advisory Council's (TMAC) efforts to determine the veterinarian workforce needed to respond to an animal disease outbreak, the assessment should include the number and types of veterinarians needed, the sources required to have a sufficient workforce to respond, and the training needed to carry out their roles.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: USDA provided information in April 2017 on steps taken to partially address this recommendation. According to USDA, the agency uses its experiences with real-world animal disease outbreaks, such as recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza, to assess its veterinarian workforce needs. To fully implement this recommendation, APHIS needs to develop an estimate of the number of veterinarians necessary to respond to large-scale animal disease outbreaks, such as a nationwide foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in livestock.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist the interagency working group, known as the Federal Agency Skills Team (FAST), to better identify government-wide skills gaps having programmatic impacts and measure its progress towards closing them, the Director of OPM--in conjunction with the CHCO Council--should strengthen its approach and methodology by (1) assisting FAST in developing goals for closing skills gaps with targets that are both clear and measurable; (2) working with FAST to design outcome-oriented performance metrics that align with overall targets for closing skills gaps and link to the activities for addressing kills gaps; (3) incorporating greater input from subject matter experts, as planned; and (4) ensuring FAST consistently follows key practices for project planning.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of October 2016, OPM has sought to strengthen the methodology for closing skills gaps by offering skills gap closure training to 1) agency officials with respect to agency-specific skills gaps, and 2) interagency working groups with respect to government-wide skills gaps. Held during the spring of 2016, this OPM-led training sought to provide agency officials with methodologies for identifying the root causes for skills gaps, as well as provide assistance in developing action plans for implementing and monitoring their strategies to address these skills gaps. OPM officials stated that these interagency teams will report on a quarterly basis to the OPM Director on their progress to implement these strategies, beginning in January 2017. OPM, in conjunction with OMB, agencies, and the CHCO Council, needs to ensure that this infrastructure is implemented as developed.
    Recommendation: To ensure that OPM builds the predictive capacity to identify emerging skills gaps across the government--including the ability to collect and use reliable information on the competencies of the federal workforce for government-wide workforce analysis--the Director of OPM should (1) establish a schedule specifying when OPM will modify its Enterprise Human Resources Integration database to capture staffing data that it currently collects from agencies through its annual workforce data reporting process; and (2) work with agency CHCOs to bolster the ability of agencies to assess workforce competencies by sharing competency surveys, lessons learned, and other tools and resources.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of October 2016, officials reported that OPM has partnered with the Chief Learning Officers Council to leverage resources to develop a framework to support agencies efforts to develop competency assessments. Additionally, OPM reported that it has created an internal working group to determine whether its Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI) personnel database can support having a predictive capacity for identifying emerging skills gaps across the government, including the ability to collect and use information on the competencies of the federal workforce. OPM needs to work with agencies to improve competency assessment across the government and to pursue modifying EHRI to support the collection of staffing and competency data.
    Recommendation: To help agencies and OPM better monitor progress toward closing skills gaps within agencies and government-wide, the Director of OPM should (1) work with the CHCO Council to develop a core set of metrics that all agencies should use as part of their HRstat data-driven reviews; and (2) coordinate with FAST personnel and explore the feasibility of collecting information needed by FAST as part of agencies' HRstat reviews.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of October 2016, officials reported that OPM has partnered with the CHCO Council to implement a government-wide set of metrics for use as part of a government-wide benchmarking effort. However, it has no plans to coordinate the data collection efforts of agencies' HRstat reviews with the collection efforts of OPM's and agencies' working groups to identify and address skills gaps. OPM stated that coordinating the data collection was not possible because agencies' HRstat reviews have different goals and collect different types of data than the working groups. We maintain that action on our recommendation is important because it is likely that the core metrics collected under HRstat could help inform the efforts of the working groups and thus reduce duplicative efforts. Moreover, the use of a core set of metrics from agencies' HRstat reviews could aid in monitoring actual progress in closing skills gaps government-wide.
    Director: Andrew Sherrill
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure servicemember participation in and completion of TAP, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness to require that all services provide unit commanders and their leaders information on TAP participation levels of servicemembers under their command, similar to that provided by the Army and Air Force. Such information could be used to help hold leaders accountable for ensuring TAP participation and completion.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Although DOD disagreed with this recommendation, it has taken steps to make TAP participation information available at the installation and unit-command level. Specifically, in November 2016, DOD launched a new system to electronically collect TAP-related data: the TAP-IT Enterprise System. DOD officials said this system will allow the services to generate installation and unit-level data reports once fully operational. This system is currently being used at all installations to collect data on VOW compliance and Career Readiness Standards attainment. However, installation and unit-command specific reports describing TAP performance levels may not be available until October 2018, according to a senior DOD official. We continue to believe that providing unit-level data to commanders is needed because these commanders are responsible for ensuring that eligible servicemembers have full access to and successfully complete required TAP components. Consequently, providing commanders and their leaders information on TAP participation levels of servicemembers under their command could promote accountability and oversight. Servicemember participation in TAP is generally required by law and DOD policy, and also relates to a Cross-Agency Priority Goal, reinforcing the need for such a mechanism. For GAO to close this recommendation, DOD should require all services to provide unit commanders and their leaders information on TAP participation levels of servicemembers under their command.
    Recommendation: To provide information on the extent to which the revamped TAP is effective, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness to work with the partner agencies to develop a written strategy for determining which components and tracks to evaluate and the most appropriate evaluation methods. This strategy should include a plan to use the results of evaluations to modify or redesign the program, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has partially addressed GAO's recommendation on evaluating the effectiveness of the revamped TAP, information that is currently limited. DOD's 2016 presentation to OMB on the status of TAP implementation and evaluation efforts lists specific TAP components and tracks in which VA, DOL, and SBA planned to assess TAP effectiveness or post-transition outcomes. In June 2016, the Small Business Administration released results of an evaluation on the Boots to Business program (White Paper: Operation Boots to Business Veteran Entrepreneurship Assessment). According to DOL officials, the agency has an ongoing quasi-experimental TAP evaluation of the employment workshop. Further, VA is in the process of contracting for a survey of veterans that will include questions regarding the transition services received under TAP, according to agency officials. However, DOD and the agencies have not fully demonstrated a strategic approach to planning higher level evaluations. GAO will consider the recommendation met once the TAP evaluation plan articulates a strategy to rigorously evaluate TAP's impact on post-program outcomes and specifies how the interagency partners plan to use the results of any evaluations.
    Director: Jeszeck, Charles A
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As DOL considers changes to participant benefit statements and other disclosures, the Secretary of DOL should consider strategies other countries have employed to help participants make sound decisions, such as providing timely information at or before retirement about available spend-down options and projections of future retirement income.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL agreed that participants should have timely information at or before retirement about available spend-down options and projections of future retirement income. DOL had previously published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking soliciting public input on ways to show an projections of lifetime income in retirement plan benefit statements. DOL also consulted with the ERISA Advisory Council on ways it could assist DOL in this area. The Council developed and submitted to DOL tips, principals, and samples for plan sponsors to consider when communicating with participants. However, DOL has not taken additional steps in this area and continues to cite its other regulatory and guidance priorities as taking precedence.
    Recommendation: As DOL continues to review regulatory barriers to lifetime income options for 401(k) plan participants it should consider other countries' approaches to plans offering annuities, such as their reliance on existing solvency requirements and insurance industry standards to provide assurances rather than place responsibility on plan sponsors to make an assessment of an annuity provider's financial stability. As DOL considers the approaches of other countries and continues to work with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which facilitates interactions between insurance companies and state insurance regulators, DOL may wish to consult with the Federal Insurance Office, which coordinates federal efforts on prudential aspects of international insurance matters.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL worked with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in 2013 and 2014 to consider possible options for easing plan sponsor concerns about the requirement to assess the financial solvency of annuity providers. DOL reported they will continue to work with NAIC, as well as the National Organization of Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Associations and Treasury's Federal Insurance Office as they consider potential regulatory approaches in this area. DOL also worked with the Federal Insurance Office in developing guidance on the selection and monitoring of annuity providers under the current annuity selection safe harbor regulation. In October 2017, Treasury recommended DOL work with Treasury to develop proposals on how establish or certify one or more expert, independent fiduciary entities to assess the long-term financial strength of annuity providers. Plan sponsors could use these assessments as a safe harbor in selecting annuity providers for their plan. However, DOL has not taken further actions and continues to cite its other regulatory and guidance priorities as taking precedence. We commend DOL's efforts on a more workable safe harbor, but continue to encourage DOL to review alternative approaches taken by other countries, such as their reliance on existing solvency requirements and insurance standards, which can ease the burden on plan sponsors.