GAO: Defense lacks information on acquisition workforce


The Government Accountability Office issued a blunt assessment of the Defense Department’s grip on its acquisition workforce needs today.

Its opening line:

DoD lacks critical departmentwide information to ensure its acquisition workforce is sufficient to meet its national security mission.

And its second line:

In its acquisition workforce assessments, DoD does not collect or track information on contractor personnel, despite their being a key segment of the total acquisition workforce.

Followed closely by:

DoD also lacks information on why contractor personnel are used, which limits its ability to determine whether decisions to use contractors to augment the in-house acquisition workforce are appropriate. GAO found that program office decisions to use contractor personnel are often driven by factors such as quicker hiring time frames and civilian staffing limits, rather than by the skills needed or the nature or criticality of the work.

GAO made four recommendations:

  • Collect and track data on contractor personnel.
  • Identify and update on an ongoing basis the number of acquisition personnel and skills they need to fulfill the department’s mission.
  • Review and revise the guidance for using contractor personnel to clarify when it is appropriate. 
  • Develop a tracking mechanism to determine whether the guidance has been appropriately implemented across the department.

 DoD concurred with the recommendations.


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