oversight

Human Capital: DOD Needs Complete Assessments to Improve Future Civilian Strategic Workforce Plans

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-09-27.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                 United States Government Accountability Office

GAO              Report to Congressional Committees




September 2012
                 HUMAN CAPITAL

                 DOD Needs Complete
                 Assessments to
                 Improve Future
                 Civilian Strategic
                 Workforce Plans




GAO-12-1014
                                                 September 2012

                                                 HUMAN CAPITAL
                                                 DOD Needs Complete Assessments to Improve
                                                 Future Civilian Strategic Workforce Plans
Highlights of GAO-12-1014, a report to
congressional committees




Why GAO Did This Study                           What GAO Found
As of June 2012, DOD reported a full-            Over the last decade, Congress has passed legislation requiring the Department
time civilian workforce of about                 of Defense (DOD) to conduct human capital planning efforts for the department’s
780,000 personnel. According to                  civilian workforce. Specifically, section 115b of Title 10 of the United States
DOD, about 30 percent of its civilian            Code, enacted in October 2009, requires DOD to develop and submit to
workforce and 60 percent of its civilian         congressional defense committees a strategic workforce plan to shape and
senior leaders will be eligible to retire        improve the department’s civilian workforce. Among other things, the law
by March 31, 2015. Such potential loss           requires DOD to report on the mission-critical skills, competencies, and gaps in
may result in significant skill gaps. The        its existing and future civilian workforces; the appropriate mix of military, civilian,
National Defense Authorization Act for
                                                 and contractor personnel capabilities; and the department’s progress in
Fiscal Year 2010 requires GAO to
                                                 implementing its strategic workforce plan using results-oriented performance
submit a report on DOD’s 2010-2018
strategic civilian workforce plan. In
                                                 measures. While DOD has addressed some of its reporting requirements to
response, GAO determined the extent              some extent, it has not addressed others.
to which DOD identified critical skills,             •   DOD, to varying degrees, assessed the existing and future critical skills
competencies, and gaps; assessed its                     and competencies for 21 of the 22 occupations that it has identified as
workforce mix; and measured progress                     mission critical, but conducted competency gap assessments only for 8
in implementing its strategic workforce
                                                         of these 22 occupations. In some but not all cases, DOD provided
plan. GAO analyzed DOD’s strategic
                                                         details about skills and competencies. However, it did not report the
workforce plan and supporting
                                                         results of any of its gap analyses for its mission-critical occupations.
documents, and met with managers of
four functional communities within the               •   DOD did not assess the appropriate mix of military, civilian, and
civilian personnel community                             contractor workforces or provide an assessment of the capabilities of
(information technology, financial                       each of these workforces. Only two of the civilian community managers
management, logistics, and law                           who provided input presented data on all three workforces. The
enforcement), because they represent                     remaining nine community managers provided data only on military and
the three largest and the one smallest
                                                         civilian personnel. DOD guidance requires, among other things, that
of the functional communities, to
                                                         DOD missions be accomplished with the least costly mix of military,
determine how they conducted their
strategic workforce planning.                            civilian, and contractor personnel, consistent with military requirements
                                                         and other needs of the department.
What GAO Recommends                                  •   DOD assessed progress in implementing its strategic workforce plan by
GAO recommendations include that                         using newly developed measures that contain characteristics of valid
DOD issue clearer guidance for                           results-oriented performance measures, but these measures are not
assessing its skills and competencies,                   aligned with DOD’s statutory reporting requirements. For example,
conduct and report on gap analysis of                    although DOD is required to conduct gap analyses and assess its
mission-critical occupations, clarify its                workforce mix, it is unclear how the measures that DOD developed will
guidance for assessing workforce mix                     help to address these requirements.
issues, and enhance its performance
measures to align with congressionally           The input to DOD’s strategic workforce plan on critical skills and competencies
mandated reporting requirements.                 varied, in part, because the reporting template that DOD sent to its civilian
DOD concurred or partially concurred             personnel community managers did not contain sufficient detail and clear
with GAO’s recommendations. While                definitions. Also, the template did not provide departmental expectations for
DOD raised some issues about the                 conducting gap analyses or communicate clear guidance for reporting on
need for further actions, GAO                    workforce mix assessments. Without sufficiently detailed guidance to help ensure
continues to believe that DOD’s                  complete reporting, input into future plans will continue to vary and the plan’s
workforce planning could be enhanced.            usefulness as a workforce planning document will be diminished. Further, in
View GAO-12-1014. For more information,          those cases where DOD’s performance measures are not aligned with its
contact Brenda S. Farrell at (202) 512-3604 or   congressionally mandated reporting requirements, it is difficult for DOD to
farrellb@gao.gov                                 demonstrate progress against those requirements.

                                                                                           United States Government Accountability Office
Contents


Letter                                                                                          1
                       Background                                                               5
                       DOD’s Assessments of Existing and Future Critical Skills,
                         Competencies, and Gaps Varied                                          7
                       DOD Did Not Assess the Appropriate Mix of Military, Civilian, and
                         Contractor Personnel Capabilities                                    14
                       DOD Developed Results-Oriented Performance Measures to Assess
                         Progress, but These Measures Do Not Fully Align with
                         Congressional Reporting Requirements                                 17
                       Conclusions                                                            20
                       Recommendations for Executive Action                                   21
                       Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                     22

Appendix I             Scope and Methodology                                                  28



Appendix II            Comments from the Department of Defense                                30



Appendix III           GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments                                  42



Related GAO Products                                                                          43



Table
                       Table 1: DOD’s Civilian Workforce Functional Communities and
                                Associated Mission-Critical Occupations                         5


Figures
                       Figure 1: 2010-2018 Strategic Workforce Plan Process and
                                Participants                                                    7
                       Figure 2: Since 2007, Number of Days DOD Issued Its Strategic
                                Workforce Plan Later Than the Due Date                        13




                       Page i                                            GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Abbreviations

DOD Department of Defense
OSD Office of the Secretary of Defense
OPM Office of Personnel Management




This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright protection in the
United States. The published product may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety
without further permission from GAO. However, because this work may contain
copyrighted images or other material, permission from the copyright holder may be
necessary if you wish to reproduce this material separately.




Page ii                                                        GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   September 27, 2012

                                   Congressional Committees

                                   The current and long-term fiscal pressures facing the Department of
                                   Defense (DOD) underscore the importance for DOD to employ a strategic
                                   and efficient approach to recruit, develop, and retain individuals with the
                                   necessary skills and competencies for the department to meet its mission.
                                   DOD’s civilian workforce performs a wide variety of duties and
                                   responsibilities, including mission-essential combat-support functions—
                                   such as logistics support and maintenance—that traditionally have been
                                   performed by the uniformed military. A key component of this workforce
                                   also provides deployable civilian experts to Afghanistan and other
                                   theaters of operation. According to the department, as of June 2012,
                                   DOD’s total civilian workforce included about 780,000 full-time civilians. 1
                                   The department has acknowledged a number of challenges in managing
                                   this large, diverse workforce. Among them, DOD has reported that about
                                   30 percent of its civilian workforce and 60 percent of its civilian senior
                                   leaders will be eligible to retire by March 31, 2015. DOD is also reducing
                                   its reliance on contractors and increasing the expertise of its in-house
                                   workforce. According to DOD’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, the
                                   department’s priorities include the need for increased leadership in
                                   human-capital management, improvement in capabilities within its
                                   civilian-led activities, and acquisition personnel who have the skills and
                                   training necessary to successfully perform their jobs. 2

                                   Strategic workforce planning—an integral part of human-capital
                                   management—helps organizations to determine if they have staff with the
                                   necessary skills and competencies to achieve their strategic goals. We
                                   have previously reported that having the right number of civilian
                                   personnel with the right skills is critical to achieving DOD’s mission, and
                                   that it is important for DOD, as part of its workforce planning, to conduct
                                   gap analyses of its critical skills and competencies. 3 In 2001, we included


                                   1
                                    DOD, DOD Demographics as of June 30, 2012. This number represents DOD’s
                                   appropriated fund United States civilian employees and does not include foreign national
                                   or nonappropriated fund civilian employees.
                                   2
                                    DOD, Quadrennial Defense Review Report (February 2010).
                                   3
                                    GAO, Human Capital: Further Actions Needed to Enhance DOD’s Civilian Strategic
                                   Workforce Plan, GAO-10-814R (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 27, 2010).




                                   Page 1                                                        GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
strategic human-capital management for all federal civilians—including
DOD—on our high-risk list because of the long-standing lack of
leadership in this area. While DOD has taken significant steps to address
human-capital issues, strategic human-capital management remains high
risk government-wide 4 because of a need to develop and implement
plans to address current and emerging critical-skill gaps that are
undermining agencies’ abilities to meet their vital missions.

Over the last decade, Congress has passed legislation requiring DOD to
conduct human-capital planning efforts for the department’s civilian
workforce. Specifically, section 115b of Title 10 of the United States
Code, enacted in October 2009, 5 requires DOD to periodically develop
and submit to congressional defense committees a strategic workforce
plan to shape and improve the department’s civilian workforce. While the
law does not specify a date for DOD to submit the plan, 6 it does stipulate
several requirements for the plan. These include an assessment of:

•   the mission-critical skills and competencies of the existing and future
    civilian workforce and projected trends in that workforce based on
    expected losses due to retirement and other attrition;
•   gaps in the existing or projected civilian workforce that should be
    addressed to ensure that the department has continued access to the
    critical skills and competencies;
•   the appropriate mix of military, civilian, and contractor personnel
    capabilities; and
•   the department’s progress in implementing its strategic workforce plan
    using results-oriented performance measures.
DOD’s mandate previously required that the department’s assessments
cover a 7-year period following the year in which the plan is submitted to




4
GAO, High-Risk Series: An Update, GAO-11-278 (Washington, D.C.: February 2011).
5
 The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-84, § 1108
(2009) (codified as amended at 10 U.S.C. 115b) codified a previous strategic workforce
plan requirement that was originally enacted by section 1122 of the National Defense
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006, Pub. L. No. 109-163 (2006).
6
 Section 935 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, Pub. L. No.
112-81 (2011) amended section 115b to require DOD to submit its Strategic Workforce
Plan biennially rather than annually.




Page 2                                                        GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Congress. 7 Therefore, DOD’s latest civilian senior leader workforce plan
covers the period 2010-2018.

In March 2012, DOD issued its 2010-2018 Strategic Workforce Plan.
GAO, as mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal
Year 2010, is required to report on DOD’s plan within 180 days of its
submission to the congressional committees. 8 Specifically, we evaluated
the extent to which DOD assessed (1) the existing and future critical
skills, competencies, and gaps in its civilian workforce; (2) its workforces
to identify the appropriate mix of military, civilian, and contractor
personnel capabilities; and (3) its progress in implementing the strategic
workforce plan by using results-oriented performance measures.

To conduct this review, we evaluated DOD’s 2010-2018 strategic
workforce plan and supporting documentation, and interviewed DOD
officials responsible for developing the strategic workforce plan. 9 Within
DOD’s overall civilian-personnel community, we met with functional
community managers 10 in the information technology, financial
management, logistics, and law enforcement communities to determine
how each of these communities conducted their strategic workforce
planning and how coordination occurred between the specific
communities and the department. We selected these four functional


7
 Section 935 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, Pub. L. No.
112-81 (2011) amended this requirement to a 5-year period, which corresponds to the
current Future Years Defense Program. Prior to 2009, section 1122 of the National
Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 required DOD to develop a similar
strategic workforce plan and directed DOD’s assessments to cover a 10-year period.
8
 The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-84 (2009)
also requires GAO to report on DOD’s civilian senior-leader workforce plan. See GAO,
Human Capital: Complete Information and More Analyses Needed to Enhance DOD’s
Civilian Senior Leader Workforce Plan, GAO-12-990R (Washington D.C.: Sept. 19, 2012).
9
 For DOD’s 2010-2018 plan, 11 of 12 functional communities—which consist of
employees who perform similar functions—provided some information on 22 occupations
that DOD has identified as mission critical. The twelfth functional community – Acquisition
– did not submit its assessments for inclusion in DOD’s 2010-2018 Strategic Workforce
Plan and, according to DOD officials, a separate report on the acquisition community will
be submitted to Congress in March 2013. For the purposes of this report, we evaluated
the information and data provided by the 11 functional communities that were included in
DOD’s 2010-2018 plan.
10
  Functional community managers are responsible for monitoring the strategic human-
capital planning efforts for their respective communities, including workforce forecasting,
competency assessment, and strategy development.




Page 3                                                          GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
communities because they represent three of the largest and one of the
smallest functional communities included in the plan. Further, DOD
business-systems modernization (information technology), DOD financial
management, and DOD supply-chain management (logistics) are on
GAO’s 2011 High-Risk list. 11 To aid all aspects of our review, we also met
with Office of Personnel Management (OPM) officials to identify relevant
policy and guidance to federal agencies. To determine the extent to which
DOD assessed existing and future critical skills, competencies, and any
gaps in its civilian workforces, we obtained and reviewed existing DOD
guidance, including guidance related to any automated systems the
department may use to facilitate these assessments. We also reviewed
documents to ascertain how DOD used OPM’s Workforce Analysis
Support System and Civilian Forecasting System to develop the
department’s civilian-workforce forecasts and projections. To determine
the extent to which DOD assessed its workforces to identify the
appropriate mix of military, civilian, and contractor personnel capabilities,
we obtained and reviewed DOD guidance on conducting these
assessments and analyzed DOD’s efforts to apply the guidance. We
compared DOD’s efforts to prior GAO work on assessing the appropriate
mix of workforces and identifying capabilities of those workforces. To
determine the extent to which DOD assessed its progress in
implementing its strategic workforce plan by using results-oriented
performance measures, we obtained and reviewed relevant DOD
guidance and analyzed DOD’s efforts to apply the guidance. We also
compared DOD’s performance measures to its reporting requirements in
the United States Code and our prior work on valid performance
measures to determine how DOD’s measures aligned to both. We found
the data contained within the plan to be sufficiently reliable for purposes
of assessing efforts in developing and producing civilian strategic
workforce plans and providing context of these efforts.

We conducted this performance audit from July 2011 through September
2012 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing
standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to
obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for
our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe
that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings




11
 GAO-11-278.




Page 4                                               GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
             and conclusions based on our audit objectives. Additional details on our
             scope and methodology are in appendix I. 12


             To help conduct human-capital planning efforts for the department’s
Background   civilian workforce, DOD’s Strategic Human Capital Planning Office used
             functional community categories to group together employees who
             perform similar functions. Each of these communities includes a varying
             number of mission-critical occupations. For the 2010-2018 strategic
             workforce plan, 11 functional communities provided some information on
             their 22 mission-critical occupations in an appendix to the plan. 13 Mission-
             critical occupations are positions key to DOD’s current and future mission
             requirements, as well as those that present recruiting and retention
             challenges. Table 1 lists the 11 functional communities along with their
             mission-critical occupations.

             Table 1: DOD’s Civilian Workforce Functional Communities and Associated
             Mission-Critical Occupations

             Designated Functional Communities           Mission-Critical Occupations
             1.   Civil Engineering                      1.    Civil Engineers
             2.   Financial Management                   2.    Accounting
                                                         3.    Auditing
                                                         4.    Budget Analysis
                                                         5.    Financial Administration
             3.   Human Resources                        6.    Human Resources Management
                                                               (Civilian)
             4.   Information Technology (IT)            7.    Computer Engineering
                                                         8.    Computer Scientist
                                                         9.    Electronics Engineering
                                                         10.   IT Management




             12
                We began this engagement in July 2011, when DOD provided us with a draft of its
             Fiscal Years 2010-2018 Strategic Workforce Plan and indicated that the final version
             would be issued soon thereafter. We suspended this work when we did not receive the
             final plan and resumed our review when DOD submitted its final Strategic Workforce Plan
             for Fiscal Year 2010-2018 to Congress on March 27, 2012.
             13
              In addition to the 11 functional communities listed in table 1, DOD’s 2010-2018 strategic
             workforce plan also includes appendixes for 5 cross-cutting communities: the Senior
             Executive Service, National Security Professionals, Leadership, Civilian Expeditionary
             Workforce, and Science and Technology.




             Page 5                                                         GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
 Designated Functional Communities         Mission-Critical Occupations
 5.    Installations and Environment       11. Fire Protection and Prevention
                                           12. Safety and Occupational Health
 6.    Intelligence                        13. Intelligence Specialist
 7.    Language                            14. Language Specialist
 8.    Law Enforcement                     15. Police
 9.    Logistics Management                16. Logistics Management
 10. Medical                               17.   Clinical Psychology
                                           18.   Medical Officer
                                           19.   Nurse
                                           20.   Pharmacist
                                           21.   Social Work
 11. Security                              22. Security Specialist
Source: GAO analysis of DOD information



DOD’s mandated strategic workforce plans are developed by the Defense
Civilian Personnel Advisory Service’s Strategic Human Capital Planning
Office, which is within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for
Personnel and Readiness. To collect data and information from the
functional communities, the Strategic Human Capital Planning Office
develops a reporting template that it sends to the 11 functional community
managers within the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The
template consists of three sections that request information and data on
areas such as workforce end-strength forecasts, constraints that impact
the ability to meet end-strength targets, status of competency
development, and strategies to fill gaps. To complete the template, the
functional community managers work with their counterparts at the
component 14 level to collect the necessary information and data for the
mission-critical occupations. Once the component-level functional
community managers collect the necessary information and data, they
send their completed templates back to the functional community
integrators, who compile all the information and data for each community
into one cohesive functional community document. The Strategic Human
Capital Planning Office then compiles the various reports from the
functional community managers and integrators and issues the report
after it passes an internal review. Figure 1 identifies the key offices that
develop the strategic workforce plan.


14
  DOD components in this context include the military departments, defense agencies,
combatant commands, and other defense activities.




Page 6                                                        GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Figure 1: 2010-2018 Strategic Workforce Plan Process and Participants




                                        Our previous work has found that, in general, DOD’s efforts to develop
                                        workforce plans have been mixed. 15 In our February 2009 report, 16 we
                                        recommended that DOD develop performance plans for its program
                                        offices that have responsibilities to oversee development of the strategic
                                        workforce plan. Specifically, we recommended that the performance
                                        plans include establishing implementation goals and time frames,
                                        measuring performance, and aligning activities with resources to guide its
                                        efforts to implement its strategic workforce plan. DOD partially concurred
                                        with our recommendations and noted that efforts were underway to
                                        develop performance plans.


                                        DOD assessed, to varying degrees, the existing and future critical skills
DOD’s Assessments of                    and competencies for all but one of its mission-critical occupations, but
Existing and Future                     the department did not assess gaps for most of them. Further, DOD’s
                                        report did not include the most up-to-date or timely information when it
Critical Skills,                        issued its most recent report.
Competencies, and
Gaps Varied

                                        15
                                          GAO, Human Capital: Opportunities Exist to Build on Recent Progress to Strengthen
                                        DOD’s Civilian Human Capital Strategic Plan, GAO-09-235 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 10,
                                        2009); and The Department of Defense’s Civilian Human Capital Strategic Plan Does Not
                                        Meet Most Statutory Requirements, GAO-08-439R (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 6, 2008).
                                        16
                                          GAO-08-439R.




                                        Page 7                                                     GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
DOD Assessed Skills and     Section 115b of Title 10 of the United States Code requires that DOD’s
Competencies for a          strategic workforce plan include an assessment of the critical skills and
Majority of Its Mission-    competencies of the existing civilian-employee workforce and DOD, in
                            response to that requirement, assessed to varying degrees the existing
Critical Occupations, but   critical skills and competencies for 21 of its 22 mission-critical
the Assessments Varied      occupations. We have previously reported that it is essential for agencies
Widely                      to determine the skills and competencies that are critical to successfully
                            achieving their missions and goals. This is especially important as
                            changes in national security, technology, budget constraints, and other
                            factors change the environment within which federal agencies operate. 17
                            The assessments contained in DOD’s 2010-2018 plan, however, varied
                            significantly in terms of the amount of detail provided. This variation can
                            be attributed, in part, to the fact that some communities are able to draw
                            on existing requirements and standards. For example, the information
                            technology functional community used the Clinger-Cohen Competencies
                            for the Information Technology Workforce, 18 which provide a description
                            of the technical competencies for various information technology
                            occupations, to assess the critical skills and competencies within its
                            workforce. Accordingly, the information technology functional community
                            manager was able to provide detail and specificity when describing this
                            community’s assessment processes and the results of those
                            assessments. Similarly, the medical functional community was able to
                            use existing national standards for licensure and board certification for
                            physicians when it assessed particular critical skills and competencies.
                            This community was able to provide specific details about its assessment
                            processes and the results from those assessments. In contrast, while the
                            installations and environment functional community reported on the
                            competency models available for assessing its two mission-critical
                            occupations, firefighters and safety-and-health managers, this community
                            did not provide the results of any analyses using these models.




                            17
                             GAO-04-39.
                            18
                              The Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 (codified as amended at 40 U.S.C. § 11101, et seq.)
                            provides a framework for effective information technology management. The
                            competencies were developed by DOD through collaboration between the Federal Chief
                            Information Officer Council, DOD, private‐sector, staffing, and academia representatives.
                            The Clinger-Cohen Competencies are periodically updated in response to information
                            technology workforce management requirements in 40 U.S.C. § 11315, among other
                            things.




                            Page 8                                                        GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
DOD is also required to report on the critical skills and competencies that
will be needed in its future workforces. We have previously reported that
an agency needs to define the critical skills and competencies that it will
require in the future to meet its strategic program goals. Doing so can
help an agency align its human-capital approaches that enable and
sustain the contributions of all the critical skills and competencies needed
for the future. 19 Our assessment of DOD’s 2010-2018 strategic workforce
plan found that for 17 of the 22 mission-critical occupations, DOD
provided some discussion of future competencies. For the remaining five
mission-critical occupations, DOD reported that functional community
managers were waiting for the completion of competency models for their
specific mission-critical occupations before assessing future
competencies. One functional community, Intelligence, did not provide an
assessment of skills and competencies for either its existing or future
mission-critical occupations. DOD officials told us that the intelligence
community’s assessments are maintained in classified documents and
could not be provided in the department’s 2010-2018 strategic workforce
plan. According to the plan, the Offices of the Under Secretary of Defense
for Intelligence and the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and
Readiness, along with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence,
agreed instead to capture the reporting requirements in already
established human-capital employment plans that were submitted by
intelligence-community elements to the Office of the Director of National
Intelligence. Officials from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense
for Intelligence acknowledged that they should provide input into DOD’s
strategic workforce plan and stated that they would provide input into the
next submission of the plan.

DOD officials responsible for developing the strategic workforce plan said
they followed a collaborative process and met numerous times to seek
input and guidance for developing the plan. To obtain information and
data from each functional community, the Strategic Human Capital
Planning Office distributed a reporting template to the functional
community managers that contained a series of questions related to the
requirements of section 115b of Title 10 of the United States Code. For
the 2010-2018 plan, from May 2009 through October 2010 the Strategic
Human Capital Planning Office provided informal guidance for template



19
 GAO, Human Capital: Key Principles for Effective Strategic Workforce Planning,
GAO-04-39 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 11, 2003).




Page 9                                                      GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
                            development to functional community managers, integrators, and action
                            officers. This office also provided additional training and one-on-one
                            sessions with integrators, and tailored meetings with functional
                            community managers to address completion. The template, however, did
                            not define key terms such as skills and competencies. Accordingly, we
                            found that the functional community managers interpreted the questions
                            within the template differently and developed different understandings of
                            key terms. For example, officials in one functional community explained to
                            us that they viewed skills as a subset of a larger category of
                            competencies. Officials in a separate functional community associated
                            skills with employee capabilities and competencies with occupational
                            descriptions. Without clear guidance for assessing skills and
                            competencies, functional community managers are likely to continue to
                            provide inconsistent responses that vary in detail and usefulness to
                            decision makers.


A Majority of Functional    Section 115b of Title 10 of the United States Code requires DOD to
Communities Did Not         include an assessment of gaps in the existing and future civilian
Conduct Competency Gap      employee workforce that should be addressed to ensure that the
                            department has continued access to the critical skills and competencies
Assessments for Mission-    needed to accomplish its mission. 20 We have previously reported that
Critical Occupations, and   once an agency identifies the critical skills and competencies that its
None Reported the Results   future workforce must possess, it can develop strategies tailored to
of Gap Assessments          address gaps in the number, skills and competencies, and deployment of
                            the workforce. 21 Our analysis found, however, that functional community
                            managers reported conducting competency gap assessments for only 8
                            of the 22 mission-critical occupations. These 8 occupations include
                            nurses, pharmacists, clinical psychologists, social workers, medical
                            officers, security specialists, police officers, and human-resources
                            managers. Further, in cases where the functional community managers
                            did conduct gap analyses, they did not report the results of these



                            20
                              DOD is currently also leading an initiative of the Council of Chief Human Capital Officers
                            and OPM to address strategic human-capital issues identified by GAO in its High-Risk
                            Series reports. GAO has identified strategic human-capital management as high risk
                            across the federal government, and the objective of this initiative is to develop and
                            institutionalize a comprehensive approach to reduce high-risk skill gaps in targeted
                            federal-wide and agency-specific mission-critical occupations. According to an April 2012
                            update for GAO, this initiative will continue until March 2013.
                            21
                              GAO-04-39.




                            Page 10                                                        GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
assessments. Officials responsible for developing the 2010-2018 plan told
us that they focused on identifying critical-skill gaps based on staffing
levels in the mission-critical occupations. According to these officials,
competency gaps will be assessed using the Defense Competency
Assessment Tool that is scheduled for initial deployment in late fiscal year
2013. 22

In some cases, competency models are still being developed that will
enable the functional communities to conduct gap assessments for their
mission-critical occupations. For example, the financial-management
functional community stated specifically in DOD’s plan that it did not
complete a gap assessment because competency models for its mission-
critical occupations remain incomplete. The financial-management
community reported in the plan that, upon completion of its competency
models, it will be able to fully assess gaps in knowledge and skills. DOD
officials responsible for the plan told us that they anticipate these models
to be completed by the end of 2012.

Some functional communities, similarly, are waiting for the completion of
an automated competency assessment tool in order to complete their gap
assessments. The logistics functional community stated in the plan, for
example, that it will use DOD’s Defense Competency Assessment Tool
when it becomes available. Because this community, as of September
2010, had more than 18,000 personnel serving in the mission-critical
occupation of logistics-management specialist, community officials
explained that the workforce is too large to track without an automated
tool.

Further, some officials attributed the absence of gap analyses to other
priorities that took precedence. Officials acknowledged that they did not
address all of the statutory requirements and explained that their work on
the Secretary of Defense’s 2010 efficiency initiatives—which were
introduced to reduce duplication, overhead, and excess—preempted their
efforts to develop responses for DOD’s 2010 Strategic Workforce Plan.




22
  According to March 2012 testimony by the then acting Under Secretary of Defense for
Personnel and Readiness, the Defense Competency Assessment Tool is scheduled for
deployment in fiscal year 2013, and that through it DOD will be able to assess workforce
competencies and develop strategies to reduce critical skill gaps that may impact mission
accomplishment by fiscal year 2015.




Page 11                                                       GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
                             Finally, of the functional communities that reported completing gap
                             assessments for eight of the mission-critical occupations, none reported
                             the results. For example, the medical functional community reported that
                             DOD’s Medical Health System analyzed a variety of data monthly to
                             ensure goals are met and to assess and respond to gaps for all five of its
                             mission-critical occupations: nurses, pharmacists, clinical psychologists,
                             social workers, and physicians. However, the plan did not report the
                             results of any of these assessments. Our analysis of the template DOD
                             sent to the functional community managers found that it was not clear in
                             all cases that each functional community should report the results of any
                             gap analyses or report the reasons why it could not conduct these
                             assessments—if that is the case—or report timelines for when the
                             assessments would be conducted. Without this information, DOD is
                             limited in its ability to identify where its critical shortages lie so that it may
                             direct limited resources to the areas of highest priority.


DOD Delayed the Issuance     Under a previous strategic-plan requirement, DOD was required to submit
of Its Workforce Plan, and   a strategic plan to Congress by January 6, 2007, with updates of that plan
Did Not Update Data          to be submitted on March 1 of each subsequent year through 2009. 23 The
                             National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 24 repealed this
                             requirement, and enacted section 115b of Title 10 of the United States
                             Code. From October of 2009 until December 2011, section 115b required
                             the submission of the plan on an annual basis, rather than on any specific
                             date. In December of 2011, the National Defense Authorization Act for
                             Fiscal Year 2012 25 amended section 115b to make the strategic plan a
                             biennial requirement, rather than an annual one. Our analysis shows,
                             based on these requirements, that DOD’s first three submissions were
                             304, 115, and 395 days late, respectively. Additionally, while DOD issued
                             its third strategic workforce plan on March 31, 2010, the department
                             issued its fourth, and most recent, plan 24 months later on March 27,
                             2012. When DOD began development of its fourth plan, the department
                             was required to submit its workforce plan on an annual basis; by the time
                             DOD issued the plan the reporting requirement had been revised from an


                             23
                               See National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006, Pub. L. No. 109-163, §
                             1122 (2006) (repealed by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010,
                             Pub. L. No. 111-84, § 1108 (2009)).
                             24
                              Pub. L. No. 111-84, § 1108 (2009).
                             25
                              Pub. L. No. 112-81, § 935 (2011).




                             Page 12                                                      GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
                                        annual to a biennial requirement. We note, however, that DOD’s report
                                        was already at least 8 months overdue at the time of that revision.
                                        Further, while DOD delayed issuance of its fourth plan until March 2012, it
                                        continued to use fiscal year 2010 data as its baseline. Figure 2 shows the
                                        number of days each of DOD’s strategic workforce plans has been late
                                        since 2007.

Figure 2: Since 2007, Number of Days DOD Issued Its Strategic Workforce Plan Later Than the Due Date




                                        a
                                         In December 2011, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 amended section
                                        115b of Title 10 of the United States Code to make the strategic workforce plan a biennial
                                        requirement, rather than an annual one.


                                        Officials attributed the delays in the production of DOD’s 2010 strategic
                                        workforce plan to long internal processing times and staff turnover.
                                        According to these officials, the plan’s progress was affected by turnover
                                        among contractor personnel as well as the leadership and staff within the
                                        strategic workforce planning office at DOD. DOD recognized these
                                        delays, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense for Civilian
                                        Personnel Policy testified before the House Armed Services Committee in
                                        July 2011 that the 2010-2018 report would be issued in late August 2011.
                                        However, it remained in draft form for another 7 months and was not
                                        issued until March 2012.




                                        Page 13                                                            GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
                         Our prior work on internal control standards for the federal government
                         has shown that agencies rely on timely information to carry out their
                         responsibilities. 26 For an agency to manage and control its operations
                         effectively, it must have relevant, reliable, and timely communications
                         relating to internal as well as external events. We found that although the
                         Strategic Human Capital Planning Office provided suggested timeframes,
                         DOD officials did not adhere to this schedule. Without up-to-date
                         information, decision makers do not have relevant information for
                         managing the critical needs of the federal workforce in a timely manner.
                         Officials responsible for the plan told us they anticipate issuing the 2012
                         strategic workforce plan between July and September of 2013.


                         DOD, in its 2010-2018 workforce plan, did not include an assessment of
DOD Did Not Assess       the appropriate mix of military, civilian, and contractor personnel or an
the Appropriate Mix      assessment of the capabilities of each of these workforces. Section 115b
                         of Title 10 of the United States Code requires DOD to conduct an
of Military, Civilian,   assessment of the appropriate mix of military, civilian, and contractor
and Contractor           personnel capabilities. To compile the workforce mix data, DOD officials
                         responsible for the plan developed and distributed a reporting template to
Personnel Capabilities   be completed by functional community managers. This template
                         requested the functional community managers to provide the percentages
                         of DOD civilian personnel, military personnel, and contractors in each
                         mission-critical occupation. Additionally, the template requested each
                         functional community to provide information on the desired workforce mix
                         for fiscal year 2016, and interim goals if possible.

                         Our review found that 2 of the 11 functional communities provided the mix
                         of their workforces, while 9 communities provided partial or no data.
                         Specifically, the medical and human-resources functional communities
                         provided the percentages of military, civilian, and contractor personnel for
                         their current workforce, and reported their desired mix for fiscal year
                         2016, as the template requested. 27 For example, the medical functional


                         26
                           GAO, Internal Controls: Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government, GAO-
                         AIMD-00-21.3.1 (Washington, D.C.: November 1999).
                         27
                           During the course of our review, DOD officials told us that they no longer considered
                         language specialists to be a mission-critical occupation due to the extremely small number
                         of civilian linguists within DOD. We note, however, that foreign-language capabilities are
                         identified as a high-risk issue in GAO’s 2011 High-Risk list. See GAO-11-278, High-Risk
                         Series: An Update (Washington, D.C.: February, 2011).




                         Page 14                                                       GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
community provided workforce mix data for its military, civilian, and
contractor personnel in each of its mission-critical occupations. According
to officials responsible for the strategic workforce plan, the medical
functional community was able to provide workforce mix data because the
community already tracked personnel data as a way to maintain
oversight. Conversely, the logistics and information-technology functional
communities provided only the military and civilian workforce data and did
not include contractor data. The intelligence functional community did not
provide any workforce mix data for inclusion in the 2010 strategic
workforce plan.

Moreover, data on contractor personnel was incomplete. During this
review, DOD officials responsible for the plan stated that they have
difficulties tracking contractor data, explaining that DOD contracts for
services rather than for individuals. We note, however, that this issue is
not new. DOD guidance requires defense officials to consider personnel
costs, among other factors, when making certain workforce decisions. For
example, a February 2005 DOD directive states that missions shall be
accomplished using the least costly mix of personnel (military, civilian,
and contract) consistent with military requirements and other needs of the
department. 28 Subsequently, in April 2010, DOD issued an instruction that
included guidance on implementing the prior directive. 29 Further it is DOD
policy that DOD components follow prescribed business rules when
performing an economic analysis in support of workforce decisions.
These rules apply when, among other circumstances, DOD’s components
decide whether to use DOD civilians to perform functions that are
currently being performed by contractors but could be performed by DOD
civilians. 30

By law, DOD is required to annually compile and review an inventory of
activities performed pursuant to contracts to help provide better insights
into the number of contractor full-time equivalents providing services to
the department, and the functions they are performing. 31 Additionally, the


28
 DOD, Directive 1100.4, Guidance for Manpower Management (Feb. 12, 2005).
29
  DOD, Instruction 1100.22, Policy and Procedures for Determining Workforce Mix (April
12, 2010).
30
 DOD, Directive-Type Memorandum (DTM) 09-007, Estimating and Comparing the Full
Costs of Civilian and Military Manpower and Contract Support (September 2, 2011).
31
 10 U.S.C. § 2330a.




Page 15                                                     GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 requires
appropriate DOD officials to develop a plan, including an enforcement
mechanism, to ensure that this inventory of contracted services is used to
inform strategic workforce planning, among other things. 32 The act also
directed the Secretary of Defense to establish policies and procedures for
determining the most appropriate and cost-efficient mix of military,
civilian, and contractor personnel to perform the mission of the
department. Further, the act directed that these policies and procedures
should specifically require DOD to use the strategic workforce plan,
among other things, when making these determinations, and that these
policies and procedures, once developed, should inform the strategic
workforce planning process. Earlier this year, we reported 33 that DOD has
difficulty collecting data on the number of contractors performing work,
and that DOD is working on a means to collect the data. We also reported
that DOD has submitted to Congress a plan to collect personnel data
directly from contractors that would help inform the department of the
number of full-time-equivalent contractor staff. 34 According to this plan,
DOD will institute a phased-in approach to develop an inventory of
contracted services database by fiscal year 2016.

In the meantime, the functional communities did not provide all required
information, in part, because the department did not request it. The
template, for example, did not ask the functional communities to report
the capabilities of their civilian, military and contractor personnel in
mission-critical occupations, and as a result none of the functional
communities reported them. Further, the template did not ask the
functional communities to report on their assessments of the appropriate
mix of these workforces within their communities and, accordingly, none
of the communities provided this type of assessment. Without a complete
assessment, it is difficult for DOD to know if its civilian workforce is
properly sized to carry out its vital missions.




32
 Pub. L. No. 112-81, § 936 (2011) (codified at 10 U.S.C. § 2330a).
33
  GAO, Defense Workforce: DOD Needs to Better Oversee In-Sourcing Data and Align In-
Sourcing Efforts with Strategic Workforce Plans, GAO-12-319 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 9,
2012).
34
  DOD’s plan, submitted in November 2011 included instructions to the military
departments and DOD components to document contractor full time equivalents and begin
the collection of contractor manpower data.




Page 16                                                      GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
                             DOD developed five performance measures to assess progress in
DOD Developed                implementing its strategic workforce plan, and the measures generally
Results-Oriented             align with the department’s goals. We have previously reported that
                             performance measures should align with goals and track progress toward
Performance                  the goals of the organization. However, it is not clear in all cases how
Measures to Assess           these measures will help DOD demonstrate progress in meeting all of the
Progress, but These          reporting requirements contained in section 115b of Title 10 of the United
                             States Code.
Measures Do Not
Fully Align with
Congressional
Reporting
Requirements
DOD Identified               In response to statutory requirements, DOD developed five results-
Performance Measures to      oriented performance measures to assess progress in implementing its
Assess Progress in           strategic workforce plan. Specifically, the Office of the Undersecretary of
                             Defense for Personnel and Readiness developed five baseline
Implementing Its Strategic   performance measures, which address:
Workforce Plan
                             •     workforce-mission readiness (the percentage of managers reporting
                                   that they have the talent needed to meet their mission);
                             •     mission-critical occupations’ end-strength (the percentage difference
                                   between the actual end-strength and the target end-strength for
                                   mission-critical occupations);
                             •     key milestones (the percentage of key milestones met by each
                                   mission-critical occupation);
                             •     competency-model development (the number of competency models
                                   developed for mission-critical occupations); and
                             •     loss rates for new hires (18-month loss rate from hiring date for new
                                   federal-civilian hires in mission-critical occupations).
                             According to the 2010-2018 plan, the Office of the Undersecretary of
                             Defense for Personnel and Readiness based the first four of these
                             measures—workforce mission readiness, mission-critical occupations’
                             end-strength, key milestones, and competency-model development—on
                             goals identified in DOD’s companion document to its overall civilian
                             human-capital strategic plan. 35 According to the plan, officials developed


                             35
                                 DOD, Civilian Human Capital Strategic Plan 2010-2011 Refresh.




                             Page 17                                                      GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
the fifth measure—loss rates for new hires—to support the overall
strategic plan for the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for
Personnel and Readiness. Collectively, these baseline measures were
established relative to the strategic objectives set for tracking and
supporting organizational decision making within the Office of the
Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

We have previously reported that performance measures should align
with goals and track progress toward the goals of the organization. 36
Additionally, OPM best practices state that performance measures can
help drive desired behavior, provide direction, and enable an organization
to test its progress in achieving goals. 37 Accordingly, DOD developed the
five measures to meet goals and objectives identified in a key DOD
strategic document. 38 All five performance measures include targets to
track progress toward goals—such as a 70 percent target for key
milestones in mission-critical occupations—so that the results of any
progress can be easily compared to the targets. Additionally, the
performance measures are quantifiable. For example, one of the
performance measures establishes a 15 percent variance between the
actual end-strength and the target end-strength of mission-critical
occupations.

While DOD introduced these measures for the first time in its 2010-2018
strategic workforce plan, the department conducted preliminary
assessments of its progress against those measures. In this plan, DOD
reported in its preliminary observations that it has met two performance
measures—key milestones and competency-model development—and
partially met two other measures—workforce-mission readiness and the
end-strength of mission-critical occupations. For example, according to



36
  GAO, Tax Administration: IRS Needs to Further Refine Its Tax Filing Season
Performance Measures, GAO-03-143 (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 22, 2002); and Managing
for Results: Strengthening Regulatory Agencies’ Performance Management Practices,
GAO/GGD-00-10 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 28, 1999); and Executive Guide: Effectively
Implementing the Government Performance and Results Act, GAO/GGD-96-118
(Washington, D.C.: June 1, 1996).
37
  OPM, Human Capital Assessment and Accountability Framework Practitioners Guide
(September, 2005).
38
  The key DOD guidance used to develop the measures are the Civilian Human Capital
Strategic Plan 2010-2011 Refresh, and the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and
Readiness Strategic Plan.




Page 18                                                    GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
                          OSD’s preliminary assessment, more than half of the mission-critical
                          occupations were within the 15 percent variance. DOD will use the fifth
                          performance measure, which addresses loss rates for new hires, to
                          assess the department’s progress in implementing the plan in the next
                          strategic workforce planning cycle.


DOD’s Performance         We have previously recommended that DOD develop a performance plan
Measures Are Not Fully    that includes establishing implementation goals and time frames,
Aligned With              measuring performance, and aligning activities with resources. While the
                          performance measures that DOD established to monitor the department’s
Congressional Reporting   progress in implementing its strategic workforce plan generally align with
Requirements              departmental goals and priorities, it is not clear in all cases how the five
                          measures will help DOD demonstrate progress in meeting all the
                          reporting requirements contained in section 115b of Title 10 United States
                          Code. While DOD is not required to develop performance measures that
                          monitor progress in meeting the statutory requirements, our prior work
                          has shown that agencies that have been successful in measuring their
                          performance generally developed measures that are responsive to
                          multiple priorities and complement different program strategies. 39
                          Additionally, DOD is required to develop performance measures to
                          monitor progress in implementing the strategic workforce plan, and the
                          plan itself states that one of its goals is to make progress toward meeting
                          the statutory requirements.

                          Section 115b of Title 10 of the United States Code requires DOD to
                          include in its 2010-2018 strategic workforce plan an assessment of,
                          among other things, gaps in the existing and future civilian workforce that
                          should be addressed to ensure that the department has continued access
                          to the critical skills and competencies, and the appropriate mix of military,
                          civilian, and contractor personnel capabilities. During this review, we
                          found, as we reported earlier in this report, that the department did not
                          conduct comprehensive assessments in these two areas. Although one of
                          DOD’s performance measures—key milestones—identifies assessments
                          of competency gaps and workforce mix as key milestones, the plan does
                          not describe how the department assessed progress in these areas or


                          39
                            GAO, Environmental Justice: EPA Needs to Take Additional Actions to help Ensure
                          Effective Implementation, GAO-12-77 (Washington, D.C.: October 2011); and Agency
                          Performance: Examples of Practices That Can Improve Usefulness to Decisionmakers,
                          GAO/GGD-99-69 (Washington, D.C.: February 1999); and GAO/GGD-96-118.




                          Page 19                                                   GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
              interim steps as to how it plans to meet these milestones. As a result, it is
              unclear how this measure addresses DOD’s progress in implementing the
              portions of the plan related to these two requirements, and how the
              performance measures and the department’s efforts align with and
              address congressional requirements. According to prior GAO work,
              performance measures should align with and indicate progress toward
              the goals of the organization. 40 Without a clear, effective alignment of
              DOD’s performance measures with United States Code requirements, the
              department will not be in the best position to measure and report how it is
              meeting its congressional requirements.


              With about a third of DOD’s civilian workforce eligible to retire by 2015—
Conclusions   during a time of changing national security threats and challenging fiscal
              realities—it is imperative that decision makers in DOD and Congress
              have access to complete and timely information on the skills,
              competencies, and any associated gaps within DOD’s civilian workforce.
              However, because the office responsible for developing the plan did not
              provide sufficiently detailed guidance to the managers who were
              responsible for providing key data, the information in the current plan on
              skills and competencies varies significantly. Further, while DOD officials
              have stated that they do not have the necessary tools in place to conduct
              gap analyses across the board, the department has not reported the
              results of any gap analyses that it has conducted nor provided reporting
              timeframes for conducting remaining gap analyses; this situation
              diminishes the plan’s utility as a workforce planning document. To the
              extent that DOD provided data in 2012, the data was based on
              information from 2010, which further limits this document’s use for
              planning purposes. When the reports use dated information, decision
              makers do not have relevant information for managing the critical needs
              of the federal workforce. Further, DOD did not collect all required
              information for its 2010-2018 strategic workforce plans, including the
              number or percentage of military, civilian, and contractor personnel and
              the capabilities for those three workforces. Without revised guidance
              specifying the need to collect all information required for a complete



              40
                GAO/GGD-96-118; and The Results Act: An Evaluator’s Guide to Assessing Agency
              Annual Performance Plans, GAO/GGD-10.1.20 (Washington, D.C., April 1998); and
              Agencies’ Annual Performance Plans Under the Results Act: An Assessment Guide to
              Facilitate Congressional Decisionmaking, GAO/GGD/AIMD-10.1.18 (Washington, D.C.:
              February 1998).




              Page 20                                                  GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
                      assessment to determine the appropriate mix of the three workforces,
                      DOD will have difficulty in determining if its civilian workforce is properly
                      sized to carry out essential missions. Finally, where DOD has identified
                      performance measures and indicated progress toward the goals of the
                      strategic plan, those measures are not, in all cases, aligned with DOD’s
                      congressionally mandated reporting requirements; also, the measures do
                      not provide detail about how DOD plans to meet those requirements,
                      making it difficult for DOD to demonstrate progress.


                      To meet the congressional requirement to conduct assessments of critical
Recommendations for   skills, competencies, and gaps for both existing and future civilian
Executive Action      workforces, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct the
                      Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to include in
                      the guidance that it disseminates for developing future strategic workforce
                      plans clearly defined terms and processes for conducting these
                      assessments.

                      To help ensure that Congress has the necessary information to provide
                      effective oversight over DOD’s civilian workforce, we recommend that the
                      Secretary of Defense direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel
                      and Readiness to conduct competency gap analyses for DOD’s mission-
                      critical occupations and report the results. When managers cannot
                      conduct such analyses, we recommend that DOD report a timeline in the
                      strategic workforce plan for providing these assessments.

                      To help ensure that the data presented in DOD’s strategic workforce
                      plans are current and timely, we recommend that the Secretary of
                      Defense direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and
                      Readiness to establish and adhere to timelines that will ensure issuance
                      of future strategic workforce plans in accordance with statutory
                      timeframes.

                      To enhance the information that DOD provides Congress in its strategic
                      workforce plan, we recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct the
                      Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to provide
                      guidance for developing future strategic workforce plans that clearly
                      directs the functional communities to collect information that identifies not
                      only the number or percentage of personnel in its military, civilian, and
                      contractor workforces but also the capabilities of the appropriate mix of
                      those three workforces.




                      Page 21                                              GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
                     To better develop and submit future DOD strategic workforce plans, we
                     recommend that the Secretary of Defense direct the Office of the Under
                     Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to enhance the
                     department’s results-oriented performance measures by revising existing
                     measures or developing additional measures that will more clearly align
                     with DOD’s efforts to monitor progress in meeting the strategic workforce
                     planning requirements in section 115b of Title 10 of the United States
                     Code.


                     In written comments on a draft of this report, DOD concurred with our first
Agency Comments      recommendation and partially concurred with the remaining four
and Our Evaluation   recommendations. DOD comments are reprinted in appendix II.

                     While DOD acknowledged that we had conducted a thorough review and
                     assessment of DOD’s Fiscal Year 2010-2018 Strategic Workforce Plan
                     for, DOD also expressed its disappointment that we did not appear to give
                     the department credit for the major progress that it has made, including
                     actions to reframe its planning progress from the current state to a
                     comprehensive future state by 2015. Further, DOD stated that the overall
                     negative tone – in its opinion – overshadowed the monumental efforts of
                     the department. We disagree. The objectives in our final report are
                     consistent with the objectives we presented to DOD when we first notified
                     the department of our review at the beginning of this engagement, and we
                     did provide positive examples where DOD had responded to
                     congressional direction, especially as those actions related to our report’s
                     objectives. For example, we state clearly in our report, among other
                     things, that DOD assessed to varying degrees the existing and future
                     critical skills and competencies for all but one of its mission-critical
                     occupations. This has been a longstanding issue and represents
                     progress. Further, we reported that DOD developed performance
                     measures to assess progress in implementing its workforce plan. This
                     was a new reporting requirement for DOD, and we reported that DOD had
                     been responsive to this requirement.

                     DOD also asserted that our recommendations simply restate areas for
                     improvement that the department already identified in its plan, and which
                     have already been implemented since the plan was published. We note,
                     however, that these issues are not new. We first reported on DOD’s




                     Page 22                                             GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
strategic workforce planning for its civilian workforce in 2004. 41
Subsequently, Congress mandated that DOD develop and submit civilian
workforce strategic plans to the congressional defense committees, and
that we conduct our own independent assessment of those plans. 42 We
have previously conducted 3 reviews of DOD’s plans since 2008 and our
work has reported mixed results. 43 We recommended in 2008, for
example, that DOD address all of its statutory reporting requirements, and
note that DOD did not concur with this recommendation. 44 (In 2010, we
reported that DOD’s civilian workforce plan addressed 5 and partially
addressed 9 of DOD’s 14 legislative requirements.) 45 In 2009, we
recommended, among other things, that DOD develop a performance
plan that includes establishing implementation goals and timeframes,
measuring performance, and aligning activities with resources. 46 DOD
partially concurred with these recommendations. Given the response by
DOD to our previous reports and recommendations on these issues, we
have reviewed the recommendations that we present in this report and
continue to believe that corrective action is needed.

DOD concurred with our first recommendation to include in guidance that
it disseminates for developing future workforce plans clearly defined
terms and processes for conducting these assessments. DOD stated in
its agency comments, among other things, that it has already provided
numerous governance and policy documents, and more, to assist key
stakeholders in meeting strategic workforce plan reporting requirements.
We make similar statements in our report. DOD also stated in its agency
comments, however, that the department strives for continuous
improvement and has already provided additional guidance for the next
planning cycle, for this reason they believe no additional direction from
the Secretary of Defense is needed. We do not disagree that DOD strives


41
 GAO, DOD Civilian Personnel: Comprehensive Strategic Workforce Plans Needed,
GAO-04-753 (Washington D.C.: June 30, 2004).
42
  Originally enacted in section 1122 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal
Year 2006, Pub. L. No. 109-163 (2006) (repealed by the National Defense Authorization
Act for Fiscal Year 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-84, § 1108 (2009)).
43
 GAO-10-814R, GAO-09-235, and GAO-08-439R.
44
 GAO-08-439R.
45
     GAO-10-814R.
46
     GAO-09-235.




Page 23                                                        GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
for continuous improvement. However, during the course of our audit
work, we found, as we state in our report, that functional community
managers interpreted questions in DOD’s guiding template differently and
developed different understandings of key terms. Therefore, we continue
to believe that this recommendation will enhance the development of
DOD’s next strategic workforce plan.

DOD partially concurred with our second recommendation that DOD
conduct gap analyses for DOD’s mission-critical occupations and report
on the results, and, when managers cannot conduct such analyses,
report a timeline for providing these assessments. DOD also stated its
belief that no additional direction from the Secretary of Defense is needed
with regard to this recommendation. In its agency comments, DOD
stated that the department focused on the identification of critical skill
gaps based on staffing levels in its mission-critical occupations. We
agree that DOD’s plan includes these data. However, we reported that
DOD is required to include an assessment of competency gaps in its
existing and future civilian employee workforces, and that our analyses
found that DOD’s functional community managers reported conducting
gap assessments for only 8 of DOD’s 22 mission-critical occupations.
Therefore we continue to believe that DOD needs to conduct these
analyses and, for clarity, we added references to competency gap
analyses in our finding and recommendation, as appropriate. DOD stated
in its agency comments that competency gaps will be assessed in the
future.

DOD also partially concurred with our third recommendation that DOD
establish and adhere to timelines that will ensure issuance of future
strategic workforce plans in accordance with statutory timeframes but,
similarly to its other responses, added that no additional direction is
needed from the Secretary of Defense at this time. In its comments, DOD
stated that the department does have an established planning process
and timeline, and that this established process aligns with the budget
cycle and takes about a year to complete because of the size and
complexity of the department. DOD added that the planning cycle
timeline is flexible enough to allow for significant events, among other
things, and provided a notional strategic workforce plan timeline as an
attachment to its agency comments. However, we continue to believe it
is key that DOD take steps to adhere to the timelines it establishes to
meet congressional reporting requirements and enhance the utility of its
future reports. As we note in our report, DOD has issued all of its
strategic workforce plans late since 2007.



Page 24                                             GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Regarding our fourth recommendation, DOD also partially concurred that
DOD provide guidance for developing future workforce plans that clearly
directs the functional communities to collect information that identifies not
only the number or percentage of personnel in its military, civilian, and
contractor workforces but also the capabilities of the appropriate mix of
those three workforces. While DOD agreed that additional improvements
are necessary, the department again stated that it did not believe
additional direction is necessary from the Secretary of Defense. In its
comments, DOD stated that is preparing to pilot a capabilities-based
approach to assess civilian and military workforce and contract support.
We continue to note DOD’s existing requirement to conduct an
assessment of the appropriate mix of military, civilian, and contractor
personnel capabilities, and we look forward to seeing the results of DOD’s
pilot program.

Finally, DOD also partially concurred with our fifth recommendation that
the department enhance its results-oriented performance measures by
revising existing measures or developing additional measures that will
more clearly align with DOD’s efforts to monitor progress in meeting the
strategic workforce planning requirements contained in statute. However,
again, DOD did not believe any additional direction from the Secretary of
Defense was needed. In its response, DOD stated that the measures in
the fiscal year 2010-2018 strategic workforce plan do assess progress
both in implementing the strategic workforce plan and in meeting the
statutory requirements and, as an attachment to its comments, provided a
matrix—that it developed in response to our draft report—to show
linkages between the two. Based on the matrix, we agree with DOD’s
assertion that some alignment does exist between the performance
measures and the statutory criteria. However, the justification that DOD
provided in its matrix for demonstrating these linkages is not always clear.
Further, DOD did not include this analysis in its plan. We did not state in
our report that the performance measures that DOD developed were
inappropriate in some way. However, our analysis did find that DOD
continues to struggle to meet its statutory reporting requirements.
Therefore, we continue to believe that DOD can enhance its performance
measures by more clearly aligning them to those requirements.


We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Defense, the
Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and
appropriate congressional committees. In addition, this report will also be
available at no charge on the GAO Web site at http://www.gao.gov.



Page 25                                              GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
If you or your staff have any questions regarding this report, please
contact me at (202) 512-3604 or farrellb@gao.gov. Contact points for our
Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on
the last page of this report. GAO staff who made major contributions to
this report are listed in appendix III.




Brenda S. Farrell
Director,
Defense Capabilities and Management




Page 26                                           GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
List of Committees

The Honorable Carl Levin
Chairman
The Honorable John McCain
Ranking Member
Committee on Armed Services
United States Senate

The Honorable Daniel Inouye
Chairman
The Honorable Thad Cochran
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Defense
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate

The Honorable Howard P. McKeon
Chairman
The Honorable Adam Smith
Ranking Member
Committee on Armed Services
House of Representatives

The Honorable C.W. Bill Young
Chairman
The Honorable Norman D. Dicks
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Defense
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives




Page 27                          GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology
             Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




             For all three objectives, we evaluated DOD’s 2010-2018 Strategic
             Workforce Plan and supporting documentation. 1 We also interviewed
             Department of Defense (DOD) officials responsible for developing the
             Strategic Workforce Plan. These include officials from the Strategic
             Human Capital Planning Office and the Defense Civilian Personnel
             Advisory Service within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for
             Personnel and Readiness, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense
             for Intelligence, and the military departments. We also met with functional
             community managers in the information technology, financial
             management, logistics, and law enforcement communities to determine
             how each of these communities conducted their strategic workforce
             planning and how coordination occurred between the various levels of
             DOD. We selected these four functional communities because they
             represent three of the largest and one of the smallest functional
             communities included in the plan. Further, DOD business-systems
             modernization (information technology), financial management, and DOD
             supply-chain management (logistics) are on GAO’s High-Risk list. To aid
             in all aspects of our review, we also met with Office of Personnel
             Management (OPM) officials to identify relevant policy or guidance to
             federal agencies. Finally, we found the data contained in DOD’s 2010-
             2018 plan to be sufficiently reliable for purposes of assessing efforts in
             developing and producing civilian strategic workforce plans and providing
             context of these efforts.

             To determine the extent to which DOD assessed existing and future
             critical skills, competencies, and gaps in its civilian workforce, we
             reviewed information and data contained in DOD’s 2010-2018 strategic
             workforce plan to identify which of the functional communities completed
             these assessments, the methods and tools that the functional
             communities used to conduct the assessments, and the extent to which
             the functional communities reported the results of their assessments. We
             obtained and reviewed existing DOD guidance, including guidance
             related to any automated systems the department may use to facilitate


             1
              For DOD’s 2010-2018 plan, 11 of 12 functional communities—which consist of
             employees who perform similar functions—provided some information on 22 occupations
             that DOD has identified as mission critical. The Acquisition Functional Community did not
             submit its assessments for inclusion in DOD’s 2010-2018 Strategic Workforce Plan and,
             according to DOD officials, a separate report on the acquisition community will be
             submitted to Congress in March 2013. For the purposes of this report, we evaluated the
             information and data provided by the 11 functional communities that were included in
             DOD’s 2010-2018 plan.




             Page 28                                                       GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




these assessments. We also obtained and reviewed OPM guidance on
conducting assessments of the skills, competencies, and gaps of the
federal civilian workforces. This included a review of documents to
ascertain how DOD used OPM’s Workforce Analysis Support System and
Civilian Forecasting System to develop the department’s civilian-
workforce forecasts and projections. Finally, to evaluate the timeliness of
DOD’s submissions of its strategic workforce plans, we reviewed GAO’s
prior work on DOD’s previous plans as well as our work on internal
control standards.

To determine the extent to which DOD assessed its workforces to identify
the appropriate mix of military, civilian, and contractor personnel
capabilities, we reviewed information and data contained in DOD’s 2010-
2018 strategic workforce plan to identify which functional communities
assessed their workforce mix and the process those communities used to
carry out their assessments. We also analyzed DOD’s plan to determine
the extent to which the plan included an evaluation of the specific
capabilities of military, civilian, and contractor personnel. Additionally, we
obtained and reviewed DOD guidance on conducting assessments of the
appropriateness of the mix of workforces in the federal government.

To determine the extent to which DOD assessed its progress in
implementing its strategic workforce plan by using results-oriented
performance measures, we reviewed DOD’s 2010-2018 strategic
workforce plan to identify the performance measures DOD chose to
assess its implementation of its plan. We also obtained and reviewed
DOD and OPM guidance on using results-oriented performance
measures and then evaluated DOD’s efforts to apply such guidance. We
evaluated DOD’s results-oriented performance measures and compared
them to the statutory requirements for the plan as identified in the section
115b of Title 10 of the United States Code to determine the extent to
which the measures developed addressed the requirements. We also
evaluated the performance measures using best practices identified in
our previous work to determine their validity and appropriateness.

We conducted this performance audit from July 2011 to September 2012
in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain
sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that
the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and
conclusions based on our audit objectives.



Page 29                                               GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Appendix II: Comments from the Department
             Appendix II: Comments from the Department
             of Defense



of Defense




             Page 30                                     GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Appendix II: Comments from the Department
of Defense




Page 31                                     GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Appendix II: Comments from the Department
of Defense




Page 32                                     GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Appendix II: Comments from the Department
of Defense




Page 33                                     GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Appendix II: Comments from the Department
of Defense




Page 34                                     GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Appendix II: Comments from the Department
of Defense




Page 35                                     GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Appendix II: Comments from the Department
of Defense




Page 36                                     GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Appendix II: Comments from the Department
of Defense




Page 37                                     GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Appendix II: Comments from the Department
of Defense




Page 38                                     GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Appendix II: Comments from the Department
of Defense




Page 39                                     GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Appendix II: Comments from the Department
of Defense




Page 40                                     GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Appendix II: Comments from the Department
of Defense




Page 41                                     GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Appendix III: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Appendix III: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Acknowledgments



Acknowledgments

                  Brenda S. Farrell, (202) 512-3604 or farrellb@gao.gov.
Contact
                  In addition to the individual named above, Marion Gatling, Assistant
Staff             Director; David Moser, Assistant Director; Jerome Brown; Julie Corwin;
Acknowledgments   Brian Pegram; Richard Powelson, Courtney Reid; Terry L. Richardson;
                  Norris Smith; Jennifer Weber; and Michael Willems made key
                  contributions to this report.




                  Page 42                                           GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
Related GAO Products
             Related GAO Products




             Human Capital: Complete Information and More Analysis Needed to
             Enhance DOD’s Civilian Senior Leader Strategic Workforce Plan.
             GAO-12-990R. Washington, D.C.: September 19, 2012.

             DOD Civilian Workforce: Observations on DOD’s Efforts to Plan for
             Civilian Workforce Requirements. GAO-12-962T. Washington, D.C.: July
             26, 2012.

             Defense Acquisition Workforce: Improved Processes, Guidance, and
             Planning Needed to Enhance Use of Workforce Funds. GAO-12-747R.
             Washington, D.C.: June 20, 2012.

             Defense Acquisitions: Further Actions Needed to Improve Accountability
             for DOD’s Inventory of Contracted Services. GAO-12-357. Washington,
             D.C.: April 6, 2012.

             Defense Workforce: DOD Needs to Better Oversee In-sourcing Data and
             Align In-sourcing Efforts with Strategic Workforce Plans. GAO-12-319.
             Washington, D.C.: February 9, 2012.

             DOD Civilian Personnel: Competency Gap Analyses and Other Actions
             Needed to Enhance DOD’s Strategic Workforce Plans. GAO-11-827T.
             Washington, D.C.: July 14, 2011.

             High-Risk Series: An Update. GAO-11-278. Washington, D.C.: February
             16, 2011.

             Human Capital: Opportunities Exist for DOD to Enhance Its Approach for
             Determining Civilian Senior Leader Workforce Needs. GAO-11-136.
             Washington, D.C.: November 4, 2010.

             Human Capital: Further Actions Needed to Enhance DOD’s Civilian
             Strategic Workforce Plan. GAO-10-814R. Washington, D.C.: September
             27, 2010.

             Human Capital: Opportunities Exist to Build on Recent Progress to
             Strengthen DOD’s Civilian Human Capital Strategic Plan. GAO-09-235.
             Washington, D.C.: February 10, 2009.

             Human Capital: The Department of Defense’s Civilian Human Capital
             Strategic Plan Does Not Meet Most Statutory Requirements.
             GAO-08-439R. Washington, D.C.: February 6, 2008.



             Page 43                                          GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
           Related GAO Products




           DOD Civilian Personnel: Comprehensive Strategic Workforce Plans
           Needed. GAO-04-753. Washington, D.C.: June 30, 2004.

           Human Capital: Key Principles for Effective Strategic Workforce Planning.
           GAO-04-39. Washington, D.C.: December 11, 2003.

           Human Capital: Strategic Approach Should Guide DOD Civilian
           Workforce Management. GAO/T-GGD/NSIAD-00-120. Washington, D.C.:
           March 9, 2000.




(351623)
           Page 44                                           GAO-12-1014 Human Capital
GAO’s Mission         The Government Accountability Office, the audit, evaluation, and
                      investigative arm of Congress, exists to support Congress in meeting its
                      constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and
                      accountability of the federal government for the American people. GAO
                      examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and
                      policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance
                      to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions.
                      GAO’s commitment to good government is reflected in its core values of
                      accountability, integrity, and reliability.

                      The fastest and easiest way to obtain copies of GAO documents at no
Obtaining Copies of   cost is through GAO’s website (http://www.gao.gov). Each weekday
GAO Reports and       afternoon, GAO posts on its website newly released reports, testimony,
                      and correspondence. To have GAO e-mail you a list of newly posted
Testimony             products, go to http://www.gao.gov and select “E-mail Updates.”

Order by Phone        The price of each GAO publication reflects GAO’s actual cost of
                      production and distribution and depends on the number of pages in the
                      publication and whether the publication is printed in color or black and
                      white. Pricing and ordering information is posted on GAO’s website,
                      http://www.gao.gov/ordering.htm.
                      Place orders by calling (202) 512-6000, toll free (866) 801-7077, or
                      TDD (202) 512-2537.
                      Orders may be paid for using American Express, Discover Card,
                      MasterCard, Visa, check, or money order. Call for additional information.
                      Connect with GAO on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and YouTube.
Connect with GAO      Subscribe to our RSS Feeds or E-mail Updates. Listen to our Podcasts.
                      Visit GAO on the web at www.gao.gov.
                      Contact:
To Report Fraud,
Waste, and Abuse in   Website: http://www.gao.gov/fraudnet/fraudnet.htm
                      E-mail: fraudnet@gao.gov
Federal Programs      Automated answering system: (800) 424-5454 or (202) 512-7470

                      Katherine Siggerud, Managing Director, siggerudk@gao.gov, (202) 512-
Congressional         4400, U.S. Government Accountability Office, 441 G Street NW, Room
Relations             7125, Washington, DC 20548

                      Chuck Young, Managing Director, youngc1@gao.gov, (202) 512-4800
Public Affairs        U.S. Government Accountability Office, 441 G Street NW, Room 7149
                      Washington, DC 20548




                        Please Print on Recycled Paper.