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GAO Says Pentagon Falls Short in Managing its Service Acquisition Staff

Photo: Air Force Master Sgt. Ken Hammond

More than half of the $367 billion the Defense Department spent on contracts in fiscal year 2010 was spent on services, but a Government Accountability Office report says the Pentagon continues to fall short in forming its acquisition workforce.

In a 44-page report released Sept. 28, GAO said the Pentagon has remained focused on acquiring weapons and weapons systems. However, the much larger portion of contracting involving service acquisition continues to be overlooked.

The Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act requires the Pentagon to establish education and training standards, requirements, and courses for the civilian and military workforce.

GAO reviewed 29 services acquisition contracts and found non-DAWIA personnel with acquisition-related responsibilities represented more than half of the 430 personnel involved.

The Pentagon is not required to identify these personnel and has not established a process for doing so, GAO said.

“No DOD organization has systematically identified non-DAWIA personnel with acquisition-related responsibilities, the competencies they need to conduct their acquisition duties, or been designated responsibility for overseeing this group,” the report said.

“Identifying this population is challenging, partly because, as DOD officials noted, it is a transient one that is dispersed across many DOD organizations.”

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