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GAO Questions Pentagon Personnel Reporting Methods

Site: Defense.gov

The Defense Department may be overlooking ways to reduce personnel and operating cost at headquarters, according to the Government Accountability Office.

In a March 21 report, GAO said it believes the Pentagon does not have a good method to track resources and missed those opportunities.

The Pentagon instead implemented a top-down approach to create savings in the fiscal year 2012 budget and did not use data-driven analysis, GAO said.

The Pentagon does not have a comprehensive record of headquarters functions, activity data and personnel tracking due to outdated controls, auditors said.

The controls also do not allow the Pentagon to effectively keep track of contractors at the headquarters, auditors said.

The GAO report recommends revising internal controls to obligate the recording of all major headquarters activity.

The department should also describe responsibilities and reporting routine of contract personnel, GAO said.

The Pentagon should explain how it will collect information and explain project implementation periods of projects, according to GAO.

Pentagon Deputy Chief Management Officer Elizabeth McGrath countered GAO’s report with a written response.

She wrote that the control GAO said was outdated is not supposed to be used as a tool for organizational efficiency.

Its main function is to determine and control the size of an organization as prescribed by the law, McGrath said of the internal controls.

McGrath also noted that the Pentagon contractors are managed through an inventory plan submitted to Congress.

GAO said the contractor report, issued to Congress in November 2011, did not include a time frame when fiscal year 2012 inventory will be issued.

The plan also did not include a complete list of contracted personnel through 2016.

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