A Defense Department program aimed at improving the quality of the Pentagon’s acquisition workforce needs to establish concrete time frames and metrics for measuring success, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found.
Congress established the Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund in 2008 to provide Pentagon officials with a dedicated funding source to recruit, train and retain skilled staff — the program managers, contracting officers, engineers, cost estimators and others who award and administer more than $250 billion in contracts annually. Steep personnel cuts in previous years had left the department heavily reliant on contractors, and lawmakers were concerned that Defense wasn’t effectively managing its programs.
But for years, the department struggled to allocate funds in a timely way, in part because the bulk of money for the fund is contributed by Defense agencies and the military services based on what those components spend on contract services. It took as long as 24 months to remit the payments through the comptroller, which resulted in considerable delays.
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