Improved Processes, Guidance, and Planning Needed to Enhance Use of Workforce Funds

June 20, 2012

DOD has identified DAWDF as a key tool used to address gaps in the acquisition workforce through additional hiring and training initiatives. For example, DOD officials noted they used DAWDF funds to hire about 5,855 new acquisition staff through fiscal year 2011 and enabled the Defense Acquisition University to provide 19,000 additional classroom seats, among other improvements. However, DOD's ability to effectively execute hiring and other initiatives has been hindered by delays in the DAWDF funding process and the absence of clear guidance on the availability and use of related funds. DOD has not collected and distributed funds within required timeframes, sometimes delaying distribution to components until the following fiscal year. For example, only about 39 percent of the total amount of fiscal year 2011 transfer funds were distributed before the end of the fiscal year. These delays can result in uncertainty about the availability of funds, and negatively impact the components' ability to execute according to their approved plans for the year. Additionally, DOD officials noted that the delays contributed, at least in part, to the amount of unobligated funds that were carried over to future years. DOD acknowledges that improved guidance that clarifies when DAWDF funds will be available and how they can be used would help improve the execution of program initiatives.

While DOD considers rebuilding its acquisition workforce a strategic priority, it lacks an overarching strategy that clearly aligns DAWDF with its acquisition workforce plan. Further, the Department has not developed outcome-related metrics, such as the extent to which DAWDF is helping DOD address its workforce skills and competency gaps. Constrained budgets are leading the Department to reassess future workforce growth and related requirements, thus future mandated funding amounts will likely exceed DOD's near-term needs. Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics officials are currently planning to submit revised DAWDF funding estimates to Congress in June 2012 and are preparing an updated strategic human capital plan for the acquisition workforce. 

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