GAO Recommends Establishing New Senior Position in DoD to Address Management Problems

Transforming business systems at DoD is a complex job and has run into problems in a number of areas. GAO makes several recommendations to make the transformation to new systems work better.

The Department of Defense is making major changes to its way of conducting business. GAO has identified several areas with significant problems that need to be addressed as part of this transformation. It calls these problems the “Impact of Weaknesses in Human Capital Management, Internal Control, and Systems.”

Here are the areas with the most significant problems according to GAO.

Military pay

Ninety-four percent of mobilized Army National Guard soldiers GAO investigated had pay problems. These problems distracted soldiers from their missions, imposed financial hardships on their families, and had a negative impact on retention.


Asset visibility and other logistical support problems hampered mission readiness during Operation Iraqi Freedom, including cannibalization of vehicles for parts and duplication of requisitions.


Seventy-two percent of the over 68,000 premium class airline tickets DOD purchased for fiscal years 2001 and 2002 were not properly authorized and 73 percent were not properly justified.


New JSLIST chem-bio suits sold on the Internet for $3 while at the same time DOD was buying them for over $200. Further, thousands of defective suits, declared excess by DOD, were improperly issued to local law enforcement agencies-which are likely to be first responders in case of a terrorist attack.

Contractor payments

Some DOD contractors were abusing the federal tax system, with little or no consequence. DOD had collected only $687,000 of unpaid contractor federal taxes through a mandated levy program over the last 6 years. GAO estimated that at least $100 million could be collected annually through effective implementation of the levy on DOD contractor payments.

One of the reasons that agency has had problems in these areas is lack of leadership. It recommends that the agency establish a position to oversee the effort of making changes necessary to have effective systems in place.

You can download the GAO report from the link on the left hand side of the page.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47