Workload Goes Up, Workforce Down: Does that have a familiar ring? A new Government Accountability Office report skimming the surface of DOD’s vulnerability to contract fraud, waste, and abuse cites just that scenario as one of the key factors in rising vulnerability. GAO says, “Between fiscal years 1989 and 2002, DOD reduced its civilian acquisition workforce by about 38 percent. … However, overall contract obligations and the number of contract actions processed by DOD have increased nearly twofold.” DOD has managed this little feat of magic by employing contractors to help carry out the contracting function. GAO also notes that DOD (and this includes the individual services) has not ensured its workforce has “the specific skills and competencies” necessary to tackle future endeavors complicated (or at least changed) by continuing acquisition reform. To this report, DOD generally concurs.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.