Agencies' people problems

Below are some examples of agencies with human capital challenges, according to the General Accounting Office:

Agriculture Department: Organizational culture problems, including resistance from USDA agencies and employees, have hampered departmentwide reorganization and modernization efforts.

Commerce Department: A lack of experienced staff with the right expertise limits the ability of Commerce and two other trade agencies to monitor and enforce trade agreements.

Defense Department: The services face shortages among junior officers and problems in retaining intelligence analysts, computer programmers and pilots. On the civilian side, imbalances in skills and experience following downsizing are jeopardizing acquisitions and logistics capabilities.

Energy Department: Headquarters and field staff have lacked contract management skills to oversee large projects, such as the cleanup of radioactive and hazardous waste sites.

Environmental Protection Agency: EPA has not implemented any systematic means of determining the right size, skills or deployment of staff to carry out its mission, despite the demand for new skills due to technological changes and the shift in EPA's regional environmental responsibilities to the states, as well as growing retirement eligibilities in its workforce.

Federal Aviation Administration: Air traffic control modernization is fraught with cost, schedule and performance problems due in part to an organizational culture that impaired the acquisition process.

Health Care Financing Administration: The mismatch between HCFA's administrative capacity and its mandate could leave Medicare unprepared to handle future population growth and medical technology advances.

Internal Revenue Service: IRS lacks reliable cost and operational information to measure the effectiveness of its tax collection and enforcement programs and to judge whether it is appropriately allocating its staff resources among competing management priorities.

Social Security Administration: An increasing demand for services, the imminent retirement of a large part of its workforce, changing customer expectations and mixed success in past technology investments will challenge SSA's ability to meet its service delivery demands.

State Department: Efforts to determine the right size and composition of overseas posts have begun, but State faces challenges in aligning its workforce with new economic, political, security and technological requirements.

For the complete list, go to the GAO report, "Major Management Challenges and Program Risks," and click on Appendix I.

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