DOD personnel plans 'positive'

"Oversight Process Needed to Help Maintain Momentum of DOD's Strategic Human Capital Planning"

The General Accounting Office released a report last week calling on the Defense Department to employ more oversight in its proposed strategic human capital planning process.

The GAO report called DOD's plans a "positive step forward," as several DOD studies in the past five years have recommended that the department adopt a strategic approach to managing personnel. To address those recommendations, DOD issued two plans in April, one addressing military personnel management and policies and the other addressing quality-of-life issues affecting service members and their families.

Despite praising those plans, the GAO report cautioned that the department must do more, perhaps even turning oversight of its workforce management over to the planned Defense Human Resources Board.

"The two plans lay some of the groundwork needed to incorporate benefits into strategic management of human capital, but they do not satisfy the two critical success factors GAO has identified for human capital planning," the report states. "The plans do not specifically address how DOD will integrate and align benefits with other human capital to meet organizational goals.

"The military personnel strategic plan also does not identify outcome-oriented performance measures or discuss, at a strategic level, military workforce needs or gaps in meeting these needs — the kinds of data used by high-performing organizations to manage their human capital," the report noted.

DOD officials concurred with GAO's findings and recommendations. Department officials indicated that they will establish an oversight process to ensure the integration and alignment of benefits and other personnel needs and to continue a fact-based, performance-oriented approach.

"The initial research phases of 'The DOD Military Personnel Human Resources Strategic Plan' and 'The New Social Compact' were designed to identify optimal benefits and human capital approaches for shaping the future force," read the response from David Chu, undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness. "Outcomes of [the reports] were aligned with, and incorporated into, the DOD risk management balanced score card, which will also serve as the basis for the DOD's annual defense report."

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