GAO: DoD needs to strengthen strategic planning to achieve business transformation


Although the Defense Department has improved its strategic management plan to better manage the billions of dollars it spends annually on business operations, ir still needs to incorporate some key information in order to realize the business transformation goals, says a Feb. 12 Government Accountability Office report (.pdf).

The plan covering the current and previous fiscal years doesn't fully describe the specific challenges that  business transformation goals are meant rectify "and what the root causes of those challenges are," the report finds.

Other key information that auditors say is lacking in the plan includes sufficient context explaining why DoD officials chose business goals and strategies in the current plan, and why those from prior strategic management plans were not included, as well as performance measures that fully reflect core activities needed to assess progress and funding priorities linked to goals.

As an example, the GAO says the current plan's goal of strengthening the acquisition processes is aimed at obtaining greater efficiency and productivity in defense spending, but the accompanying narrative does not describe what cayses acquisition-related cost growth and how the goal's initiatives may address those causes.

In addition, auditors say the plan includes performance measures that do not fully reflect core activities needed to assess progress for some business goals. For example, they say, the plan identifies measures related to planning for contractor support, but does not address other core activities such as those related to providing contractor oversight.  

"Until DoD takes steps to address these issues, it may not be fully focused on addressing the underlying causes that are contributing to its business challenges," the GAO says.

For more:
-download the GAO report (.pdf)

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