Posthearing Questions Related to Proposed DOD Human Capital Reform Page: 3 of 7
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We are pleased that both the House of Representatives' version of the proposed
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 and the proposed National
Security Personnel System Act contain statutory safeguards and standards along the
lines that we have been suggesting to help ensure that DOD's pay for performance
efforts are fair to employees and improve both individual and organizational
The statutory standards described in the National Security Personnel System Act
proposal are intended to help ensure a fair, credible, and equitable system that results
in meaningful distinctions in individual employee performance; employee
involvement in the design and implementation of the system; and effective
transparency and accountability measures, including appropriate independent
reasonableness reviews, internal grievance procedures, internal assessments, and
employee surveys. In our reviews of agencies' performance management systems-
as in our own experience with designing and implementing performance-based pay
reform for ourselves at GAO-we have found that these safeguards are key to
maximizing the chances of success and minimizing the risk of failure and abuse.
The proposed National Security Personnel System Act also takes the essential first
step in requiring DOD to link the performance management system to the agency's
strategic plan. Building on this, we suggest that DOD also be required to link its
performance management system to program and performance goals and desired
outcomes. Linking the performance management system to related goals and desired
outcomes helps the organization ensure that its efforts are properly aligned and
reinforces the line of sight between individual performance and organizational
success so that an individual can see how her/his daily responsibilities contribute to
results and outcomes.
Questions from Senator Carper
1. In your written testimony, you say it would be preferable to employ a
governmentwide approach to address human capital issues in the future. Of
the issues addressed in S. 1166 and the Defense Department proposal, which
do you believe would be best handled using a governmentwide approach?
As you point out, I have testified that Congress should consider both governmentwide
and selected agency changes to address the pressing human capital issues
confronting the federal government. Agency-specific human capital reforms should
be enacted to the extent that the problems being addressed and the solutions offered
are specific to a particular agency (e.g., military personnel reforms for DOD). In
addition, targeted reforms should be considered in situations where additional testing
or piloting is needed for fundamental governmentwide reform.
In our view, it would be preferable to employ a governmentwide approach to address
certain flexibilities that have broad-based application and serious potential
implications for the civil service system, in general, and OPM, in particular. We
believe that several of the reforms that DOD is proposing fall into this category.
Some examples include broad-banding, pay for performance, reemployment, and
pension offset waivers. In these situations, it may be prudent and preferable for
GAO-03-965R DOD Human Capital Reform
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United States. General Accounting Office. Posthearing Questions Related to Proposed DOD Human Capital Reform, text, July 3, 2003; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc295808/m1/3/: accessed November 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.