Meeting Mission Needs

Thursday - 11/20/2008, 1:25pm EST

By Robert Laurence
FederalNewsRadio.com

No matter who is tapped to head the department, Homeland Security, will be facing a number of challenges, including acquisition. Luckily, the Government Accountability Office has some advice.

In a report to Congress, the GAO outlined four recommendations for DHS that are aimed to help construct and grow an effective acquisition workforce.

  1. Establish an interim acquisition workforce definition and an implementation plan for current initiatives.

  2. Develop plans to expand current initiatives.

  3. Establish a coordinated planning process.

  4. Improve acquisition workforce data.

John Hutton, Director of Acquisition and Sourcing Management Issues at GAO, tells FederalNewsRadio he believes the problem is governmentwide but for DHS, quality should outweigh quantity.

"It's not only just the number of qualified people but also are they adequately trained," Hutton explained.

According to Hutton, having people with the right training ensures contracts that will benefit program managers and create the potential for success.

The question is do they have sufficient people that area adequately trained when it comes to helping the program managers that are designing these programs that they are writing these contracts in a way that is going to help assure that government taxpayer's interests are protected and you get good outcomes...

Although there is a ways to go, Hutton believes part of the solution lies in the strategy: "They basically need a broader over arching strategy so that they can better identify their overall needs and be able to develop a strategy to fill in the gaps."

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On the Web:

GAO - Study highlights (pdf)

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