President Trump has signed into law the annual DoD authorization measure, which contains several provisions relating to personnel management there as well as the text of the government-wide Modernizing Government Technology Act.

That act establishes a working capital fund in the GSA that agencies could draw on to improve or replace existing IT systems and enhance security, transition legacy systems to cloud computing and other state of the art platforms, and address evolving threats. The main goal is to redirect IT spending away from incremental steps that are all an individual agency budget may allow; an estimated 80 percent of the $80 billion annual government IT spending goes toward maintaining legacy systems, many of which are long out of date and expensive to keep up.

Further, agencies would have individual IT working capital funds in which they could accumulate money appropriated over several years and could add to it with savings from IT modernization projects.

Another provision would require a study of “personnel policies and incentives needed to attract, retain, and hold accountable civilian and military program managers for the largest and most complex acquisition programs in the department.” It also would require the DoD to implement a “new career development program for highly qualified, competitively selected civilian employees to increase the pool of experienced civilian employees qualified to serve as program managers for major defense acquisition programs.”

Another would require the Pentagon to “evaluate gaps in knowledge of industry operations, industry motivation, and business acumen in the acquisition workforce” and report on “strategies to enhance the professionalization of the workforce to meet increasing demands.” Also, the GAO would have to report on the “effectiveness of existing hiring flexibilities for the acquisition workforce, as well as the need for acquisition training for personnel who work in acquisition programs but are not formally considered part of the acquisition workforce.”

The measure further requires the creation of a 10-year pilot program on an “enhanced civilian personnel management system” for cybersecurity and legal professionals within the DoD.