DoD Should Better Track Executive Agents, GAO Says

GAO has said that DoD does not accurately track its executive agents, management arrangements in which one component coordinates efforts for objectives involving more than one through activities such as managing technology and developing training programs.

The current official DoD inventory shows 81 such arrangements, with the Army accounting for about half, but GAO found that the list is outdated and includes several that are no longer active. Under Pentagon policy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense is to evaluate them every three years and the chief management office is to oversee those assessments. But GAO found that the office had not periodically assessed 37 of the 70 executive agents that responded to a GAO questionnaire and that the office is not required to document the assessments.

“Without verifying the completion of these assessments and issuing guidance requiring their documentation, DoD does not have reasonable assurance that DoD executive agents are accomplishing department objectives,” GAO said in a report that was ordered by the fiscal 2017 defense authorization law.

It said DoD concurred with its recommendation to strengthen its tracking of executive agents and verify and document that assessments are conducted.