DoD is off to a slow start in complying with a directive in its 2017 budget to better promote collaboration across its components, GAO has said, finding that while it has created the envisioned reform-leading teams, their “progress has been uneven.”
The budget required DoD to issue an organizational strategy that identifies critical objectives that span multiple functional boundaries; establish cross-functional teams to support this strategy and provide related guidance and training; and take actions to streamline the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Of the nine stages to carry out that requirement, only first four have been accomplished, two of them behind schedule.
GAO said that as of last September, the nine teams have identified 135 business reform initiatives, but 104 of them have not reached the implementation phase. “A key challenge facing the teams is that some lack resources to fully implement their approved initiatives. For example, DoD officials stated that the department did not fulfill four of nine funding requests from the teams in fiscal year 2018 to implement their initiatives,” it said.
GAO said its prior work on such initiatives “highlights the importance of providing teams with access to resources and having well-defined team operations with established rules and procedures. However, DoD has not established a process for identifying and prioritizing available funding for implementing the teams’ initiatives. Without such a process, DoD and the teams may not be able to adequately plan for and execute their reform initiatives.”