The DoD office overseeing intelligence and security matters has gained responsibilities in recent years but contracting has accounted for most of the resulting growth in staff, raising questions about the proper mix of federal vs. contractor employees, GAO has said.
A report said that over the last half-dozen years the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security has picked up new responsibilities in the areas of areas of artificial intelligence, law enforcement, personnel vetting, and identity intelligence, among others. Overall staffing remained relatively flat for several years before increasing, but almost all of the increase came from contractors and military personnel on non-permanent assignments, it found.
Federal employees now make up only 22 percent of the office’s personnel, less than half of the 51 percent who are contractors. GAO said that the agency’s own assessment in 2019 concluded that that composition “could have a significant adverse effect on institutional knowledge and productivity as a result of onboarding, training, and turnover.”
Further, officials told GAO that “they would have preferred to mitigate some of their staffing challenges with more DOD civilian jobs” but “emphasized that their biggest resource challenge is personnel, particularly their limited control over DoD civilian allocation and the time-consuming process of defending their civilian billets on an annual basis.”
GAO further said the office “is not well-postured to assess the effectiveness of the intelligence and security enterprises in part because it has not developed tools to enhance accountability, such as goals, desired outcomes, and performance metrics.”