GAO’s workforce is organized largely by subject area, with most employees working in 1 of 14 mission teams. Today we’ll be putting the spotlight on the Defense Capabilities and Management (DCM) team, which supports congressional oversight of the Department of Defense (DOD) as it modernizes to meet a broad array of threats in the 21st century.
DCM reports cover 7 issue areas:
1. Defense Infrastructure
- Our recent work in the area of DOD facilities management initiatives has included reviews looking at the implementation of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process; facilities sustainment, modernization, and restoration activities, and U.S. force posture in the Pacific.
2. Force Structure and Readiness
- This area focuses on the development of military forces—people, equipment, and facilities—to meet future military needs. Recent work in this area includes a report on resources devoted to DOD’s combatant commands.
3. Homeland Defense & Emerging Threats and Capabilities
- This area focuses on DOD’s missions to defend the homeland, assist civil authorities in response to catastrophic events, combat terrorism, conduct cyber operations, combat weapons of mass destruction, conduct intelligence in support of military operations, and maintain the nation’s strategic nuclear capability. The topics of recent work include medical countermeasures against biological threats and regional missile defense.
4. Strategic Human Capital Management
- With a focus on improving the quality of DOD’s total workforce, recent reports in this issue area include reviews of DOD’s effort to achieve efficiencies within its health care system, account for missing persons lost during military operations, and respond to servicemember sexual assault incidents.
5. Logistics Supprt
- Our logistics work is concentrated in 4 main areas within DOD: inventory management, weapon systems maintenance and sustainment, materiel distribution, and operational energy. Recent reports include one on Defense Inventory.
6. Defense Business Operations
- This issue area focuses on opportunities for DOD to enhance its business practices and increase efficiency to meet 21st century challenges. A recent report examined whether DOD has appropriately sized its headquarters organizations to achieve their missions.
7. Military Operations and Warfighter Support
- Reviews in this issue area evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of DOD’s efforts to prepare for, execute, support and drawdown military operations worldwide. Recent reports examined the drawdown of equipment from Afghanistan and DOD’s efforts to collect, integrate and share operational contract support lessons learned.
In fiscal year 2014, DCM’s work identified $7.7 billion in financial benefits for the federal government as well as other efficiencies. Directors from DCM testified at 4 congressional hearings and contributed to 2 other hearings. Also, DCM reported on DOD issues such as military housing, sexual assault in the military, medical care, cybersecurity, and operational contract support in Iraq and Afghanistan. DCM teams conduct field work domestically and around the world; anywhere that federal dollars follow the Department of Defense.
A Closer Look at a DCM report: Accounting for Missing Persons from Past Conflicts
Image excerpted from GAO-13-619
DOD reports that more than 83,000 persons are missing from past conflicts in Vietnam, Korea, the Cold War, the Persian Gulf, and World War II. Between 2000 and 2012, DOD accounted for an average of 72 missing persons per year. In 2009, Congress mandated DOD to increase its capability and capacity such that it could account for at least 200 missing persons annually by 2015. We reviewed DOD’s ability to meet the mandate and found that longstanding leadership weaknesses and a fragmented organizational structure undermined its efforts. We made nine recommendations, such as examining options to reorganize; improving planning, guidance, and criteria to prioritize cases; and sustaining communication.