Acquisition Management

Waivers to Workforce Training, Education, and Experience Requirements Gao ID: NSIAD-95-88 February 1, 1995

The Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act was intended to professionalize the Defense Department's (DOD) acquisition workforce by establishing education, training, and experience requirements that were to take effect over three years beginning in October 1991. The act allows DOD to waive qualification requirements if unusual circumstances justify it or if the individual's qualifications obviate the need for meeting the requirements. This is GAO's fourth report on DOD's compliance with the act's waiver provisions. GAO also provides information on DOD's use of fulfillments, which enable individuals to receive credit when they already have the required competencies instead of taking training classes.

GAO found that: (1) during fiscal year (FY) 1994, the military services and DOD agencies granted a total of 63 waivers (50 from the military services and 13 from DOD agencies) to 59 individuals not meeting the education, training, and experience requirements of the act; (2) FY 1994 was the first time defense agencies reported granting waivers; (3) of the waivers granted: (a) 44 were for military personnel; (b) 20 were for program managers and deputy program managers; (c) 18 were for individuals in critical acquisition positions; (d) 13 were for program managers or deputy program managers not meeting tenure requirements; and (e) 10 were for contracting officers; (4) no waivers were granted for the act's program management course requirement for program and deputy program managers; (5) the Air Force is requiring individuals already occupying critical acquisition positions to meet the act's training, education, and experience requirements; (6) instead of grandfathering those already in critical positions, the Air Force has issued temporary waivers to 177 individuals not meeting the act's requirements; (7) these temporary waivers are different from the other waivers in that they are set to expire in 17 months; (8) since the temporary waivers were granted, 75 of the individuals have met the requirements; (9) the other services are grandfathering individuals already occupying critical positions; and (10) the services did not have detailed data on personnel being grandfathered.

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