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GAO: DOD slow to field cross-functional teams

Congress passed a law in 2016 mandating that senior leadership at DOD improve collaboration and address several “organizational challenges”—but to date the largest federal agency remains behind in implementing change, so concludes a new report by the Government Accountability Office.

The department has moved on “some statutory requirements in section 911 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017,” the report said. “However, senior leadership has not implemented several requirements intended to support cross-functional teams and promote department-wide collaboration.”

The report credits the Pentagon for putting together 10 of the mandated teams aimed at improving departmental synergy and efficiency. For example, one team in place aims to slash the well-publicized backlog of personnel security background investigations. Another is tapped to improve DOD’s business operations. And, also to the good, the report says DOD “generally” has chosen senior officials to run the teams.

However, DOD has yet to issue an integrated, overall organizational strategy document documenting how to go forward with improvements. Further, the agency has failed to provide training to codify the cross-functional aspect of the teams, nor has it issued formal guidance on how they should work—both of which are required under the law.

The 27-page report, issued June 25, is available here.

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