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GAO Finds Shortage Of Air Force Space Acquisition Personnel

By | September 25, 2006

      The Air Force has a shortage of midgrade and senior officers who play vital management and oversight roles in space acquisition, the Government Accountability Office reported.

      The report, prepared for the House Armed Services Committee strategic forces subcommittee, said the Air Force also doesn’t fully track its overall personnel strength working in space-related activities, and thus is unable to assess accurately the overall personnel needs.

      But shortfalls exist, and can be measured in some areas. For example, at the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), “37 percent of the critical acquisition positions were vacant as of April … and about 50 percent of the center’s workload was being done by contractors. Also, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) depends on Air Force personnel to fill many of its key space acquisition positions. Continuing shortages may hamper SMC’s and NRO’s ability to meet mission needs and highlight the Air Force’s need to strategically manage its space acquisition workforce.”

      As well, many personnel don’t have the highest proficiency in acquisition skills, the report stated. “The technical proficiency of the Air Force’s space acquisition workforce also may not be adequate to meet national security needs,” the GAO reported.

      The report that is titled “Defense Space Activities: Management Actions Are Needed to Better Identify, Track, and Train Air Force Space Personnel” can be viewed in full at on the Web.

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