DOD Needs to Provide Updated Labor Requirements to Help Guam Adequately Develop Its Labor Force for the Military Buildup
GAO-10-72: Published: Oct 14, 2009. Publicly Released: Oct 14, 2009.
The Department of Defense (DOD) plans to increase its military presence on Guam from about 15,000 in 2009 to more than 39,000 by 2020 at a cost of more than $13 billion. The growth will create temporary construction jobs and permanent civilian jobs with the military, with contractors, and in the Guam community. GAO was asked to examine the extent to which DOD and the government of Guam have (1) planned for temporary construction labor requirements and the means to meet the requirements for building military infrastructure to support the force in Guam and (2) identified permanent federal and non-federal civilian jobs and shared this information so that Guam can develop its workforce to better compete for job opportunities. To address these objectives, GAO obtained documents and interviewed officials from DOD, the Services, government of Guam offices, and the Guam higher educational community.
DOD and the government of Guam have both started planning for temporary defense construction labor requirements; however, these plans are still preliminary until DOD's Master Plan has been finalized. The Master Plan is to incorporate the results of the environmental impact statement containing an analysis of various socioeconomic impacts of the realignment related to specific proposed actions and is targeted to be finalized with a record of decision in January 2010. DOD officials expect that this socioeconomic analysis will estimate the impact of the expanded military presence on Guam's employment. Nonetheless, DOD and the government of Guam have done some preliminary labor planning. For example, the Navy determined the range of the number of workers needed based on infrastructure costs, using a standard planning factor to estimate the size of the temporary construction workforce. Specifically, the Navy estimated that annual construction spending of $1 billion would require about 5,000 to 10,000 workers and that at its maximum the workforce could consist of 20,000 construction workers. However, since the Navy expects its contractors to be responsible for hiring and maintaining their labor force to construct the DOD facilities, the actual temporary construction workforce will not be known until contracts are awarded and the contractors begin to hire local residents and transfer other workers to Guam from other locales. The government of Guam is also trying to prepare island residents to be part of the temporary construction work force. The government plans to train island residents with the construction and related skills needed to effectively compete for temporary construction employment and also plans to focus on training residents to compete for more permanent jobs after the construction phase is over. DOD has started identifying permanent federal and non-federal civilian positions that will accompany the Marines moving to Guam. Although DOD has estimated more than 1,600 civilian jobs will be needed, DOD has shared its preliminary estimates with only two organizations within the government of Guam and not with Guam's educational community. Without this information, the Guam educational community would find it difficult to know the extent to which it should provide higher education and training for their students to better compete for these potential civilian positions. While efforts have been made to develop degreed programs of study, University of Guam officials estimated that it can take up to 3 years to develop new degree programs and recruit the faculty and then another 4 to 6 years to have students complete the undergraduate or graduate courses of study. DOD Directive 5410.12 requires the military departments to provide maximum advanced information and support to local governments impacted by DOD basing and personnel actions to allow planning for necessary adjustments in workforce training programs. Without DOD's clarification of the types and numbers of needed positions, Guam university officials say they are at risk of developing programs that might not be large enough or focused on the right courses of study to effectively produce graduates in the fields that DOD and other potential employers would require.
Recommendation for Executive Action
Status: Closed - Implemented
Comments: The DoD Civilian Personnel Management Service began working with the Department of Navy on this issue and took a number of actions, during fiscal year 2010, that met the intent of our recommendation to establish requirements and share the information to the Guam community. Some of those actions include the following. The United States Marine Corps hired two Executive Service members, one at Headquarters Marine Corps and the other at Marine Forces Pacific in Hawaii to manage their involvement and relocation to Guam. A Defense Policy Review Initiative Planning Group was established which has developed courses of actions for the number and types of Federal civilian and DOD contractor positions that Guam will require. DOD began preparation of a Human Resources Strategic Workforce plan which will include competency requirements and recruitment initiatives to meet Guam's civilian personnel workforce requirements. And finally, a Pacific Recruitment Campaign was developed in support of hiring in the Pacific Theater which will include a focus on outreach to the community and government of Guam.
Recommendation: To assist the government of Guam to properly train and prepare its future workforce to effectively compete for permanent federal civilian and DOD contractor support positions that will be available once the force has arrived in Guam, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics) to develop a process for projecting and sharing updated information describing federal civilian and DOD contractor support positions likely to be available--by specialties when feasible--and to routinely update this information until the buildup is complete.
Agency Affected: Department of Defense