Military Education:

Improved Oversight and Management Needed for DOD's Fellowship and Training-with-Industry Programs

GAO-12-367: Published: Apr 20, 2012. Publicly Released: Apr 20, 2012.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Brenda S. Farrell
(202) 512-3000
farrellb@gao.gov

 

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(202) 512-4800
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What GAO Found

GAO determined that DOD primarily uses two explicit statutory authorities—section 2603 of Title 10 of the United States Code, which authorizes servicemembers to accept fellowships from certain organizations, and section 2013 of Title 10 of the United States Code, which authorizes the training of servicemembers at nongovernmental facilities—for its fellowships and training-with-industry programs for military officers. For two specific types of fellowships—Legislative and Interagency—the underlying authorities are less explicit than they are for the others.

OSD has limited visibility over its fellowship and training-with-industry programs for several reasons. First, OSD has not developed a mission statement that would clearly define the respective key purposes for these programs. Having a clear mission statement is critical because it defines an organization’s purpose in language that states desired outcomes. Additionally, OSD has not consistently enforced its requirement for the military departments to provide an annual report on fellowship and training-with-industry programs. Further, not all fellowship and training-with-industry programs have a designated office within each department for preparing the annual report. OSD’s visibility is also limited by not having a reliable inventory of these various programs, and by not having a clear and commonly shared definition of a fellowship. Without improved oversight, OSD’s visibility over the military departments’ compliance with its requirements governing these programs will remain limited. Additionally, visibility is limited over the legislative fellowship program in particular because oversight responsibilities are not clearly delineated, and because OSD does not have documented criteria for the placement of DOD fellows with the offices of congressional committees and members. OSD officials agree that such criteria would be helpful since it does not have enough available fellows to meet the full congressional demand.

The military services are not well positioned to determine the extent of the benefits they are deriving from their participation in these programs for four principal reasons. First, not all of the services conduct periodic program reviews, as are required for some programs. In addition, the reviews that are conducted are not comprehensive in that they do not assess the program against program goals using quantifiable performance measures, review the needs that prompted the program, incorporate feedback from fellows into the review, or document the results of the review. Second, they do not have clear guidance as to what qualifies as a postfellowship assignment—an assignment that uses the skills and knowledge developed during the fellowship program—or criteria for when such assignments can be postponed or waived, thus limiting the extent the services’ are able to determine they are deriving benefits from these programs. Third, the services do not know their overall program costs, so it is difficult to know whether these programs are cost-effective. Finally, some of the services do not have memoranda of understanding with the non-DOD host organizations, such as think tanks, so they cannot be assured that expectations are clearly understood and the intended benefits are obtained. Without better management controls, the services’ ability to determine the benefits of these programs will remain limited. However, service officials believe that they obtain benefits from fellowships and training-with-industry programs.

Why GAO Did This Study

The Department of Defense (DOD), which includes the military services, selects mid- to upper-career-level military officers to participate in fellowship and training-with-industry programs conducted at non-DOD organizations such as universities, think tanks, private corporations, federal agencies, and Congress. For some fellowships, the military departments pay a fee or tuition to the host organization. GAO was directed to review DOD’s use of these programs. GAO’s objectives were to determine: (1) the statutory provisions that authorize DOD’s fellowship and training-with-industry programs for military officers, (2) the extent of the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s (OSD) visibility over these programs, and (3) the extent to which the services are able to determine that they derive benefits from these programs. GAO analyzed relevant laws and DOD policies, collected data, and interviewed OSD and military service officials on their oversight and management roles and responsibilities for these programs.

What GAO Recommends

GAO is making 11 recommendations to DOD for improving oversight and management of DOD’s fellowship and training-with-industry programs—for example, submitting DOD-required annual reports and performing service-required program reviews—that would enhance OSD’s visibility over the programs and better position DOD to determine the extent to which it derives benefits from them. In response to a draft of this report, DOD concurred with the 11 recommendations and stated its action plan to implement the recommendations.

For more information, contact Brenda S. Farrell at (202) 512-3604 or farrellb@gao.gov.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD’s fellowship and training-with-industry programs, and to facilitate the Office of the Secretary of Defense's (OSD) ability to perform its oversight responsibility for the legislative fellowship program and to better ensure consistency in the department’s dealings with interested committees and members of Congress, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs to clearly delineate in the DOD instruction the roles and responsibilities for overseeing DOD’s Legislative Fellowship Program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD’s fellowship and training-with-industry programs, and to facilitate the OSD's ability to perform its oversight responsibility for the legislative fellowship program and to better ensure consistency in the department’s dealings with interested committees and members of Congress, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs to develop documented placement criteria for legislative fellows.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD’s fellowship and training-with-industry programs, and to better position DOD to determine the extent of the benefits it derives from legislative and nonlegislative fellowship and training-with-industry programs and better assess whether fellowship and training-with-industry programs offer the best venues for developing needed personnel skills, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force to perform periodic and comprehensive program reviews that assess the progress using quantifiable measures, validate that programs continue to meet current or emerging needs, incorporate feedback from program participants and host organizations, and document the results of reviews.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD’s fellowship and training-with-industry programs, and to better position DOD to determine the extent of the benefits it derives from legislative and nonlegislative fellowship and training-with-industry programs and better assess whether fellowship and training-with-industry programs offer the best venues for developing needed personnel skills, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force to clarify guidance for determining what qualifies as a follow-on utilization tour, and establish criteria to determine when a utilization tour is needed or, conversely, when it can be postponed or waived.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD’s fellowship and training-with-industry programs, and to better position DOD to determine the extent of the benefits it derives from legislative and nonlegislative fellowship and training-with-industry programs and better assess whether fellowship and training-with-industry programs offer the best venues for developing needed personnel skills, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force to determine the direct costs of these programs by periodically obtaining and analyzing overall direct program costs, and explore the feasibility of estimating indirect program costs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD’s fellowship and training-with-industry programs, and to better position DOD to determine the extent of the benefits it derives from legislative and nonlegislative fellowship and training-with-industry programs and better assess whether fellowship and training-with-industry programs offer the best venues for developing needed personnel skills, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force to establish and periodically review fellowship written agreements or memoranda of understanding to document key information and expectations between the services and the host organizations, such as fellowship objectives, criteria for evaluating the appropriateness of fees or tuition charged to the military departments, and criteria for evaluating the appropriateness of the projects involved.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD's fellowship and training-with-industry programs, to help ensure compliance with DOD Instruction 1322.06 and thus enhance DOD's visibility over all of the fellowship and training-with-industry programs, and to promote a shared understanding across the military services of what is expected in meeting the instruction, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop a mission statement that clearly defines the respective purposes of the legislative and nonlegislative fellowship and training-with-industry programs to be in a better position to know the extent to which desired program outcomes are being achieved.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: In a June 24, 2013 email, an official in OSD (P&R) stated that the revision to DOD Instruction 1322.06 is expected to be finalized by the end of calendar year 2013. He said DOD is fully committed to the implementation of all 11 recommendations and the revision submitted for coordination includes these recommendations. The instruction is currently going through formal coordination. He further stated he will provide a copy of the revised instruction as soon as it's ready for publication.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD's fellowship and training-with-industry programs, to help ensure compliance with DOD Instruction 1322.06 and thus enhance DOD's visibility over all of the fellowship and training-with-industry programs, and to promote a shared understanding across the military services of what is expected in meeting the instruction, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to more consistently enforce the DOD instruction's requirement on the submission of annual reviews from the military services on these programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: In a June 24, 2013 email, an official in OSD (P&R) stated that the revision to DOD Instruction 1322.06 is expected to be finalized by the end of calendar year 2013. He said DOD is fully committed to the implementation of all 11 recommendations and the revision submitted for coordination includes these recommendations. The instruction is currently going through formal coordination. He further stated he will provide a copy of the revised instruction as soon as it's ready for publication.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD's fellowship and training-with-industry programs, to help ensure compliance with DOD Instruction 1322.06 and thus enhance DOD's visibility over all of the fellowship and training-with-industry programs, and to promote a shared understanding across the military services of what is expected in meeting the instruction, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to collaborate with the military departments to ensure that each service has designated an office to be responsible for compiling information on the legislative and nonlegislative fellowship and training-with-industry programs for the annual reports required in the DOD instruction.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: In a June 24, 2013 email, an official in OSD (P&R) stated that the revision to DOD Instruction 1322.06 is expected to be finalized by the end of calendar year 2013. He said DOD is fully committed to the implementation of all 11 recommendations and the revision submitted for coordination includes these recommendations. The instruction is currently going through formal coordination. He further stated he will provide a copy of the revised instruction as soon as it's ready for publication.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD's fellowship and training-with-industry programs, to help ensure compliance with DOD Instruction 1322.06 and thus enhance DOD's visibility over all of the fellowship and training-with-industry programs, to promote a shared understanding across the military services of what is expected in meeting the instruction, and in addition, to enable DOD to develop a more reliable inventory for these programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to clarify in the DOD instruction the definition of a fellowship.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: In a June 24, 2013 email, an official in OSD (P&R) stated that the revision to DOD Instruction 1322.06 is expected to be finalized by the end of calendar year 2013. He said DOD is fully committed to the implementation of all 11 recommendations and the revision submitted for coordination includes these recommendations. The instruction is currently going through formal coordination. He further stated he will provide a copy of the revised instruction as soon as it's ready for publication.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD's fellowship and training-with-industry programs, to help ensure compliance with DOD Instruction 1322.06 and thus enhance DOD's visibility over all of the fellowship and training-with-industry programs, to promote a shared understanding across the military services of what is expected in meeting the instruction, and in addition, to enable DOD to develop a more reliable inventory for these programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to specify in the DOD instruction common reporting requirements for the annual report, and clarify which fellowship and training-with-industry opportunities should be included in this report, to facilitate the collection of consistent information on these programs across the military services.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: In a June 24, 2013 email, an official in OSD (P&R) stated that the revision to DOD Instruction 1322.06 is expected to be finalized by the end of calendar year 2013. He said DOD is fully committed to the implementation of all 11 recommendations and the revision submitted for coordination includes these recommendations. The instruction is currently going through formal coordination. He further stated he will provide a copy of the revised instruction as soon as it's ready for publication.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD's fellowship and training-with-industry programs, and to facilitate the Office of the Secretary of Defense's (OSD) ability to perform its oversight responsibility for the legislative fellowship program and to better ensure consistency in the department's dealings with interested committees and members of Congress, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs to clearly delineate in the DOD instruction the roles and responsibilities for overseeing DOD's Legislative Fellowship Program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: In a June 24, 2013 email, an official in OSD (P&R) stated that the revision to DOD Instruction 1322.06 is expected to be finalized by the end of calendar year 2013. He said DOD is fully committed to the implementation of all 11 recommendations and the revision submitted for coordination includes these recommendations. The instruction is currently going through formal coordination. He further stated he will provide a copy of the revised instruction as soon as it's ready for publication.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD's fellowship and training-with-industry programs, and to facilitate the OSD's ability to perform its oversight responsibility for the legislative fellowship program and to better ensure consistency in the department's dealings with interested committees and members of Congress, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs to develop documented placement criteria for legislative fellows.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: In a June 24, 2013 email, an official in OSD (P&R) stated that the revision to DOD Instruction 1322.06 is expected to be finalized by the end of calendar year 2013. He said DOD is fully committed to the implementation of all 11 recommendations and the revision submitted for coordination includes these recommendations. The instruction is currently going through formal coordination. He further stated he will provide a copy of the revised instruction as soon as it's ready for publication.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD's fellowship and training-with-industry programs, and to better position DOD to determine the extent of the benefits it derives from legislative and nonlegislative fellowship and training-with-industry programs and better assess whether fellowship and training-with-industry programs offer the best venues for developing needed personnel skills, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force to perform periodic and comprehensive program reviews that assess the progress using quantifiable measures, validate that programs continue to meet current or emerging needs, incorporate feedback from program participants and host organizations, and document the results of reviews.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: In a June 24, 2013 email, an official in OSD (P&R) stated that the revision to DOD Instruction 1322.06 is expected to be finalized by the end of calendar year 2013. He said DOD is fully committed to the implementation of all 11 recommendations and the revision submitted for coordination includes these recommendations. The instruction is currently going through formal coordination. He further stated he will provide a copy of the revised instruction as soon as it's ready for publication.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD's fellowship and training-with-industry programs, and to better position DOD to determine the extent of the benefits it derives from legislative and nonlegislative fellowship and training-with-industry programs and better assess whether fellowship and training-with-industry programs offer the best venues for developing needed personnel skills, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force to clarify guidance for determining what qualifies as a follow-on utilization tour, and establish criteria to determine when a utilization tour is needed or, conversely, when it can be postponed or waived.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: In a June 24, 2013 email, an official in OSD (P&R) stated that the revision to DOD Instruction 1322.06 is expected to be finalized by the end of calendar year 2013. He said DOD is fully committed to the implementation of all 11 recommendations and the revision submitted for coordination includes these recommendations. The instruction is currently going through formal coordination. He further stated he will provide a copy of the revised instruction as soon as it's ready for publication.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD's fellowship and training-with-industry programs, and to better position DOD to determine the extent of the benefits it derives from legislative and nonlegislative fellowship and training-with-industry programs and better assess whether fellowship and training-with-industry programs offer the best venues for developing needed personnel skills, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force to determine the direct costs of these programs by periodically obtaining and analyzing overall direct program costs, and explore the feasibility of estimating indirect program costs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: In a June 24, 2013 email, an official in OSD (P&R) stated that the revision to DOD Instruction 1322.06 is expected to be finalized by the end of calendar year 2013. He said DOD is fully committed to the implementation of all 11 recommendations and the revision submitted for coordination includes these recommendations. The instruction is currently going through formal coordination. He further stated he will provide a copy of the revised instruction as soon as it's ready for publication.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD’s fellowship and training-with-industry programs, to help ensure compliance with DOD Instruction 1322.06 and thus enhance DOD’s visibility over all of the fellowship and training-with-industry programs, to promote a shared understanding across the military services of what is expected in meeting the instruction, and in addition, to enable DOD to develop a more reliable inventory for these programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to specify in the DOD instruction common reporting requirements for the annual report, and clarify which fellowship and training-with-industry opportunities should be included in this report, to facilitate the collection of consistent information on these programs across the military services.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD’s fellowship and training-with-industry programs, to help ensure compliance with DOD Instruction 1322.06 and thus enhance DOD’s visibility over all of the fellowship and training-with-industry programs, to promote a shared understanding across the military services of what is expected in meeting the instruction, and in addition, to enable DOD to develop a more reliable inventory for these programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to clarify in the DOD instruction the definition of a fellowship.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD's fellowship and training-with-industry programs, and to better position DOD to determine the extent of the benefits it derives from legislative and nonlegislative fellowship and training-with-industry programs and better assess whether fellowship and training-with-industry programs offer the best venues for developing needed personnel skills, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force to establish and periodically review fellowship written agreements or memoranda of understanding to document key information and expectations between the services and the host organizations, such as fellowship objectives, criteria for evaluating the appropriateness of fees or tuition charged to the military departments, and criteria for evaluating the appropriateness of the projects involved.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: In a June 24, 2013 email, an official in OSD (P&R) stated that the revision to DOD Instruction 1322.06 is expected to be finalized by the end of calendar year 2013. He said DOD is fully committed to the implementation of all 11 recommendations and the revision submitted for coordination includes these recommendations. The instruction is currently going through formal coordination. He further stated he will provide a copy of the revised instruction as soon as it's ready for publication.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD’s fellowship and training-with-industry programs, to help ensure compliance with DOD Instruction 1322.06 and thus enhance DOD’s visibility over all of the fellowship and training-with-industry programs, and to promote a shared understanding across the military services of what is expected in meeting the instruction, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop a mission statement that clearly defines the respective purposes of the legislative and nonlegislative fellowship and training-with-industry programs to be in a better position to know the extent to which desired program outcomes are being achieved.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD’s fellowship and training-with-industry programs, to help ensure compliance with DOD Instruction 1322.06 and thus enhance DOD’s visibility over all of the fellowship and training-with-industry programs, and to promote a shared understanding across the military services of what is expected in meeting the instruction, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to more consistently enforce the DOD instruction’s requirement on the submission of annual reviews from the military services on these programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: To improve oversight and management of DOD’s fellowship and training-with-industry programs, to help ensure compliance with DOD Instruction 1322.06 and thus enhance DOD’s visibility over all of the fellowship and training-with-industry programs, and to promote a shared understanding across the military services of what is expected in meeting the instruction, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to collaborate with the military departments to ensure that each service has designated an office to be responsible for compiling information on the legislative and nonlegislative fellowship and training-with-industry programs for the annual reports required in the DOD instruction.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

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