A Real Crisis Underlying DoD’s FIAR

Government Property and DOD's clean audit goal

We all know that Department of Defense has this major initiative “Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness (FIAR)”, with the goal of achieving clean audit by 2017.

A big part of this initiative is to get all DoD’s Government Property on the book, reconcile them so they are audit ready. But there is a real crisis underlying this effort: there not enough experienced Government Property Management professionals and the supply of these professionals is dwindling.

Government property management professionals possess the knowledge and experience in managing Government property, both in the possession of government agencies and government contractors, throughout their life cycle, to makes sure they are accounted for at all times. They include both federal employees and employees working for government contractors. We are facing a real crisis because the overall pool for these professional is shrinking.

  1. In the Federal Government, the population of property management professionals are aging, and there is a significant shortage of entry level hires so the pipeline for seasoned property management professionals is dwindling.
    1. The average age of a Federal employee is increasing steadily. It was 45.2 years in 1997, 46.9 years in 2006, and 47.4 in 2015.
    2. From 1998 to 2006, overall property management related positions in Federal Government had declined by 16%. Within property disposition positions, where the decline was the most significant, the numbers ranges from 28% at the management level to 88% at the entry level – NPMA Journal of Property and Asset Management May’2010
  2. In Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), the agency responsible for auditing Government Property Management systems, the problem is more acute.
    1. There is a lack of candidates to fill the contract specialist positions. In 2016, only 187 positions were filled out of 231 authorized. The fill rate is 81%.
    2. In 2016, 20% of the 187 professionals are eligible for retirement. Five years from today, 88 more of these 187 (46%) are eligible for retirement. – Andrew Obermeryer, director of DCMA Business Operation Center in a speech to NDIA on Oct’2016  
  3. Among government contractors, although we don’t have hard statistics, but anecdotally, there is a short supply for seasoned government property management professionals. This is due to both the lack of focus on the government property management business system and the lack of career path for developing government property management professionals.

So unless we do something different to solve the structural problem for the lack of Government Property Management professionals, we are in a crisis for brining all DoD’s Government Property record to an audit ready state.

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