Based on GAO’s analysis, the Department of Defense (DOD) has 81 Executive Agents—management arrangements where the head of a DOD component is designated specific roles and responsibilities to accomplish objectives when more than one component is involved. These Executive Agents are assigned to 12 DOD components and support a range of activities, including managing technology and developing training programs. The Secretary of the Army is designated as the Executive Agent for almost half of them (38 of 81). DOD’s Executive Agent directive requires that the Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer (ODCMO) maintain a list of Executive Agent designations and oversee their assessments, among other things. Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Principal Staff Assistants are required to assess their respective Executive Agents every 3 years to determine their continued need, currency, efficiency, and effectiveness.
GAO found weaknesses in DOD’s approach to tracking its Executive Agents, resulting in inaccuracies regarding 10 Executive Agents. For example, DOD’s list of Executive Agents included several that are not currently active. While ODCMO is required to maintain a list of Executive Agents, ODCMO officials rely on self-reported information from DOD Executive Agents and OSD Principal Staff Assistants. Without taking steps to accurately track DOD Executive Agents, DOD’s list will continue to be out dated and ODCMO cannot effectively oversee DOD Executive Agents.