Defense

December 6, 2013

DOD reforms are about ‘leading by example,’ official says

The efficiency reforms announced yesterday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are about leading by example, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Jim Miller said Dec. 5.

Across-the-board cuts to the defense budget have affected nearly every corner of the Pentagon, but the present uncertainty in defense budgeting is only part of the reason for the changes, Miller said.

There are actually five issues driving the reforms, he said. First, Congress directed that a number of deputy under secretary positions be eliminated. Hagel announced yesterday that five of these positions would be eliminated – all of them non-presidentially appointed, Senate confirmed.

“We’re going to consolidate from essentially seven reporting lines under the under secretary to five assistant secretaries – to meet Congressional guidance,” Miller said.

The second issue is budget, he said. By fiscal year 2019, the defense budget must be reduced by 20 percent, and the number of personnel has to be reduced by about the same amount, the under secretary said. “That will be done systematically and in stages,” he said.

“Third, the reality is that the world is changing,” Miller said. “We have seen increasing threats to the homeland. … The most obvious is in cyberspace,” he said, adding that threats are also on the rise from outer space and weapons of mass destruction.

Additionally, as other nations face the same budget challenges as the U.S., Miller said, “The need to really think of security cooperation as a driving element of strategy is even greater than it has been in the past.” Therefore, even the overall number of OSD personnel is being reduced; the department is actually adding a deputy assistant secretary who will focus on security cooperation.

And fourth, Hagel wants to take better advantage of the expertise of Andrew Marshall, the director of the Office of Net Assessment. The office serves as a sort of internal think tank for the Defense Department, responsible for identifying emerging or future threats and opportunities for the United States. The office will now report to the under secretary for policy, Miller said.

“It will retain an independent voice,” he added. “Moving it closer is intended to help that ‘out-of-the-box’ and more ‘out in the future’ thinking have even a greater role in the development of strategy and policy.”

Finally, Miller said, as U.S. involvement in Afghanistan draws down and with Iraq operations ended, the raison d’etre for the Task Force on Business and Stability Operations has faded. Many of its functions will be transferred to other government agencies and outside groups, principally the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development — by the end of 2014.

“It’s been particularly valuable for helping the Afghans begin to develop their potential for mineral exploitation, oil and gas exploitation and, in some cases, small businesses and building entrepreneurship,” he said.

This is not the first time OSD Policy has reorganized, Miller said. As the Defense Department evolved following 9/11, so too did the policy office. Additional emphasis on strategy and global strategic affairs followed the terrorist attacks, he said, and led to the creation of new deputy under secretary positions for each. Those positions have been eliminated in the reorganization and their functions will be folded into other offices, Miller noted.

There are about 500 military and civilian personnel assigned to OSD Policy. The reforms will reduce that number by 12 percent between fiscal years 2015 and 2019, and contract support personnel will be reduced by a third over the same period. Cuts to the entire Defense Department are expected to save at least $1 billion over five years and reduce OSD staffing by about 200 personnel.

“We are going to make the organizational changes in several phases over 2014, and the reduction in funding and personnel systematically, thoroughly, thoughtfully over the next five years,” the under secretary said.

A workforce implementation team stood up recently to help ease the department through the transition, Miller said. “That will stay with us for some time as we systematically work through this,” he added.

“I am confident, and the [defense] secretary is confident … that with these changes we will continue to be able to support him effectively and we will continue to be able to perform our mission effectively,” Miller said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines June 29, 2015

News: SpaceX Falcon 9 explodes moments after launch – A SpaceX rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station blew up June 28 shortly after liftoff.   Business: How serious a setback is SpaceX rocket explosion? – Elon Musk had never come face to face with that rule before — at least not in space travel —...
 
 

News Briefs June 29, 2015

Iraqi pilot in Arizona plane crash found dead Officials say the body of an Iraqi pilot who had been training in the United States and crashed in southern Arizona has been located. Iraq’s Defense Ministry said June 26 that search teams found the body of Brig. Gen. Rasid Mohammed Sadeeq at the crash site five...
 
 
Huntington Ingalls Industries photograph

PCU John Warner delivered to Navy

Huntington Ingalls Industries photograph A dolphin jumps in front of the Virginia-class attack submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) John Warner (SSN 785) as the boat conducts sea trials in the Atlantic Ocean. The U.S. Navy ac...
 

 
navair-helo

HX-21 completes first flight with developmental electronic warfare pod

On June 8, 2015, a UH-1Y from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 completed the first test flight with a developmental electronic warfare pod.  The pod would represent a new tactical capability for U.S. Marine Corps rotar...
 
 

Northrop, Navy celebrate legacy of EA-6B Prowler

Northrop Grumman photograph by Edgar Mills The U.S. Navy’s last operational EA-6B Prowler, designed and built by Northrop Grumman, lifts off from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash. in a ceremonial fly-away June 27 from its long time operational base. The Navy is retiring the Prowler after nearly 45 years of service.   The U.S....
 
 
Air Force photograph by Capt. Tania Bryan

NORTHERN EDGE provides environment for testing new capabilities

Air Force photograph by Capt. Tania Bryan Aircraft from test and evaluation squadrons across the Air Force line up on the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson flightline. Northern Edge is Alaska’s premier joint training exercise d...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>