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.


 
 

 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Smart-mortar will help Soldiers more effectively hit targets

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez Nick Baldwin and Evan Young, researchers with the Armament Research Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, Pennsylvania, discuss the 120mm Guided Enhanced Fragmentation Mortar ...
 
 

Air Force assigns new chief scientist

The Air Force announced the service’s new chief scientist to serve as a science and technology adviser to the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force, May 21. Dr. Greg Zacharias will be the 35th chief scientist and is ready to “dive in” to his new role. “I...
 
 

TSgt promotion release delayed to allow system validation

Technical sergeant promotion selection results, originally scheduled for release May 28, will be delayed to enable the Air Force to continue to validate extensive system changes to the Weighted Airman Promotion System, officials announced. The 15E6 technical sergeant promotion cycle is the first to incorporate recent changes in the enlisted evaluation and promotion system. Recent...
 

 

Freedom completes rough water trials

The littoral combat ship USS Freedom completed Seakeeping and Structural Loads Trials, commonly referred to as Rough Water Trials in late March the Navy reported May 21. The U.S. Navy must demonstrate the seaworthiness and structural integrity of each new ship class. One of the primary ways the Navy verifies these qualities is through a...
 
 

Air Force releases Strategic Master Plan

The Air Force officially released the Strategic Master Plan May 21, which is the latest in a series of strategic documents designed to guide the organizing, training and equipping of the force over the coming decades. The SMP builds on the strategic imperatives and vectors described in the capstone document, America’s Air Force: A Call...
 
 

HYT extension possible for SrA-MSgt in 35 career fields

Eligible senior airmen, staff sergeants, technical sergeants and master sergeants in 35 Air Force specialties will be able to apply for a high year of tenure extension and, if approved, will be able to extend between 12 and 24 months past their current HYT. The Air Force is introducing several personnel and manpower initiatives to...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>