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Some of DOD’s Efficiency Savings Are ‘Unrealistic,’ House Concludes

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  • June 15, 2011
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Almost $900 million out of $10.7 billion in savings the Defense Department identified as part of an initiative to trim overhead costs and improve efficiency are “unrealistic” and cannot be relied on when crafting the department’s budget, according to the House Appropriations Committee’s draft report accompanying the fiscal 2012 defense spending bill.

“While the committee applauds the department’s attempt to reduce costs through efficiencies, the committee finds that the majority of these savings have been taken in the broad categories of better business practices and reorganizations and believes that such savings often times never materialize,” the lawmakers stated.

Appropriators were particular troubled when DOD counted as efficiencies what they believed were valid needs, such as base facility sustainment requirements. In such instances, the committee restored the funding.

Lawmakers also discovered instances when no action is needed to achieve the claimed savings. For example, the department’s FY 2012 budget request assumed $250 million in savings by eliminating 400 internally generated reports. Officials, however, have failed to provide a list of the reports to be cut as well as an explanation as to how the figure was derived, the committee said.

The committee urged the defense secretary to reassess the savings estimates and develop contingency plans to mitigate the effect on operations and readiness in the event they do not materialize. DOD’s five-year budget includes a total of $100 billion in efficiency savings.

The committee approved the FY 2012 defense spending bill Tuesday. It is scheduled to be debated on the House floor next week. The draft bill and committee report are available on the Appropriations Committee website.

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