Committee Fends off Attempts to Weaken Plan to Trim Fourth Estate

Committee Fends off Attempts to Weaken Plan to Trim Fourth Estate

For House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), two out of three ain’t bad, as the saying goes. His plan to streamline the Pentagon’s back-office support agencies emerged largely unscathed from his committee’s markup of the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill this week. Two amendments to roll back elements of the plan failed, reported Defense News.

The committee rejected an amendment from Anthony Brown (D-Md.) that would have stripped language eliminating the Washington Headquarters Services and replaced it with a study by the General Accountability Office of the agency’s effectiveness. The agency is targeted for elimination in the draft policy bill the committee considered.

A second amendment from Brown to protect the Defense Information Systems Agency failed as well. It would have required the department to study the feasibility of transferring many of its functions to other agencies within the Pentagon before a realignment could move ahead, reported Defense Systems. The underlying bill calls for the Pentagon’s chief management officer to transfer the agency’s information technology, contracting and acquisition services by Jan. 1, 2021. On Base had the vote reversed in yesterday’s story.

A third amendment, proposed by Steve Knight (R-Calif.), to remove language regarding the department’s Test Resource and Management Center passed, however. Under H.R 5515, the statutory requirement for the center would be terminated, but the measure does not require any concrete action with respect to the agency, which oversees weapons testing and evaluation. “Repeal of this statutory requirement would not directly abolish the affected positions, but would allow the secretary to restructure those positions should such action be warranted. Removing statutory mandates would enhance the secretary’s authority and ability to craft an agile organization,” according to a summary of the proposed statute.

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen

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