Shortly after taking office, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis launched a comprehensive effort to cut overhead spending through a series of organizational and structural reforms. Guidance issued in February 2017 established cross-functional teams to address mission effectiveness and efficiencies. One element of the initiative was aimed at streamlining business services and tasks that are replicated across the military services. One primary goal of the effort was to ensure the department focuses its spending on the most-pressing readiness and modernization activities.
In October 2017, Mattis reiterated the importance of business reform when he included it among the three lines of effort he established for the military. And this past January, those three lines of effort were incorporated into the administration’s new National Defense Strategy. “We will reduce or eliminate duplicative organizations and systems for managing human resources, finance, health services, travel and supplies,” the strategy document stated.
But so far it appears the initiative has lagged. “I’m disappointed,” Robert Hale, a senior advisor for Booz Allen Hamilton, said Thursday at ADC’s Defense Policy Forum. “I haven’t seen anything from them,” said Hale, who was the Pentagon comptroller from 2009 until 2014.
Hale offered one of his own recommendations for reform, streamlining military health facilities, which he said are significantly underutilized. “They need to come forward with a set of proposals. I’m hoping they step up to the plate but so far I don’t think they have,” he said.
DoD photo by Marine Corps Sgt. Aaron Hostutler