New Norquist Memo Directs Pentagon to Conduct Full Review; Esper Orders Action in Support of National Defense Strategy

New Norquist Memo Directs Pentagon to Conduct Full Review; Esper Orders Action in Support of National Defense Strategy

A new DOD memo issued by recently confirmed Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist has ordered a full Pentagon review to identify funding, time and manpower that should be redirected to support the department’s overarching defense strategy, Federal News Network reported.

The memo, issued Aug. 2 just days after Norquist’s confirmation, directs a complete DOD program and budget review for fiscal years 2021 to 2025, as well as fiscal 2020 where feasible, according to the report.

On Saturday, recently confirmed Defense Secretary Mark Esper followed up on Twitter announcing that he requested the formal review to scrutinize DOD resources that should be shifted toward implementing the national defense strategy.

“At my confirmation hearing, I committed to actively seek opportunities to reallocate resources & reinvest back into our top priorities,” Esper wrote in a tweet. “Today, I’m kicking off the Defense Wide Review to ensure every dollar spent furthers the National Defense Strategy.”

In Esper’s Senate confirmation hearing he emphasized to lawmakers that DOD is facing fiscal challenges and competing demands. He expressed concerns of a potential DOD fiscal crunch which suggested he would likely conduct a “night court” process for DOD as he ordered as the Army’s chief, according to a Forbes.com report.

The new agency-wide review means that every program will require justification toward supporting the national defense strategy, according to the report.

Norquist’s official directive orders all managers to scrutinize their budgets and ensure that all funds are focused on increasing lethality.

“The review will also support a longer-term focus on structural reform, ensuring all defense-wide activities are aligned to the National Defense Strategy while evaluating the division of functions between defense-wide organizations and the military departments,” Norquist’s memo states.

DOD has enjoyed increased defense budgets the past few years, but the Pentagon is also conducting its review to assure its most fundamental mandate, according to Federal News Network.

The Pentagon has also faced lawmaker criticism that DOD did not pass its 2018 audit, and likely won’t for several years. Lawmakers such as House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) have expressed hesitance when the agency hasn’t fully accounted for the funds it has received.

DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando

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