Pentagon Deputy Orders Deep Funding Cuts across Headquarters Activities

Major DOD headquarters activities will need to plan for a 25 percent reduction in funding for fiscal years 2017 to 2020, according to a recent memo from Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work.

“We anticipate Congress will require a 25 percent reduction in the funding of DOD headquarters in lieu of the 20 percent requirement previously established by the department,” Work’s memo stated. “Even if Congress fails to act, the department needs the savings that will be achieved through this reduction to fund higher priority requirements in support of the warfighter and to address underfunded strategic needs,” it said.

The cuts apply to major DOD headquarters activities across the military departments, the office of the secretary of defense, Joint Staff, defense agencies and field activities, and the combatant commands. Work’s memo followed the completion of a task by the deputy chief management officer to define “major DOD headquarters activities.”

The cost-cutting effort extends an initiative the Pentagon launched in July 2013 to trim headquarters spending by 20 percent, reported Federal News Radio.

The memo adds that funding for civilian personnel at the office of the secretary of defense, defense agencies and field activities will have a 25 percent reduction target.

“Relief from this target may be granted based on evidence that an office or component took additional personnel reductions prior to the imposition of the 20 percent reduction requirement. Relief may also be granted if an office or component reduced contractor costs by 1.5 times the cost of any excess retained authorized positions resulting from a reduction of less than 25 percent , or in exceptional circumstances,” the memo states.

The House and Senate versions of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill now in conference committee each include language to streamline DOD. The House version calls for a 20 percent cut in headquarters spending, while the Senate version calls for reducing funding for headquarters and administrative functions by 30 percent over four years.


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