Thornberry Scales Back Proposal to Eliminate Support Agencies

Thornberry Scales Back Proposal to Eliminate Support Agencies

House Armed Services Chair Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) would spare many of the seven support agencies he proposed eliminating last month, and instead require the Pentagon’s chief management officer (CMO) to scrutinize defense agencies and field activities to determine whether they are effective or carry out functions that are duplicative of those carried out by other DOD organizations, under language in the draft fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill he released Monday. That text does not propose eliminating the Office of Economic Adjustment or four other agencies — the Defense Technology Security Administration, Defense Human Resources Activity, Defense Technical Information Center and Test Resource Management Center. The Washington Headquarters Service still would be eliminated under Thornberry’s plan, however. He also calls for transferring many functions of the Defense Information Systems Agency elsewhere.

Under the draft policy bill, the CMO would review defense agencies and DOD field activities and submit a list to lawmakers of the agencies which operate “efficiently and effectively,” and do not carry out any function that is duplicative of activities carried out by other defense elements. The CMO then would be required to develop a plan to eliminate agencies not included on that list, or transfer some or all of their functions to another organization.

Section 913 also clarifies the defense secretary’s authority to establish or terminate any defense agency or DOD field activity, with the exception of entities that are specifically established or terminated by an act of Congress.

The draft bill still includes language requiring the CMO to certify that spending by defense agencies and field activities on civilian resources management, logistics management, services contracting and real estate management will be cut by 25 percent by Jan. 1, 2021, by reducing or eliminating duplicative “cross-enterprise” functions. Section 911 would require the CMO to continue reviewing defense agencies and field activities every five years to identify opportunities to eliminate duplicative activities. The second iteration would expand the scope of the review to cover the military departments.

The Armed Services Committee will mark up Thornberry’s proposal, along with each of the subcommittee marks, on Wednesday.

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen
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