A new round of base closures is urgently needed for the Pentagon to handle its growing responsibilities in the face of tight fiscal constraints, David Berteau, CEO of the Professional Services Council, a trade group that represents nearly 400 federal services contractors, said last week.
“We desperately need another round of base closures,” said Berteau, who served as assistant secretary of defense for logistics and materiel readiness until joining the council in March, reported Politico. “And that round of base closures has to be done in such a way that is focuses on reductions that produce early and real savings, not on realignments that may make sense from a business point of view but won’t make sense from a budgetary point of view.”
Berteau’s comments came during a discussion about public-private partnerships at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Berteau and four other former and current DOD officials agreed there are many examples of successful ventures between defense industry and the department, particularly in its labs, depots, arsenals and warfighting centers.
The government’s performance on defense programs “is not as bad as some people and the political campaigns say,” Berteau said, reported Seapower Magazine. “We’re more than adequate … and sometimes amazingly successful. We need to highlight our success stories.”
At the same time, the federal government finds it difficult to showcase its successes. “We don’t have a very good way to articulate success. … When Congress beats up on us, we have a problem responding,” because “how do you define success?” said Cameron Gorguinpour, director of transformational innovation in the Air Force.
The speakers also acknowledged the federal government’s shortcomings when it comes to innovation, its procurement process and its ability to attract the best employees. But continued collaboration between industry and the military is now especially important as DOD can expect tight budgets for the foreseeable future.
“In many ways, government tends to behave as if the money will come back,” Berteau said in reference to the rising budgets the Pentagon enjoyed prior to the 2011 Budget Control Act.
“It’s not going to happen,” Berteau said.
Don’t miss Berteau discuss how the military is responding to evolving missions, emerging threats and new technologies at the Defense Communities 2016 National Summit on the afternoon of June 20. The session — which also features former Pentagon Comptroller Bob Hale and Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brooking Institution — will look at the impact of the changing battlefield on installations and defense communities.