DoD looking to root out waste, increase "lethality"

  • 15 August 2019
  • NormanL

There are any number of instances of how government agencies waste taxpayer dollars with impunity. But for once, we have an example of a government department trying to spend its resources as efficiently, and effectively, as possible.

A new effort at the Defense Department will be taking a deep look for inefficienes and ways to fix them:

An August 2 memo signed by Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist calls for a comprehensive, zero-based, program and budget review for 2021 to 2025. The review will also make adjustments for 2020 where feasible.

“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,” the memo states.

Great. What can we expect?

The memo informs defense agencies and military departments that the offices will contact them directly for further guidance and collect data to inform weekly decision meetings, which will be chaired by the defense secretary. The first of those meetings will be on August 10 and will focus on the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

“We will begin immediately and move forward aggressively, as all defense-wide organizations, appropriations, funds and accounts will be included in the zero-based budgeting review,” the memo states. “Given the variety of defense-wide organizations and functions, we will tailor the review approach as needed. The review will consider all ideas – no reform is too small, too bold or too controversial to be considered.”

The memo tells all leaders to review their budgets carefully and ensure that every dollar is spent wisely and is focused on increasing lethality.

The review is the first large undertaking by new Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

Ensuring that every dollar is "focused on increasing lethality." That's a pretty powerful incentive for the Pentagon to get its books, and its priorities, in order.