Where to start Defense cuts is the wrong question
Walter Pincus is off the mark with his story today in the Washington Post. Sorry Walter, old school has caught up with you.
Budgeting and funding begins with outcomes. What are the required outcomes from US foreign policy today? What are the required outcomes describing the result of having provided for the common defense and national security at 100% secure?
How are the outcomes achieved by what processes attributed by what people (their organizations) and technology? What are the capital requirements?
Given legacy obligations and current situation is capital sufficient to accomplish essential outcomes?
What are the nation’s priorities as defined by the President and as supported by Congress?
Planning, budgeting, decision making, sense making, and predicting with Smart Data Strategy precludes looking at the top and bottom for places the cut. The best process is to produce affordable outcomes where the process has more to do with success than the objective.
“Should Defense begin cutting from the top?
By Walter Pincus, Published: March 5
The first thing that former senior military and civilian Pentagon officials of the Cold War era mention, when discussing reductions to the defense budget, is cutting the inflated size of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff.
The old-timers point to the number of undersecretaries, deputy undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and deputy assistant secretaries of defense, as well as the added employees they generate. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and his predecessor, Robert M. Gates, recognize they have a point.
Ten years ago, there were four undersecretaries of defense — one for acquisition, technology and logistics; one forpolicy; a third for personnel and readiness; and a fourth, the comptroller and chief financial officer. today there are five; one was added for intelligence.
The Pentagon’s Web site lists six deputy undersecretaries, 16 assistant secretaries and five deputy assistant secretaries. That can’t be the complete list because the undersecretary for policy alone has five assistant secretaries and three deputy assistant secretaries, while the new undersecretary for intelligence has four deputy undersecretaries.
Also, there are more undersecretaries and assistant secretaries in the offices of the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force. For example, the Army has an undersecretary and five assistant secretaries. Each Army assistant secretary has deputy assistant secretaries. The assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics, and technology alone, lists seven of them.
Funding of the Office of the Secretary of Defense includes not only the senior Defense Department officials who work for Panetta, but it also pays for a collection of subordinate agencies, boards and commissions sponsored by the Pentagon. There are other expenditures, such as a $154 million payment next year to the State Department for Defense’s share of joint security costs generated by embassies.
Reducing the senior management growth in the defense secretary’s office alone won’t do much for reducing spending, but it’s a start. The fiscal 2013 budget for the office projects a reduction of $186.6 million from this year, but it may turn out to be less, say $121 million, because of inflation. Nevertheless, the office’s fiscal 2013 budget will still be $2.1 billion for the 2,124 civilians and 405 officers and enlisted personnel who work primarily in the Pentagon. Ten years ago there were 1,489 civilians and 481 military personnel on that office payroll.
The Joint Staff has also ballooned.It has substantially increased the past two years, apparently with the absorption of functions from the controversial closing of the Joint Forces Command. The Joint Staff grew from an average of 1,007 officers and enlisted men in 2011 to 2,089 in 2012. Civilian employees on the Joint Staff also grew in the past year, from 364 in 2011 to 693 in 2012, according to Pentagon figures.
While the plan is to cut the Joint Staff military numbers by 683 next year, the number of civilian employees is projected to grow to 923 by the end of 2013. Some 465 of that military reduction represents a transfer of personnel to Transportation Command, part of the realignment of Joint Forces Command personnel, according to Pentagon documents, Another 137 of the military reduction represents a transfer of personnel to the Air Force as part of the realignment of work by the Joint Information Operations Warfare Center.”