US Dept. of Defense to resemble the private sector

August 1, 2011

Early morning news from multiple sources report a verbal agreement has been reached on an increase in the US debt ceiling, with Congressional voting imminent. Today’s CNN.com post, “The debt ceiling battle: Where things stand,” reports that proposed budget cuts associated with the debt ceiling increase will be a balance of “defense and non-defense spending”. 

Details remain unknown regarding proposed reductions in Department of Defense (DoD) funding, but last week’s Federal Times article, “DoD may take downsizing cue from private sector” may give insight. A panel assigned to provide DoD downsizing recommendations suggested reductions in “least critical activities”. Their recommendations include:

• Reduce Pentagon overhead offices, including Office of the Secretary of Defense personnel, services, agencies and commands.

• Consolidate DoD support staff, facilities, “noncritical” offices and locations.

• Improve productivity and reduce product costs of DoD force structure, logistics support and procurement programs.

• DoD to continue to conduct research and development that generates “critical enabling technology”.

The last bullet seems counter to the previous three, but I believe it speaks to the purpose of the Pentagon and the DoD in general.  Selective purchase of new systems allows the DoD to support current critical needs while smartly investing in the future.

Our first blog post addressed the changing role of DoD Test and Evaluation (T&E), but it is clear that we should prepare for changes beyond T&E. Companies wishing to provide continued support to a changing DoD must produce products and services that meet today’s requirements as well as anticipate tomorrow’s critical needs.

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