Carter Puts Flesh on Bones of Efficiency Push

Pentagon acquisition czar Ash Carter has issued specific guidance on the efficiency initiative that he unveiled in June to transform the manner in which the Defense Department buys its goods and services. He laid out 23 specific measures on Tuesday during a Pentagon press briefing that aim to trim excess overhead in these areas (e.g., weapons and fuel contracts, IT services, facilities upkeep), which amount to a hefty $400 billion of the Pentagon’s $700 billion annual budget. This is part of DOD’s overall drive to free up more than $100 billion for new weapons and readiness from within its budget over five years. Among the measures, affordability is now a requirement in major weapons systems acquisitions. Further, DOD will reward contractors for successful supply-chain management, DOD program managers will henceforth present a competitive strategy at milestone reviews, and following the Air Force’s lead, each service will create a senior manager to oversee its acquisition of services. Also, DOD will halve and volume and cost of internal and Congressional reports. “Not only can we succeed: We must,” states Carter’s memo articulating his guidance. (Carter memo, including briefing slides) (Carter-Gates briefing transcript)