US News

DoD Directed to Clean-Up ‘Fourth Estate’ Inefficiencies

DoD Directed

The Government Accountability Office is directing the Defense Department to clean-up inefficiencies in the 19 agencies and 8 field activities, better known as the “Fourth Estate.”

While DoD spends billions annually on these defense agencies and DoD field activities to take care of business functions, it “does not comprehensively or routinely look at the continuing need” on their behalf, as outlined by a study published the other day with the watchdog agency.

The Defense Department has opted for act on GAO’s five recommendations to fix the difficulties. However, the DoD official who signed off, Chief Management Officer John Gibson, is reportedly being terminated by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis for non-performance.

A former U.S. Air Force finance official which has a long defense industry resume, Gibson may be the first-ever CMO. The job was established a year ago inside the largest reorganization with the DoD considering that the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986.

The Fourth Estate includes the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Missile Defense Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, along with the National Reconnaissance Office.

GAO spotlighted human resources services like a key problem area. While the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, by way of example, provides consolidated accounting and financial services, HR is spread across six organizations, with overlap between DFAS, the Defense Logistics Agency and Washington Headquarters Service.

“This has ended in unwanted effects, including inconsistent performance info on hiring, fragmented information technology systems, and inefficiencies linked to overhead costs,” the GAO report found. “For example, DOD officials stated that we now have over 800 fragmented information technology systems employed to store and record training records across the department, that happen to be costly to keep.”

Lawmakers were mindful of problems and sought to pare back “Fourth Estate” bureaucracy inside 2019 National Defense Authorization Act made law a few weeks ago. In fact, there’s some overlap involving the GAO report and also the NDAA.

Spearheaded by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, FY19 NDAA Sec. 921 mandates DoD’s CMO submit promises to cut 25 percent through the budget of certain enterprise wide activities, including logistics, recruiting, services contracting and property management. Thornberry’s initial proposal was farther reaching, but he scaled it back, and then it absolutely was scaled back further amid objections through the White House and key Democrats.

More broadly, the NDAA Sec. 923 mandates the CMO conduct a sweeping search coming from all defense agencies and field activities for duplication or ineffectiveness. For those that miss the mark, the CMO will have to develop plans for any fix, including consolidating agencies. The reviews must happen no less than every four years, using the first due Jan. 1, 2020.

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In Other News:

Defense Leaders Question $716 Billion Defense Budget
Senator Jim Inhofe New Senate Armed Services Chairman

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