The Defense Department kicked off a "battle on bureaucracy" today, announcing plans to streamline hiring practices, simplify financial management rules and expand acquisition reforms. The initiatives were announced by the Pentagon's new Business Initiative Council, a group that includes the service secretaries and Defense acquisition chief Peter Aldridge. The panel was created in July to improve the department's business operations and save money. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has made bringing commercial business practices to the Pentagon a top priority. All told, the 10 initiatives could save the Defense Department $200 million. "Our criteria are simple," said Aldridge in a press release. "Before an initiative can win adoption by the [council] each proposal must show benefit for our warfighters, provide common good across DoD, and provide identifiable savings." Among the 10 initiatives approved were:
- Allowing the 180-day waiting period for hiring military personnel for civil service jobs to be waived for key positions.
- Encouraging and expanding the bulk buying of commercial software and cellular telephone services.
- Eliminating the Pentagon's annual planning guidance that calls for a set number of full-time civilian equivalent positions throughout the Defense Department, which gives managers more flexibility in managing personnel.
- Giving program managers greater flexibility in reprogramming research and development and procurement dollars.
- Expanding the use of recovery auditing to track overpayments to contractors.
- Creating a Web site for coordinating schedules at Defense test ranges.
The initiatives were outlined in a recent memo to the military services, joint staff and Defense agencies. A copy of the letter is available at: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Oct2001/d20011015bic.pdf
. Aldridge said today's recommendations were "only the beginning" and added many more initiatives are under study that would cut costs and improve efficiency.