Defense bill includes chief management officer for Pentagon

The Defense Department will have to add a senior management position under the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill passed this week by the House and Senate.

The measure requires that Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England become the department's chief management officer, a step the Pentagon has taken.

The bill also requires the appointment of a Senate-confirmed deputy chief management officer reporting to England and overseeing the department's Business Transformation Agency, which implements management reforms.

Creation of a nonpolitical CMO at the Defense Department is a longtime hobby-horse of Comptroller General David Walker and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Oversight of Government Management Subcommittee Chairman Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, and ranking member George Voinovich, R-Ohio.

All three have for years argued the department needs a long-term, high-level manager to drive through a series of fiscal and managerial reforms that political appointees lack time to complete.

Both senators and Walker have said they will push for more extensive changes than mandated by the defense authorization bill, noting that the new Pentagon CMO will not have a fixed term, as GAO has urged.

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