The order comes amid a flurry of disputes over the Air Force's tanker replacement plan.
DEFENSE - ALL ARTICLES
Officials agree reform is needed, but differ over where power should reside.
Work on a first-ever authorization bill for the department had already bogged down this summer over partisan differences.
A group of 25 former and current federal employees lodges charges of mismanagement and corruption.
Attorney General John Ashcroft says department will add eight new forensic analysis centers.
Cabinet chiefs say position is "essential" and will provide "better unity of effort."
Both sides upbeat after a day of discussions about the pending National Security Personnel System.
Workforce strained due to global deployments; 200 emergency personnel would go to war zones.
Battles continue to rage over how to set a formula for distributing funds.