Defense management reforms take shape, report finds

Most of the initiatives in a 1997 plan to reshape the Defense Department's management strategy have been folded into Defense's 2001 strategic plan and are moving forward, according to a new General Accounting Office report.

Five projects outlined in the 1997 Defense Reform Initiative have been completed, and 35 more are under way, the report (GAO-03-58) said. The five completed projects aim to make it easier for employees to use government purchase cards; consolidate more than 330 finance and accounting centers into 26 offices; give military employees annual raises above the Employment Cost Index (a measure of annual private sector wage increases); create a new acquisition system; and simplify the process for awarding relocation entitlements.

Projects such as the Defense Travel System, which would allow Defense employees to make travel arrangements online, and a plan to outsource military housing to private companies, are examples of 1997 initiatives that are still under way, but have been revised and included in a new Defense management strategy, GAO said. The GAO report was based on an analysis of Defense's Feb. 28 report on the status of 1997 Defense reform initiatives.

The Defense Reform Initiative, a 78-page report issued by William Cohen, President Clinton's Defense secretary, provides a strategy for consolidating the department through eliminating unnecessary infrastructure through base closures and outsourcing initiatives.

Cohen's report planned formal studies-studies in which government workers restructure their operations and compete with contractors for specific workloads-for about 230,000 civilian jobs through 2005. The report also set goals for the use of government purchase cards and also encouraged the department to use e-commerce more.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld developed a new management reform program in 2001, and the Senate Committee on Armed Services ordered GAO to make sure 1997 initiatives were not forgotten under Rumsfeld's strategy.

Defense officials told GAO that the new management program was not intended to replace the 1997 initiatives, but simply to supplement them. The new structure is different in that it does not include as many specific savings targets.

While the 1997 initiatives did not get lost in the transition from the Clinton to Bush administrations, GAO pointed out that progress on the 1997 initiatives is not tracked as closely now, so that it will be hard to tell what impact the reforms will have.

Defense officials agreed with the report.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.