Defense not monitoring cost-cutting initiatives, report finds

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta instituted the efficiency programs in fiscal 2012, with the savings coming over a five-year period. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta instituted the efficiency programs in fiscal 2012, with the savings coming over a five-year period. Saul Loeb/AP

The Defense Department is not adequately tracking its cost-cutting measures, according to a new report.

The Government Accountability Office’s audit found Defense has no standardized way to monitor $100 billion in anticipated savings from “efficiency initiatives” -- 70 percent of which is supposed to be reinvested in high-priority military needs.

GAO found various branches within Defense were not reporting all the costs involved in implementing changes, nor were they reporting on the savings from all initiatives.

The auditors recommended the department create a set of written, uniform metrics that all branches of the military, as well as the Special Operations Command, can use to report the savings from their cutbacks.

“This guidance should define reporting requirements for such things as the specific types of costs associated with implementing the initiatives,” GAO wrote, “including implementation costs that were not initially identified in calculations of net savings.”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta instituted the efficiency programs in fiscal 2012, with the savings coming over a five-year period. The reinvestment funds will come from reorganizations, better business practices, program reductions and terminations and restrictions in lower-priority programs.

The department has taken some steps to standardize the way it monitors its savings, GAO said, but even the information it is collecting is not being delivered to decision makers.

Monique Dilworth, Defense’s operations director, said the agency “agrees with the spirit and intent” of GAO’s recommendation.

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

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
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)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.


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