The story below appeared in the November 24, 1997, issue of Washington Report. It's used with the permission of the Federal Managers Association


Vice President Al Gore joined Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen on November 10 in announcing more DoD downsizing and contracting out. The cuts and reforms are contained in a report Defense Reform Initiative: The Business Strategy For Defense In The 21st Century. (This report is available at The Defense Reform Initiative (DRI) has four familiar themes:
  1. downsizing;
  2. base closures;
  3. contracting-out; and,
  4. reengineering.

DOWNSIZING - Eliminate 30,000 jobs. The office of the Secretary of Defense will be reduced in size by 33% over the next 18 months. Defense Agency personnel will be cut by 21% over the next five years. Personnel in Department of Defense field and related activities will be reduced by 36% over the next two years.

BASE CLOSURES: Congress this year denied DoD's request for two more base closure rounds. One of the major hurdles cited by Congressional opponents of additional base closures was the dispute over the fate of two large Air Force depots in California and Texas. President Clinton settled that dispute when he signed the FY 1998 DoD Authorization, H.R. 1119, into law on November 18. The DRI calls for Congress to authorize two additional rounds of base closures, one in FY 2001 and one in FY 2005.

CONTRACTING-OUT: In response to the Quadrennial Defense Review, DoD has initiated competitions involving more than 34,000 positions in Fiscal Year 1997 and will pursue competitions for 30,000 positions in each of the next five fiscal years. This annual effort represents more than a tenfold increase over Fiscal Year 1996 and a threefold increase over any year in the previous two decades. DoD will build on this experience by evaluating its >entire military and civilian workforce by 1999 to identify functions to be competed. In particular, candidates for competition include the following functions: civilian and retiree payments, personnel services, surplus property disposal, national stockpile sales, leased property management and drug testing laboratories. DoD also plans to take advantage of its new authority to contract-out an additional $1 billion in depot maintenance.

REENGINEERING - Examples include: instituting a paper-free contracting process for major weapons systems by Jan. 1, 2000; creating paper-free systems for weapons support and logistics; shifting to the use of electronic catalogues and electronic "shopping malls;" ending printing of defense regulations by July 1, 1998, after which they will be available only on the Internet or CD-ROM; and replacing "just in case" military logistics with the modern business "just in time" mindset.

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