So you watched PBS’s interview with the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter and you think you could do a better job. Well saddle up, now you can. Given the opportunity to be Secretary of Defense for a Day how would you have solved the requirements for DoD Budget cuts and laid out the Defense Budget Priorities? Do it yourself and enjoy the benefit of no ramifications or backlash of your decision with the New York Times’ The Future Military: Your Budget Strategy site. You can easily decide what to cut and what to keep. Keep the drones; dump the humans. Whatever you decide be warned once you enter the Acquisition process…good luck getting out alive!
The requirement was to save $487 billion over the next decade or $259 billion over the next five years. The Defense Department released their Budget Priorites yesterday and a slew of comments, opinions, and reevaluation requests immediately arose.
This reaction is normal. It is the human response ultimately to change. We feel threatened by that which we do not know; in this case it is the future. What will my job be tomorrow if I was working on the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk Block 30 Program? This is a significant issue both due to the job market and financial crisis the United States has been experiencing. The Defense Industrial Base is extremely important but it should also understand that the DoD cannot build everything it always desires. One might consider asking was there really a reason for two separate Services (USAF and USN) to have this program? There could have been decent reasons; but now those reasons thus the basis for two programs is gone.
If you look at Death and Taxes you’ll understand that in any democracy there must be balance. You’ll also see that there must be a significant adjustment by the Defense Sector in order to both solve the debt crisis and place dollars in strategic locations. Traditionally we do a bad job of cancelling things that we really don’t need or have let go well beyond their usefulness. Some of the initiatives everyone is responsible for assisting and enforcing to ensure more efficient Defense dollars are:
- More skillful contracting practices to increase competition, reduce costs, and increase buying power
- Better use of information technology
- Better use of business and enterprise systems
- Streamlined staff
- Limitations on official travel
- Better inventory management
- Reductions in contract services
- Deferral of some military construction to align our facilities more closely with the size and posture of our future force
- Reductions in planned civilian pay raises
The Budget Priorities goes on to layout the entire plan for the next 5 and 10 years. The interesting part of a document of this magnitude is that it has enemies both Foreign and Domestic. The goals must be achieved and the country protected.
So if you haven’t seen Death and Taxes by Jess Bachman I recommend you spend some time on it. Then buy the poster and slap it up on your bulkhead (wall for those civilians out there)! It lays out the Federal Discretionary Budget requested by the President. I’ve been a fan since his first version came out and have checked in on each years version to reorient where the dollars are headed in my mind.
If you work in, around or near the U.S. Government or Military this should be have already been on your required reading list. If not spend some time reviewing it. Take a look at your organization and how it all fits together. Then proceed to come up with ways of making your organization or piece of the icon represented more effective and more efficient. The rewards of understanding this and doing this are significant.
Being able to identify excessive, non-effective or useless expenditures is key to solving the fiscal deficit and your fiduciary duty. If we spent even half of the time we are about to spend on budgetary matters (at all levels - Strategic, Operational and Tactical) in the next 5 to 10 years that we should have in the past decade we wouldn’t be in such a predicament. But when the money flows there is a significant tendency to spend vice save or examine what you are really buying. Humans seem to have this flaw; understand and recognize it. Take the time to do a better job and teach others how to do both personally and professionally. [DeathandTaxesPoster]
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