Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Proposal to Cut $25 Billion from DoD Support Agencies

The Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Mac Thornberry, announced a proposal yesterday to cut 25 percent (more than $25 billion) out of the Defense Department's support agencies by eliminating some and cutting back on others. If adopted, thousands of civilian jobs would be cut and it would certainly result in significant changes to Defense contractors.

The proposal specifically calls for the elimination of the following seven Agencies.

  • Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) whose mission would be folded into the U.S. Cyber Command
  • Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) which acquires, stores and disseminates scientific and technical information to aid R&D.
  • Office of Economic Adjustment which aids communities hurt by defense program changes, including base closures.
  • Defense Technology Security Administration which guides policy on arms transfers overseas
  • Test Resource Management Center, which coordinates among DoD test and evaluation facilities
  • Defense Human Resources Activity which guides and implements human resource initiatives, budgets, policies and programs
  • Washington Headquarters Services which provides operational and administrative services

In announcing his proposal, which will likely be included in the 2019 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), Thornberry made the following statement.
Over the years, Congress has focused most of its attention on the military services and on weapons and equipment, personnel, and policy issues. We have paid relatively little attention to the rest of DoD that make up the 'Fourth Estate.' In fact, one expert has said, 'the Fourth Estate is untouched by human hands.' Yet, this portion of the Department of Defense spends about 20 percent of the budget, includes about 25 percent of the civilian workforce, and hires about 600,000 contractors.
We are working to get more value for the taxpayer dollar, to get more resources into the hands of the warfighter faster, and to make the Department more agile and innovative in facing the wide array of security challenges before us, we cannot neglect to examine this large portion of DOD
Besides specifically calling for the elimination of these seven agencies, there was no mention of the other agencies comprising Thornberry's 'fourth estate'. Presumably, agencies such as DCAA (Defense Contract Audit Agency) and DCMA (Defense Contract Management Agency) would be included in these cuts. Agencies having a national security mission (e.g. NSA) would be exempt.

Oh, and by the way, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) condemned the proposal as "foolish and shortsighted".

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