Defense Department Agencies Recognized for Cutting Costs
By Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2008 After more than two years of promoting the idea that “What gets checked gets done,” the Defense Department’s “Check It” campaign came to an end today with an awards ceremony at the National Defense University on Fort McNair here.
The campaign was launched in July 2006 to raise awareness about the department’s internal management controls program by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, who called it “a simple concept that will have very, very powerful results here in the department.”
Those results have reached every corner of the defense community, Douglas A. Brook, the Pentagon’s acting comptroller and chief financial officer, said.
Management and internal controls are “light years” ahead of what they were during his first Pentagon job more than 16 years ago as the Army’s assistant secretary for financial management, Brook said.
“My managers’ internal control programs during my first round in the Pentagon really consisted of checklists that literally included things like, ‘Are there enough paper towels in the restroom and restaurants?’” he said.
The difference today is evident in changes in internal auditing, accounting and controls, he said, by simply reminding everyone throughout the Defense Department of the importance of their jobs and of double-checking themselves to ensure they’re doing their jobs right.
“We’ve come to the point now where we’re applying managers’ internal controls to … do things better, save money, add metrics and measure our results, [which] are significantly different from the first time I encountered this kind of activity,” he said.
During the campaign, 24 Defense Department components reported 40 process improvements that have produced nearly $4 billion in savings or cost avoidances, he said.
U.S. Transportation Command won a first-place award, he said, for saving $1.88 billion with improvements to the department’s passenger and equipment distribution system for war and peacetime missions by taking over more influence and controls of the process.
Transcom shared first place with the Marine Corps Logistics Command, which improved controls over small arms in-transit shipments and strengthened public safety. The command led a worldwide inventory that resulted in 194 weapons recovered and $1.4 billion in cost avoidances, Brook said.
Other agencies and organizations recognized were:
-- The Air Force’s 82nd Training Wing pharmacy;
-- The Air Force’s 71st Flying Training Wing;
-- The Defense Information Systems Agency;
-- DLA’s Defense Reutilization and Market Service; and
-- The Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
Raising awareness for individuals and agencies throughout the Defense Department has been the cornerstone of the campaign, and though the campaign is officially finished, the message and processes it promoted are not, Brook said.
“This has been a very successful campaign,” he said. “This is a very long way from making sure there are paper towels in the restaurants.”