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Fifty-four Save DoD $143 Million

By Douglas J. Gillert
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 2, 1997 – Fifty-four people whose ideas saved DoD $143 million, received 1997 secretary of defense productivity excellence awards May 21 at the Pentagon.

Now in its 13th year, the program honors individuals and small groups whose ideas improve business practices and save DoD at least $1 million. Generally, ideas come from individual initiative, not an assigned task or part of job responsibilities or expectations, according to Pat Miles, awards program manager for the Civilian Personnel Management Service, Arlington, Va. Since the program began, winners have saved DoD more than $1 billion.

"Your accomplishments are particularly important at this time for two reasons," Fred Pang, assistant secretary of defense for force management policy, told the honorees. "Your actions to save the taxpayers money will help restore confidence in the federal government and federal employees. We don't hear as much bashing of our work force as we did a couple of years ago -- and part of the reason for that is the publicity about the hard work and innovation of people like you.

"We are public servants, and we take seriously our responsibility to spend the taxpayers' money wisely," Pang said. "People have demanded a more efficient and responsive government, and you are delivering.

"Secondly, in this time of tight fiscal restraint, every dollar you saved can be used to ensure that our service members are the best equipped and best prepared in the world," Pang said. "The secretary of defense has just completed a very tough review of our spending priorities in order to find the funds necessary to modernize our force for the next century -- and your collective action made his job easier. The $143 million you saved through innovation will mean a stronger, more modern force to protect our national interests.

Forty-nine honorees attended the awards ceremony. Diane Disney, deputy assistant secretary of defense for civilian personnel policy, served as master of ceremonies. Helping Pang present the awards were Joseph Reeder, under secretary of the Army; Robert Pirie Jr., assistant secretary of the Navy for installations and environment; Robert Hale, assistant secretary of the Air Force for financial management and comptroller; and Frank Lalumiere, executive director, program integration, Defense Contract Management Command.

"The federal government has achieved a great deal in the last five years through the National Performance Review -- making government work more efficiently and saving the taxpayers' money," Pang said. "But while the vice president and secretary of defense were working on broad strategies, the 54 people we are honoring today were taking action.

"Each of you saw something that could be done better," Pang concluded, "and instead of just shrugging your shoulders, you rolled up your sleeves and fixed the problem."

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