Council to Implement Business Practices, Transformation
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 19, 2001 DoD is establishing a Senior Executive Council to implement modern business practices in the department and to guide transformation efforts in the services.
The council will consist of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Army Secretary Thomas E. White, Navy Secretary Gordon R. England, Air Force Secretary James G. Roche, and Pete Aldridge, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.
Wolfowitz made the announcement during a press conference June 18. The committee will meet monthly and be chaired by the defense secretary.
Wolfowitz said the council has two challenges. "One ... is to get more efficient, to find ways to make better use of the resources that the country gives us to manage the defense of the nation," he said. The second is how to take advantage of new technologies to transform U.S. military capabilities.
Getting the most from technologies requires an understanding of the forces that will use them, Wolfowitz said. The council, he continued, would look at the forces, U.S. military doctrine and the industrial implications of any changes.
Army Secretary White said this is not another study. "A lot of this stuff has been studied to death," he said. "It's very clear what needs to be done, and the challenge is for us to execute and get after it."
All the service secretaries stressed their leadership experience in private corporations. They said they believed this experience in the private sector would help as they contemplate change within DoD.
DoD officials said this is the first time there has been such a high-level civilian council. While the service secretaries retain the Title X responsibilities to "man, equip and train" the forces, they have not, generally, played such a high-profile role at the DoD policy level.
Being agents of change within DoD was part of the attraction for the men to take on the jobs, said Navy Secretary England.
"We were all willing to come and take on this challenge as long as we weren't going to work on the margin," he said. "We wanted the opportunity to make fundamental changes that benefit our men and women in uniform and ultimately the country. We are here to fundamentally improve the business practices of the Department of Defense and our respective services, and we will work together to do that."
England said the three service secretaries "are joined at the hip" on this program and he assured reporters the council will "work together to bring about change across our services and across the DoD."
Air Force Secretary Roche said the services are looking for efficiencies. But unlike the past, if a service finds a way to cut costs, the service can keep the money and plow it into critical areas. Combat forces would receive priority, he said, but the priorities for quality of life programs also should be funded.
White said one critical area is family housing. He said he would be personally involved in beefing up and accelerating the housing privatization initiative.
"Utilities privatization is a second area," he said. "In my opinion, there's no reason in the universe why the Department of Army is in the utilities business -- gas, electric, water and wastewater. Authority to convey those utilities to private concerns has been given by the Congress to the department. The department hasn't used it."
He said the council plans to study about 25 other areas. He said these are things "that truly make a difference, that impact on readiness, impact on the quality of life of our people."