Secretary of Defense William Cohen announced today the
establishment of a Task Force on Defense Reform to find ways to
improve the organization and procedures in the Department. The
task force, which was formed as a result of the nearly completed
Quadrennial Defense Review, will recommend organizational
reforms, reductions in management overhead and streamlined
business practices in the Department, with emphasis on the Office
of the Secretary of Defense, the Defense Agencies, DoD field
activities and the military departments. The streamlining is in
line with Vice President Gore's efforts to reinvent government.
The reform task force will function under the auspices of
John Hamre, the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller).
One goal is to eliminate unneeded organizations, functions
and personnel. We have a multiplicity of agencies, and the
question is: Can we operate more efficiently? Cohen said.
The Quadrennial Defense Review is an exhaustive examination
of the Department's defense programs, said Cohen. It will help
guide defense into the next century. However, there was not
sufficient time for the QDR to study significant reforms in major
areas of my personal focus, particularly the Office of the
Secretary of Defense, Defense Agencies, DoD field activities, and
the military departments. A more thorough examination of these
areas is needed given the complexity and size of the task.
Reporting through Hamre, task force members are Michael J.
Bayer, a consultant in business-government relations who served
as an official in both the Energy and Commerce departments; David
Chu, director of RAND's Washington office and former DoD director
of program analysis and evaluation; Rhett Dawson, president,
Information Technology Industry Council; James Locher, former
assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-
intensity conflict; Arnold Punaro, senior vice president for
corporate development at Science Applications International
Corporation and former staff director of the Senate Armed
Services Committee; Kim Wincup, a program director at Science
Applications International Corp. and a former assistant secretary
of the Army, and Dov Zakheim, corporate vice president and
director, Center for Policy Planning, System Planning Corporation
and chief executive officer, SPC International and former deputy
under secretary of defense for planning and resources. Cohen
said that several other members may be named.
Areas of primary focus for the task force include:
Reform of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The
task force is to go beyond a mere review of size to reexamine the
appropriate role and organization of OSD.
Review of Defense Agencies and DoD Field Activities. During
the past ten years, the Defense Agencies and DoD Field Activities
have grown significantly, and the Department lacks structure to
provide adequate corporate oversight of these agencies and
activities. The task force will go beyond the recommendations of
the QDR and develop a blueprint for further streamlining and
Reform of enterprise-wide business practices. The task
force will identify additional opportunities for enterprise-wide
reform of business practices in the areas of acquisition,
logistics, installation operations, and property management.
Over the past decade, the American commercial sector has
reorganized, restructured, and adopted revolutionary new business
and management practices in order to assure its competitive edge
in the rapidly changing global marketplace. Now the Department
must adopt and adapt the lessons of the private sector so our
armed forces can maintain their competitive edge in the rapidly
changing global security market, said Secretary Cohen.
The Task Force on Defense Reform will seek the advice and
assistance of business executives who have helped streamline
their corporations in recent years.
Since early in the Clinton administration, Vice President
Gore has been leading the National Performance Review, a
widespread effort to clear government of useless bureaucracy and
waste and free it from red tape and senseless rules.
The Task Force on Defense Reform will work closely with the
National Defense Panel, the independent, Congressionally-mandated
review board that will assess the QDR, and with the Vice
President's National Performance Review. The task force will
report its findings and recommendations to Secretary Cohen by