News   Lethality

Official Details Next Round of Defense Review

March 6, 2020 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

The Defense Department's chief management officer is leading a defensewide review with the aim of ranking programs needed for the fight against near-peer competitors, said a DOD official.

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Lightning Flight
An F-35A Lightning II jet flies through the sky near Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Feb. 12, 2020.
Photo By: Air Force Capt. Kip Sumner
VIRIN: 200212-F-TY205-1002

This effort will be reflected in the fiscal year 2022 defense budget request, said John E. Whitley, who is performing the duties of director of the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation.

In the past, this process took place within each of the OSD components, he noted. Now, the chief management office will examine each of their budgets to better align all of them with the National Defense Strategy.

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Whitley Comments
John E. Whitley, who is performing the duties of director of the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, speaks at the McAleese Defense Programs Conference in Washington, D.C., March. 4, 2020.
Photo By: David Vergun, DOD
VIRIN: 200304-D-UB488-006

The National Defense Strategy — DOD's playbook — is focused on possible future threats from China and Russia, Whitley said. He spoke March 4, at the McAleese Defense Programs Conference, in Washington.

As such, there are programs that are important in answering those threats, he said. The programs include hypersonics, missile defense, artificial intelligence, 5G, modernizing the nuclear triad and readiness.

In the aggregate, that's a big expense, he said, and the department doesn't anticipate increases in future budgets to cover them, so DOD had to look within to find savings. 

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Minuteman Launch
An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., May 1, 2019.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Brittany E. N. Murphy
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The department already completed its Defensewide Review, which looked at all organizations not owned by the military services — such as the Missile Defense Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Defense Information Systems Agency, and the Special Operations Command.

That review, which lasted from August through November, freed up about $6 billion for high-priority items that were reflected in the fiscal year 2021 budget, he said.

For instance, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency had gradually expanded its Cold War mission when it focused on nuclear materials. It had expanded, he said, into biological and chemical programs in non-threat areas, so sizeable reductions were made.

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Reagan Workstation
Crew members from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan provision computer workstations at Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific's Network Integration and Engineering Facility in San Diego, Calif., Sept. 17, 2019.
Photo By: Rick Naystatt, Navy
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Likewise, 50 military treatment facilities were right-sized to better serve members and cut operating costs, he said.

That doesn't mean programs that were cut, delayed or reduced were not important, Whitley added. Tough choices had to be made to free the needed funding for the most important programs.

Besides freeing up money, that review identified another $2 billion in programs that made more sense to turn over to the military services, and that was done, he said.

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Whitley Speech
John E. Whitley, who is performing the duties of director of the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, speaks at the McAleese Defense Programs Conference in Washington, D.C., March. 4, 2020.
Photo By: David Vergun, DOD
VIRIN: 200304-D-UB488-007

"We anticipate additional savings from the defensewide accounts," Whitley said.

Another review is examining each of the combatant commands with an eye for rebalancing manpower and materiel for the high-end fight, he said.