DOD report-writing is cost-cutting target

The public can vote on the best of three bills through YouCut website with the winner getting an up-or-down vote

A member of the House Armed Services Committee wants to help Defense Secretary Robert Gates reduce the cost of writing reports and printing documents.

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), who spent 22 years in the Army, introduced three bills March 29 that would reduce the Defense Department’s printing and copying budget by 10 percent (H.R. 1246) and cut funding for studies, analyses and evaluations by another 10 percent (H.R. 1247).

The third bill would restrict annual nationwide adjustments and locality pay for poorly performing DOD employees (H.R. 1248).

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West projects that the printing cuts would save $35.7 million in fiscal 2012 and $180 million through fiscal 2016. By reducing money for studies, DOD would save $24 million in the next fiscal year and $120 million through 2016, according to West’s press release.

West also said his bill restricting pay for workers who do a poor job would save $21 million while improving work. As employees do a better job, the savings would be $80 million through fiscal 2016.

The three bills are on the YouCut website, hosted by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), for the public to vote on. After April 5, the House will vote on the bill that received the most votes on YouCut.

Gates has proposed a number of ways to save DOD money. In September, he released a 23-point memorandum for reforming defense acquisition processes and sought to cut the number of internal and congressional reports in half. The number of congressional reports has grown from 514 to 719 in the past decade. Internal DOD reports increased from 102 to 156 in as many years.

“None of these reports are free,” and they take the acquisition workforce away from its main jobs, he wrote in the memo. Gates estimated that the 719 congressional reports — which, he also wrote, often outlive their usefulness — cost $350 million annually.

None of West’s bills would require reports from DOD.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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