Can strategy help DOD sidestep budget cut effects?

To help mitigate the effects of the flat defense budget proposed for 2013 and coming years, the Defense Department is making tough choices and sacrifices, and expects industry to follow suit as well, according to Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. The name of the game: strategy.

To deal with the forces of the Budget Control Act and changing priorities, DOD must dispense with budgetary tug-of-war and smartly decide where  to cut and where to invest, he said. 

“This is a time of great consequence for American defense because two forces are coming together at the same time,” Carter said May 30 at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. “But as the wars wind down we must look up and look beyond to what the nation and world need next. We have the opportunity, and really the obligation, to pivot our defense to the new challenges that will define our future.”

Carter made his case for the defense budget, stressing the importance of moving beyond older systems and programs that served a different era of warfare in order to make room for a new class of technology and conflict.

“Since we’ve been fighting, the world has not stood still, our friends and enemies have not stood still and technology has not stood still. Now we must meet these changes and really, in some places, catch up with them,” he said. “To do that, we must let go of the old and familiar and grab hold of the agile and technologically advanced force of tomorrow.”

He added that “everything is on the table – there are no sacred cows here.”

While Carter didn’t offer much in the way of specific programs or systems headed for the chopping block, he did re-emphasize critical areas where the military will invest its precious defense dollars.

“President Obama said to us, ‘Make sure you don’t follow the last-in, first-out rule.’ That you don’t pull up the things that are most shallowly rooted – namely, your new things. Because that’s the easiest thing to do. I want to see that we’re enhancing the capabilities that are going to be part of our future,” including cyber, science and technology, special operations, unmanned systems and the development of skill sets pertinent to the future force, he said.

Cater also stressed the importance of the private sector building many of these capabilities, saying that “market forces,” not government intervention, will reshape the defense industrial base landscape.

Private sector organizations “almost without exception are steering their companies in a similar transition, so they’re continuing to serve our needs in the future in a different way than they have in the last 10 years,” he said. “A technologically advanced, vibrant and financially successful defense industry is in the national interest.”

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Fri, Jun 1, 2012

' the Defense Department is making tough choices and sacrifices'? No they aren't. Business as usual, with much public wailing and handwringing over pork projects that may get cut. Long past time for a clean-sheet-of-paper reorg, both on the tactical/weapons system side, and ESPECIALLY on the non-sexy low-visibility back office support side. Cut out the duplication and empires, and DoD could take massive cuts with no loss of mission capability.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group