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Zakheim and Korb debate Rumsfeld

I posted about Rumsfeld's departure yesterday. Later that night, I was listening to PBS's NewsHour, which had a segment on The Donald, which featured former DOD CFO Dov Zakheim, who is now at Booz Allen Hamilton and Lawrence Korb is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank. He was assistant secretary of defense during the Reagan administration. It was a interesting discussion.

[Rumsfeld is] a man who changed the Pentagon process in a fundamental way, literally dragged the bureaucracy into the 21st century -- before he came on board, there was no Northern Command, which essentially protects the United States. There was no Joint Forces Command, which experiments and is looking to technological change and the way we fight wars in the future...

The fact is that he brought in systems -- and I was involved in that -- that did start to improve our financial management. When I took over office, we had $2.6 trillion -- that's a lot of money -- $2.6 trillion in obligations that were not properly resourced and recorded. We cleaned that up.

I would disagree in terms of the way he managed the Pentagon. For example, the cost growth of the major weapons system has never been greater. When he came in, the number of weapons systems under development, the cost was about $800 billion. Now it's $1.6 trillion. Even supporters of the Pentagon, like Senator Cornyn from Texas, are complaining about the cost overruns...

And I think the worst thing was that he failed to integrate the personnel and finance systems for the soldiers, and the Guardsmen, and the Reserves, and the active going to Iraq. As a consequence, people got their pay after they were killed and wounded, and he allowed debt collectors to go after these people.

I mean, I think, in terms of managing, he didn't do a very good job, either, which is somewhat surprising given his background...

And as a consequence, he basically this year allowed the services to go directly to the Office of Management and Budget to plead their case. That's his job. He's supposed to divvy it up.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Nov 10, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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