Save a Buck: Nix JFCOM

In another bid to save money and reduce a bloated Defense Department, Defense Secretary (and Occasional Superhero) Robert M. Gates has asked for a comprehensive review of defense and recommendations where he could save buck.

The early word is the Defense Business Board will pull no punches. One recommendation: Nix Joint Forces Command.

Gates is reportedly on the prowl to find $100 billion in savings over the next five years. Short of searching for change in DoD vehicles and seat cushions in Pentagon offices, he had the DBB take its best shot. The board will present its recommendations in October, but JFCOM and a few others are already known.

In the case of JFCOM, it seems the command has more contractors than military and government civilian. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it would seem DoD does not have the people to staff it. (Probably because they are all sitting in Afghanistan waiting for who knows what. But we digress.)

One of our faves working with the DBB is senior fellow and retired Marine Maj. Gen. Arnold Punaro. Arnie is fascinating and he may be connected to more people than anyone in the history of Washington. He’d be a great date or assassin. Or both.

JFCOM (formerly the U.S. Atlantic Command) has spawned its own krewe of commands. To align with JFCOM, the services had to come up with their equivalent. (I have never understood why.)

For example, Marine Forces Atlantic became Marine Forces Command, which makes little sense and seems to be a huge waste. (Cha-ching.) Ah, but waste has become DoD’s friend, which has put Gates in this unfortunate position.

The DBB is looking at other entities including (get this) the Office of the Secretary of Defense itself. OSD has grown by a reported 700 people since 2000 to a staggering 5,000. Its budget is more than $5 billion annually. Apparently there is significant overlap between OSD and the Joint Staff. Combining functions could be a start to the fiscal savings Gates longs for.

We look forward to that report.

How would you save money at DoD?

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