Flournoy: Reform Pentagon Spending to Preserve Defense Budget

Michele Flournoy, former undersecretary of defense for policy, and co-founder of the Center for a New American Security and a senior adviser at The Boston Consulting Group writes in Wall Street Journal editorial that Pentagon spending strategies needs to change in order to protect military readiness spending:

With more than a decade of war coming to a close and the U.S. government facing daunting fiscal challenges, the defense budget is on the chopping block. Without a budget deal that addresses tax and entitlement reforms, defense spending will play a disproportionately large role in getting the nation’s economic house in order. The 2011 Budget Control Act mandated that the Defense Department cut nearly $500 billion over the next decade and crafted the sequestration straitjacket now binding the Pentagon.

There is a real risk the U.S. will cut defense in the wrong ways. Historically, almost all postwar drawdowns have resulted in a “hollow force”—that is, too much force structure and overhead with too little spending on readiness and modernization. America has tended to solve its budget problems on the back of the force rather than squeezing savings out of a highly inefficient defense enterprise.

Ms. Flournoy outlines five steps the Pentagon should take which includes:

1) Reigning in “requirements creep.”

2) Don’t incentivize increased spending

3) Use reverse auctions to purchase ordinary goods and services

4) Professionalize the acquisition corps

5) Constantly review acquisition practices and regulations

Sounds like common sense, so we’re asking, why isn’t this happening already?

Read more at the WSJ.

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