Myriad challenges face Defense Department acquisition and many of them have been exacerbated budget cuts and pay freezes, DoD officials told a House panel July 10. "The fiscal challenges, shifting operational requirements, the current budget instability deriving from sequestration, years of pay freezes, furloughs, military end-strength reductions and the requirement for commensurate reductions in our civilian workforce, more than a decade of conflict--inevitably all of these things have affected the acquisition workforce," said Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Stephanie Barna at the hearing.
The Defense Department didn't address all of its reporting requirements for its workforce plan, including assessments of critical skills and competencies, a July 9 Government Accountability Office report says.
National Guard and reservist benefits don't match the requirements that those military members have been asked to perform, a military commission said in its interim report. "Numerous Guardsman, reservists and subject matter experts explained to the commission how current compensation programs do not adequately address these operational requirements, specifically noting inflexibilities in health care benefits during Guard and Reserve mobilization and demobilization," the interim report says.
The Defense Department is doing a good job of managing its software licenses and has laid the groundwork for data analyses that could help it negotiate better agreements and achieve greater savings in the future, congressional investigators said..
The Defense Department overpaid about $9 million for spare parts for the Bell Helicopter Textron, the department inspector general says in a July 7 report. "This occurred because the contracting officer did not perform an adequate analysis when procuring sole-source commercial parts," the IG says.
The Defense Department paid more across an entire sample of prescription brand-name and generic drugs than both Medicaid and Medicare, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report.
If sequestration continues, the Army will have to shrink its forces to 420,000 active duty soldiers, which would be too small for the service to do its job effectively, said Army Under Secretary Brad Carson at a June 26 Institute of Land Warfare event. If the military were to get involved in a major operation with those force numbers, he said it would be stretched so thin that the ratio of soldiers at war and those in the United States would be about equal.
The new Defense Department strategy for countering weapons of mass destruction reflects how even the military's most critical missions are subject to the realities of an era of limited budgets. The strategy, released June 30, replaces a counter-WMD strategy that the department published eight years ago.
If sequestration continues, the Defense Department will need to cut spending by about $500 billion over the next decade and that could be most easily achieved by cutting benefits and pay, a June 30 Congressional Budget Office report says.
A new research paper argues that the Defense Department risks losing its technological edge to maintain a military advantage if it doesn't tap into international science and technology developments.