Shaheen Requests Pentagon Develop Cost-Savings Plan Following Buried Study

Shaheen to Pentagon: “I am hopeful that we can work together to determine additional ways to save money that could fund critical military needs or reduce the deficit”

December 12, 2016

(Manchester, NH)—Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter today to the Department of Defense (DOD) requesting an analysis on the cost-savings study that Pentagon officials reportedly buried. Last week, the Washington Post reported that a study, which identified $125 billion in cost savings through streamlining Pentagon operations, was deliberately hidden to avoid congressional budget oversight.

Senator Shaheen’s letter addressed to Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work reads in part, “I believe it is in our best interest to find savings throughout DOD and develop an actionable plan to invest these funds in critical areas such as readiness and modernization … I am disappointed that the Pentagon would hide information about opportunities to save money, but I am hopeful that we can work together to determine additional ways to save money that could fund critical military needs or reduce the deficit. I believe a close examination of the report’s findings will yield actionable proposals that the Senate Armed Services Committee may consider next year.”

Last week, Senator Shaheen raised the Washington Post report in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing and released the following statement afterwards:

“It’s very alarming that this report was hidden from the public eye and its findings ignored,” said Senator Shaheen. “As public employees, these Pentagon officials should be acting as responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars, not as a bulwark for wasteful bureaucracy. I strongly urge Pentagon leadership to immediately account for the actions taken to suppress this report. In the meantime, I will urge the relevant committees in Congress to thoroughly review the recommendations in this study that could improve Pentagon operations and reduce the deficit.”

Full text of Senator Shaheen’s letter:

The Honorable Robert O. Work

Deputy Secretary of Defense

1010 Defense Pentagon

Washington, DC 20301-1010

           

Dear Secretary Work, 

I write to express my concern regarding a recent report published in The Washington Post indicating that the Department of Defense (DOD) suppressed the findings of a study that identified $125 billion in administrative waste.[1]  According to the article, you requested the study to streamline and reduce DOD’s administrative bureaucracy and reinvest savings in critical modernization efforts and combat capabilities.  I respectfully request an analysis of the report entitled, Transforming DOD’s Core Business Processes for Revolutionary Change, dated January 22, 2015. 

I believe it is in our best interest to find savings throughout DOD and develop an actionable plan to invest these funds in critical areas such as readiness and modernization.  As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I have heard from our military leaders about the challenging fiscal environment our military endures with increased global threats, readiness shortfalls, force structure reductions and the need to modernize equipment.  Given these challenges and fiscal uncertainty, our military is forced to make difficult choices between short term and long term priorities putting our military at risk.  Army Chief of Staff General Milley echoed this statement before the Committee stating “…we are mortgaging future readiness for current readiness.”[2]  In light of these budgetary challenges, I am disappointed that the Pentagon would hide information about opportunities to save money, but I am hopeful that we can work together to determine additional ways to save money that could fund critical military needs or reduce the deficit. 

I believe a close examination of the report’s findings will yield actionable proposals that the Senate Armed Services Committee may consider next year.  Again, I request a detailed analysis of the report to better understand its findings and work with DOD to be more efficient and save money.  Thank you for your timely consideration of this request and your continued service.

    

Sincerely,

 

Jeanne Shaheen

United States Senator



[1] Whitlock, Craig and Bob Woodward. (2016, December 5). Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste. The Washington Post.  Retrieved from https://washingtonpost.com

[2] Long-term Budgetary Challenges Facing the Military Services and Innovative Solutions for Maintaining Our Military Superiority: Hearings before the Committee on Armed Services, Senate, 114th Cong. (2016).