2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 10 Sep 2003 18:52:51 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Defense Secretary's Commentary Makes Case for Department's Transfor
By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2003 -- For the Pentagon to meet the challenges of
the future, it cannot be "anchored to the past," wrote Defense Secretary
Donald H. Rumsfeld in a commentary he provided to several newspapers
around the country recently.

"While our troops operate in a fast-paced world of high-tech weaponry
and precision-guided munitions, the men and women who support them here
at home still slog through red tape and regulations that are, in some
cases, decades old," he wrote. "We must be as agile, flexible, and
adaptable as the forces we field in battle."

Pentagon officials said the letter was an effort to garner congressional
support for the Defense Transformation Act, which seeks legislation to
overhaul the Pentagon's personnel system and relax some environmental
laws affecting training and military readiness.

Rumsfeld wrote that Congress must soon decide whether the Defense
Department "has what it needs to support our forces in the 21st century
security environment we have entered or remains mired in the systems and
processes of the century just past."

Citing what he called "outdated regulations," the secretary noted that
more than 80 percent of civilians deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom
were contractors doing jobs Defense Department civilians "could and
should be doing."

Because the Pentagon lacks "sufficient authority" to manage its civilian
workforce, Rumsfeld wrote, some 200,000 reserve troops left jobs and
families to help fight the war on terrorism while an estimated 300,000
active-duty military people occupy staff positions here at home that
could be filled by civilians.

To demonstrate how he believes age-old bureaucratic processes are
crippling his department, Rumsfeld wrote it takes, on average, "five
months to hire a federal employee, 18 months to fire one, and collective
bargaining with more than 1,300 separate local unions to implement
critically needed reforms -- negotiations that sometimes take years to

Personnel issues are not the only problems the Pentagon must address,
Rumsfeld wrote. The secretary acknowledged it now takes his department
twice the time it took in 1975 to produce a new weapons system; that
1,800 different and antiquated systems run Pentagon finance and
accounting programs; and that it take thousands of people -- "only a
fraction of whom are focused on implementation and outcomes" -- to
develop and justify a budget.

The Defense Transformation Act would create a new national security
personnel system that would enable the department to attract and hire
new employees more easily, Rumsfeld wrote. It also would promote and
reward employees based on excellence and performance, and would allow
the Pentagon to negotiate with six national unions rather than some
1,300 local units.

Measures in the act would give the Pentagon "financial flexibility" to
respond to urgent needs, and would get rid of "onerous regulations" that
impede commerce with small companies, Rumsfeld wrote. He added the act
also would get military personnel out of nonmilitary jobs and "back in
the field… to train like they fight, fight like they train," while still
upholding the Pentagon's commitment to protecting the environment.

He wrote that while the Defense Department, which he called a
"well-established champion of environment stewardship," does not seek
relief from environmental laws and regulations, a few well-meaning but
ambiguous laws are impeding the military's ability to train forces by
"threatening not only their readiness but their lives on the

Rumsfeld wrote that security challenges facing the United States have
changed dramatically in recent years, and that the nation "must change
to meet them -- not only on the battlefield, but in the bureaucracy."

"Transformation of our military capabilities depends upon our ability to
transform the department that runs the military-- the Department of
Defense," the secretary wrote.

He emphasized that Congress has a "vital role to play" in providing new
authorities and relaxing or eliminating old restrictions that will allow
the Defense Department to meet the "threats to freedom already before us
as well as those that are certain to arise."

NOTE:  This is a plain text version of a web page.  If your e-mail
program did not properly format this information, you may view the story
at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Sep2003/n09102003_200309106.html
Any photos, graphics or other imagery included in the article may also
be viewed at this web page.


Visit the Defense Department's Web site for the latest news
and information about America's response to the Sept. 11, 2001,
terrorist attacks and the war against terrorism: "Defend America" at

Visit the "Department of Defense Homeland Security" Web site
at http://www.defenselink.mil/specials/homeland/ to learn more about the
Department of Defense role in homeland security.


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