Absent Hard Constraints, How do You Reform Pentagon Procurement?
- In a speech at the National Defense University, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made the usual laudable calls for acquisition reform without quite explaining what would make it happen. Hagel asked for time and flexibility – as if huge bureaucracies ever willingly conducted meaningful reforms in the absence of true constraints – and pointed out that:
“the biggest long-term fiscal challenge facing the department is not the flat or declining top-line budget, it is the growing imbalance in where that money is being spent internally. Left unchecked, spiraling costs to sustain existing structures and institutions, provide benefits to personnel, and develop replacements for aging weapons platforms will eventually crowd out spending on procurement, operations and readiness – the budget categories that enable the military to be and stay prepared.”