Key Issues > Duplication & Cost Savings > GAO's Action Tracker > DOD Headquarters Reductions and Workforce Requirements (2015-14)
defense icon, source: [West Covina, California] Progressive Management, 2008

Defense: DOD Headquarters Reductions and Workforce Requirements (2015-14)

The Department of Defense could potentially achieve hundreds of millions of dollars in cost savings and help to ensure that headquarters organizations are properly sized to meet their assigned missions by periodically reassessing workforce requirements as it re-evaluates its ongoing headquarters-reduction efforts.

Action:

To improve the management of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) headquarters-reduction efforts and to allow the department to respond to congressional reporting requirements, the Secretary of Defense should re-evaluate the decision to focus reductions on management headquarters.

Progress:

DOD has met the intent of GAO’s 2014 recommendation to reevaluate its decision to focus reductions on management headquarters alone. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 required DOD to implement a plan to achieve not less than $10 billion in cost savings from its headquarters, administrative, and support activities from fiscal year 2015 through fiscal year 2019. In response to this mandate and consistent with GAO’s recommendation, DOD identified four categories of efficiency-related initiatives in addition to major headquarters activities: service requirement review boards, information technology optimization, business operations improvements, and defense resale optimization. In comments on a subsequent GAO report on headquarters-related efficiencies, DOD noted that its reduction efforts had expanded beyond headquarters activities. Although the department was not able to identify the required $10 billion in savings through fiscal year 2019 and its estimate of savings was not reliable, its efforts to broaden the scope of reductions beyond management headquarters will nonetheless support DOD’s efforts to achieve overhead savings.  

Implementing Entity:

Department of Defense

Action:

To improve the management of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) headquarters-reduction efforts and to allow the department to respond to congressional reporting requirements, the Secretary of Defense should set a clearly defined and consistently applied starting point as a baseline for the reductions.

Progress:

GAO is no longer assessing this action separately, as it was consolidated under Action 9 in the 2012 Area 34 Defense Headquarters Action Tracker area. 

Implementing Entity:

Department of Defense

Action:

To improve the management of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) headquarters-reduction efforts and to allow the department to respond to congressional reporting requirements, the Secretary of Defense should track reductions against the baselines in order to provide reliable accounting of savings and reporting to Congress.

Progress:

GAO is no longer assessing this action separately, as it was consolidated under Action 10 in the 2012 Area 34 Defense Headquarters Action Tracker area. 

Implementing Entity:

Department of Defense

Action:

To ensure that Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Joint Staff, and the military secretariats and staff are properly sized to meet their assigned missions and use the most cost-effective mix of personnel, and to better position the Department of Defense (DOD) to identify opportunities for more efficient use of resources, the Secretary of Defense should conduct a systematic determination of workforce requirements for these organizations, which should include an analysis of mission, functions, and tasks, and the minimum personnel needed to accomplish those missions, functions, and tasks.

Progress:

GAO is no longer assessing this action separately, as it was consolidated under Action 11 in the 2012 Area 34 Defense Headquarters Action Tracker area. 

Implementing Entity:

Department of Defense

Action:

To ensure that Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Joint Staff, and the military secretariats and staff are properly sized to meet their assigned missions and use the most cost-effective mix of personnel, and to better position the Department of Defense (DOD) to identify opportunities for more efficient use of resources, the Secretary of Defense should establish and implement procedures to conduct periodic reassessments of workforce requirements.

Progress:

GAO is no longer assessing this action separately, as it was consolidated under Action 12 in the 2012 Area 34 Defense Headquarters Action Tracker area. 

Implementing Entity:

Department of Defense
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    • John H. Pendleton
    • Director, Defense Capabilities and Management
    • pendletonj@gao.gov
    • (202) 512-3489