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CHIPS Articles: Provide for the Common Defense, new DoD report

Provide for the Common Defense, new DoD report
By CHIPS Magazine - October-December 2018
Defense Secretary James Mattis writes in a preamble to the Provide for the Common Defense report that: “The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 enabled the Department of Defense (DoD) to continue rebuilding the U.S. military after years of destructive budget cuts. In a time of competing priorities, Congress demonstrated political courage to ensure America’s sentinels remain the combat-credible military force we need to deter war and guarantee the President and our diplomats always negotiate from a position of strength.”

Secretary Mattis pledges to spend these funds responsibly and promises that every decision DoD makes will be focused on lethality and affordability.

The report highlights how DoD investments over the last 18 months directly support the 2018 National Defense Strategy’s three lines of effort:

• Restoring readiness and building a more lethal force;
• Strengthening existing alliances while building new partnerships abroad; and
• Reforming and modernizing our Department for greater affordability, accountability, and performance.

While the report articulates the nation’s primary challenge is the great power competition with Russia and China, enduring challenges include North Korea, Iran and violent extremist organizations.

The report outlines how DoD is investing in the technologies that will increase the lethality of both the current and future force, ensuring the U.S. military continues to defend America’s interests.

The Department is investing heavily in weapons systems such as the Ford-class aircraft carrier, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, while also modernizing weapons systems like the Abrams Main Battle Tank, F/A-18 combat jet, and the B-52 strategic bomber, hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence and more , to prevail in today’s fight. “To ensure the Department can obtain the equipment and supplies it needs in the event of conflict, DoD is investing in a stable and efficient defense industrial base by expanding the production capacity of precision-guided munitions and shipbuilding facilities, and supporting a sustainable national defense industrial base workforce.”

Other top efforts include keeping the U.S. Nuclear Deterrent credible, fortifying missile defense and expanding the Fleet. “The Navy invested $23.8 billion in critical shipbuilding programs to begin increasing the fleet size to 355 ships. The 2018 budget procured 13 battle force ships, including one aircraft carrier, three littoral combat ships, two submarines, two destroyers, one amphibious assault ship, and four auxiliary ships. These investments support a stable and efficient defense industrial base that encourages industry investment in capital improvements, capital expansion, and a properly sized world-class workforce,” the report says.

Strengthening existing alliances and attracting new partners is a stated goal, as well as improved burden sharing to deter Russia, annihilating ISIS in Iraq and Syria and working towards the final, fully-verified denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The report acknowledges that U.S. service members and civilian employees “are the bedrock of American military might, and are the Department’s most important asset. Over 2.9 million people, whether in uniform or as civilian employees, serve in DoD carrying out the 2018 National Defense Strategy and increasing lethality and capabilities to operate in new threat domains. DoD is adding more than 20,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines to fill the Department’s most critical skill gaps inherited from its years under the funding caps. DoD is also adapting its professional military education as an investment in strategic and warfighting excellence.”

At the direction of and with support from Congress, DoD made two important organization reforms.

In early 2018, the Department executed its most significant restructure in 30 years, dividing the Under Secretary of Defense (USD) for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics into the USD for Acquisition and Sustainment (A&S) and USD for Research and Engineering (R&E).

USD (A&S) increased lethality and readiness while enhancing global relationships and cooperation by reforming key pieces of the Foreign Military Sales process and accelerating sales through pilot programs with Romania, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain.

USD (R&E) created a new modernization “Road to Dominance” that is pushing advances and increased investment in nine priority areas including hypersonics, space, and fully networked communications.

The Office of the Chief Management Officer reorganized to meet new roles and responsibilities by running the enterprise-wide Reform Management Group and transforming business operations. These efforts will increase organizational effectiveness through management of shared services, delivery of business data, and improving the coordination and outputs of the Department’s 28 agencies.

DoD is actively identifying opportunities to make the Department a smarter customer and a more effective enterprise through:

  • improved maintenance and sustainment of America’s warfighting capability;
  • reduced overhead to enhance lethality;
  • greater enterprise-wide efficiencies; and
  • increased performance at the speed of relevance.

The report states that this continuous reform is realizing operational and financial benefits through the innovation in nine lines of business: contract management; healthcare; logistics and supply chain; information technology; financial management; human resources; real property; test and evaluation; and community services.

Reform examples include:

  • Achieving $1.61 billion in benefits by implementing private sector best practices in purchasing goods and services contracts in the Air Force and Defense Agencies.
  • Saving $297 million to date through commercial IT solutions, Department-wide network management, and optimized data centers.
  • Improving patient care and medical readiness by consolidating four healthcare enterprises into one, which when combined with other reforms will save more than $2.5 billion by 2023.

In addition to business reform, in December 2017, DoD started its first-ever consolidated financial statement audit, the largest and most complex financial audit ever. The audit will cover roughly $2.6 trillion in assets and touch every mission and line of business in the Department. While DoD has undertaken numerous program and contract cost audits, a financial statement audit is comprehensive and occurs annually. The Department will post audit results for the public to review starting November 15th, and annually thereafter.

The report promises innovation to ensure the security of the next generation of Americans. “DoD’s long history of technological innovation has delivered unmatched competitive advantages over potential adversaries. These military advantages, however, are eroding in the face of emerging threats, which necessitates continued and focused investment in national defense.”

Today’s science and technology investments are the foundation for future breakthroughs, creating affordable, decisive advantages, while prototyping and experimentation activities will help drive down risk.

In the closing paragraph of the report, DoD reaffirms its unwavering commitment to the nation’s “warfighters that stand watch over friends, families, neighbors, and the nation they have sworn to protect. Though this document is focused on investments in lethality and modernization to support the warfighter, the Department continues to invest in initiatives and facilities for our service members and their families. We are grateful for their dedication and service to our country.”

At a news conference at the close of a NATO defense ministers conference at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis assured NATO’s friends and adversaries that the alliance’s unity and momentum will be up to the task in meeting the threats of today’s world. DoD photo. Oct. 4, 2018
At a news conference at the close of a NATO defense ministers conference at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis assured NATO’s friends and adversaries that the alliance’s unity and momentum will be up to the task in meeting the threats of today’s world. DoD photo. Oct. 4, 2018
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