Pentagon chief declares new war on bureaucracy

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Monday declared a war on bureaucracy in the Pentagon, saying he wants to combine some civilian and military staffs, cut duplicate positions in the military services and shift some jobs to the private sector.

In a Pentagon speech, Rumsfeld gave few specifics but said the changes are vital to saving every penny for modernizing the nation's military. The secretary argued that a bloated bureaucracy is nothing less than an adversary posing a serious security threat.

The Defense Department is composed of 1.4 million active duty men and women in uniform, another million in the National Guard and Reserves and about some 659,000 civilian employees.

"Today we declare war on bureaucracy, not people, but processes," Rumsfeld said, arguing the campaign is aimed at shifting "Pentagon resources from the tail to the tooth."

Rumsfeld gave no specific numbers for his vision of consolidation and savings in the Pentagon's $300 billion-plus budget.

The secretary pointed out that the Army, Navy and Air Force each have a general counsel's office, and that another exists to coordinate them all; that three separate commissary and exchanges systems exist to purchase supplies for the services.

Each service also has a separate public affairs office and liaison organization to deal with Congress, he added.

"I have a feeling we don't need as many as we have," he said.

He said it was silly for the Defense Department to have its own employees doing payroll paperwork and housecleaning services that could be better done by the private sector.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: