By Scott Maucione

April 6, 2016

… But Brian Clark of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments also thinks DoD needs to go further in its reforms. One of the biggest critiques of Carter’s agenda was the lack of acquisition reform. Carter said he wants to change the DAB, which provides a senior advisory role on acquisition decisions and he wants to reduce some paperwork requirements. Clark said that overlooks one of the main acquisition issues in defense, which is the development of requirements for new weapons. Clark said it takes two years of analysis to establish a set of requirements for a new program. That’s just to create the basic specifications a weapons system needs to meet. That process was created by Goldwater-Nichols. “How fast does it need to go, how big an explosion does it need to cause, how high does it need to fly, all those kinds of things,” Clark said. Using that super-analytical approach for every system from an F-22 to a simple handgun can make the process lengthy and unwieldy. “We end up with a program that is extended, delayed and costs more in the end,” Clark said…

Carter said each geographic command was too valuable to lose and redundancies could be found without changes in command structure .Clark said he was disappointed that Cater put the kibosh on consolidation. “If this was GM or this was Google, one of the things you would look at if you were trying to become more efficient would be to address overhead and make the organization more flat. Well, a large number of combatant commands is an example of where it’s not flat,” Clark said. “If you look at how the services are structured underneath those combatant commands, they’re usually all combined.” Clark said the services under U.S. Africa Command and U.S. European Command are combined. For example, the Navy commander of Navy AFRICOM is also the commander of Navy EUCOM. “If everything under the combatant commanders is combined, what’s the value of having the combatant commanders? It just creates an overhead that is probably unnecessary,” Clark said. So, why didn’t Carter go bold in his reforms? Clark said part of the reason Carter may not have gone full throttle on overhaul plans is because he is wrapping up his final months in office. “I think part of it is because he’s a lame duck,” Clark said. “And maybe one factor involved there is Congress has been working a lot on acquisition reform and Carter doesn’t want to get crosswise with [Sen. John] McCain or [Rep. Mac] Thornberry on their acquisition reform efforts by going too heavy in regard to what he is proposing.” The Armed Services Committees are expected to come out with the defense authorization bill in the next month, which will have reforms of their own. Clark said Carter is signaling to Congress what issues are important for that bill…

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