Audit Questions Savings in Plan to Cut Strategic Command, Other Staffs

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel passes the Strategic Command flag to Navy Adm. Cecil Haney during a change-of-command ceremony in 2013. A recent congressional audit has found that a Pentagon plan to reduce the number of senior staff assigned to the nuclear-weapons command and other military headquarters might not result in significant cost savings.
National Journal
Rachel Oswald
June 30, 2014, 9:23 a.m.

A Pentagon plan to cut costs by re­du­cing seni­or staff at Stra­tegic Com­mand and oth­er mil­it­ary headquar­ters may not pro­duce sig­ni­fic­ant sav­ings, an audit says.

De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel last year ordered across-the-board re­duc­tions of 20 per­cent of the budget of all mil­it­ary com­mand headquar­ters. Con­gress dir­ec­ted its Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­ab­il­ity Of­fice to ex­am­ine the ef­fects of those dir­ec­ted cuts on the Pentagon’s three “func­tion­al com­pon­ent com­mands,” which are Stra­tegic Com­mand, Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Com­mand and Trans­port­a­tion Com­mand.

In find­ings re­leased last Thursday, the ana­lysts said that lim­it­ing cuts to just those per­son­nel in man­age­ment roles at the com­mand or­gan­iz­a­tions would po­ten­tially ex­clude from con­sid­er­a­tion more than 75 per­cent of the headquar­ters po­s­i­tions.

In their 73-page re­port, aud­it­ors “found that less than a quarter of the po­s­i­tions at the func­tion­al com­batant com­mands are con­sidered to be man­age­ment headquar­ters even though many po­s­i­tions ap­pear to be per­form­ing man­age­ment headquar­ters func­tions such as plan­ning, budget­ing and de­vel­op­ing policies.”

The GAO of­fi­cials con­cluded the Pentagon does not have “a clear or ac­cur­ate ac­count­ing of the re­sources be­ing de­voted to man­age­ment headquar­ters to use as a start­ing point to track re­duc­tions,” in part be­cause it re­lies on self-re­por­ted data from the com­mands, which can be in­con­sist­ent.

Stra­tegic Com­mand is re­spons­ible for de­tect­ing and de­ter­ring stra­tegic at­tacks against the United States and its al­lies. The Neb­raska-based com­mand has com­bat re­spons­ib­il­ity over all U.S. bal­list­ic mis­sile sub­mar­ines, nuc­le­ar-cap­able bombers and in­ter­con­tin­ent­al bal­list­ic mis­siles.

Cur­rently headed by Adm. Cecil Haney, the com­mand in fisc­al 2013 spent $623.4 mil­lion sup­port­ing its headquar­ters op­er­a­tions, which cov­er ser­vice com­pon­ent com­mands such as Air Force Glob­al Strike Com­mand; co­ordin­at­ing cen­ters such as the Cen­ter for Com­bat­ing Weapons of Mass De­struc­tion; and one sub-uni­fied com­mand — Cy­ber Com­mand, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. Com­par­at­ively, less than $200 mil­lion was spent in fisc­al 2001 on STRAT­COM headquar­ters activ­it­ies.

The nuc­le­ar com­mand also has seen the num­ber of mil­it­ary and ci­vil­ian per­son­nel as­signed to it and its sub-com­mands bal­loon in re­cent years, rising from few­er than 2,000 people in fisc­al 2001 to a total of 4,466 au­thor­ized po­s­i­tions in fisc­al 2013.

Much of that re­cent growth can be at­trib­uted to the cre­ation in 2009 of Glob­al Strike Com­mand, which was es­tab­lished to ad­dress short­com­ings in the Air Force’s man­age­ment of its nuc­le­ar bomber and ICBM mis­sions. The ser­vice com­pon­ent com­mand had just un­der 600 mil­it­ary and ci­vil­ian per­son­nel as­signed to it in the last fisc­al year.

The Pentagon par­tially agreed with the con­gres­sion­al aud­it­ors’ re­com­mend­a­tion that it re­con­sider its de­cision to fo­cus mil­it­ary com­mand cuts to just man­age­ment po­s­i­tions at headquar­ters. At the same time, the de­part­ment ar­gued the re­com­mend­a­tion fell out­side the scope of the GAO re­view man­date, which was to ex­am­ine the re­sources and per­son­nel as­signed to the three func­tion­al com­mands.

What We're Following See More »
GOOGLE SEARCHES SPIKE
Libertarians Getting a Second Look?
3 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
VEEPSTAKES
Trump Floats Gingrich, Kasich as Running Mates
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

Newt Gringrich is actively positioning himself as a possible VP nominee for Donald Trump, according to National Review. After a New York Times piece mentioned him as a possible running mate, he said, "It is an honor to be mentioned. We need a new Contract with America to outline a 100-day plan to take back Washington from the lobbyists, bureaucrats, unions, and leftists. After helping in 1980 with Reagan and 1995 as speaker I know we have to move boldly and decisively before the election results wear off and the establishment starts fighting us. That is my focus." Meanwhile, Trump told CNN he'd be "interested in vetting" John Kasich as well.

NO MORE CUTS
House Dems Push on Puerto Rico, Citing Zika
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

"House Democrats are stepping up pressure on Republicans to advance legislation addressing Puerto Rico’s worsening debt crisis by issuing a report arguing that austerity cuts can’t be sustained and have made the island more vulnerable to the mosquito-borne Zika virus." Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee released a report yesterday that argued "further sharp reductions in government spending can’t be a part of a legislative solution"—especially with a rainy season boosting the mosquito population and stressing an island health system already struggling to deal with the Zika virus.

Source:
USING LOCAL CELLS
Clapper: ISIS Can Stage Attacks in U.S.
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"ISIS has the capability to stage a Paris-style attack in the U.S. using local cells to strike in multiple locations and inflict dozens of casualties, according to the Obama administration's top U.S. intelligence official." Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN's Peter Bergen that such a scenario is "something we worry about a lot in the United States, that they could conjure up a raid like they did in Paris or Brussels."

Source:
WILL ANNOUNCE PICK BEFORE CONVENTION
Trump to Name VP Search Committee
6 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Donald J. Trump said on Wednesday that he expected to reveal his vice presidential pick sometime in July—before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland—but added that he would soon announce a committee to handle the selection process, which would include Dr. Ben Carson." He said he's inclined to name a traditional political figure, unlike himself.

Source:
×