Among the cuts announced at an Aug. 9 news conference by Defense Secretary Robert Gates was the elimination of the Business Transformation Agency, founded in 2006. (Thomas Brown / Staff)
A Defense Department agency created four years ago to foster efficiency is now on the chopping block as part of an efficiency drive.
At a Pentagon news conference on Monday afternoon, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Business Transformation Agency has become duplicative. Formally established in 2006 "to foster the reform and modernization of this department's business practices," BTA since then, "has shifted more of its focus to day-to-day oversight of individual acquisition programs, a function that can be performed by a number of other organizations," Gates said.
In addition, he said, BTA's mission has largely been assigned legislatively to other parts of DoD. As a result, the agency, which he said employs about 360 people with a $340 million annual budget, will be eliminated and the bulk of its responsibilities shifted to the department's deputy chief management officer.
A BTA representative did not immediately respond to e-mailed questions from Federal Times regarding Gates' announcement.
Gates said he also planned to ax the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration and recommend the closure of U.S. Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va. Those two moves were urged last month by the Defense Business Board, an independent advisory panel in response to Gates' charge to find about $101 billion in waste and overhead over five years that could be spent on other things.
All three organizations would be closed within the next six to 12 months, Gates said. Consequently, he added, "a substantial number of full-time employees will have to find other positions or no longer work for" the Defense Department.