Almost three years after rolling out efficiency measures purportedly worth more than $178 billion over five years, the Defense Department has to yet to devise a uniform approach for assessing the effects, the Government Accountability Office concluded in a newly released review.
While the military services and Special Operations Command have taken steps to evaluate some of initiatives, “those efforts have largely occurred on an ad hoc basis,” the review found. “As a result, DoD lacks a systematic basis for evaluating the impact of its efficiency initiatives on improving program efficiency or effectiveness.”
In a written response, Monique Dilworth, operations director for the undersecretary of defense, said the Pentagon agreed with recommendations to have the services and SOCOM develop performance measures and other indicators. But while DoD plans to continue refining department-wide procedures for achieving those goals, Dilworth added, it also wants to avoid costly and redundant oversight. Accordingly, the Pentagon will stop tracking initiatives once they have been implemented, she said, and carry out detailed monitoring only when the information “will help us manage more effectively.”
The initiatives, unveiled as part of the department’s fiscal 2012 budget request, were supposed to reduce spending by more than $178 billion through 2016. About $100 billion of that amount was supposed to come from the services and SOCOM via inventory reductions, program reorganizations and other measures.
The DoD deputy chief managment officer’s office has previously declined to release quarterly reviews on implementation of the intiatives; a Freedom of Information Act request for the records filed by Federal Times has been pending for two years.