Will DOD implement the long-awaited series of management reforms that last year’s National Defense Strategy announced? Probably not.
The U.S. government’s Stabilization Assistance Review (SAR) framework provides an opportunity to clarify and streamline stabilization assistance, though implementation will require sustained leadership, an interagency roadmap, new processes, bureaucratic incentives, and a review of authorities and resources.
The DoD audit might be worthwhile if it succeeds in finding large amounts of waste and inefficiency. But it won’t and frankly can’t. The audit produced a number of useful findings related to internal controls for information technology and financial reporting. But are these alone sufficient to justify the entire time, effort, and money the audit consumed? Probably not.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed into law on February 9, is in many ways a victory for defense hawks in Congress and the administration. It increases defense funding by $165 billion over the next two years—the most that anyone could have reasonably expected. But defense hawks shouldn’t start popping the champagne corks just yet. While this deal may ease the budget pressures on the Department of Defense (DoD) for now, it comes with many risks—namely that policymakers will lose interest in much needed defense reforms and squander much of the additional funding.
CSIS hosted a roundtable discussion on the prospects for rationalizing the Department of Defense’s real property assets in a strategic context. These experts from across the political spectrum and with widely divergent views on national security nevertheless agreed that some process for base closure and realignment was needed. They also discussed how any future base closure and realignment process needed to learn from the past, to be fair to the local communities, and to accommodate congressional concerns.