Department of Miss-Defense — What Needs Fixing

Department of Miss-DefenseI am absolutely sick of the news today.  Being a retired Air Force member, it kills me to see the constant erosion of benefits for retired and current service members.  If you haven’t been watching, you better start waking up.  The bigger news is the regular lack of a balanced budget from Congress, Sequestration, Government Shut Downs…it seems to go on and on.

I, being who I am, like to blame Congress and specifically the Administration.

However, the real blame, especially for the Military budget and financial woes rests squarely on the Department of Miss-Defense.

Yep, that’s right, you may not have ever heard about this super secret and extremely covert military organization, but many of the senior military leadership (military and civilian) work for this department and don’t even know it.

Day-in and day-out the same people complain about the same things I do– Congress and the Administration.

The problem is, they’re doing it to themselves.

Step back and take a look at our military machine–the Department of Defense.  What if I told you that, because of its design, its fraught with waste and redundancy.  I mean waste and redundancy that is so big you could pilot a Carrier Group through it.

If the Military–specifically the leadership–really cared about reducing their bottom line and not taking it out of the promised benefits to veterans or future benefits that will destroy the all volunteer force, they need only open their eyes.

Today every single military branch, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard have redundant support services that help keep the military engine running.  Things like information technology, human resources, transportation, and logistics.  For the most part, these support services do the exact same thing.  The only real difference is HOW they do it.  This redundancy of effort across the branches has created bloated organizational fiefdoms within each branch that drain on the military might we desire to prosecute war with.

Want to fix Miss-Defense?

Eliminate the support services from the branches and create one support service department.  Throw out all the antiquated systems and approaches and create one that supports all the branches.  A large portion of it can be immediately outsourced and another large part civilianized, leaving the military part for deployment requirements.

This would significantly reduce the Tail in the Tooth-to-Tail ratio that the military is always concerned about.

Won’t work you tell me…Bull!

Take a look at Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) and tell me it won’t work.  They’ve already done it.  As a matter of fact, I would build this support department off of DFAS and eliminate DFAS–it’s just another support service.

This is only the start.  There are many other support type roles that I’m not even mentioning, like planning, military equipment (land, air, marine, and space) maintenance, public affairs, etc.  The list is long.

What I propose is a complete reengineering of the Department of Miss-Defense.  The branches focus on delivering the military might and all support services focus on supporting the delivery of that military might under one department.

Part of the reason Joint Forces Command even exists is to coordinate this support–let them focus on simply coordinating the offense and leave the support to the expert.

Think of the reductions in cost and the developments in effectiveness and innovation if you went this route?


About johnrknotts
John Knotts is a results-oriented business professional leader, manager, and supervisor with experience from the military, small business, several nonprofits, and is currently a management consultant. Working out of the San Antonio, Texas, he retired from the Air Force in July 2008 and worked with Booz Allen Hamilton from the end of October 2008 to December 2011. Now he is a Strategic Business Adviser with USAA. John leads large and small strategic transformations and has extensive experience in the areas of change management, strategic planning, process improvement, strategic communication and marketing, strategic human capital and resource management, education and training, facilitation, organizational design and development, modeling and simulation, financial and budget analysis, activity based costing and management, quality management, competitive sourcing and privatization, leadership development, and business development.

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