- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 3, 2002

The military has slashed thousands of jobs at its various headquarters in Washington, saluting an order from Congress and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to make the Defense Department a leaner war machine.
But there are worries inside the department that the streamlining is driving seasoned pros away from top Pentagon jobs. The exodus comes as the services face two major tasks from President Bush: run the war on terrorism and transform the armed forces to fight new types of enemies.
Mr. Rumsfeld declared war on a top-heavy bureaucracy in a Sept. 10 speech, the day before hijacked airliners crashed into the Pentagon and World Trade Center, touching off the military's global war on terrorism. Nearly one year later, the 24-hour demands of that war have not prompted Mr. Rumsfeld, or Congress, to back down from a goal of 15 percent staff cuts.
The defense secretary has two objectives: cut uniformed positions to free up more desk jockeys for combat jobs, improving the so-called "tooth-to-tail" ratio; and streamline acquisition and policy decisions by reducing the number of bureaucrats stirring the pot.
There will be no net decrease in the number of department personnel, just a spreading of personnel from the top to operational units and field activities.
Mr. Rumsfeld's target in his "battle against bureaucracy" is what the Pentagon calls the major headquarters activities (MHA), comprising 63,300 jobs that are mostly in Washington.
The most recently available numbers show the Pentagon has trimmed MHA slots by 4,400, to 58,900, a cut of 7.5 percent, half of the defense secretary's 15 percent goal.
A Pentagon statement to The Washington Times said, "The secretary's 'battle against bureaucracy' will allow the department to target its scarce personnel resources toward the most critical operational requirements at the lowest possible organizational level."
Mr. Rumsfeld has not dictated which jobs should go away, leaving those decisions up to the services, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, defense agencies and combatant commands.
The Air Force said it has reduced the number of personnel at major headquarters by more than 1,500, and will cut 1,200 more spaces by 2004.
The Marine Corps has cut 420 jobs from headquarters in the Washington area.
The Navy could not provide comparable numbers, but Secretary Gordon England said in a letter to Mr. Rumsfeld that he has targeted 25 percent of his staff.
The Army has cut 940 slots among 7,000 Pentagon employees. By 2004, it also will have axed 700 of 7,000 Army agency positions and 900 of 13,000 jobs at major command headquarters.
"The Army has been working assiduously since [Army Secretary] Tom White took office to reduce its Pentagon staff, and now we're working on the major subordinate commands around the world," said Charles A. Krohn, an Army spokesman. "This is something the Army is very proud of. This is the first major structural reform of the Army since 1900."
Mr. Krohn said the Army has achieved reductions by combining civilian and uniformed officers with redundant missions into one unit, as Congress directed.
For example, the Army used to maintain two Pentagon offices for personnel, one run by an assistant secretary, the other by a three-star general. Now, the two offices are combined and work as one.
"What we looked for was redundant functions that had built up over the years, and eliminated the redundancy," Mr. Krohn said.
He said of the 940 eliminated positions, all but 42 employees have found new jobs in the government.
The slim-down is not sitting well with all Pentagon employees. They say the cuts have contributed to a low-morale problem in the defense secretary's policy shop, prompting meetings between Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, and his staff.
Officials also point to the case of Paul Schneider. A longtime Navy civilian employee, Mr. Schneider is considered one of its best authorities on shipbuilding and acquisition.
The Navy is eliminating all its principal deputy assistant Navy secretaries, a title Mr. Schneider holds in the acquisition shop. Rather than take a new position, Mr. Schneider is leaving to become the National Security Agency's top acquisition executive.
"The recent [Navy secretary]-directed reorganization has resulted in a situation whereby I would be better professionally doing something else outside the Department of Navy," Mr. Schneider said in an e-mail to colleagues.
An internal Navy document shows the research, development and acquisition branch is combining weapons offices and abolishing all deputy positions, starting this month.
Mr. Rumsfeld began his battle in a speech to Pentagon employees nearly one year ago.
"The topic today is an adversary that poses a threat, a serious threat, to the security of the United States of America," he said. "It's the Pentagon bureaucracy. Not the people, but the process. Not the civilians, but the systems. Not the men and women in uniform, but the uniformity of thought and action that we too often impose on them.
"We have so many general counsel offices that we actually have another general counsel's office whose job is to coordinate all those general counsels."


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