Are Savings Goals an Effective Tool for Managing the Pentagon?

July, 2019
IDA document: P-10777
FFRDC: Systems and Analyses Center
Type: Documents
Division: Strategy, Forces and Resources Division
Peter K. Levine See more authors
For decades, Pentagon leaders have sought to squeeze savings out of management improvements to free up money for weapon systems and military operations. It remains debatable, however, whether mandated savings requirement provide a helpful tool to drive defense management reform, or lead to mindless reductions that undermine critical warfighter support functions. In this article, Peter Levine argues that savings targets and budget reductions can be a useful driver for management reform, but only if they are based on a specific reform agenda and a thorough knowledge of what it can be expected to accomplish, rather than being established on the basis of wishful thinking.