Carter: Logistics Community Must Do More With Less

COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 29, 2011 — The Defense Department’s bud­get land­scape is chang­ing, but the logis­tics com­mu­ni­ty must con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing U.S. troops the best pos­si­ble sup­port while find­ing effi­cien­cies and cut­ting costs, the Pentagon’s top logis­tics offi­cial said here yes­ter­day.

Defense logis­tics’ top pri­or­i­ty always will be pro­vid­ing the best pos­si­ble sup­port to warfight­ers in the field, Ash­ton B. Carter, under­sec­re­tary of defense for acqui­si­tions, tech­nol­o­gy and logis­tics, told atten­dees at the 2011 Defense Logis­tics Agency Indus­try Con­fer­ence and Exhibition. 

Carter said he’d just returned from an eight-day trip to Afghanistan where he focused on rapid acqui­si­tion sup­port, con­tract­ing and logis­tics. DLA accom­plished a “true mir­a­cle” in sup­port­ing the troop surge into Afghanistan last year, he said, and it now must focus on ensur­ing the force there remains capa­ble as troops withdraw. 

“Our over­all objec­tive must be to make the force there, which is going to be some­what small­er over the next year, nev­er­the­less more capa­ble than the force that has been in Afghanistan this past year,” Carter said. 

To ensure forces in Afghanistan remain capa­ble, the defense logis­tics com­mu­ni­ty is look­ing at sev­er­al ini­tia­tives, such as pro­vid­ing more enabling tech­nolo­gies to enhance intel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and recon­nais­sance and counter explo­sives. They also are look­ing at pro­vid­ing more reach-back capa­bil­i­ty as a sub­sti­tute for mil­i­tary sup­port on the ground, and strength­en­ing Afghan secu­ri­ty forces so they can take on more responsibility. 

DOD also is focus­ing on build­ing up logis­tics in Afghanistan to elim­i­nate trans­porta­tion costs, and ensure con­tract­ing mon­ey is spent respon­si­bly there with a focus on its effect on local Afghan com­mu­ni­ties and cul­ture, Carter said. 

While sup­port for warfight­ers in Afghanistan and oth­er areas around the world is the first pri­or­i­ty for the defense logis­tics com­mu­ni­ty, logis­ti­cians also must focus on the chang­ing bud­get land­scape and find ways to increase effi­cien­cy while main­tain­ing per­for­mance, Carter said. 

“Two things are clear,” he said. “First, we’re not going to have the ever-increas­ing bud­gets of the post‑9/11 decade. This is going to feel very dif­fer­ent to a group of gov­ern­ment and indus­try man­agers and con­gres­sion­al over­seers who have grown accus­tomed to a cir­cum­stance in which they could always reach for more mon­ey when they encoun­tered a man­age­r­i­al or tech­ni­cal prob­lem or a dif­fi­cult choice. Those days are gone for all of us. 

“The sec­ond thing is, the pres­i­dent, the sec­re­tary of defense, and the tax­pay­er are going to expect us to make every dol­lar we do get count,” he added. 

About $400 bil­lion of the $700 bil­lion defense bud­get is spent on con­tract­ed goods and ser­vices, Carter said, and the defense logis­tics com­mu­ni­ty is look­ing at how to reduce costs. The depart­ment already has made cuts by elim­i­nat­ing under­per­form­ing or unnec­es­sary pro­grams like a new pres­i­den­tial heli­copter and the Army’s Future Com­bat Sys­tem, he said, and now it must find ways to reduce costs in oth­er areas. 

“If you’re real­ly going to deal with a cir­cum­stance in which you want to have the same capa­bil­i­ty or as much mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ty as we can, [then] just as we’re try­ing to do in Afghanistan, in the bud­get as a whole, you have to look at every­where we’re spend­ing mon­ey and try to get bet­ter val­ue every­where that we’re spend­ing mon­ey,” Carter said. 

Of the $400 bil­lion spent on con­tract­ed goods and ser­vices, about $100 bil­lion goes to procur­ing weapons sys­tems and $200 bil­lion goes to ser­vices, Carter said. Also, for every 30 cents the depart­ment spends on buy­ing some­thing, it spends 70 cents main­tain­ing it. 

When it comes to con­tract­ing ser­vices, the depart­ment is improv­ing prac­tices to get bet­ter val­ue, uni­fy­ing efforts, improv­ing require­ments, and tak­ing advan­tage of com­pe­ti­tion, Carter said. Offi­cials also are look­ing to save mon­ey by sus­tain­ing exist­ing sys­tems, such as the F‑22 Rap­tor fight­er and the C‑17 trans­port plane, and find­ing how to best man­age those costs while look­ing ahead to future sys­tems and plan­ning for their total own­er­ship cost, Carter said. 

The F‑35 Joint Strike Fight­er is a prime exam­ple, he said, because it is the department’s largest and most expen­sive pro­gram and one that will be around a long time. 

“To the extent that we can do it, we are plan­ning now and man­ag­ing now to not only have an afford­able air­craft to acquire, which is also a chal­lenge, but also an afford­able air­craft to own when we do get it,” he said. 

The depart­ment looks to save mon­ey while main­tain­ing qual­i­ty sup­port and look­ing for improve­ments and inno­va­tions, Carter said. He added that small busi­ness­es will be an impor­tant part­ner because they offer a con­stant source of renew­al and inno­va­tion, increase com­pe­ti­tion, and make valu­able con­tri­bu­tions in the cus­tomer ser­vice area. 

“A strong, tech­no­log­i­cal­ly vibrant and finan­cial­ly suc­cess­ful defense indus­try is in the nation­al inter­est,” he said. “We need, col­lec­tive­ly, to be stew­ards of that indus­try so it remains vibrant for the future.” 

There is no doubt that increased effi­cien­cy is the way of the future for DOD and the gov­ern­ment as a whole, Carter said, and the defense logis­tics com­mu­ni­ty is work­ing to adapt while ensur­ing America’s mil­i­tary receives the best sup­port possible. 

“The world’s chang­ing; the bud­get land­scape is chang­ing,” Carter said. “We in DOD are try­ing to change. I know industry’s chang­ing also. The only thing that does­n’t change, and I saw again and again last week in Afghanistan, is the ded­i­ca­tion and qual­i­ty of the men and women in uni­form, and we owe them our best ded­i­ca­tion back.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →