Pentagon Study Identified Billions in Potential Savings

Issue Brief
Monday, December 12, 2016

Many politicians, including the president-elect, have focused their efforts to improve federal finances on the elimination of waste, fraud and abuse. While such reforms would be woefully insufficient to address the nation’s broader fiscal challenges, a 2015 report uncovered last week suggests there remains ample opportunity to save money in the Department of Defense.

The 2015 report, which was produced by a task force of corporate executives and consultants known as the Defense Advisory Board, identified reforms to the Pentagon’s bureaucracy that could have saved $125 billion over five years. The board said the savings could have been achieved without laying off any federal employees or compromising military capability.

It is important, however, that policymakers not let this one report obscure the need for greater reforms throughout the federal budget. Even if the report’s recommendations were implemented in their entirety, $125 billion would only be enough to reduce the federal budget deficit by 4 percent over the next five years.