Former Air Force Secretary Michael Donley to lead Pentagon's drive for efficiencies

Tuesday - 8/27/2013, 4:48pm EDT

Former Air Force Secretary Michael Donley has a new job: Help the Defense Department cut its headquarters budget by $40 billion over the next 10 years and streamline the Pentagon's organizational structure.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter revealed in internal guidance Monday that Donley, who stepped down from the Air Force in June after serving in the top spot for nearly five years, would lead the efficiencies review. The Pentagon made a formal announcement Tuesday.

Michael Donley

In a press briefing last month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he planned to implement a new round of cost-saving efficiencies to be led by an expert from outside DoD "who is deeply knowledgeable about the defense enterprise and eminently qualified."

Donley's cost-cutting mission will be two-fold.

First, he'll be tasked with reducing headquarters budgets by 20 percent, including Hagel's office, the Joint Staff and service headquarters. In addition to the actual budget reductions, DoD guidance is aiming for a concomitant 20 percent reduction in civilian and military headquarters personnel.

Donley is also tasked with overhauling the Pentagon's organizational structure — reducing the number of positions that report directly to the defense secretary as well as consolidating and eliminating positions.

The latest efficiencies plan was included as part of the department's Strategic Choices and Management Review, which laid out options for how DoD would cope with across-the-board budget sequestration beyond next fiscal year.

Hagel said last month the proposed efficiency savings "should be pursued regardless of fiscal circumstances." However, he acknowledged that even the most aggressive costs savings would be only a fraction of the massive reductions required if the automatic cuts continue unabated.

RELATED STORIES:

Air Force Secretary Donley to step down

Hagel lays out options for dealing with sequestration beyond 2014