Plans to reorganize the office of the Secretary of Defense in flux

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Elizabeth Field, acting director of defense capabilities & management at GAO, discusses the Pentagon’s efforts to create a chief management officer, and the unanswered questions surrounding the role.


The Department of Defense is reorganizing their leadership. A provision in the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act requires a chief management officer to take over some functions at the Pentagon. While the Government Accountability Office has been pushing for the position for several years, Elizabeth Field, acting director of defense capabilities & management at GAO, says that there are still undecided elements of the role.

 

“The department has taken some steps to establish the CMO. First and most importantly they did establish the office of the CMO. That office has taken important steps such as reorganizing to align with responsibilities under the law. They have hired a new chief data officer, which is important because the CMO is responsible for providing common usable defense-wide data sets. That said, there are number of key unresolved questions that we identified related to the CMO’s authorities that the department has yet to answer and until those questions are answered, the way in which the CMO is to affect change at the department is going to remain unclear and potentially hampered.”