Washington, D.C. — DOD is open to new ways of doing business and community leaders should continue to reach out to officials at the installation level with ideas for partnerships or other ways of providing mission support. That was the overarching message John Gibson II, the Pentagon’s first chief management officer, delivered during a question-and-answer session Tuesday at the Defense Communities National Summit.
Under the current administration, the department has shown a willingness to do things differently as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has pressed senior leaders to look for creative and innovative approaches to carrying out their responsibilities. And that receptiveness to new ideas from communities and the private sector has permeated to the local level, Gibson said. He urged communities to persist in their efforts to engage installation officials. “Keep doing what you’re doing,” he said. “You have a more fertile environment than I think we’ve ever seen.”
There are tremendous opportunities for communities to support neighboring installations on functions related to facilities, Gibson said, but local leaders shouldn’t limit their engagement to such issues. The department could benefit from input regarding its core mission of national security as well.
ADC Vice President Joe Driskill, who moderated the session, started by asking Gibson about some of the specific reform initiatives he is pursuing. As chief management officer, Gibson’s primary duty is reforming DOD’s business operations. He is focusing on business activities that are common throughout the department which could be carried out more efficiently, such as real property management. To streamline those activities, a team will look at excess capacity and services contracting, Gibson said. The department also will look to other federal agencies, including the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration, to identify better approaches to managing its real property.