The White House on Tuesday threatened to veto the Senate version of the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill over dozens of provisions, but focused its criticism on the measure’s effort to reorganize the Pentagon.
“Reorganizing DOD without careful study and consideration would undermine the department’s ability to continue to carry out its national security functions, and comes at a dangerous time, with U.S. forces deployed across the globe, including as part of the Counter-ISIL campaign and NATO mission in Afghanistan,” the Office of Management and Budget’s Statement of Administration Policy said.
The administration singled out language which would eliminate the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, and assign its duties to multiple officials, including an undersecretary for management support, reported the Hill.
“These changes would roll back the acquisition reforms of the last two decades and risk returning the department to an era in which overly optimistic cost estimates, inadequate system engineering and developmental testing, inappropriate reliance on immature technologies, ineffective contractor management, and lack of focus on life-cycle costs by the military departments led to explosive cost growth and the failure of multiple major defense acquisition programs,” according to the statement.
The White House also criticized provisions imposing new restrictions on the size of the civilian and contractor workforces for DOD headquarters, as the department already is carrying out a plan to trim the size of its headquarters by 25 percent by FY 2020.
“The department believes that the imposition of additional limitations on subcategories of headquarters and the revival of old and inconsistent headquarters definitions would add unnecessary bureaucratic requirements, further complicate the mission of reducing headquarters, and reduce the department’s capacity to respond to emergent mission changes and requirements,” OMB stated.
The statement also slammed the defense policy bill, S. 2943, for rejecting the administration’s request to hold a new BRAC round in 2019.
“Maintaining excess infrastructure is costly and wasteful, and it deprives the department of the ability to reallocate scarce resources to address readiness, modernization, and other national security requirements,” OMB said.
As it has in recent years, the White House blasted restrictions on transferring detainees at Guantánamo Bay to the United States.
The Senate began debating the authorization bill Monday with the goal of finishing its work by Friday.