When U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper launched a review this summer of the departmentwide offices known as the “fourth estate,” he made it clear that everything, including cuts to programs and personnel, were on the table.
Two months into that review, clear themes have emerged, according to Pentagon acquisition head Ellen Lord: Esper isn’t looking to cut just to cut, and if offices aren’t tied directly into war-fighting needs, they may no longer belong in the Department of Defense.
Speaking on a panel at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference last Monday, Lord said several of her offices, including the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the Defense Acquisition University, have gone through the review process.
“What we’ve seen there is more, perhaps, a pushing back of certain functions to either services or to intel,” Lord said. “Where I’ve seen a question of actually cutting the workforce is non-true DoD missions. As we’ve gone through a lot of the different areas, if it isn’t war fighting, if it’s something that one of the other agencies or the other departments across government has asked us to do, or if it’s something that should be a function of another department because it’s not about lethality, it will get cut.”