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Updated:   8/27/01


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STAT SHEET of DRI Successes


The underlying principles for Defense Reform are to focus the enterprise on a unifying vision, commit the leadership to change, focus on core competencies, streamline organizations for agility, invest in people, exploit information technology, and break down barriers between organizations.

The DRI Report released in 1997 identified four pillars, or major areas, of Defense Reform: Reengineer – adopt best practices, Consolidate – reorganize, Compete – apply market mechanisms, and Eliminate – reduce excess support structures. These four pillars were expanded in 1999 and are now structured around the Department’s business processes:

  1. Adopting Best Business Practices;
  2. Quality of Life;
  3. Financial Management;
  4. Competition;
  5. Savings Through Eliminating Unneeded Infrastructure; and
  6. Transforming Acquisition and Logistics.

As some initiatives reach their end state and other, new initiatives begin, the structure of the DRI has evolved over time. However, the purpose and underlying principles have remained the same, providing a consistent point on the horizon toward which the DoD leadership can steer, as they move on the road to reform.

Only two formal organizations were created to support the Defense Reform Initiative: the Defense Management Council and the Defense Reform Initiatives Office. The Defense Management Council (DMC) was established in winter 1998 as the "Board of Directors" to oversee the continued reengineering of the Department of Defense. The DMC ensures that reform initiatives directed by the Secretary of Defense are carried out, recommends reforms to the Secretary, and reviews the Defense Agencies’ performance contracts. The DMC is a first: an attempt to create a Board of Directors of the senior military and civilian leadership of the Department to provide direction on a range of critical reform and reform-related issues. The Deputy Secretary of Defense chairs the DMC, and membership includes senior decision makers from the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the uniformed Services.

The Defense Reform Initiatives (DRI) Office was established in May 1998 to provide executive leadership to all levels of DoD management to facilitate, coordinate, and introduce reform initiatives complementary to other ongoing reforms, within and outside the Department. The Defense Reform Office operates with a small staff of eight and reports directly to the Deputy Secretary of Defense. It is their responsibility to monitor this monumental effort and keep it moving toward its ultimate destination.

To date, the Department has issued a total of 17 Management Reform Memoranda (MRMs) and 54 Defense Reform Initiative Directives (DRIDs), covering a wide range of issues for changing the way it does business. Actions on 95 percent of these are complete. Many of the early Directives dealt with downsizing in OSD. These downsizing efforts are now complete. Many of the open Directives deal with process changes that are currently underway.

The MRMs and DRIDs generally assigned responsibility for the reform effort to someone in a key leadership role in the Office of the Secretary of Defense or a Defense Agency. Some of these leaders act as "process owners" for DoD core processes such as acquisition management, financial management, human resources management, information management, installation management, and logistics management. Other leaders head organizations that play a key role within that process. Many of the initiatives impact more than one core process. Quite often, in these cases, the MRM or DRID assigns shared responsibility or coordination requirements. In all cases, the initiatives focus on changing a DoD process in some way, whether it is introducing, changing, or eliminating steps; harnessing IT; restructuring the responsible organization; or impacting the people who work the process through training, job redesign, or reduction.

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