Wednesday, March 21, 2012

While others flatten, we fatten

There are a very few basics when it comes to a successful organization in the second decade of the 21st Century, one of which is the following.

1. If your income producing divisions are shrinking due to the economy, the non-income producing supporting divisions must shrink as much if not more than the income producing ones.

If you add to that a simple fact that due to technology and advances in management best practices - organizations are removing layers and thinning out overhead staff.

Both the above seem logical - but in unaccountable organizations a lack of focus on their core competance and corrupt "empire building" can warp what needs to be and should be done for the organization in order to meet the myopic desires of individuals who have motivations more personal than corporate.

That is a long warn path to irrelevancy, inefficiency, and eventual bankruptcy. Just ask the Jannisarries. Few can get away with "Though I should only spend a dollar, last year I spent $2. Next year I will spend $1.95. Wow, look at all the money I'm saying." Most of those few work inside the beltway.

Via Walter Pincus at WaPo:

The first thing that former senior military and civilian Pentagon officials of the Cold War era mention, when discussing reductions to the defense budget, is cutting the inflated size of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff.
... in the defense secretary’s office ... The fiscal 2013 budget for the office projects a reduction of $186.6 million from this year, but it may turn out to be less, say $121 million, because of inflation. Nevertheless, the office’s fiscal 2013 budget will still be $2.1 billion for the 2,124 civilians and 405 officers and enlisted personnel who work primarily in the Pentagon. Ten years ago there were 1,489 civilians and 481 military personnel on that office payroll.

The Joint Staff has also ballooned.It has substantially increased the past two years, apparently with the absorption of functions from the controversial closing of the Joint Forces Command. The Joint Staff grew from an average of 1,007 officers and enlisted men in 2011 to 2,089 in 2012. Civilian employees on the Joint Staff also grew in the past year, from 364 in 2011 to 693 in 2012, according to Pentagon figures.
We are shedding Sailors and actual operators left and right - but the bloat bloats. It also plays games.
While the plan is to cut the Joint Staff military numbers by 683 next year, the number of civilian employees is projected to grow to 923 by the end of 2013. Some 465 of that military reduction represents a transfer of personnel to Transportation Command, part of the realignment of Joint Forces Command personnel, according to Pentagon documents, Another 137 of the military reduction represents a transfer of personnel to the Air Force as part of the realignment of work by the Joint Information Operations Warfare Center.
Some credit is due for some cuts - some - we think.
The Joint Staff had almost 1,100 contractors working full time in 2011 and 2012. Reducing 180 of them next year, who work under five joint staff programs, is expected to save $45.2 million, according to Pentagon materials. That averages out to almost $250,000 per person. The Pentagon notes the average salary of Joint Staff civilian employees is $145,500 and justifies that “premium” pay because they possess Top Secret/Special Compartmented Intelligence security clearances, which could get them higher salaries from private sector firms.
Read Walter's whole thing.

Much more work to be done. Much more.

Hat tip Paul.

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