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Services Answer Rumsfeld's Call for New Business Practices

Services Answer Rumsfeld's Call for New Business Practices

By Linda D. Kozaryn, American Forces Press Service.

Washington D.C. -- (AFPS) December 18, 2001 – A day before terrorists attacked New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld made it known he was not going to accept business as usual within the defense department. He launched a campaign Sept. 10 to transform the way the military defends the nation, as well as how it does business

Secretary of the Air Force James G. Roche (right) and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper announce a new initiative to transform Headquarters Air Force into a more streamlined and effective organization. The two senior Air Force leaders appeared at a joint briefing with the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Army at the Pentagon, Dec. 18, 2001.

Photo by Tech St. Jim Varhegyi, USAF

The secretary highlighted three imperatives: the need to shift resources to protect against the evolving threats of the 21st century; the need to attract and retain talented people to both military and civilian service; and the need to streamline and modernize our business processes, organizations and ways of doing business.

Even though the terrorist attack Sept. 11 seemed to relegate Rumsfeld's initiative to a back burner, the Defense Department has worked to meet the secretary's goals. Both the Army and the Air Force have streamlined their headquarters staffs to create more effective organizations. Navy and Marine Corps leaders are working on similar efforts within their organizations.

Army Secretary Thomas White and Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John Keane, along with Air Force Secretary James Roach and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper met with Pentagon reporters Dec. 18 to talk about their services' reorganization efforts.

White announced that the Army is transforming the tactical and operational side of the department.

"We are also going to transform the business side of the department, making decisions faster, (and) with smaller headquarters," he said.

Traditionally, the Army has had a secretariat and an Army staff, he noted. Based on his previous experience as an officer on the Army staff and now in the secretariat, White said, "in the past, those organizations were not always appropriately aligned."

"We've got to free up people from the headquarters and push them out -- and the associated funding -- to the war fighters," he said. While the Army in the field has been cut 40 percent over several years, White said, the secretariat has grown.

"We've put the secretariat on a diet and refocused," he said.

In a news release, Roche said Rumsfeld "has charged us with the task of working effectively together to execute our joint responsibilities to provide global reconnaissance and strike capabilities for this nation."

The reorganization's goals, he said, are to improve business processes, eliminate unnecessary duplication and combine appropriate headquarters functions to better support the nation's war fighters.

Noting that the Air Force headquarters has shrunk over the past few years, he said, the Air Force is now organizing, he said, "to fit how we really have been operating on a day-to-day basis now for a good six months, and even longer in some cases."

"Our first order of business," Roche said, "is to become more agile, to be able to work faster, have fewer chops, (and have) less bureaucracy."

"We owe it to our people to reduce workload by ending duplicative staffing efforts on the secretariat and Air Staff," Jumper said in the release. "We are confident this initiative will help us break down barriers, improve communication, and create a more integrated and effective staff.

"To the world outside (Washington)," he added, "this should be a transparent change, but what it will do is improve the way we are organized to train, organize and equip the world's greatest air and space force," the chief said.

"For example, the people who plan and program the Air Force budget will be better aligned to have closer relationships with the people who help execute the budget," Jumper said. "This improved contact will result in a better way to do our business."

For more details on the Army and Air Force reorganizations, go to:


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).