Platts to consider legislation for DOD chief management officer

A key member of the House Government Reform Committee may be leaning toward assigning the Defense Department a high-level executive to be in charge of its Business Management Modernization Program.

Rep. Todd Platts (R-Pa.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Management, Finance and Accountability, questioned DOD officials about their resistance to a Senate bill calling for a Defense deputy secretary for management.

The Senate bill follows recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office on how to improve BMMP.

'My concern is that a year from now, we will start over with new leaders and lose momentum,' Platts said to DOD's current program managers, Paul Brinkley and Thomas Modly. 'Having a chief management officer would ensure continuity.'

Platts spokeswoman Tabetha Mueller said the chairman had not yet made a decision whether to introduce legislation and would continue to learn more about the idea.

Brinkley, the special assistant to the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, is leading the BMMP program after officials moved it from the control of comptroller Modly earlier this year.

'A formal position is a great risk because you are separating the business and warfighting missions,' Brinkley said. 'It works counter to what we are trying to do: drive home that business and warfighter missions are complementary.'

He added his office is trying to establish continuity by making it a 1D program, where the undersecretary needs to approve the projects.

Platts, though, countered by saying one deputy secretary to focus on both warfighter and business systems may be too much to ask.

'In concept, I support GAO's position and the Senate's bill,' Platts said. 'The fact that we have two of you here testifying is proof that it is too much work for one person.'

Gregory Kutz, GAO's director of financial management and assurance, said he worked on BMMP reports for more than four years, testified about 12 times and seen at least eight different DOD officials talking about BMMP.

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