San Diego Union-Tribune

C-2

23-Feb-2001 Friday 

Efficiency study aims at military 

OTTO KREISHER 
COPLEY NEWS SERVICE 

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon could get most of the extra money it needs for new weapons and better military pay and benefits by improving its business practices and letting the private sector handle much of its support
services, an industry-sponsored study concluded yesterday.

The report urged the military to close more unneeded bases, reform its weapons procurement and contracting procedures and let private firms take over its housing projects, financial services, utilities, long-distance
communications and much of its supply and maintenance work.

The military could save up to $30 billion a year by following its 11 recommendations, according to the members of the commission created by the Business Executives for National Security. That would go a long way toward providing the $50 billion to $100 billion a year some analysts say will be needed to modernize weapons and take better care of military personnel, the
commission said.

"There is no way that (extra) money will be provided in time," said former Republican Sen. Warren Rudman of New Hampshire, a co-chairman of the
commission.

The report, issued after a three-year study by the group of business executives and former defense officials, noted that 70 percent of the Pentagon's funds and personnel are tied up in support and administrative services. That leaves 30 percent for combat forces.

"No private company would think they would have a chance of surviving with a 70-30 ratio," said Josh Weston, a retired chairman of Automatic Data Process and the other co-chairman. "It should be the reverse."

The commission leaders noted that many of its recommended efficiencies have been proposed by 18 other studies over the last 15 years.