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Performing the duties of deputy defense secretary, David L. Norquist spoke at the Defense Department Gears of Government Awards Ceremony in the Pentagon May 1.

“The reason reform is in the National Defense Strategy is because it’s so essential to what we’re trying to do to defend the country and protect the taxpayer,” Norquist said.

Norquist then went on to recognize stellar reform efforts in the Defense Department.

DOD Regulatory Reform Task Force

The DOD Regulatory Reform Task Force helped fight back on regulations, he said. The task force completed its review of 716 rules. To date, 81 repeals and other streamlining have been completed. Work continues on 291 regulations targeted for change. Of these, 55 repeals, 21 replacements and 21 modifications currently are underway.  

“Using [the Office of Management and Budget’s] formula, we conservatively calculate that this effort will save the taxpayer over $5 million per year, with the potential to save $25 million per year,” he said. “That is serious, real money.”

Defense Repository for Common Enterprise Data

The Defense Repository of Common Enterprise Data team’s work has been essential to the DOD-wide audit, Norquist said.

Among the keys to its success are access to and use of pertinent data and correcting deficiencies in each notice of finding and recommendations, he said.

The team “began an initiative to get our arms around how the department spends its money, using internal comparisons as well as a commercial reference to enable organizations at all levels of the department to analyze, spend and find opportunities to improve business operations,” he said.

Additionally, the team is developing an enterprise business data analytics capability, he said. “This data and the visualizations will speed understanding of what the data is telling us and be very useful.”

Other Reform Efforts

Lisa Hershman, acting chief management officer, also spoke.

The President’s Management Council has prioritized reform of information technology, the workforce and data accountability in the federal government, she said. The agenda sets forth a long-term vision for effective government that works on behalf of the American people. That’s something near and dear to DOD.

That means looking at problems and complexities that need to be solved, she said. That requires a shift in the way of thinking and approaching problems.

“Federal employees, who underpin nearly all the operations of government, are ensuring the smooth functioning of our democracy,” she said. “Many of those employees are here today.”