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Letter to Congressional Leaders Transmitting the Report on the Defense Management Review

July 10, 1989


I am pleased to forward to you the Report on the Defense Management Review that Secretary Cheney has submitted to me.

This Report provides a basis for significant additional improvements in the management of the Department of Defense and in the defense acquisition process. Its recommendations have my strong personal support and I ask for your cooperation in their implementation.

Principal recommendations include continued reforms of the defense acquisition system, use of commercial products where feasible, streamlining and reducing regulatory and reporting guidance, and implementing a more flexible civilian compensation system for acquisition personnel. They also include eliminating unnecessary management layers and activities, a reform that will yield significant savings which can be applied to essential defense programs.

I have asked Secretary Cheney to propose detailed and substantive implementing actions to be achieved in specified timeframes, and plan to meet with him periodically to assess progress. I also will propose to the Congress specific legislation that is needed to implement the Report's key recommendations.

The Congress shares with us the responsibility to ensure that our nation has strong defense capabilities, efficient defense management and effective defense strategies. No amount of change within the Department of Defense or improvements in the performance of defense contractors will achieve our goals unless Congress also does its part. So, I ask for your help in making a sustained effort to move forward quickly with these needed improvements.

More specifically, I ask that the Congress:

-- Create a more stable funding environment for Defense programs by adopting a biennial Defense Budget process.

-- Increase the number of programs that qualify for multiyear procurement by eliminating Congressionally defined cost savings threshold requirements.

-- Streamline, simplify, and consolidate existing federal procurement laws into a single statute.

-- Reduce micromanagement of Defense programs and ease the burden on the Department of Defense created by onerous and unneeded reporting requirements that have grown dramatically in recent years.

We will shortly be providing you with additional details on these and other specific initiatives that Congress can take to make our Defense programs more responsive to national security needs while remaining within tightly constrained resources. We will need to work closely together and not allow the current problems, many of which are longstanding, to remain unsolved.


George Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives; George J. Mitchell and Robert Dole, majority and minority leaders of the Senate; and Richard A. Gephardt and Robert H. Michel, majority and minority leaders of the House of Representatives.

George Bush, Letter to Congressional Leaders Transmitting the Report on the Defense Management Review Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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