Report: Mark Esper Open to Cutting Legacy Programs to Find Savings Under Defense-Wide Review

Jeff Brody
Mark Esper

Defense Secretary and a 2019 Wash100 Award winner Mark Esper said a department-wide review of defense programs to generate savings will involve “divesting of legacy capabilities that simply aren’t suited” for future combat operations, Defense News reported Wednesday.

“My commitment is to look throughout the DoD enterprise, beginning with the fourth estate, and look for ways to find money to invest in those technologies,” he said Tuesday at the SENEDIA industry conference in Rhode Island. “I’m looking for programs that don’t have as much value relative to another critical war-fighting capability, absolutely,” Esper said. “I have a dollar amount in mind but I want to make sure I can refine it a little better before I can release anything.”

Deputy Defense Secretary and fellow 2019 Wash100 Award recipient David Norquist issued a memo on Aug. 2 informing component agencies and services of a zero-based assessment of all department-wide activities and functions to identify savings “that can be reallocated to our highest priorities in support of the National Defense Strategy.”

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