DOD Comptroller Robert Hale ran into a tough question during his recent testimony before the House Armed Services Committee. Three times Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) asked him if the Pentagon would suggest how the law might change to achieve the same savings but in a more responsible way. Hale stumbled:
Whether we're going to recommend another law, I think I need to think about, and I will.
As he brainstorms Hale might take a look at the analysis our own Matthew Leatherman published last fall in Bloomberg Government. As Matthew wrote:
Carving a cliff in the Pentagon’s path is not the only way to achieve almost $900 billion in savings. Smaller trims taken more slowly could substitute for big savings taken swiftly, if the former were sustained for the full nine-year window.
Every now and then it’s worth remembering that that one way to move forward from the defense sequestration stalemate is to concentrate on changing the process rather than the payout.