Cut Government Spending? Don’t Tell the Defense Information Systems Agency

Friday, July 12, 2013

At a time when many federal agencies are cutting budgets because of the sequester, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) seems to be in spend-happy mode.


DISA, which has 8,000 employees and an annual budget of more than a billion dollars, is tasked with providing communications networks for the U.S. military and for the White House.


Emails from DISA contracting and budget officers have informed colleagues to spend whatever resources they have, for fear that to keep any funds might send the wrong signal to superiors about future budgets.


“Our available funding balances remain large in all appropriations — too large to spend” just on small supplemental funds often required by existing contracts, one email read, according to The Washington Post.


“It is critical in our efforts to [spend] 100% of our available resources this fiscal year,” the email from Deputy Chief Financial Executive Sanna Sims and procurement director Kathleen Miller stated. “It is also imperative that your organization meets its projected spending goal for June. . .”


In 2010 Sims received a Presidential Rank Award for her ability to “consistently demonstrate strength, integrity, industry and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service.”


DISA seems to be ignoring a September 2012 edict from Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s undersecretary for acquisition, and comptroller Robert Hale, who urged that “spending money primarily to avoid reductions in future budget[s]” should be avoided.


“The threat that funding will be taken away or that future budgets can be reduced unless funds are obligated on schedule,” they wrote, “is a strong and perverse motivator.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Defense Agency Looks for Ways to Spend (by Al Kamen, Washington Post)


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