• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Public-Private Partnerships Offer Smart Alternative to Sweeping Defense Cuts

    There is little disagreement that looming cuts in the defense budget set to take place in January are ill-advised, though there is intense debate over how to prevent them. However, one way to improve the defense budget without sequestration, downsizing, or raising taxes is to increase partnerships between the military and private industry.

    Public–private partnerships are part of a larger approach known as performance-based logistics, which seeks to improve efficiency in defense projects by focusing on outcomes.

    A partnership between Anniston Army Depot and General Dynamics Ground Systems has produced very impressive results in maintaining and repairing the Army’s fleet of Stryker armored vehicles. Beginning in 2002, the partnership has grown into what the Lexington Institute’s Loren Thompson calls a “model of efficiency” worthy of replication, with General Dynamics and Anniston splitting the workload 50/50, cross-training employees, and ensuring access to the necessary replacement and maintenance parts.

    Lee Waldron, General Dynamics’s plant manager at Anniston, describes the partnership as “a win-win situation for both partners.”

    As evident at Anniston, public–private partnerships can benefit the government by decreasing overall maintenance costs while also providing additional contract work for industry partners.

    Building public–private partnerships decreases cost by mitigating, among other things, the high cost of federal labor. As Thompson argues:

    There are numerous reasons why it would make fiscal and economic sense for the Pentagon to award most depot maintenance to the same companies that developed and manufactured weapons systems. The current approach of building in the private sector and maintaining in the public sector increases federal costs, fractures product life-cycles, diminishes economies of scale, impedes technological innovation and undermines trade competitiveness.

    Furthermore, as Thompson mentions, partnerships take the expertise of the companies that create the weapons systems and put it to good use in maintaining the systems in military depots.

    Logistics and material management take up a large chunk of defense spending, totaling $80 billion a year. While public–private partnerships like the one between General Dynamics and Anniston exist on a small scale, expanding them has the potential to save the government billions of dollars in logistics and maintenance without compromising military readiness.

    Under sequestration, the Pentagon will have funding for all programs cut by about 12 percent. Officials have described sequestration as a “meat axe” that would be “devastating” to the Department of Defense. But the benefits of expanding performance-based logistics through vehicles like public–private partnerships prove that there are far more responsible ways for Congress to achieve savings in the defense budget than wholesale cuts that threaten national security.

    Maxford Nelsen is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Public-Private Partnerships Offer Smart Alternative to Sweeping Defense Cuts

    1. occamsedge says:

      Public-Private partnerships are just the new way of saying crony capitalists. Companies that are wedded to the Government teat. Exactly where are your heads, anatomically?

    2. Betsy Nolan says:

      Public-private partnerships – Agenda 21 at its finest.

    3. The People, LLC says:

      The author wants us to believe that Public-Private Partnerships are innocuous: __"Public–private partnerships are part of a larger approach known as performance-based logistics, which seeks to improve efficiency in defense projects by focusing on outcomes."_ _Get ready, Patriots: "performance based budgeting" is ALEC's plan for siphoning more of our money to the corporations that make-up their membership. Alec has already rolled-out their toolkit for legislators to get this done much as they did with School Choice: http://www.alec.org/publications/state-budget-ref… _We can absolutely expect many articles and much dialogue about this form of budgeting. However, we know that Public-Private Partnerships are UNCONSTITUTIONAL and are about taking OUR money and giving to someone else to cover their business expenses. We should have that money in our own pockets to put it into our own businesses!

    4. The People, LLC says:

      We are hugely supportive of our military and first responders; however, we are also hugely of the opinion that there is more than enough money to fund anything that WE NEED. Those holding the purse strings simply need to follow the Constitution and direct funding accordingly.

      But, aside from money–because that is the smaller aspect of what PPP is about–the danger of Public-Private Partnership has already been fully realized in these United States. That's the really bad news.

      The good news is that, because of this, we can see the total ramifications: PPP is the reason that our elections haven't mattered in decades. It is also why our laws are written by special interests. It is largely responsible for our economic collapse.

      Michelle Bachmann and Michael Chapman began sounding this alarm in 2001: http://www.edwatch.org/?pdfs/?US%20planned%20

    5. Bobbie says:

      In civil society, public private partnerships defeats the private and promotes the public. Once you walk hand in government, you lose all respect as private! We don't want promotions from public private partnerships where government public is unpredictable and unconstitutional and only focused on government gain! For what reason would anyone of a rational mind trust government power that isn't ones own, behind anything or over anyone?

      As far as America's defense the only role in government, it's always wise to include the private sector whose interest is protecting this country where the wrong government force shows interest that conflict that can unfortunately, override the private sector.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×