Gen. Lloyd Austin, Defense Secretary and 2021 Wash100 Award recipient, has signed a memo to conduct a zero-based review of the Department of Defense (DoD) advisory committees, including any advisory committee that is not subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), DoD reported on Wednesday.
“Our stewardship responsibilities require that we continually assess to ensure each advisory committee provides appropriate value today and in the future, as times and requirements change,” Lloyd wrote. This review will focus our advisory committee efforts to align with our most pressing strategic priorities and the National Defense Strategy.”
The review will be led by the interim director of Administration and Management (DA&M), in consultation with the acting general counsel of the DoD (GC DOD). The final recommendations will be made to the secretary of Defense on each committee by June 1, 2021.
“Each DoD Sponsor will conduct an in-depth business case of every sponsored advisory committee, supported by fact-based evidence for continued utilization of the advisory committee,” the memo noted. To begin this effort, Austin has directed the immediate suspension of all advisory committee operations until the review is completed.
Each sponsor’s business case should include potential functional realignments to form a single cross-functional advisory panel and assess the committee’s function and mission in relation to the National Defense Strategy and the Pentagon’s strategic priorities, among others. Each business case should be backed by “fact-based evidence” for continued use of the committee.
Members that serve advisory panels where the approving authority is the secretary of Defense or “where statute authorizes another DOD civilian officer or employee, or Active Duty member of the Armed Services to act as the DOD approving authority” should finish their service no later than Feb. 16.
“This process shall ensure that advisory committee and subcommittee member appointments comply with all applicable federal statutes and regulations, to include DoD policies and procedures,” the memo stated.