The overall goal, said Mabus, is not only to make the services “a little smaller, but also how you make it more effective.”
Doing more with less is quickly becoming the new standard operating procedure across the government but the Department of Defense has been specifically challenged by both the White House and the Secretary of Defense to cut $78 billion over the next five years.
Secretary Mabus said he has been looking at three broad categories of approaching the problem:
Buying Smarter – Mabus said a big part of $35 billion found so far is a result of competing contracts for the Littoral Combat Ship, and using more multi-year and firm-fixed-price (FFP) contracts.
Chasing the Pennies – Mabus said the Navy is “trying to find every dollar that we can.” He said his first job in government was as the state auditor of Mississippi. “I don’t know if I’m frugal with the taxpayers’ money. I think I’m cheap.” He told Federal News Radio he wants to make every dollar count.
Being Green Without Spending Green – The Navy, said Mabus, is changing the way they’re using and producing energy. Examples include using a new electric drive for slower speeds on ships, changing hull coatings, and better planning of routes. Mabus said the Navy is aggressively moving off of fossil fuels. He was confident the Navy will meet the 2020 goal of using non-fossil fuels for at least half of its power needs.
Mabus sounded pleasantly surprised about seeing energy savings earlier than expected. He said after up-front investments are made, “we’re getting big savings right now.” He added not only does the payback come “pretty fast, and except for maintenance, there’s no more expenditure unlike fossil fuels.”
Earlier, in part one of the interview posted above with Navy Secretary Mabus, he spoke with Federal News Radio about the new ships they’re building, the drones they’ll be using, and how they’re fighting the pirate threat on the high seas.