White House's proposed government shake-up largely sidesteps DOD

By Tony Bertuca / June 21, 2018 at 1:25 PM

A major government restructuring proposed by the White House today would make significant changes to domestic agencies, but would mostly leave the Defense Department unchanged.

The biggest DOD-related change in the plan released by the White House Office of Management and Budget would require the Pentagon to perform all government background investigations, taking over from the Office of Personnel Management's National Background Investigations Bureau.

"Now is the time for bold, transformational change in how we vet our workforce," the plan states. "To that end, the administration has concluded that to achieve an efficient, effective, fiscally viable, and secure operation that meets the needs of the Executive Branch, it is necessary for the background investigation program to remain consolidated through a complete transfer of NBIB to DOD."

The plan also proposes transferring oversight of the Army Corps of Engineers from DOD to the Transportation Department.

"Unlike other transportation sectors currently centralized under DOT, responsibilities for supporting the maritime industry's ability to support the nation's economy are split between the Corps, which supports navigation improvements and waterside port investments, and DOT, which supports landside port investments," the plan states. "To fix this misalignment, the Administration proposes to consolidate the Corps' commercial navigation mission into DOT. By consolidating these functions, the Administration would place a single Federal agency in charge of supporting maritime transportation investments. This consolidation will enable DOT to better align investments across maritime and other transportation sectors to ultimately create a more efficient transportation system."

Much of the reorganization would require the approval of Congress, which would likely object to many of the proposals.

Meanwhile, the plan proposes, among other major non-defense shifts, merging the Education and Labor departments.