Could the military effectively deal with inevitable budget cuts in the same way: by investing in updated IT solutions? In fact, could this be the trend that saves costs for the federal government: using IT solutions instead more efficiently?
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Can Computers that Replace Military Jobs Also Cut Military Costs?

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The United States Postal Service (USPS), on its way to losing $3.5 billion in 2011, considered cutting 120,000 staff, closing thousands of local post offices and cancelling Saturday mail delivery service... and investing in automation to improve efficiency.

Could the military effectively deal with inevitable budget cuts in the same way: by investing in updated IT solutions? In fact, could this be the trend that saves costs for the federal government: using IT solutions instead more efficiently?

MILITARY SPENDING UP, IT PROCUREMENT DOWN

Defense spending has increased significantly over the past decade, but very little went to procurement to replace older systems that still dominate in the force. Cutting O&M will be difficult while U.S. forces are still in Iraq, fighting hard in Afghanistan and supporting operations in Libya, Yemen and the Horn of Africa. Defense entitlements will also be difficult to cut as such cuts may result in reducing personnel and cutting force structure.

But according to the Defense Business Board (DBB), there are some 300,000 uniform personnel currently in positions that should be performed by civilians, or private contractors. The average cost of such military personnel has ballooned to $160,000 a year, according to the DBB, more than twice the average cost of workers in the private sector.

Strategic investments in IT can increase the productivity of even a smaller DoD workforce. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, automated processes and supply chain tracking can all enhance the performance of many military organizations. IT solutions can potentially be applied to help cut the federal budget as well.

According to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, federal workers' average pay and benefits hit $123,049 in 2009 while private workers made $61,051 in total compensation. Investing in IT to maintain or even improve performance during workforce cuts could prove highly valuable. Replacing retiring employees with IT solutions would save $6 billion the first year, $12 billion the second year, etc... even if just half the amount saved was reinvested in IT capabilities



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