The Republic of DOD Overhead

Were it a sovereign country, the Defense Department’s overhead—projected to total $212 billion in Fiscal 2011—would rank 49th among nations of the world in terms of gross domestic product, according to the Defense Business Board. That total is greater than the entire economy of Israel (No. 50 with a $205 billion GDP in 2009) and is just below No. 48 Portugal’s ($232 billion), says the panel. The DBB is currently examining how to reduce nonessential costs across DOD in support of Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ goal of saving $100 billion within DOD’s budget through Fiscal 2016 and reapplying those savings to personnel and new weapons systems. The GDP analogy shows the immense scope of DOD’s overhead enterprise, which board members note ties up more people than the population of Rhode Island (which has about 1,050,000 residents, according to the 2010 World Almanac). This information comes from DBB presentation materials obtained by