The Department of Defense has a reputation for spending extravagantly on big-budget programs, but an ongoing effort to cut costs and increase efficiency has led to $4.7 billion saved over the last two years.
The efforts are being led by Lisa Hershman, the department’s acting chief management officer (CMO) and its third-highest ranking civilian official, who told ABC News in an exclusive interview that she’s encouraged by the progress but knows more hard work lies ahead.
“Reform doesn’t happen overnight,” she said, particularly at a government agency whose annual budget would make it the 19th largest economy in the world if it was a country.
Hershman started out in the deputy role last year, but stepped in as acting CMO after former Defense Secretary James Mattis effectively fired her predecessor in September, reportedly for a “lack of performance.”
Now the two-time former CEO is using her business experience to continue to create cost savings and improve man hours through an effort that is little-known outside of the nation’s capital.