Monday September 13, 2010
What is it?
INVEST is an online contest launched by Secretary Gates, "for the purpose of soliciting and rewarding creative ideas to save money and use resources more effectively."
The INVEST Awards contest will reward the 25 best ideas submitted by Department of Defense (DoD) employees. Cash prizes range from $500 to $1,000. Submissions should contribute to the secretary's five-year goal of saving $100 billion. The contest is accepting submissions until Sept. 24, 2010. Following a review and evaluation, the winners will be announced in October.
What has the Army done?
Recently, the DoD began comprehensive efforts to gain efficiencies, reduce costs, and improve the effectiveness of the DoD enterprise, the results of which will be rolled out as part of the fiscal 2012 budget request. The secretary believes the department can take the following actions immediately rather than waiting for the normal budgeting and programming cycle.
All civilian DoD employees can participate in INVEST Awards, along with active-duty and reservist military personnel within the department. Contestants and the public will be able to view the entries without the name or contact information of the person who submitted it.
What is the Army doing?
In June, the military services were assigned the task of finding more than $100 billion in overhead savings over the next five years. The services will be able to keep any of the savings they generate to invest in higher priority warfighting needs.
At the same time the department began seeking ideas and proposals from other official channels, including outside experts, think tanks and DoD employees who are being asked to solicit ideas directly via the Internet.
The secretary also directed a comprehensive assessment of every aspect of how this department is organized and operated to inform the fiscal 2012 budget request.
The goal of the INVEST Awards is to produce ideas that will yield savings while also improving the way in which the Army and the DoD operate.
Why is this important to the Army?
As part of the fiscal 2010 budget, the department curtailed or cancelled nearly 20 troubled or excess programs - programs that if pursued to completion would have cost more than $300 billion. These initiatives represent the latest of the secretary's efforts to re-balance the priorities of the department and reform the way the Pentagon does business.
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"The Medal of Honor embodies the highest ideals of the American Soldier. Staff Sergeants Salvatore Giunta and Robert Miller lived our core ethos through their selfless acts of gallantry and in SSG Miller's case, the sacrifice of his life. The values embodied in their actions are the bedrock of the Army. I am proud of these two Soldiers and the great Army they represent."
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