On the heels of an announcement from U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates where he proposed eliminating the positions of assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integration along with the J-6, the push to make the Defense Department more efficient continues. The INVEST Awards contest will reward the 25 best ideas submitted by department employees with cash prizes.
Secretary Gates launched the online contest "for the purpose of soliciting and rewarding creative ideas to save money and use resources more effectively," he explains. The contest is another component in a series of initiatives announced Monday, which are designed to reduce overhead, duplication and excess in the department. Secretary Gates hopes the efficiency push will eventually instill a culture of savings and restraint in U.S. defense institutions.
All civilian Defense Department employees can participate in INVEST Awards, along with active duty and reservist military personnel within the department. The contest is now open for submissions and will close on September 24. The winners will be announced approximately one month later following a review and evaluation.
While there is no set time frame for idea implementation, contest guidelines state that submissions should contribute to the secretary's five-year goal of saving $100 billion. After an idea has been submitted, other contestants and the public will able to view the entry without the name or contact information of the person who submitted it. Cash prizes range from $500 to $1,000.