In 1977, Secretary of Defense Harold Brown directed the establishment of Washington Headquarters Services (WHS). The purpose of the new organization was to help remove administrative burdens and refocus the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) staff on policy analysis and oversight, return uniformed personnel to their Service, and consolidate multiple administrative functions under one organization providing a mechanism for achieving greater efficiencies and economies of scale across the Military Services, OSD, and the Department of Defense (DoD) agencies and field activities.
Mission Expansion: As technologies have evolved and organizations expanded over the years, so too have the missions and responsibilities of WHS. These missions and responsibilities are directly driven by the demands of key support requirements for the DoD. The Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 1991 transferred control of the Pentagon Reservation from the General Services Administration (GSA) to the DoD/WHS. In 2004 WHS was ordered to assume management responsibilities for the Raven Rock Mountain Complex (RRMC). RRMC satisfies the DoD Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plan for OSD, the Joint Staff and Senior DoD leadership. In 2009, the DoD was directed by the Deputy Secretary of Defense to consolidate seven non-intelligence security adjudication functions from across the DoD into a single DoD Consolidated Adjudication Facility (CAF). Aligned under WHS, the DoD CAF represents approximately 35 percent of WHS personnel. Per the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), WHS assumed administrative jurisdiction of the 3.2 million square foot Fort Belvoir Mark Center Campus from the Secretary of the Army.
Operations: Today, armed with four decades of institutional knowledge and experience, nearly 2,400 WHS employees operate in more than 80 facilities delivering centralized, essential services for the Military Services, OSD, DoD agencies and components, and other agencies in the National Capital Region (NCR) and beyond. As the operational arm of OSD, WHS provides facility management; security clearance eligibility adjudication; centralized contracting and procurement; executive support to the Secretary of Defense; centralized financial management; history, library and research capabilities; human resources; and operational continuity of the U.S. government through management of the RRMC.
Impact: WHS is committed to finding the best, most efficient way to provide consolidated, essential services to a growing base of beneficiaries. In fiscal year 2017 alone, WHS:
- Managed comprehensive facility stewardship of 13.5 million square feet of space in the NCR for over 65,000 uniformed Service and civilian tenants.
- Completed the first phase of facility lease consolidations in the NCR, saving $43 million annually.
- Conducted over one million personnel security adjudications, and determined nearly 100 percent of all Service, 96 percent of all DoD, and 85 percent of all other federal government security clearance eligibilities – including the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Congressional Budget Office, U.S. Capitol Police, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Provided single enterprise contracting services to OSD procuring necessary supplies and services totaling over $1.6 billion.
- Provided budgetary and financial services for more than $7 billion across OSD and DoD agencies.
- Improved hiring timeliness by nearly 25 percent while reducing the Human Resources Directorate budget by nearly $1 million.
- Delivered dedicated security program support to the Office of Military Commissions at numerous facilities in and around the NCR and at the U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Washington Headquarters Services continually seeks efficiencies. From fiscal year 2017 through fiscal year 2019, WHS reduced customer rent costs by generating efficiencies in operations and facilities management. Additionally, WHS identified approximately $135 million in efficiencies over a five year period by reducing contract service requirements. In 2019, WHS will transfer nearly 800 civilian, military, and contractors employed by the DoD CAF to the Defense Security Services in accordance with the 2018 NDAA. As a centralized service provider of management and administrative functions, WHS is inherently an efficiency multiplier by performing these functions in a very lean and effective way.