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Peter Levine


Management and Governance, Human Resources, Acquisition, Resourcing and Financial Management

Peter Levine is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses, where he works on issues related to defense management, organizational reform, human resources management, and acquisition policy. Mr. Levine is the author of Defense Management Reform: How to Make the Pentagon Work Better and Cost Less (Stanford University Press, 2020).

In 2022, Mr. Levine was appointed by the Secretary of Defense to serve as a member of the Commission on Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution Reform. He previously served as a panel member for the NAPA report on the Office of Personnel Management (Elevating Human Capital: Reframing the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Leadership Imperative, 2021); a panel member for a National Academy of Sciences study on the acquisition workforce (Empowering the Defense Acquisition Workforce to Improve Mission Outcomes Using Data Science, 2021); and a co-chair of the Independent Panel to Assess EMS Organizational Alternatives (IDA Group Report GR-10527, 2019).

From April 2016 to January 2017, Mr. Levine served as Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. In this capacity, he was the principal assistant and advisor to the Secretary on military and civilian personnel policy and management. He played a key role in developing the Secretary’s Force of the Future initiative and the Department’s policy for the equal treatment of transgender service members.

From May 2015 to April 2016, Mr. Levine served as the Deputy Chief Management Officer of the Department of Defense. As DCMO, he was the senior advisor to the Secretary on business transformation. He led the Secretary’s review of the Goldwater- Nichols Act and the Department’s efforts to and achieve greater efficiencies in management, headquarters, and overhead functions.

Prior to his appointment as DCMO, Mr. Levine served on the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee from August 1996 to February 2015, including two years as Staff Director, eight years as General Counsel, and eight years as minority counsel.

Throughout this period, Mr. Levine was responsible for providing legal advice on legislation and nominations, and advised members of the Committee on acquisition policy, civilian personnel policy, and defense management issues affecting the Department of Defense. Mr. Levine played an important role in the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2009, the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009, the Acquisition Improvement and Accountability Act of 2007, the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, and numerous defense authorization acts.

Mr. Levine served as counsel to Senator Carl Levin of Michigan from 1995 to 1996, and as counsel to the Subcommittee on Oversight of Governmental Management of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs from 1987 to 1994. In this capacity, Mr. Levine played a key role in the enactment of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994, and the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989.

Mr. Levine was an Associate at the law firm Crowell and Moring from 1983 to 1987. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude from Harvard College and a Juris Doctor degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School.

Mr. Levine’s publications include:

“Non-Binary Gender Policy in the Department of Defense” (P-33170, 2022) “Extremism in the Department of Defense,” (P-33076, 2022).

“Non-Binary Gender Policy in the Department of Defense” (P-33170, 2022) “Extremism in the Department of Defense,” (P-33076, 2022).

“Accessing Critical Skills in the Department of Defense” (D-21624, 2021)

“A Critical Skills Investment Fund for the Department Of Defense” (NS P- 22636, 2021)

“An Assessment of Options for Strengthening DoD’s Digital Engineering Workforce” (P-21560, 2021)

“Improving the Quality and Use of Analysts and Analytics in the Department of Defense” (P-15377, 2020)

“A Comprehensive Set of Outcome-Based Metrics for the DoD Personnel and Readiness Enterprise” (P-13131, 2020)

“A Defense Management Reform Agenda for the Next Administration,”War on the Rocks(2020)

“Can the Pentagon Save its Way to Better Management?”War on the Rocks(2019)

“Ten Rules for Defense Management Reform,”War on the Rocks(2019)

“Annual Weapons Assessment – GAO Needs to Step Up Its Game,”Game,” Breaking Defense(2019)

“Building a 21st Century Defense Acquisition Workforce,”War on the Rocks(2019)

“What the 809 Panel Didn’t Quite Get Right,” Breaking Defense (2019) “Auditing the Pentagon: A Road to Nowhere?” (NS P-9121, 2018)

“If You Want More Defense Innovation, Spend Less on Legacy Platforms,”War on the Rocks(2018)

“Commercial Items: If Only It Were So Easy,”Defense AT&L(2018)

“Lessons from the Never-Ending Search for Acquisition Reform” (NS P-8951, 2018)

“Civilian Personnel Reform at the Department of Defense: Lessons from the Failure of the National Security Personnel System” (NS P-8656, 2017)