The Pentagon has adjusted its upcoming budget review process to allow personnel to more easily work from home during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, requiring services to only submit details on major program adjustments by the June 1 deadline.

Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist told reporters Thursday the move is a shift away from having fully detailed FY ’22 budget requests due at the originally scheduled date, which would require classified data to complete and force more employees to have to work in the building.

Deputy Secretary of Defense David L. Norquist provides testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee on his nomination to be deputy secretary of defense, Washington, D.C, July 24, 2019. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

“We’re going to streamline this. We’re going to take out that data submission. We’re going to just focus on a review on the high issues,” Norquist said. “What we’ve done is removed steps to lower the level of work that is required so we can stay and do the review, but people don’t need to come in and they don’t need to access the database.”

The adjustment will look to keep budget review efforts on track rather than delaying the entire process to later in the summer facing uncertainty over when the restrictions under the pandemic will be lifted.

“We’ll look at other processes in the Pentagon and ask how do you remove steps and streamline them, because simply delaying in the hopes that June or July is going to be an easier month is probably not a good strategy,” Norquist said.

Norquist noted that, prior to the outbreak, the Pentagon had moved up the deadline to submit program reviews with the hope of avoiding efforts overlapping later in the summer.

“In the past, we had program reviews start in June. Over time, we had moved them later and later in the year, which was resulting in the program reviews occuring on top of the budget review and the secretary and senior leaders not having enough time. So this year we had adapted the schedule to try and go back to the more traditional, earlier approach,” Norquist said.