The Senate Armed Services Committee recently stuck a little goodie in the 1983 military construction authorization bill that would allow the Defense Department to do its own buying, selling or trading of military land without having to mess around with the burdensome General Services Administration disposal practices that other federal agencies must follow. Further, DOD could keep all the money. The Office of Management and Budget was irked, because President Reagan's federal land sales program was supposed to produce funds that would cut the federal deficit, not just buy bricks and mortar for the Pentagon.
"People of good sense differed on whether the Defense Department is part of the federal government or a prima donna agency that should be allowed to do things as they want," an OMB official said. OMB has succeeded in forcing a compromise: the Defense Department will keep only half of the money and turn the rest over to the Treasury. But OMB wants more. "We oppose this effort, and hope the House will knock it out," the official said. DOD officially "supports OMB's view," a spokesman said. Privately, a DOD official confirmed what congressional sources had said: the Pentagon wants the authority (and the money) but not the fight with OMB.