Defense Secretary Robert Gates forged ahead this week with more cost-cutting and efficiency efforts at the Pentagon, providing a good example for other government leaders to set better budget priorities. Some of the measures he announced Monday have enough bite, however, that substantial congressional resistance is expected.
Gates plans to close the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., which Pentagon officials said would be the first time in their memory that a major military command would be completely shut down. Gates also ordered steady reductions in the use of contractors, a freeze on the number of generals and admirals with the likelihood of eventual cuts in that number, other staffing freezes, elimination of various boards and commissions, and consideration of military base closings.
This is in addition to other cuts and efficiencies that the defense secretary has announced this year. Given the growing concern about the nation’s deficits, Gates argues that the Pentagon cannot expect the big annual funding increases it has received in the last decade, and so must save money in some areas to pay for needed improvements in others. The Concord Coalition believes that deficit reduction efforts in the coming years must include defense spending, and we support Gates' efforts to put military dollars to better use..