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Overview of the Pentagon's Proposed Budget Cuts

Testifying before Congress last week, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced the Department’s intent to reduce defense spending by $78 billion in addition to the forthcoming $100 billion in spending cuts over the next five years through new efficiencies. Tamir Eschel of Defense Update provides an overview of the proposed reductions:

Bowing under budget pressure across all government levels, the Defense Department, intelligence and military services are called to share this effort, mainly through streamlining operational logistics and support, shedding unnecessary positions, improving information and communications systems through modern enterprise networks, and eliminating redundant command levels that are not suitable for today’s operations.

Distributed amongst the Armed Services:

U.S. Air Force, $34 billion

…consolidating two air operations centers in the U.S. and two in Europe, reducing fuel consumption within the Air Mobility Command, improving supply chain and business processes at depots centers and reducing the cost of communications infrastructure are parts of these measures.

U.S. Army, $28 billion

…eliminating over 1,000 civilian and military positions, and consolidating six installation management commands into four, saving billions in construction costs and sustainment. Consolidation of the service’s email infrastructure and data centers is also planned.

U.S. Navy, $35 billion

…reducing manpower ashore and reassigning 6,000 personnel to operational missions at sea; shifting new airborne surveillance, jamming, and fighter aircraft procurement to multi-year programs that could yield $1.3 billion in saving and disestablishing staffs for submarine, patrol aircraft, and the destroyer-squadrons plus one carrier strike group staff. The Navy also proposes to disestablish the headquarters of Second Fleet in Norfolk.

In addition, DoD and the Joint Staff will eliminate or downgrade 11% of flag officer positions and as much as 15% of the Senior Executive Service workforce. The government-wide salary freeze will yield $54 billion in savings over the next five years, with DoD cutting contractor support by 10% over the next three years for another $6 billion in savings.

Defense Department intelligence activities will also be consolidated and streamlined:

“In place of having a large, permanent organic apparatus staffed on a wartime level, the department will transition to an arrangement that can surge intelligence support as needed from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).” Gates explained.

Lastly, intra-service redundancies in the existing IT infrastructure will be addressed for a total savings of up to one billion dollars.

Defense Update reports that as much as 70% of these cuts will be reinvested in the procurement of new equipment, the modernization and reset of existing systems, and the development of new programs.

Read the full article here: