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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gates announces major cuts at Defense

Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday said the department would cut funding for contractors, freeze hiring for all but critical jobs, eliminate three major organizations and propose cutting at least 150 senior executive service positions and 50 general and flag officer positions during the next two years as part of a wide-ranging effort to reduce duplication and overhead in military organizations.

Specifically, Gates has tasked the military services with finding $100 billion in overhead savings during the next five years. The services will be able to keep the savings they generate and reinvest the money in warfighting and modernization programs.

He said Monday he also has authorized each military department to consider consolidating or closing bases and facilities where they see fit.

In addition, Gates said the Pentagon would eliminate entire organizations, including the Business Transformation Agency. The agency, with a staff of 360 workers and an annual budget of $340 million, was created in 2006 to modernize the department's business practices but it had shifted its focus to daily oversight of individual acquisition programs. Its responsibilities now will be shifted to the deputy chief management officer.

-Katherine McIntire Peters, GovExec.com

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