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Gates Releases Efficiencies Initiatives

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

In continuation of the Department of Defense’s strive toward financial efficiency, Secretary Robert M. Gates announced yesterday a series of legislative initiatives designed to reduce overhead, duplication and excess in DoD to instill a future of savings and restraint for the department.

The initiatives come after Gates’ request in May for DoD to examine its organization in hopes to change the way it operated and reduce its excess overhead costs and apply the savings to force structure and modernization.

“It is important that we not repeat the mistakes of the past, where tough economic times or the winding down of a military campaign leads to steep and unwise reductions in defense,” Gates said. “As a matter of principle and political reality, the Department of Defense cannot expect America’s elected representatives to approve budget increases each year unless we are doing a good job, indeed everything possible, to make every dollar count.”

A majority of the of the initiatives included numerous suspensions in department hiring, including a freeze in the number of OSD, defense agencies and COMCOM billets at the fiscal 2010 levels for next three years and a freeze at fiscal 2010 levels on the number of civilian senior executives, general and flag officer, and PAS positions.

It also called for a consolidation of the IT  infrastructure facilities to create more efficiency.

This action will allow the increased use by the department of common functions and improve our ability to defend defense networks against growing cyber threats,” stated a report.

Gates’ proposals also included a recommendation to end the U.S. Joint Forces Command, which currently employs more than 6,000 civilian workers, military personnel and contract employees. JFCOM was established to create jointness into everything the military does, especially the training and providing of forces for operations.

Initiatives were also included that will terminate the assistant secretary of defense networks integration and information and J6 function, as well as the Business Transformation Agency, which performs day-to-day oversight of individual acquisition programs, a function largely performed by a number of other organizations.

“I want our troops to have everything they need to accomplish the mission,” commented Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “They expect nothing less. We, as leaders, should expect nothing more.”

“These measures, each and every one, are geared to that end,” he added. “I appreciate the secretary’s methodical, comprehensive approach in deriving them. They will streamline our use of contractors; sharpen the rolls of our senior ranks; eliminate costly and redundant reports; and deliver sound doctrine, training and force management functions to a Joint Force now ready to assume these vital tasks.”

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