Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’ plan for departmentwide efficiencies has weathered withering criticism from across the political spectrum and some quarters in the private sector.
But, for Defense Secretary William J. Lynn, that indicates a job well done.
“In Washington, if you get criticized from both sides, it usually means you have the right position,” said Lynn, who was in Europe to meet with NATO and EU leaders to discuss cybersecurity.
But Lynn also answered reporters’ questions about the ongoing Pentagon cost-savings; Gates recently recommitted DoD to freeing up some $100 billion in efficiencies over the next five years.
“What we’ve tried to do is strike the right balance between fiscal responsibility and what is a very large deficit, and maintaining the critical capabilities we need for national defense,” he explained.
Consequently, much of the money will be shaved from overhead costs and unneeded programs and repurposed to the armed forces for state-of-the art weaponry and cyber-defense measures.
“We’ve reinvested across a large range of capabilities,” Lynn added. “We’re reducing layering, we’re reducing headquarters, we’re reducing staff.”
The $78 billion in topline reductions the department is implementing “met some of the deficit reduction needs without compromising defense capabilities,” he explained. “We are moving forward with what we think is a balanced program.”