‘We Have Been Given a Mission’: Assistant DefSec on Gates’ Course of Action for $400B Cut

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In a difficult effort to double expected cuts to defense spending in the wake ofbudget battles on Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been a leader in fiscal responsibility by making tough decisions, the defense secretary’s No. 2 for public affairs said.

In addition to Defense Department cuts to the tune of $400 billion, which Gates has already pledged, President Barack Obama said last week another $400 billion would be cut from national security spending through 2023, as part of the government’s deficit-reduction plans.

“We have been given a mission, and the secretary will undertake it,” said Douglas B. Wilson, assistant defense secretary for public affairs, in an interview for “This Week in Defense News.”

Wilson said the “framework for this initiative,” will be longterm analysis of the U.S. military’s role, responsibilities and missions in the world. “And the secretary of defense is committed to providing the president with the options necessary and the choices and the implications of those choices,” he added.

Wilson’s remarks echoed those of Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell, who said — starting with Gates at the top — the department is serious about scaling back its budget.

“However, it is important that any reduction in funding be shaped by strategy and policy choices, and not by a budget math exercise,” Morrell said.

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