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Gates: Budget Reductions a Strategic, Not Math Problem

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Photo: DoD/Cherie Cullen

In efforts to wring an additional $400 billion in cost-savings over 12 years out of the Defense Department, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said budget cutters should avoid the “managerial cowardice” of across-the-board cuts.

In a question-and-answer session at the U.S. Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, Gates, who will retire this summer, said the proposed reductions need to be “very carefully thought through,” rather than the “politically expedient” alternative of across-the-board cuts.

“My concern is that almost everybody in Washington sees this as a math problem, as opposed to a strategic problem,” the secretary said. “So I’m trying to frame the process in the Department of Defense so that we’ll continue the efficiencies that we began last year, and we’ll look at marginal missions and capabilities for some of those that have value, but are not core missions for us.”

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