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Former DoD Secretary Robert Gates Testifies on 2016 Defense Authorization Bill

Robert Gates
Robert Gates

Robert Gates, a former U.S. defense secretary, has told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he believes Congress should not rely on war funds to circumvent defense spending limits for fiscal 2016, The Hill newspaper reported Wednesday.

Rebecca Kheel writes Gates called that budgeting approach a “gimmick” but said there may not be any alternative method to meet the Defense Department‘s financial needs at this point.

“My approach on that as secretary was take every dollar I can get where I can get it,” he added to SASC members during a meeting held Wednesday.

Gates testified before the committee as President Barack Obama prepares to veto a Congress-approved $612 billion defense authorization bill, Military Times reports.

The bill would send $38 billion through DoD’s overseas contingency operations account as a sequestration workaround, according to the publication.

“These kinds of ad hoc arrangements are never at all as satisfying or as cost-effective as regular-order business, in which choices are made and decisions are made based on those choices and dollars allocated,” Gates told the committee.

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