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10 Aug 10. Today, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced a series of initiatives designed to reduce overhead, duplication, and excess in the Department of Defense, and, over time, instill a culture of savings and restraint in America’s defense institutions.

These initiatives represent the latest of the secretary’s efforts to re-balance the priorities of the department and reform the way the Pentagon does business.

As part of the fiscal 2010 budget, the department curtailed or cancelled nearly 20 troubled or excess programs – programs that if pursued to completion would have cost more than $300 billion. Additional program savings have been recommended in the defense budget request submitted this year.

In May, the secretary called on the department to take a hard, unsparing look at how it is staffed, organized, and operated. The purpose was not to reduce the department’s top line budget – which he considers the minimum needed to sustain a military at war and prepare for future threats – but to significantly 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.”

Earlier this summer, the department began a comprehensive effort along several tracks to gain efficiencies, reduce costs, and improve the effectiveness of the DoD enterprise, the results of which will be rolled out as part of the fiscal 2012 budget request. The secretary believes the department can take the following actions immediately rather than waiting for the normal budgeting and programming cycle.

* The secretary directed a reduction of funding for support contractors by 10 percent a year for each of the next three years. The goal is to reduce the number of contractors that are performing functions that are inherently governmental.
* To address the personnel growth in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the defense agencies, and Combatant Command (COCOM) staffs, the secretary of defense has directed a freeze in the number of OSD, defense agencies and COMCOM billets at the fiscal 2010 levels for next three years.
o With regard to in-sourcing, no more full-time OSD positions will be created after fiscal 2010 to replace contractors except for critical needs.
o These measures are part of a comprehensive re-base lining of OSD, defense agency and COCOM staffing and organization. Starting essentially from scratch, we will conduct a clean sheet review to determine what our people should be doing, where, and at what level of rank in light of this department’s most urgent priorities by Nov. 1.
o As a result of the re-base lining, there will be a minimum reduction of 50 percent of total growth in billets since 2000. This reduction in civilian senior executive and general and flag officer billets shall be achieved over two years.
* The secretary directed a freeze at fiscal 2010 levels on the number of civilian senior executives, general and flag officer, and PAS positions. By Nov. 1, we will also assess the number and locations of senior positions as well as the overhead and accoutrements that go with them.

* To achieve greater benefits in cost and efficiency through “economies of scale,” the secretary of defense directed the consolidation of our information technology infrastructure facilities. This action will allow the increased use by the department of common functions and improve our ability to defend defense ne

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