The Pentagon will cut thousands of jobs, said Defense Secretary Robert Gates in a news conference. Gates proposed closing two defense offices and suggested closing a combatant command. The job cuts are part of the secretary's initiative to find $100 billion in overhead savings over the next five years.
“To be clear, the task before us is not to reduce the department’s top-line budget,” Gates said. “Rather, it is to significantly reduce its excess overhead costs and apply the savings to force structure and modernization.”
The cut backs include reducing funding for support contractor personnel by 10 percent a year for the next three years, as well as funding for intelligence advisory and assistance contracts by 10 percent immediately.
Gates spoke of freezing the number of senior Defense Department leaders and expects to cut at least 50 general and flag officer positions and 150 senior civilian executive positions over two years.
The job cuts would have large implications financially, but also for the workers. For example, Gates announced the department will eliminate the Business Transformation Agency, which employs 360 people and has a budget of $340 million. Furthermore, Gates is recommending the closure of the U.S. Joint Forces Command, which employs 2,800 military and civilian positions and 3,000 contractors at an annual cost of at least $240 million.
Gates assured that the department will help employees affected by the closings.
In addition, Gates urged DoD employees to visit the DoD website and participate in an online contest for creative ideas to save money and resources within the department.
Department of Defense