Gates details plans to slash DOD budget

Joint Forces Command, other major DOD offices face elimination

Defense Secretary Robert Gates today elaborated on plans to shave $100 billion from the defense budget over the next five years, and on the chopping block are a number of areas of Defense Department information technology infrastructure and offices.

“All of our bases, operational headquarters and defense agencies have their own IT infrastructures, processes and application-ware,” Gates said at a Pentagon press conference. “This decentralized approach results in large cumulative costs, and a patchwork of capabilities that create cyber vulnerabilities and limit our ability to capitalize on the promise of information technology.”

Beyond IT, Gates is targeting a number of DOD offices and organizations, including one major command. Among his proposed moves:

  • Reduce funding for support contractor personnel by 10 percent a year for the next three years.
  • Close the offices of the assistant secretary of defense for network intelligence and integration and the Joint Staff’s section for command, control, communications and computer systems.
  • Eliminate the Business Transformation Agency.
  • Recommend elimination of Joint Forces Command.
  • Freeze at fiscal 2010 levels the number of Office of the Secretary of Defense, defense agency and combatant command positions for the next three years; Gates said this is a first step in examining leadership organizations.
  • Freeze at fiscal 2010 levels the number of senior DOD officials; Gates will appoint a senior task force to assess the number of general and flag officers, senior executive service employees and political appointees.
  • Increase use of common IT functions to mitigate disparate, decentralized IT systems throughout DOD that result in cumulative costs and cyber vulnerabilities.
  • Freeze the overall number of required oversight reports and cut by a quarter the money allocated for such reports.
  • Eliminate DOD boards and commissions that have outlived their usefulness and cut funding to such boards by 25 percent,
  • Reduce by 10 percent funding for intelligence advisory and assistance contracts, freeze the number of senior executive service positions in the DOD intelligence apparatus and end needless intell duplication.

Gates said operational functions of offices proposed for closring “will be assigned to other organizations, and most of their acquisition functions will transfer to acquisition, technology and logistics.”

These steps are part of Gates’ attempt to trim the inefficiencies inside DOD, as his department faces the prospect of having less funding than the Obama administration is planning to give him.


Related stories:

Gates aims to slash budget by $100B to pay for war


“To be clear, the task before us is not to reduce the department’s top-line budget,” Gates said, according to a news report. “Rather, it is to significantly reduce its excess overhead costs and apply the savings to force structure and modernization.”

Reactions from Congress were mixed.

“I support any responsible shift of funds from overhead costs in order to strengthen the efforts of our brave troops,” said Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

However, Skelton warned Gates against going too far with the cuts. He urged the secretary to carefully analyze what gets cut.

“There are many functions within the department that are critical to our nation’s defense,” Skelton said. He’s already preparing for a committee hearing on Gate’s cost-cutting proposal after Congress’ August recess.

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), ranking member of the Armed Services Committee's Readiness Subcommittee, was upset that DOD is forced to find cuts because of the administration’s other budgetary priorities.

“Under the cover of night, this administration is selling off our military at auction to pay for its social programs,” he said today. Forbes  said this is the beginning of a long string of national defense cuts as the money goes to other priorities.

About the Authors

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Thu, Mar 31, 2011

can we cut Gates job first.

Fri, Aug 13, 2010

Does anyone know/ think about how this will effect small/ minoirty owned business?!

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 c The future

Sometimes technology is not the answer. In many cases having more office staff would resolve information issues. Office staff are inexpensive and don't require a project manager. All of world war II was administered without computers. Something is still required to check data quality. Computer and software design will continue to evolve faster than you can design a big system and patch it. Do the basic numbers and data communication with computers. Do the rest with staff until the computer industry evolves a couple more times. In 5 to 7 years we should see the fruits of todays programming automation and cloud services. I'm not saying just sit on your thumbs and wait. Get your data quality, data reliability and workflows mapped out. Programming will be easier in a few years.

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 c ca

There are GIS initiatives in the southwest, modeled after the GIS work that was done by DOD for alabama after katrina. Perhaps incorporate some of this technical data model or infrastructure into the plan.

Wed, Aug 11, 2010 Ken Carrigan VA

I diddo John Griffith's comments exactly. Over Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) computers are worthless except to get emails and Web. That's it. Otherwise I work on an Out-Of-Scope computer to do real engineering work. Get rid of EDS, and give us back productivity for the masses! Save Billions that way!

Show All Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group