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By Phil Piemonte

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Gates puts the squeeze on DoD overhead

In a major move this week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced a range of proposed cost-cutting measures that included hiring freezes, cuts to executive ranks, and even the possible elimination of the U.S. Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va.

Gates also announced he would cut funding for support contractor personnel by 10 percent a year for the next three years.

The secretary claimed the moves, among other things, would help remove superfluous levels of bureaucracy, eliminate redundancies, increase efficiencies and ultimately save billions of dollars on DoD’s overhead expenses.

Gates also took particular aim at DoD’s current decentralized IT infrastructure, which he said “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.”

Many of the proposed changes drew immediate barbs, especially from lawmakers in Virginia, where many of the effects of the cuts would be felt.

Sen. Mark Warner (D), for example, said he could see “no rational basis” for dismantling the Joint Forces Command “since its sole mission is to look for efficiencies and greater cost-savings …”

The proposed changes—whether freezes, cuts, consolidations, downsizing, or contractor cutbacks—will touch a lot of feds. And while new efficiencies often look good on paper, they often mean that the same work has to be done with fewer resources.

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Posted by Phil Piemonte on Aug 11, 2010 at 12:13 PM


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