Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced today that the efficiencies review that he ordered last May has identified over $154 billion in savings over the next five years. In a news release, Secretary Gates said the Department should not make “ill-conceived” cuts to the defense budget topline while the nation is at war. But, he said, DoD must “eliminate wasteful, excessive, and unneeded spending.” Each Military Service issued press releases suporting the savings. The total savings come from $100 billion in efficiencies identified by the Military Services and $54 billion in department-wide overhead reductions. Gates said the $54 billion in saved overhead costs across the department included the two-year freeze on civilian salaries, cutting contractor staff support, shutting down redundant intelligence organizations, consolidating IT support operations, reducing the number of general and flag officers, and increasing slightly the TRICARE premiums for military retirees. At the same time, Gates said that the new long-term defense budget (FYDP) will be reduced by almost $80 billion, meaning that over $70 billion of the identified savings will be reinvested by the Services in needed capabilities. Secretary Gates expects the topline decrease to be covered by overhead reductions, civilian staffing cuts and the two-year pay freeze, and future cuts to ground forces.
The announcement listed examples of the $100 billion efficiencies savings identified by the Military Departments. The Army’s $29 billion in savings included terminating the SLAMRAAM missile and Non-Line of Sight Launch System, and cutting 1,000 positions by shutting down unnecessary task forces and consolidating some management commands. Among the Navy’s $35 billion in savings adjustments were reducing positions ashore and reassigning 6,000 personnel to operations at sea, using multiyear procurement for buying some new aircraft and surveillance and jamming systems, and shutting down the headquarters at Second Fleet in Norfolk and transferring its responsibilities to The Fleet Forces Command. Secretary Gates also announced that the FY2012 budget request will cancel the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. The Air Force identified $34 billion in savings to include consolidating two air operations centers in both the U.S and in Europe and three Air Force staffs, cutting fuel and energy consumption in the Military Mobility Command, and reducing communications infrastructure costs by 25 percent. The Secretary stated that the Services had also identified how they would use the savings they were allowed to reinvest. Together, all Services would apply roughly $28 billion to cover higher than expected operating expenses for fuel, maintenance, healthcare and training. In addition, the Army would apply some of its savings to modernize its tanks and fighting and wheeled vehicles, accelerate fielding of its new tactical communications network, buy more reconnaissance aircraft, and begin to develop a new vertical unmanned reconnaissance aircraft. The Navy will use some of its savings to repair and refurbish Marine Corps equipment, develop a new sea-borne unmanned strike and surveillance aircraft, and buy more of the latest F-18s, extend the service life of some existing F-18s, and buy more ships. The Air Force will apply some of its savings to buy more REAPER UAVs, increase the buy of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), modernize F-15 radars, and develop a new long-range, nuclear-capable penetrating bomber.