Gates, Mullen Take Budget to Senate Committee

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department’s request for a $553 bil­lion base bud­get and an addi­tion­al $117.8 bil­lion to fund over­seas oper­a­tions for fis­cal 2012 is the right amount for pre­serv­ing America’s fight­ing strength dur­ing tight bud­get times, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates told a Sen­ate com­mit­tee today.

Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, took their case for the bud­get to the Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, the day after pre­sent­ing it to the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee.

“These bud­get deci­sions took place in the con­text of a near­ly two-year effort by this depart­ment to reduce over­head, cull trou­bled and excess pro­grams, and rein in per­son­nel and con­trac­tor costs – all for the pur­pose of pre­serv­ing the fight­ing strength of America’s mil­i­tary at a time of fis­cal stress for our coun­try,” Gates said.

Full fund­ing of the bud­get would con­tin­ue the department’s efforts to reform its busi­ness prac­tices, fund mod­ern­iza­tion efforts for future con­flicts, reaf­firm the nation’s com­mit­ment to the all-vol­un­teer force, and ensure that troops and com­man­ders on the front lines have the resources they need, he said.

Mullen, too, said full sup­port is nec­es­sary “to reset the joint force need­ed to pro­tect the Amer­i­can peo­ple.”

The chair­man called the mount­ing U.S. deficits and nation­al debt the country’s “great­est threat to nation­al secu­ri­ty.”

Because of that, he said, “We must care­ful­ly and delib­er­ate­ly bal­ance the imper­a­tives of a con­strained bud­get envi­ron­ment with the require­ments we place on our mil­i­tary in sus­tain­ing and enhanc­ing our secu­ri­ty.”

Reset­ting the mil­i­tary after ten years of war will be cost­ly, Mullen said. Defense lead­ers will have to con­tin­ue with effi­cien­cy sav­ings Gates start­ed last year to sup­port the costs, he said.

“For too much of the past decade we have not been forced to be dis­ci­plined with our choic­es,” Mullen said.

Gates addressed four areas of con­cern he said he has heard since releas­ing the bud­get Jan. 6:

— First, he said, Con­gress’ fail­ure to pass the fis­cal 2011 Defense bud­get, result­ing in the depart­ment oper­at­ing under a con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion is affect­ing readi­ness by delay­ing and dis­rupt­ing pro­grams, caus­ing cuts to main­te­nance and oper­a­tions, and in oth­er areas.

— Sec­ond, the four-year plan to reduce the bud­get until it flat­tens in 2014 and 2015 still pro­tects per­son­nel, mod­ern­iza­tion and readi­ness, Gates said.

— Third, the budget’s pro­jec­tions for cut­ting end strength will not harm readi­ness or dwell time and will, in fact, leave the Army with 40,000 more sol­diers than it had when Gates took office in 2007, he said.

— Final­ly, plans to save mon­ey in the TRICARE health­care sys­tem are nec­es­sary to sus­tain the pro­gram, Gates said. Oth­er­wise, he said, the mil­i­tary “risks the fate of oth­er cor­po­rate and gov­ern­ment bureau­cra­cies ulti­mate­ly crip­pled by per­son­nel costs and health care.”

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →