President’s Plan Likely to Affect 2013 Defense Budget

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2011 — Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s effort to seek addi­tion­al sav­ings with­in the Defense Depart­ment like­ly will affect the department’s fis­cal 2013 bud­get, Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary Geoff Mor­rell said today.
The pres­i­dent announced that he plans to work with Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to find more sav­ings with­in the Defense Depart­ment to help in reduc­ing the fed­er­al deficit.

“Sec­re­tary Gates believes that the Depart­ment of Defense can­not be exempt from efforts to bring fed­er­al deficit spend­ing under con­trol,” Mor­rell said. “How­ev­er, it is impor­tant that any reduc­tion in fund­ing be shaped by strat­e­gy and pol­i­cy choic­es, and not by a bud­get math exer­cise.”

The depart­ment already has cut back spend­ing by more than $400 bil­lion over the past two years. The pres­i­dent said he believes the depart­ment is capa­ble of match­ing that effort again to help in real­iz­ing $2 tril­lion in sav­ings as part of an effort to reduce fed­er­al bor­row­ing by $4 tril­lion over the next 12 years.

“The pres­i­dent acknowl­edged that the Depart­ment of Defense has been at the fore­front in tear­ing back unneed­ed, duplica­tive and obso­lete pro­grams and admin­is­tra­tive over­head,” Mor­rell said. “[He] wants us to con­tin­ue this effort with the goal of sig­nif­i­cant addi­tion­al sav­ings over the com­ing decade.

“By the same token, the sec­re­tary has been clear that fur­ther sig­nif­i­cant defense cuts can­not be accom­plished with­out reduc­ing forces struc­ture and mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ties,” Mor­rell con­tin­ued. “The com­pre­hen­sive review of mis­sions, capa­bil­i­ties and America’s role in the world will iden­ti­fy alter­na­tives for the president’s con­sid­er­a­tion.”

Accom­plish­ing the president’s goal, Mor­rell added, will “must be about man­ag­ing risks asso­ci­at­ed with future threats and nation­al secu­ri­ty chal­lenges and iden­ti­fy­ing mis­sions that the coun­try is will­ing to forego.”

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

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