USA — Joint Chiefs Fully Agree With Gates’ Efficiencies

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2011 — The mem­bers of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are ful­ly behind Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates’ pro­posed effi­cien­cies for the mil­i­tary, the nation’s top mil­i­tary offi­cer said today.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a Pen­ta­gon news con­fer­ence that “the chiefs and I are in com­plete sup­port of these deci­sions.”

The mil­i­tary lead­ers were inte­gral to the process that looked for and found $154 bil­lion in sav­ings over the next five years, Mullen said.

“This is the sec­ond time we’ve been through this kind of review with the sec­re­tary, and it has been man­aged in the most inclu­sive, detailed and delib­er­ate way,” he said. “He gave us broad guid­ance. We helped craft the specifics, and these are our deci­sions, too.”

The ser­vices will be able to rein­vest the sav­ings they found in high­er-pri­or­i­ty pro­grams. All ser­vices will invest in more intel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and recon­nais­sance assets. The Navy will dis­es­tab­lish the 2nd Fleet and will use those sav­ings and more to fund addi­tion­al ships. The Army will can­cel a mis­sile sys­tem and use the funds to refur­bish armored vehi­cles and fund sui­cide pre­ven­tion activ­i­ties. The Air Force will con­sol­i­date three num­bered Air Force staffs and use the sav­ings to ensure U.S. access to space.

The sec­re­tary restruc­tured the F‑35 joint strike fight­er pro­gram and agreed with the rec­om­men­da­tion to elim­i­nate the Marine Corps’ expe­di­tionary fight­ing vehi­cle. The plan in the out years calls for a reduc­tion in the size of the Army and Marine Corps.

The chair­man often has said he sees the growth of the nation­al debt as a secu­ri­ty threat to the Unit­ed States. The secretary’s effi­cien­cies, reforms and bud­get pro­pos­als help the Defense Depart­ment to attack the debt sit­u­a­tion, he said today.

“We can’t hold our­selves exempt from the belt-tight­en­ing,” he said. “Nei­ther can we allow our­selves to con­tribute to the very debt that puts our long-term secu­ri­ty at risk.”

The effi­cien­cies aren’t sole­ly about cut­ting or sav­ings, the chair­man said, but rather are about readi­ness.

“Not only do these reforms pre­serve essen­tial capa­bil­i­ties -– which is the high­est pri­or­i­ty of this process -– but it will improve this process,” Mullen said. “We will do things smarter, more effi­cient­ly and more in line with the chal­lenges we face and the fis­cal envi­ron­ment we are in.”

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

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