Pentagon could save $5.4 billion
Stephen Daggett, a specialist in defense policy and budgets at the nonpartisan congressional think tank, calculates that if Gates follows his plan to cut spending on contractors by 30 percent over three years, it will yield $5.4 billion in savings between fiscal years 2011 and 2013. If Gates extends the plan, Daggett estimates it could save $12.6 billion through fiscal year 2015.
Although the defense secretary again mentioned he plans to step down in 2011 in an interview with ForeignPolicy.com, he's still pushing for the cutbacks and other changes at the Pentagon.
On the proposed cuts, Daggett wrote, "Many of the potentially larger savings appear to involve scrubbing the recent very large increases in intelligence spending. Much of the increase appears to have been through increased use of contractors, which is a focus of scrutiny in the initiatives."
Gates also said there would be a 10 percent reduction in funding for advisory and assistance contracts sponsored by military intelligence entities. CRS notes that the Defense Department's budget request does not detail proposed spending on "advisory and assistance contracts" for intelligence. However, an Office of Management and Budget report pegs overall spending for such services at $15.9 billion in fiscal 2010 and projects it to be $12.7 billion in fiscal 2011.
Daggett goes on to say that the savings from closing the U.S. Joint Forces Command, shrinking the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks Integration, plus getting rid of boards and commissions, will be relatively small. While some headquarters or offices may be closed, he says, their functions could move elsewhere, making "net savings from those measures very hard to estimate."
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