Cutting Back

The Army and Marine Corps can get smaller, Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) said Wednesday. Webb told defense reporters in Washington, D.C., that he’s concluded that in ground forces end strength, “I think you can cut back,” although he didn’t name a number. Webb chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee’s personnel panel. While he recognizes that the Pentagon is struggling with personnel costs and that these costs are taking money away from investment in new equipment, cutting benefits isn’t the answer. Instead, Webb would look to force structure and better acquisition “program management” to speed programs up and reduce their cost. “These are the areas to look at,” he said. Webb is preparing a “comprehensive speech” on national security for December, in which he will assert that, in reducing the federal deficit, “I don’t think the Pentagon should be sacrosanct.”