Gates Doubts It

Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants the services to find upward of $70 billion in five-year overhead savings to help pay for modernization, but he also expressed his doubts that they’ll succeed. On May 7 aboard a flight to Kansas City, Mo., Gates told reporters that he wants the Pentagon to find $10 billion in savings in 2012 and as much as $15 billion per year subsequently as “the only way” to afford modernization “with the topline we have been given.” However, in his speech on the following day at the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kan., Gates acknowledged that the services likely won’t find such savings and the force will have to shrink commensurately. “Realistically, it is highly unlikely that we will achieve the real growth rates necessary to sustain the current force structure,” he said. (Gates May 7 transcript) (Gates May 8 speech)