Gates Lays Out Defense Review Parameters

Pentagon officials are structuring the forthcoming defense comprehensive review to “ensure that future spending decisions are focused on strategy and risks, and are not simply a math and accounting exercise,” said Defense Secretary Robert Gates Wednesday. “If we’re going to reduce the resources and the size of the US military, people need to make conscious choices about what the implications of that are for the security of the country as well as for the operations that we have around the world,” Gates told reporters during a Pentagon briefing. President Obama last month set the goal of reducing national security spending by about $400 billion over the next 12 years as part of broader federal deficit reductions. The review will inform the White House on options. Gates said the review will develop specific options in four “bins”: additional efficiencies; changes to established policies, programs, processes, and mandates that drive defense operating costs; identifying marginal missions and capabilities useful in only limited circumstances; and modifications to the Quadrennial Defense Review strategy that translate into options for reductions in force structure. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon policy shop, and Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office will lead the review. (Gates-Mullen transcript)