Sounding General Alarm

Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants so see at least 50 general and flag officer positions eliminated over the next two years, along with 150 senior civilian executive posts, according to a memo that he’s just released. To support the process of making these reductions, Gates says a “a comprehensive assessment” will be completed by Nov. 1 that examines these senior-level positions and “the accoutrements that go with them.” These top-level cuts are among the numerous efficiency initiatives that Gates is pushing to shed excess and duplication across the Defense Department and instill a culture of savings and restraint. He hopes that these efforts will free up more than $100 billion over five years that can be redirected to modernization and personnel needs. The Aug. 16 memo outlines many of these overhead-reducing moves, including one blockbuster that he’s already recommended: dissolving US Joint Forces Command. (Gates memo)