Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is campaigning to keep federal funds flowing as the United States begins to withdraw military forces from Iraq and eventually, Afghanistan.
Gates is concerned that, like in other times in U.S. history, wars ending will lead to a “peace dividend.”
Addressing the American Legion in a speech last week, Gates said: “As a country, historically, we have a troubling, predictable pattern of coming to the end of a conflict, concluding that the nature of man and the world has changed for the better, and turning inward – unilaterally disarming and dismantling institutions important to our national security.”
As already pledged by President Barack Obama, DoD will grow by between 1 and 2 percent per year. Gates says such amount will not be enough to sustain the capabilities the military has to defend the country.
DoD is already working to reduce overhead, aiming to save $100 billion during the next five years. Some cost-saving measures have already been implemented, including eliminating the Joint Forces Command and reducing contractors by at least 10 percent.
Gates said, “To make the case for this growth at a time of economic and fiscal duress requires the Defense Department to make every dollar count – to fundamentally change the way we do business.”
He added, “It means shifting resources from bureaucracies and overhead to the combat capabilities needed today and in the future.”