Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III again voiced his support for Pentagon budget cuts and reorganizations, as the Defense Department enters what he called a significant period of transition.
Lynn said it was the fifth such transition, or as he called it, âinflection point,â for the Pentagon. The last one came after the Soviet Union dissolved, and the three previous followed some of the last centuryâs major wars and conflicts: World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
During the speech before the World Affairs Council in McLean, Va., Lynn positioned the Pentagonâs efficiencies as essential to making the current transition a success, a goal, which in the past, he said, DoD has fallen short of.
âWhat the four transitions have in common is each time weâve gone through this, weâve suffered â¦ a disproportionate loss of capability,â he said. âIn shorthand, weâre 0-for-4 in managing these transitions.â
But contrary to detractorâs criticisms, Lynn said the goal of the restructuring was not to âbreak the force,â but âto adapt to the fiscal situation weâre in.â
Lynn said the Pentagon has learned some key lessons from past transition points:
1)Â Â Â Â Â Make difficult decisions early, because resources will only become scarcer and budget woes will likely only grow grimmer.
2)Â Â Â Â Â âPure efficiencies”–or doing the same things with less money–will not work this time around, Lynn said. Â âYou are going to have to eliminate lower-priority organizations, lower-priority activities,â including the U.S. Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., he added.
The Pentagonâs proposals to trim the bottom line — $100 billion over five yearsâhas drawn the ire of some Â congressmen, contractors and community members, since Secretary of Defense Robert Gates laid out specifics in August.
Lynn and other top DoD officials testified before the House and Senate last week about the Pentagonâs plans.