Gates to Announce Overhaul of Defense Budget: Focus on Counterinsurgency

April 4, 2009

(ChattahBox)-With new economic realities to deal with, President Obama’s marching orders to root out defense spending waste and re-allocate resources, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has a big task ahead in crafting the 2010 Pentagon budget. Secretary Gates plans to hole up this weekend, putting the final touches to the new budget, before unveiling it at a press conference on Monday. Pentagon press secretary, Geoff Morrell said the new budget would represent a fundamentally different direction for the Defense Department.

Gate’s aides, expect the new budget to re-allocate defense resources away from large-scale war preparations to focus more on counterinsurgency programs, which Gates believes will be the most challenging for the United States going forward. Some programs would be cut into oblivion, like the Army’s Future Combat Systems and a new $20 billion communications satellite program, while others would be slightly increased.

Gates is expected to significantly cut programs that are over budget or behind schedule. Obama made it clear in March; he was willing to take on entrenched defense contractors, saying he wants to, “…make sure that we’re not simply fattening defense contractors.”

Before Obama was inaugurated as President, Gates and his team reportedly tried to ”jam” a defense budget on the new administration of $584 billion, which represented a whopping 14 percent increase. The Obama administration agreed to a 4 percent increase instead.

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