NPR logo Gates Seeks Deep Cuts At Pentagon

National Security

Gates Seeks Deep Cuts At Pentagon

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is recommending Monday that a major military command be eliminated and is calling for the Pentagon's use of outside contractors to be cut by 10 percent for three years.

Gates wants to cut the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., which employs 6,000 people, half of them contractors. The command was created a decade ago and is in charge of new training and getting the military services to work more closely together. Gates says much of that already has been achieved.

Meanwhile, Gates says he's not satisfied with efforts to reduce the number of Pentagon contractors, which has steadily increased by the thousands since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"To accelerate this process and achieve additional savings, I have directed that we reduce funding for service-supported contractors by 10 percent per year for the next three years," Gates said.

He pointed out that 200 contractors are working full time just writing reports ordered by Congress. He says the Pentagon would no longer automatically replace contractors with full-time personnel.