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White House to Pentagon: Cough Up More Money for Deficit Reduction

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Just this week, Department of Defense (DoD) officials informed Congress that 95 weapons programs have increased in cost, to the tune of $64 billion. A primary driver of these cost increases: production cuts and the loss of economies of scale. Programs affected include the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, the Air Force’s RQ-4 Global Hawk drone, and the multi-service C-27J Joint Cargo Aircraft.

This report comes on the heels of President Obama’s recent guidance for the U.S.military to identify an additional $400 billion in defense cuts over the next decade as part of a larger deficit-reduction plan.

As defense budgets decline, and the demand for ever more efficiency within DoD grows, senior Pentagon officials will leave no stone unturned as they look for more efficient ways of doing business, eliminating waste, and removing redundancy across plans and programs.

Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Ashton Carter recently noted that the Department of Defense spends more than $400 billion annually on goods and services. Over half of that tab is spent on services, not weapons systems or equipment for military personnel–contrary to popular belief.

Secretary Carter will surely help lead the ongoing effort determining how DoD can save money in services and the impact of President Obama’s call for spending cuts of $400 billion on the 2013 President’s defense budget request.

Tomorrow, Under Secretary Carter will be giving a live address at The Heritage Foundation on efficiency initiatives, eliminating waste, saving money at DoD, and how the military can live within ever more austere means. You can come to the public event in person or watch his remarks online at heritage.org beginning at 11 a.m. and submit live questions during the event to speaker@heritage.org.

Some questions readers may be interested in asking include:

  • What is the impact on DoD’s FY 2012 and 2013 budgets given that the FY 2011 budget was not passed until six months into the fiscal year?
  • How much money does DoD truly expect to save from the efficiency initiatives launched last year by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates?
  • What weapons programs are most at risk if additional defense cuts take place? How will the efficiency program evolve once Secretary Gates leaves the Pentagon?
  • Is there a plan to identify and develop efficiencies and savings within military manpower accounts?
  • Is the defense industrial base over capacity?
  • What are Dr. Carter’s thoughts on contractor consolidation of the major defense companies?
  • When will the military need to request a supplemental appropriations for operations in Libya and/or Japan?
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