Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has ordered the military and the Pentagon’s civilian bureaucracy to find tens of billions of dollars in annual savings to pay for war-fighting operations, senior officials said Thursday. The New York Times reports that his goal is $7 billion in spending cuts and efficiencies for 2012, growing to $37 billion annually by 2016. Every modern defense secretary has declared war on Pentagon waste and redundancy. And there have been notable, but relatively narrow successes, in closing and consolidating military bases or in canceling a handful of weapons systems. But if Mr. Gates’s sweeping plan is fully enacted, none of the armed services or Pentagon civilian agencies and directorates would be immune from the pain of annual cost-cutting, which would become institutionalized across the Defense Department.
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