Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Gates grabs the services’ crown jewels, cutting and reducing slots for generals

This is smart stuff on the part of old Gates. I thought the services would go along the defense secretary’s weapons cuts, but fight him to a bitter standstill on personnel actions like downgrading certain billets from four stars to three stars. I am surprised he was able to get the services to go along ...

wikimedia
wikimedia

This is smart stuff on the part of old Gates. I thought the services would go along the defense secretary’s weapons cuts, but fight him to a bitter standstill on personnel actions like downgrading certain billets from four stars to three stars. I am surprised he was able to get the services to go along with this:

I have approved the elimination of more than a hundred general-officer and flag-officer positions out of the roughly 900 currently on the books. Of those, 28 are billets that were created after 9/11, primarily for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They will be reduced as appropriate, as major troop deployments wind down. More than 80 general- or flag-officer billets in the services, OSD and the combatant commands will be eliminated or downgraded. Additionally, I have directed the elimination or downgrading of nearly 200 civilian senior executive positions, or equivalent positions, out of a total of 1,400 civilian executives. The monetary savings from these reductions in senior personnel will be relatively modest, and mostly consist of the extra staff and amenities that by tradition follow high rank. The primary purpose behind this shift is to create fewer, flatter, more agile and thus more effective organizations.

Good for him. Meanwhile, for those of you interested in weapons cuts, here (at bottom of story) are Small Wars Journal ‘s links to a bunch of stories.

This is smart stuff on the part of old Gates. I thought the services would go along the defense secretary’s weapons cuts, but fight him to a bitter standstill on personnel actions like downgrading certain billets from four stars to three stars. I am surprised he was able to get the services to go along with this:

I have approved the elimination of more than a hundred general-officer and flag-officer positions out of the roughly 900 currently on the books. Of those, 28 are billets that were created after 9/11, primarily for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They will be reduced as appropriate, as major troop deployments wind down. More than 80 general- or flag-officer billets in the services, OSD and the combatant commands will be eliminated or downgraded. Additionally, I have directed the elimination or downgrading of nearly 200 civilian senior executive positions, or equivalent positions, out of a total of 1,400 civilian executives. The monetary savings from these reductions in senior personnel will be relatively modest, and mostly consist of the extra staff and amenities that by tradition follow high rank. The primary purpose behind this shift is to create fewer, flatter, more agile and thus more effective organizations.

Good for him. Meanwhile, for those of you interested in weapons cuts, here (at bottom of story) are Small Wars Journal ‘s links to a bunch of stories.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

More from Foreign Policy

The Taliban delegation leaves the hotel after meeting with representatives of Russia, China, the United States, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Qatar in Moscow on March 19.

China and the Taliban Begin Their Romance

Beijing has its eyes set on using Afghanistan as a strategic corridor once U.S. troops are out of the way.

An Afghan security member pours gasoline over a pile of seized drugs and alcoholic drinks

The Taliban Are Breaking Bad

Meth is even more profitable than heroin—and is turbocharging the insurgency.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya addresses the U.N. Security Council from her office in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Sept. 4, 2020.

Belarus’s Unlikely New Leader

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya didn’t set out to challenge a brutal dictatorship.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid

What the Taliban Takeover Means for India

Kabul’s swift collapse leaves New Delhi with significant security concerns.