TO DEFENSE SECRETARY ROBERT GATES for the principle of what his Efficiency Initiatives Decisions memo seeks to achieve. Reducing duplication, overhead and excess across the Defense Department is not just desirable, it’s critical. There remains far too much waste, and Gates is right to follow up his broader statements of intent to address excess with detailed pinpointing of specific areas that can and must be cut.
By attaching a firm and near deadline to when most of these cuts must be made — Sept. 30 — Gates also signals a sense of urgency and his own seriousness in seeing this through (likely, one of his last major initiatives before retirement). A flatter, more streamlined DoD, with fewer overlapping organizations, will help stem the flow of billions of unnecessary dollars while also responding more rapidly and efficiently to the needs of the services and the country.