President Barack Obama’s effort to seek additional savings within the Defense Department likely will affect the department’s fiscal 2013 budget, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said Thursday.
The president announced that he plans to work with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to find more savings within the Defense Department to help in reducing the federal deficit.
“Secretary Gates believes that the Department of Defense cannot be exempt from efforts to bring federal deficit spending under control,” Morrell said. “However, it is important that any reduction in funding be shaped by strategy and policy choices, and not by a budget math exercise.”
The department already has cut back spending by more than $400 billion during the past two years. The president said he believes the department is capable of matching that effort again to help in realizing $2 trillion in savings as part of an effort to reduce federal borrowing by $4 trillion during the next 12 years.
“The president acknowledged that the Department of Defense has been at the forefront in tearing back unneeded, duplicative and obsolete programs and administrative overhead,” Morrell said. “(He) wants us to continue this effort with the goal of significant additional savings over the coming decade.
“By the same token, the (defense) secretary has been clear that further significant defense cuts cannot be accomplished without reducing forces structure and military capabilities,” the Pentagon press secretary continued.
“The comprehensive review of missions, capabilities and America’s role in the world will identify alternatives for the president’s consideration.”
Accomplishing the president’s goal, Morrell added, “must be about managing risks associated with future threats and national security challenges and identifying missions that the country is willing to forego.”