Gates Seeks Deep Cuts At Pentagon

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Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announces a plan to close a Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia, as part of his effort to strip billions from the Pentagon budget during a news conference at the Pentagon August 9, 2010 in Arlington, Virginia.

The defense secretary is recommending that the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., which employs 6,000 people, be eliminated. He is also calling for the Pentagon's use of outside contractors to be cut by 10 percent for three years.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is recommending Monday that a major military command be eliminated and is calling for the Pentagon's use of outside contractors to be cut by 10 percent for three years.

Gates wants to cut the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., which employs 6,000 people, half of them contractors. The command was created a decade ago and is in charge of new training and getting the military services to work more closely together. Gates says much of that already has been achieved.

Meanwhile, Gates says he's not satisfied with efforts to reduce the number of Pentagon contractors, which has steadily increased by the thousands since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"To accelerate this process and achieve additional savings, I have directed that we reduce funding for service-supported contractors by 10 percent per year for the next three years," Gates said.

He pointed out that 200 contractors are working full time just writing reports ordered by Congress. He says the Pentagon would no longer automatically replace contractors with full-time personnel. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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