Defense chief pushes for fiscal 2011 spending bill to avoid 'crisis'

With a little over a month until the expiration of the stopgap continuing resolution funding the federal government, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is urging lawmakers to approve a fiscal 2011 defense spending bill.

Failure to do so, he warned, amounts to a $23 billion cut to the Pentagon's budget this year -- money that will mostly be taken from operations and maintenance accounts, including scaling back training.

"I have a crisis on my doorstep," Gates said Wednesday night during an interview with the Washington Post, New York Times and Associated Press. "And I want them to deal with the crisis on my doorstep before we start arguing about the levels in fiscal 2012."

Gates, who has been pressing Congress for months to approve a spending bill for the fiscal year that started October 1, said cutting needed O&M dollars halfway through the year is "how you hollow out a military even in wartime."

The Pentagon released a transcript of the interview, which was conducted aboard his plane en route to Ottawa.

The current continuing resolution, which expires March 4, funds the federal government at fiscal 2010 levels, which accounts for most of the difference in spending levels between what the Pentagon requested for this year and what it is receiving under the CR.

Gates specifically called out lawmakers who oppose the Pentagon's plans to slash $78 billion in defense funds over the next five years by scaling back and terminating troubled programs and reducing the size of the Army and Marine Corps, arguing that the continuing resolution is more dangerous to the military than the proposed cuts.

"If we ended up with this yearlong continuing resolution, this new Congress would be responsible for a cut that's nearly twice the size of our fiscal 2012 proposal and much, much more damaging," Gates said.

The Pentagon plans to send its budget request for next year to Capitol Hill in mid-February. On Wednesday, several Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee pushed back against the announced cuts, foreshadowing what will likely be a contentious budget season.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.