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Four Ways to Cut the Pentagon's Budget

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Michele Flournoy, who until recently was considered a candidate for Defense secretary, published an op-ed in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, giving her take on how to responsibly trim the Pentagon’s budget to protect national security while aiding in deficit reduction.

Flournoy, who was Defense undersecretary from 2009 to 2012 before becoming a consultant, targets four areas. First, she writes, eliminate unnecessary overhead, particularly in the Office of the Defense Secretary, whose staff, she says, ballooned from 600 in the mid-1990s to nearly 1,000 under President Obama.

Second, curb spending on military health care by enacting Pentagon proposals to ask retirees who have access to private insurance through a new employer to contribute higher co-pays.

Third, cut excess infrastructure by reconvening the Base Realignment and Closure Commission.

And fourth, acquisition reform. “DoD is still operating with procurement timelines unresponsive to need, perverse incentives for program managers, inadequate numbers of trained acquisition professionals and insufficient dialog with industry,” Flournoy writes.

Charlie Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books and organizational media strategies.

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