tagged w/ Robert Gates
After Thanksgiving, waistlines aren't the only things that are bloated--the Pentagon's top ranks are fattening at an alarming rate.
Despite a plan set forth by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to rein in the Department of Defense's (DoD) increasingly top-heavy force and assurances from Pentagon personnel that these plans were being enacted, the U.S. military is still adding top brass faster than you can say tryptophan.
In September, I testified before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel about the military becoming increasingly top-heavy as a result of growth in the proportion of general and flag officers at the Pentagon. This trend, which we at POGO dubbed Star Creep, is costly to taxpayers who have to foot the large bill for every new general and admiral. It also hinders military effectiveness by leading to what Gates referred to as a “bureaucracy which has the fine motor skills of a dinosaur.”
My fellow witnesses at the hearing—several generals and admirals as well as former Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley—assured the concerned Committee that they had everything under control. They cited Gates’ Efficiency Initiatives, which purportedly eliminate 102 general and flag officer positions, as evidence of the DoD’s commitment to combating Star Creep. Stanley confirmed to Chairman Jim Webb (D-VA) that Gates’ successor—Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta—supported these efforts and, “has accepted the policies and the things put in place by his predecessor.” (Stanley tendered his notice of resignation in late October.)
What Senator Webb and I did not know at the time—and perhaps Stanley did—was that Gates’ initiative to cut general and flag officers had already come to a screeching halt. Data that were released recently on the DoD personnel office's website tell the tale.
New personnel data
When POGO began its analysis of Star Creep, the most recent data available to the public were from April 2011. Thus, when I presented Chairman Webb our recommendation that Secretary Panetta work to fully enact Gates’ Efficiency Initiatives to combat Star Creep and heard the other witnesses declare their support for the initiatives, I had no way of knowing that the DoD had already completely reversed course on Gates’ efforts.
Seventeen general and flag officers were scheduled to be eliminated between May and September through Gates’ Efficiency Initiatives. But the DoD didn’t reduce its top brass at all. Instead, six generals were added from May to September, increasing the number of general and flag officers from 964 to 970. Moreover, from July 1, 2011—Panetta’s first day as Secretary of Defense—to September 30, the Pentagon added three four-star officers. Coincidentally, this is precisely the number of four-star officers Gates cut during his final year as SecDef, from June 2010 to the end of June 2011. Thus, in just three months, Panetta undid a year’s worth of Gates’ attempts to cut the Pentagon’s very top brass. It’s doubtful that Gates would consider Panetta’s current rate of adding a new four-star officer every month conducive to efficiency.
One of these new four-star officers is Admiral Mark Ferguson, who became vice chief of naval operations and consequently a four-star admiral less than a month before he testified at Senator Webb’s hearing. Ironically, this beneficiary of Star Creep wrote in his prepared statement that the “Navy supports these efficiency actions and anticipates additional review to reduce or merge flag officer positions.” At the hearing he expanded upon this, stating that “We [the Navy] remain absolutely committed to create a more agile, flexible, and effective flag officer staff structure.” Apparently, this support and commitment to flag officer efficiencies includes adding admirals.After Thanksgiving, waistlines aren't the only things that are bloated--the... more
He says: " most governments lies to each other. That's the way business gets done." http://www.alternet.org/story/151342/how_robert_gates%27_lies_and_cover-ups_earned_him_a_long%2C_prestigious_career_--_at_the_expense_of_the_american_people?akid=7135.293164.vDHjmq&rd=1&t=8He says: " most governments lies to each other. That's the way business... more
Odyssey Dawn sounds like a porn star. I recall in my youth being intrigued by ads for the work of a stripper named Modesty Blaze, who I imagine took her name from the comic strip Modesty Blaise - either of which would have been suitable monikers for the mission in Libya.Odyssey Dawn sounds like a porn star. I recall in my youth being intrigued by ads for... more
The Voice of America and CNN both announced today that Secretary Robert Gates, Defense Secretary under President Bush and President Obama, has made an unanounced visit to Cairo for talks with the military government.
Meanwhile: CNN TV: EGYPTIAN MILITARY CRIMINALIZES PEACEFUL PROTEST, ARRESTS AND TORTURES PROTEST LEADERS
A few minutes ago a CNN live reporter broadcasting live from Cairo reported that the Egyptian military has now criminalized all forms of protest and has begun rounding up protesters, and subjecting them to torture. As of yet, cnn.com has not posted the story.
The Egyptian Military has been the recipient of billions of dollars of American aid, and can be expected to take a visit from Bush's Secretary of Defense seriously.The Voice of America and CNN both announced today that Secretary Robert Gates, Defense... more
They are not calling it an invasion, but on the morning of March 14th, 2011, 1200 Saudi troops entered Bahrain to assist in silencing the pro-democracy movement which has plagued King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa whose family has ruled the country for the last two centuries. According to Saudis, however, this is meant to respond to a request by the Bahraini king, and the troops will be used 'to safeguard government buildings and make sure the protesters cannot disrupt normal economic and social life of the people'.
Translated into English, this means that troops will protect the oil installations and basic infrastructure from the demonstrators.
A Eurasiaview report indicated that the 'Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights describes the Saudi military presence as “an overt occupation of the kingdom of Bahrain and a conspiracy against the unarmed people of Bahrain.'
Continue reading on Examiner.com: Saudi Arabia asserts influence by invading Bahrain - National Foreign Policy | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/foreign-policy-in-national/saudi-arabia-asserts-influence-by-invading-bahrain#ixzz1Gcwp5LdeThey are not calling it an invasion, but on the morning of March 14th, 2011, 1200... more
The U.S. House killed an alternative engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as rank-and-file lawmakers, seeking deep cuts in spending, voted down a program backed by House Speaker John Boehner.
Lawmakers voted 233-198 today to remove $450 million for the engine from a Republican bill that already aims to slash $61 billion from this year’s budget. The vote was a victory for President Barack Obama and the Pentagon, which for years has said the program isn’t needed.
“After years of throwing good money after bad to fund the wasteful extra engine, the House has finally voted to end this unnecessary program,” said Florida Republican Tom Rooney, who co-sponsored the amendment. “Today’s vote sends a message to the American people that Congress heard their call to eliminate wasteful spending.”
Republicans split almost evenly on the engine, with 110 voting to end it and 130 voting to keep it. More than half of the freshmen Republicans voted against the engine program. Among Democrats, 123 opposed funding the engine and 68 voted to continue the funding.
Boehner had argued the program would produce savings for the government over time. His Ohio district is near a plant that would be threatened with job losses if the program were defunded. It is being developed by General Electric Co. and Rolls Royce Group Plc.
The House is considering more than 500 amendments from lawmakers taking advantage of Boehner’s promise to allow a free debate on the budget-cutting proposal introduced last week.
The plan, which would fund the government from March 4 through Sept. 30, would kill more than 100 government programs and slash hundreds more. The Environmental Protection Agency would be cut by nearly one-third, the Peace Corps would face a 20 percent reduction and Pell college tuition grants would drop by 15 percent. Republicans plan a final vote on the measure by the end of this week.
Senate Democrats said the House plan would force as many as 218,000 children to be dropped from the Head Start program and lead to the firing of 65,000 teachers.
“If we follow the House Republicans’ roadmap, it would lead the country over the cliff,” Senator Charles Schumer of New York said in a statement.
Many House Republicans are seeking even deeper cuts to the plan, with Jim Jordan of Ohio proposing to cut an additional $20 billion and Texas Republican Ron Paul proposing to slash aid to Egypt, Israel, Pakistan and Jordan by $6 billion.
Other amendments would bar funds to implement Obama’s health-care law, reduce funds for farm subsidies and prevent government workers from implementing the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, created under the financial overhaul Congress passed last year.
The House budget plan would be unlikely to survive in the Senate, where majority Democrats today endorsed Obama’s call for a five-year freeze of non-security discretionary spending to help reduce the deficit. Such a freeze would save $400 billion over 10 years.
Asked about concerns the House’s proposed spending cuts would force the government to furlough employees, Boehner said yesterday, “so be it” because “we’re broke.”
Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the House Armed Services Committee today that the backup F-35 engine is “an unnecessary and extravagant expense” that the Pentagon has been trying to kill since former President George W. Bush’s administration.
Representative Kevin McCarthy, the No. 3 Republican, told reporters the alternative engine program would produce savings because having multiple companies participating would generate competition. “You would save money by having the competition,” he said.
Representative Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, scoffed at those arguments, saying the issue was “parochial politics versus fiscal responsibility.” Today’s vote “is an indication of whether we’re serious about saving money,” he said.
Rooney said that, while he asked freshman lawmakers how they could pass up an opportunity to save $450 million, Boehner was urging members to support the engine plan.
Rooney declined to describe Boehner’s pitch, saying, “You’ll have to ask him; I’ve been trying to stay away from him.”The U.S. House killed an alternative engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as... more
A U.S. offer to supply Pakistan with its own fleet of surveillance drone aircraft delighted Islamabad a year ago but now threatens to turn into another source of friction between the two nations.
The offer was made by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates during a trip to Islamabad in January 2010 but talks have failed to gain traction, with Pakistan privately voicing concern about what it says are exorbitant prices and a snail-pace delivery timeline.
http://www.indiareport.com/India-usa-uk-news/reuters/National/76576A U.S. offer to supply Pakistan with its own fleet of surveillance drone aircraft... more
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been successfully pushing back against White House attempts to more severely cut into weapons program funding than what the Pentagon had been bracing for, an analyst and defense company source said on Tuesday.
http://www.indiareport.com/India-usa-uk-news/reuters/International/75936U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been successfully pushing back against White... more
- CNN Breaking News...
Report: Iran now nuclear self-sufficient
Report: Iran now able to process its own raw uranium
December 5th, 2010
04:56 AM ET
Iran now produces everything it needs for the nuclear fuel cycle, making its nuclear program self-sufficient, the head of the country's Atomic Energy Organization told state media Sunday.
The Islamic republic has begun producing yellowcake, Ali Akbar Salehi told Press TV.
Yellowcake is an intermediate stage in producing uranium ores, Press TV said.
The United States and its allies fear that Iran is trying to produce a nuclear bomb, but Iran has denied the allegations.- CNN Breaking News... Report: Iran now nuclear self-sufficient Report: Iran now... more
The AP reports Defense Secretary Robert Gates "warned Wednesday of 'enormous consequences' for men and women in uniform if a judge's order abruptly allowing gays to serve openly in the military is allowed to stand." Gates "told reporters traveling with him in Europe that repeal should be a question for Congress -- and only after the Pentagon completes a study of the impact of lifting the ban, which is due Dec. 1."
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101014/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_gays_in_military;_ylt=AgOyeUfP1LPsKJeHKkxeVPBp24cA;_ylu=X3oDMTJwOHNxYjVxBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAxMDE0L3VzX2dheXNfaW5fbWlsaXRhcnkEcG9zAzEEc2VjA3luX3BhZ2luYXRlX3N1bW1hcnlfbGlzdARzbGsDb2JhbWFjb25zaWRlThe AP reports Defense Secretary Robert Gates "warned Wednesday of 'enormous... more
According to Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward’s new book, “Obama’s Wars,” during a dinner hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for Afghan President Hamid Karzai in May, Defense Secretary Robert Gates reminded the group that he still feels guilty for his role in the first President Bush's decision to pull out of Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989. And to express his commitment to not letting down the country again, he emphasized: "We're not leaving Afghanistan prematurely. In fact, we're not ever leaving at all."According to Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward’s new book,... more
Thursday, September 30th, 2010. James O’Keefe tries to embarrass Abbie Boudreau, Democrats struggle with agenda, and Robert Gates has something to say! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmkMrbTYHQAhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmkMrbTYHQA)
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What do you think, Current.com? What should O'Keefe's next project be?Thursday, September 30th, 2010. James O’Keefe tries to embarrass Abbie Boudreau,... more
This story is from the Army Times.
http://corksphere.blogspot.com/2010/09/gates-too-few-in-us-bear-burden-of-wars.htmlThis story is from the Army Times.... more
When Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Armed Services Committee meet later this month, let’s hope they grasp the critical need to maintain a robust industry in the private sector, which – on a daily basis – brings much-needed innovation and critical logistical support to the world’s most powerful military.
Read more: http://www.ypnation.com/blogs/robert-gates-and-battle-contract-reformWhen Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Armed Services Committee meet later this... more
YPNation asked six of its regular contributors--including an economic policy analyst, a U.S. Navy Lieutenant and private sector defense consultants--what they thought about Defense Secretary Robert Gates' proposed military budget cuts.
Here's an excerpt of what they had to say:
"...rather than singling out defense I would first conduct a U.S government-wide audit and make cuts as appropriate. The government is far too big and wastes far too much money across the board...it's not just a DOD problem (though they are the “cash cow” as Departments go).
The Republicans in Congress are no better than the Democrats. They take the same approach to defense spending as the Democrats do to social spending (just continue to throw money at perceived problems). In my mind, both sides are totally useless and demagogue these issues for short-term political gain.
If there's anything that should be hit over and over and over, it is that the folks in Washington are the problem (both parties) on a myriad of issues because they don't care one bit about you or I, or frankly the nation as a whole -- unless that gets them reelected."
Read the full debate here: http://www.ypnation.com/blogs/trimming-defense-budget-fatYPNation asked six of its regular contributors--including an economic policy analyst,... more
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday the WikiLeaks website is morally guilty for putting lives at risk.
http://renovomedia.com/news/wikileaks-morally-guilty/Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday the WikiLeaks website is morally guilty for... more
North Korea Threatens ‘Physical Response’ to US Military Exercises
Regime sees naval and air drills as sign of hostility as US urges Asian nations to enforce UN sanctions against North Korea
23 July 2010
North Korea today threatened a “physical response” to planned military exercises by the US and South Korea this weekend, as tensions on the Korean peninsula dominated a regional security forum in Hanoi.
The regime did not specify what that response might be, but said it interpreted the launch on Sunday of four days of naval and air drills in the Sea of Japan as another sign of US “hostility”.
Full Story...North Korea Threatens WAR! In Response To US Military War Games…(VIDEO)...http://ctpatriot1970.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/north-korea-threatens-war-in-response-to-us-military-war-games-video/
“It is a threat to the Korean peninsula and the region of Asia as a whole,” a North Korea spokesman, Ri Tong-il, told reporters at the Asean regional forum.North Korea Threatens ‘Physical Response’ to US Military Exercises... more
General McChrystal’s Burning Contempt for the Puppet Obama
June 22, 2010
The farce that is the war in Afghanistan is coming apart at the seams. General Stanley McChrystal’s sharp comments about Obama, Biden, and the administration published by Rolling Stone are not so much about disrespect, as the script-reading corporate media talking heads would have it, but rather about a policy in disarray in Afghanistan.
It’s The Troops Stupid! General Stanley McChrystal’s Burning Disgust for the Puppet Obama…(VIDEO)...http://ctpatriot1970.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/its-the-troops-stupid-general-stanley-mcchrystal%E2%80%99s-burning-disgust-for-the-puppet-obama-video/
Obama the wunderbar teleprompter reader (and little else) is instructed to push the completely untenable prospect that the United States can win the so-called war in Afghanistan, a country often referred to as the graveyard of empires.General McChrystal’s Burning Contempt for the Puppet Obama Kurt Nimmo... more
Washington Post coverage at the link, and here is Defense Secretary Gates official statement on the McChrystal profile in Rolling Stone:
"I read with concern the profile piece on Gen. Stanley McChrystal in the upcoming edition of 'Rolling Stone' magazine. I believe that Gen. McChrystal made a significant mistake and exercised poor judgment in this case. We are fighting a war against al Qaeda and its extremist allies, who directly threaten the United States, Afghanistan, and our friends and allies around the world. Going forward, we must pursue this mission with a unity of purpose. Our troops and coalition partners are making extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our security, and our singular focus must be on supporting them and succeeding in Afghanistan without such distractions. Gen. McChrystal has apologized to me and is similarly reaching out to others named in this article to apologize to them as well. I have recalled Gen. McChrystal to Washington to discuss this in person."
The link to the Rolling Stone profile is at the bottom of this thread.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2010/06/22/DI2010062201709.htmlWashington Post coverage at the link, and here is Defense Secretary Gates official... more