Gates Overhauls Defense Department

Even the Obama administration’s Republican appointees are itching for reform: The Wall Street Journal reports that “Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday unveiled a sweeping overhaul of weapons priorities to reorient the U.S. military toward winning such unconventional conflicts as the war in Afghanistan rather than fighting China, Russia or other major powers.” The $534 billion budget is up 4 percent from last year, but it’s notable for its wide range of cuts, eliminating pet programs at almost every major U.S. defense contractor. The Washington Post writes “The budget would reverse a contracting boom, beginning after the 2001 terrorist attacks, in which the proportion of private contractors grew to 39 percent of the Pentagon's workforce. Gates said he wants to reduce that percentage to a pre-Sept. 11 level of 26 percent. The government said it would hire as many as 13,000 civil servants to replace contractors in the coming year and up to 39,000 over the next five years.”