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Army official: Pentagon efficiency measures will cut muscle, not fat.

If history is any guide, the cost-cutting campaign launched by Defense Secretary Robert Gates may hit the wrong targets. There is enough wasteful spending in defense that the Pentagon could afford to make substantial cuts without jeopardizing essential programs, said Col. John "Buck" Surdu, military deputy at the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Communications-Electronics Center, or CERDEC.

In all likelihood, however, when the budget ax comes down, it will hit valuable programs instead of questionable overhead costs such as administration and bureaucracy, Surdu said. "Having been through this a couple of times in my career, typically the cuts are made in the wrong places. ... We tend to take cuts at the working end of the stick instead of at the oversight and bureaucratic end of the stick."

Surdu's organization, CERDEC, already is seeing some of the fallout from cutbacks that already are taking place in many technology programs as war-emergency funding begin to tighten, he said. Organizations such as the Army's Rapid Equipping Force and the Pentagon's Joint IED Defeat Organization for years have had "bags of cash" to pay for new technology, Surdu said. That easy money is going away. "I think what will happen is we'll see that customer money dry up.

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Comment:Army official: Pentagon efficiency measures will cut muscle, not fat.(DEFENSEINSIDER)
Author:Erwin, Sandra I.
Publication:National Defense
Date:Jan 1, 2011
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