(CNN) - The Pentagon must hold down its spending and make choices that will anger "powerful people" in an era of economic strain, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a weekend speech in Kansas.
Increasing health care costs, a top-heavy uniformed and civilian management force, and big-ticket weapons systems are swelling the military's budget at an "unsustainable" rate, Gates said. In response, Gates said, he has ordered the Defense Department's military and civilian leaders to find savings of 2 to 3 percent - more than $10 billion of the Pentagon's roughly $550 billion base budget - and shift spending toward war-fighting costs.
"These savings must stem from root-and-branch changes that can be sustained and added to over time," he told an audience Saturday at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene. "Simply taking a few percent off the top of everything on a onetime basis will not do."