Washington (CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced some far-reaching proposals Monday for restructuring the massive budget at his agency, including getting rid of the U.S. Joint Forces Command (Usjfcom).
The cuts could mean a loss of up to 3,000 jobs.
The current Defense Department budget totals more than $530 billion a year, and defense officials believe they need increases of 2 to 3 percent a year to sustain the force structure and meet modernization needs.
However, the recession caused the department to propose a 1 percent budget increase for next year, and the cuts announced Monday were intended to help hold down overall costs.
Washington (CNN) - It is up to the Justice Department to determine if there will be criminal charges in the release of classified military documents by WikiLeaks, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday the website is morally guilty for putting lives at risk.
On the ABC program "This Week," Gates declared himself "mortified" and "appalled" over the public dissemination of 76,000 documents that detailed military operations in Afghanistan.
"If I'm angry it is because I believe this information puts those in Afghanistan who have helped us at risk," Gates said, citing a Taliban statement that it would seek out informants and other collaborators exposed by the documents.
He said the issue involved two areas of culpability – legal and moral.
While the Department of Justice will decide on the legal questions, "there's also a moral culpability, and that's where I think WikiLeaks is guilty," Gates said.
Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also cited the Taliban's threat to sources named in the leaked documents, saying the United States had a "moral obligation" to protect their safety.
Washington (CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday that new rules governing interaction between members of the press and the military are a result of "flat out sloppy" media relations efforts on the part of military officials in recent years.
A memo issued by Gates last week requires military officials to notify the Pentagon before providing interviews on potentially sensitive subjects.
The memo was released shortly after Gen. Stanley McChrystal was relieved of his duties as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, following the publication of a Rolling Stone magazine article in which the general and his staff were quoted criticizing and mocking key administration officials.
Washington (CNN) - The Pentagon is out to save $100 billion over the next five years in a major push to cut overhead costs, according to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Gates officially unveiled his plan at a Pentagon news conference Monday, announcing he is putting department acquisition chief Ashton Carter in charge of finding where the $100 billion will come from in the budgets beginning in 2012.
"The department's leadership has already taken strong action in this area, and needs to do more," Gates said.
"Other savings can be found within programs and activities we do need, by conducting them more efficiently. ... I'm confident we'll succeed," he said.
Washington (CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates backed keeping Gen. Stanley McChrystal on the job because he was vital to the war effort in Afghanistan, but he was overruled, a senior Pentagon official told CNN's Barbara Starr.
The official has direct knowledge of the events but declined to be identified because they are internal administration discussions.
President Barack Obama relieved McChrystal of command of the Afghan war on Wednesday, a day after Rolling Stone published critical comments about top White House officials by members of McChrystal's staff.
It's still unclear whether Obama had made up his mind before sitting down with McChrystal, but CNN has learned that during their one-on-one meeting, Obama gave the general a chance to defend himself.
"The president asked him about the (Rolling Stone) article," said a senior administration official.
McChrystal "tried to explain the situation," the official said.
(CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates issued a statement Tuesday noting that Gen. Stanley McChrystal "has apologized to me and is similarly reaching out to others named in (the Rolling Stone) article to apologize to them as well. I have recalled Gen. McChrystal to Washington to discuss this in person."
Gates said he read "with concern" the Rolling Stone story, and he believes 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," Gates said. "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."
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama would veto a military bill that contains spending for programs he opposes, even if the measure also included a provision to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning openly gay and lesbian soldiers from military service, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in an interview broadcast Sunday.
Asked on "FOX News Sunday" about the matter, Gates said Obama was opposed to any move by Congress to fund the C-17 cargo plane or an alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.
"It would be a very serious mistake to believe that the president would not veto a bill that has the C-17 or the alternative engine in it just because it had other provisions that the president and the administration want," Gates said.
When pushed on whether Obama would veto the bill even if it also included the repeal plan for "don't ask, don't tell," Gates said "I think so."
(CNN) - Military operations will need to be reduced for the rest of the year unless Congress approves additional funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned senators Wednesday.
"I am becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of progress on the supplemental and strongly urge Congress to complete its work on the request as quickly as possible," Gates told the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The Pentagon has requested an additional $33 billion to support the added financial costs of President Barack Obama's new strategy for the war in Afghanistan, now the longest conflict in U.S. history. Gates told senators that if there is no passage of the funding by the July 4 congressional recess, "We will have to begin planning to curtail defense operations."
"Such planning is disruptive, can be costly and especially in a time of war, and I ask your help in avoiding this action," he said.
(CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates praised national intelligence director nominee James Clapper on Sunday, telling reporters that President Barack Obama "could not have found a better person" for the job.
Speaking to reporters on a trip through Asia, Gates said Clapper - currently a Pentagon intelligence official - has good ties with leaders of other U.S. spy agencies and with the congressional committees that oversee them.
"He is the consummate intelligence professional who has the respect of virtually everybody in the community," Gates said.
"I think the president could not have found a better person, more experienced person, or with a better temperament to do this job and actually make it work, than Jim Clapper," he added.
Washington (CNN) - A key Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee said Wednesday that he will vote for a compromise plan to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bans openly gay and lesbian soldiers from military service.
The endorsement from moderate Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska boosted the chances for the proposal to win committee support as soon as Thursday.
However, the leaders of the four branches of the military said Wednesday in letters to Republican Sen. John McCain and Rep. Buck McKeon that they opposed any congressional action on the policy now, before the military completes its review of the matter.
Read Marine Corps Commandant James T. Conway's letter here.
Read Chief of Staff of the United States Army George W. Casey's letter here.
Read Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead's letter here.
Read Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz letter here.
The proposed agreement - reached Monday by the White House and top congressional Democrats - calls for a repeal of the controversial policy after completion of a military review expected by the end of 2010, followed by a review certification from President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen.
Initial votes on the proposal in the Senate Armed Services Committee and the full House could occur Thursday.