Browsing: Robert Gates

Robert Gates sounds off (again)

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Robert Gates was back in Washington this evening with a display of the understated candor that was a trademark during his five years as secretary of defense. It was Gates, after all, who last year described members of Congress as a group “with oversized egos and undersized backbones”—a line he cheerfully repeated during tonight’s award ceremony hosted by the National Academy of Public Administration. Gates, on hand to receive the academy’s Elliot L. Richardson Prize for excellence in public service, spoke during a wide-ranging question-and-answer session with James Kitfield, senior correspondent at National Journal. Here are a few other excerpts: *…

Friday Fun: SecDef Comedy Jam

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The Washington Post today has an amusing piece on Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ penchant for corny, corny jokes about Washington. Even Gates’ loyal speechwriters try to strike the zingers — such as “Washington … a place where people say ‘I’ll double-cross that bridge when I come to it’ ” — from his prepared remarks, but Gates puts them back in. (Poor Bob gets no respect. But at least it’s better than Don Rumsfeld’s found poetry.) Give a listen to Sirius XM’s compilation of the SecDef’s greatest hits here. (My favorite part is the overdubbed guy bellowing “Yeah yeah!” At least,…

Bulk of BTA workforce comes from contractors

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Almost two-thirds of the workforce at the Business Transformation Agency, a Pentagon shop slated for the chopping block, is made up of contract employees, according to figures obtained by Federal Times under the Freedom of Information Act. Of 1,124 workers, 725 are contractors, 375 are civilian and 24 are military personnel, the figures show. In announcing his decision to close BTA within the next year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said last month that the agency employed “approximately 360 people.” Gates was apparently referring only to government civilian employees. Federal Times filed the FOIA request after repeated attempts to obtain the…

Procurement scandals, Onion-style

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Happy Friday! To ease you into your Labor Day weekend, enjoy a few headlines from The Onion, such as “Pentagon Ripped Off By Shady Weapons Dealer:” Defense Secretary Robert Gates admitted losing $192 million in defense funds Tuesday when he unwittingly purchased a large number of bogus BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles from a disreputable arms dealer known only as “Steve.” “When I got the crate open at the office, it turned out the ‘missiles’ were nothing more than old sewer pipes filled with newspapers and capped with construction cones, all painted to look legit,” Gates said. That’s probably the Onion’s best…

Defense contractor not fazed by proposed defense cuts

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Who’s worried about the impact of Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ proposed Pentagon belt-tightening? Not, apparently, CACI International, Inc., the Arlington Va.,-based defense contractor that has a stake in some of the programs and offices to be axed. In a recent statement on CACI’s 4th quarter and full fiscal year 2010 results, President and CEO Paul Cofoni said the company expects only “negligible impact” from Gates’ decision to eliminate Joint Forces Command, the Office for Network and Information Integration and the J-6.  CACI has also been informed, he added, “that the work we do for the Business Transformation Agency will continue…

Pentagon: Congressional opposition helped kill DCIPS

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The Pentagon just posted an action plan online that discusses how it will wind down the pay-for-performance elements of the the Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System. Interestingly enough, the report says there were three leading factors that caused Defense Secretary Robert Gates to scratch pay-for-performance, even though a NAPA report advised against it: First, the operational tempo in Defense’s intelligence agencies is so high that making such a major change — especially when employees are so concerned about it — could distract employees from their mission. Second, “congressional support necessary to undertake and support such a change at this time…

Gates on Pentagon budget: "The gusher has been turned off"

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Defense Secretary Robert Gates delivered a tough message earlier today for his department’s bureaucracy (not to mention its contractors): The spending spree is over. Read an account of his Kansas speech and some of his planned changes at our sister publication, Military Times, here. And the Washington Post’s article has this interesting detail on contracting: Among Gates’s apparent targets for major cuts are the private contractors the Pentagon has hired in large numbers over the past decade to take on administrative tasks that the military used to handle. The defense secretary estimated that this portion of the Pentagon budget has…

Gates on "baroque" defense procurement

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Elise mentioned last week that procurement reform is a top priority for Defense secretary Robert Gates. Gates expands on that idea in a lengthy article on defense strategy in the January/February issue of Foreign Affairs. He notes that “resources are not unlimited,” and argues that current procurement focuses on buying smaller amounts of more and more expensive military equipment. The Defense Department has to consider whether in situations in which the United States has total air dominance, it makes sense to employ lower-cost, lower-tech aircraft that can be employed in large quantities and used by U.S. partners. This is already…

Gates: Acquisition reform a "high priority"

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Defense Secretary Robert Gates pledged to give more personal attention to procurement and acquisition challenges as he continues his work under the Obama administration. Here is what he had to say during a media briefing yesterday: I suppose it should go without saying, but I have no intention of being a caretaker secretary. Our challenges, from the budget to acquisition and procurement reform, war strategy, care of wounded warriors, meeting the needs of warfighters, decisions on important modernization and capitalization projects and more, all demand the personal attention of the secretary of Defense and they will get it. When asked…