Military Modernization Precludes Upkeep of Existing Technology

By Michelle Drumheller

President Clinton's proposal to add $110 billion to the six-year Pentagon spending plan seeks to address increased military commitments overseas, terrorism threats, aging weaponry, and lagging military personnel retention.

The challenges for Pentagon officials, however, will lie in balancing short- and long-term spending priorities. Jacques S. Gansler, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and technology, articulated this dilemma at NDIA's recent Washington, D.C. chapter luncheon in Arlington, Virginia.

Gansler, stressing the need to both maintain existing capabilities and invest for the future, said "we need to maintain our current readiness and modernize our equipment, it's not an either or choice."

Cost reduction initiatives and practices can generate modernization dollars, said Gansler. "It is also why we have to keep up the momentum in order to convince Congress that we need two more rounds of [base closures] BRAC."

Closing bases can save $20 million a year through 2015, said Gansler. "We've gained a net savings [from previous base closure rounds] of about $14 billion, and can expect $5.6 billion a year from now on from these savings."

Infrastructure cuts are about national security-not a budget drill, said Gansler. "This needs to be addressed through a military perspective, what do we need to have in the year 2010.

"That equates to a constant trade between the near-term readiness and the longer term changes.

"What I've tried to do in terms of the focus I've placed in terms of my own time is try to split it between what we buy and how we buy it. The balance is essentially in the acquisition world," said Gansler.

Gansler outlined five areas of growth in acquisition and technology for the 21st century.

Topics: Budget

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