Fareed Zakaria‘s lastest analysis confirms my assessment of Gates’ proposed Pentagon reforms. His analysis was posted today to the CNN website, and makes for interesting reading. Among the highlights:
Gates is trying to get the Pentagon to understand that it’s going to have to do more with less, which is frankly both brave and intelligent of him. It is absolutely necessary, it’s intellectually right and it’s politically brave, which is something you can’t often say about something coming out of Washington.
People don’t realize this, but now, in constant dollars, the defense budget is 30 percent higher than in 1968, the peak of the Vietnam War. It’s higher than at any point in American postwar history in real dollars. It has also created a mismatch, a misalignment of American foreign policy. The defense budget is 13 times larger than all civilian foreign policy budgets combined; that is, the State Department, USAID, the Commerce Department, everything put together. There are more members of the military in marching bands than there are foreign service officers in the United States government. The Defense Department spends more money on fuel than the State Department’s entire operating cost.
The brief interview is definitely worth a read. You can find the whole interview on the CNN website.