Spared from Hagel’s Cuts: Homeland Defense, Countering WMDs

Stephanie Gaskell, Defense One
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Stephanie Gaskell, Defense One
Dec. 6, 2013, 10:02 a.m.

De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel just an­nounced plans to trim his staff by about 200 po­s­i­tions over the next five years. But in­side the sec­ret­ary’s top policy shop, a closer look at the planned cuts show where Hagel’s pri­or­it­ies lie after more than a dec­ade of war.

In the of­fice of Un­der Sec­ret­ary of De­fense for Policy Jim Miller, Hagel is mak­ing sure to pro­tect sev­er­al key areas, namely home­land de­fense, cy­ber threats and the pivot to the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion. Miller, who spoke to a small group of re­port­ers at the Pentagon on Thursday, said des­pite the budget crunch, key policy areas were pro­tec­ted, in­clud­ing out­er space threats and coun­ter­ing weapons of mass de­struc­tion. The Home­land De­fense and Amer­icas’ Se­cur­ity Af­fairs units will ac­tu­ally be beefed up in the re­struc­tur­ing. “The real­ity is that the world has changed since 2009 when the cur­rent struc­ture was put in place,” Miller said.

Joint Chiefs Chair­man Gen. Mar­tin De­mp­sey stressed dur­ing a Pentagon brief­ing on Wed­nes­day the im­port­ance of Home­land De­fense in the com­ing years. “The home­land is ac­tu­ally achiev­ing great­er prom­in­ence in our dis­cus­sions of fu­ture strategy than at any time in my 40 years, as it should,” he said.

Miller’s of­fice has about 500 act­ive-duty mil­it­ary and ci­vil­ian em­ploy­ees. It will re­duce its ci­vil­ian and act­ive-duty mil­it­ary per­son­nel by 12 per­cent and re­duce its con­tract sup­port by about a third by fisc­al year 2019.

Miller also said it will be cru­cial to work more closely with al­lies and part­ners, who are also do­ing more with less. “As we see our budgets shrink­ing, as we see our al­lies and part­ners, many of their budgets shrink­ing as well, the need to really think of se­cur­ity co­oper­a­tion as driv­ing strategy is even great­er than it has been in the past,” he said. Miller has already an­nounced he will step down next month after five years at the Pentagon.

Re­prin­ted with per­mis­sion from De­fense One. The ori­gin­al story can be found here.

This art­icle was pub­lished in Glob­al Se­cur­ity News­wire, which is pro­duced in­de­pend­ently by Na­tion­al Journ­al Group un­der con­tract with the Nuc­le­ar Threat Ini­ti­at­ive. NTI is a non­profit, non­par­tis­an group work­ing to re­duce glob­al threats from nuc­le­ar, bio­lo­gic­al, and chem­ic­al weapons.

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