Put The Load Right On Me

The Pentagon under Bob Gates is like a Crazy Eddie’s: move this merchandise out of here at all costs. Well, not really, but it’s still striking that Gates and the counterinsurgency advocates around him are pressing the point that the Defense Dept. needs to do less in the national-security realm and the civilian agencies of government need to do more. Walter Pincus reports the latest development in this trend:

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has formally adopted the concept that national security planning and budgeting cannot be done by the Pentagon alone, according to the Defense Department’s newly released Quadrennial Roles and Missions Review Report.

"The Department supports institutionalizing whole-of-government approaches to addressing national security challenges," the document says, adding, "The desired end state is for U.S. Government national security partners to develop plans and conduct operations from a shared perspective."

"Whole of government" was a phrase that Michele Flournoy, the incoming undersecretary of defense for policy, used at several points during her confirmation hearing two weeks ago. It’ll be interesting to see, despite the delay in presenting the Pentagon budget this year, how this all actually shakes out into budgetary decisions. Late last week, the White House Office of Management and Budget told the Pentagon to "substantial[ly]" restrain its planned fiscal 2010 budget, which the Bush administration beefed up by $60 billion over the 2009 budget before leaving office.

Crossposted to The Streak.

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Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman