3. NUMERICAL FUDGE
Gates has left behind a legacy of numerical fudge that will have to be swept away. For example, he cleverly claimed that he had achieved savings of more than $330 billion from canceling weapons programs. He did terminate or cancel some programs. But the "savings" were mostly well off in the future; even the Pentagon cannot provide details to back up the number, when asked.
More seriously, the "savings" were seriously overstated. They included the termination of the C-17 and the F-22 aircraft programs, neither of which had any dollars in DOD's long-term budget plan. And though the savings counted the funds that would no longer be spent, they did not subtract the funds that were being committed to new programs to replace the canceled ones, like the Army's new fighting vehicle program. The real savings are probably less than half those Gates claimed. Panetta is going to have to clean up funny numbers like this to restore credibility to his budget proposals.
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