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Department of Defense Budget Press Briefing - As Prepared for Delivery by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Arlington, VA, Monday, 6 April 2009.
Today, I am announcing the key decisions I will recommend to the president with respect to the fiscal year 2010 defense budget. The president agreed to this unorthodox approach -- announcing the department's request before the White House submits a budget to the Congress -- because of the scope and significance of the changes. In addition, the president and I believe that the American people deserve to learn of these recommendations fully and in context, as the proposed changes are interconnected and cannot be properly communicated or understood in isolation from one another. Collectively, they represent a budget crafted to reshape the priorities of America's defense establishment. If approved, these recommendations will profoundly reform how this department does business.
In many ways, my recommendations represent the cumulative outcome of a lifetime spent in the national security arena and, above all, questions asked, experience gained, and lessons learned from over two years of leading this department -- and, in particular, from our experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. I reached the final decisions after many hours of consultations with the military and civilian leadership of the department. I have also consulted closely with the president. But, I received no direction or guidance from outside this department on individual program decisions. The chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are in complete accord with these recommendations. The chairman is traveling abroad but he has provided a statement that we will distribute at the end of the briefing...