Washington, D.C. U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Washington State.), the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement after the defense budget announcements by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen:

“Secretary Gates today made a compelling case for continued reforms within the Department of Defense that would reduce waste in many areas and reinvest $100 billion of those savings in critical military priorities that will give our troops greater combat capability.”

 “While we don’t yet have the full details, Secretary Gates appears to have taken a moderate and responsible approach to finding these proposed savings. They will provide Congress with a good starting point for consideration of the overall 2012 budget proposal by the President.”

“These ideas for savings cover a wide range of issues from civilian personnel and healthcare changes to adjustments to complex weapons programs such as the Joint Strike Fighter, so it is clear that the Secretary has done a thorough and comprehensive review of DOD operations.”

 “As Secretary Gates explained, proposed defense budgets will continue to grow and the United States will retain the strongest military in the world. That is assured. However, he recognizes that in an era of massive budget deficits all parts of the government must be examined closely, including the Department of Defense. I strongly agree with him in that regard.”