One theory for why Chuck Hagel stepped down as secretary of Defense is that President Barack Obama wanted someone who would be a better salesperson for increasing Pentagon spending. If that’s the case, the president has crafted the wrong job description for the individual who will be called upon to manage the government’s most expensive, least-accountable agency.
The Pentagon bureaucracy remains overstaffed, with almost as many civilian employees as there are active duty troops. And that doesn’t even include the hundreds of thousands of private contractors that work in parallel with government employees. A 2013 report by the Stimson Center indicated that cutting these two categories while consolidating other parts of the Pentagon bureaucracy could save on the order of $15 billion per year.