Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday he would shrink the number of top-level Pentagon officials by 20% over the next six years, in an effort to trim bureaucracy.
While the cuts reflect the elimination of around 3,000 to 5,000 jobs at the Department of Defense–just a fraction of the more than two million-strong workforce–analysts said it sends a strong message.
Defense spending, which ballooned after 9/11, has come under congressional scrutiny. Earlier this year, automatic budget cuts known as sequestration hit the Pentagon, requiring employees to take unpaid leave and forcing the Department to cut its spending. Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement Tuesday that Hagel’s initiative could save the Department up to $2 billion over five years.