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Sounding General Alarm: Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants so see at least 50 general and flag officer positions eliminated over the next two years, along with 150 senior civilian executive posts, according to a memo that he's just released. To support the process of making these reductions, Gates says a "a comprehensive assessment" will be completed by Nov. 1 that examines these senior-level positions and "the accoutrements that go with them." These top-level cuts are among the numerous efficiency initiatives that Gates is pushing to shed excess and duplication across the Defense Department and instill a culture of savings and restraint. He hopes that these efforts will free up more than $100 billion over five years that can be redirected to modernization and personnel needs. The Aug. 16 memo outlines many of these overhead-reducing moves, including one blockbuster that he's already recommended: dissolving US Joint Forces Command. (Gates memo)