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Outside-the-Beltway Perspectives Welcome: The Air Force leadership is reaching out to all of its organizations beyond its headquarters elements in Washington D.C., to come up with the best ideas for eliminating excess overhead, says Erin Conaton, the service's undersecretary. "One of the things we've done . . . is to engage not only our major command commanders [but also] folks who are not in Washington, who are out in command and with responsibility for our numbered air forces," she told the House Armed Services Committee. Doing so is helping "to get their views of how we can do things better," she noted during the July 22 oversight hearing. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has tasked the Air Force, Army, and Navy each with shedding $28.3 billion in overhead costs from Fiscal 2012-16 as part of a defense-wide effort to free up $102 billion for personnel and modernization initiatives. (See also SAF/PA report by MSgt. Russell P. Petcoff) (Conaton written statement)