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Skelton Offers Helping Hand: Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, says he is exploring three ways in which his panel could support Defense Secretary Robert Gate's new initiative to reduce Pentagon overhead costs by more than $100 billion over five years. "I take what the Secretary has said seriously and I have been contemplating how to approach it," Skelton told reporters Tuesday in Washington, D.C. Option one calls for tasking the existing HASC panel on defense acquisition reform to come up with additional savings. This panel's work has already led to the Improve Acquisition Act (HR 5013) that passed the House in April and is expected to generate savings of "$30 billion a year," said Skelton. Option two: create a new panel focused specifically on the issue. Option three: have each subcommittee come up with 'x' number of savings. "I will do one of those very, very soon," Skelton said.