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Gates to Hold Town Hall at Fort Drum, Talk Budget in Chicago

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2009 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates begins a two-day trip tomorrow that will take him to Fort Drum, N.Y., home of the 10th Mountain Division, and Chicago. Video

“[At Fort Drum] he will meet with recently deployed brigade commanders and command sergeants major as well as separately with spouses to discuss the stresses and strains of frequent and lengthy deployments,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell. “The 10th Mountain Division … I believe, is still the Army’s most deployed unit.”

Gates also will conduct a town hall-style meeting with hundreds of soldiers on post, Morrell said.

From Fort Drum, the secretary will travel to Chicago where he’ll address hundreds of executives at the Economic Club of Chicago.

“He will continue to press for fundamentally reshaping the Pentagon budget and reforming the way the military does business,” Morrell said. “As Congress debates the [fiscal 2010] budget here in Washington, the secretary will take his case to the nation, that we must not just change the weapons that we buy, but how we buy them to ensure we win the wars we are waging, [and] prepare for the wars of tomorrow … rather than continue to rearm for previous ones.

“Secretary Gates will argue that when it comes to defense spending and weapons buying, from missile defense to the F-22, business as usual simply will not do,” he added.

On July 17, Gates will travel to just north of Chicago to Naval Station Great Lakes where 50,000 recruits receive their basic training every year. He will observe some of that training and meet with instructors before addressing the 971 newly minted sailors graduating this week.

Gates will arrive back in Washington later that afternoon in time to bid farewell to Army Secretary Pete Geren, who is leaving his post after two years, Morrell said.

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Robert M. Gates
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