President-elect George Bush is preparing to launch a major review of U.S. defense strategy as a first step toward bringing the Pentagon budget under control, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
As part of his plan, Bush wants to have the top three members of his national security team - the secretary of defense, national security adviser and CIA director - in place by next week so they can begin the review with Secretary of State-designate James Baker, The Post reported.The Post said the Pentagon review will have to lay the groundwork for the anticipated cuts - possibly $8 billion to $10 billion from the fiscal 1990 defense budget and billions more in cuts over the next five years.
Quoting informed sources, the newspaper said Bush may name his defense secretary early next week, with former Sen. John Tower of Texas the expected choice.
In an interview Saturday with CNN's news program "Evans & Novak," New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu said, "I think next week you'll see action in a couple of areas associated with defense and probably over the next two weeks we'll fill that out."
Sources also told The Post that the original plan for putting together the national security team called for Bush to declare next week whether he would retain CIA Director William Webster.
The Post said it appeared likely that Webster would be retained - at least in the short run - because it would take too long for a new director to be brought up to date on current intelligence analysis needed in the defense review.
Sources told The Post that the review also will be needed to assure greater public confidence in future defense spending programs in light of expected indictments early next year of Pentagon consultants and contractors involved in the Pentagon procurement scandal.