Seventeen general and flag officers were scheduled to be eliminated between May and September through Gates’ Efficiency Initiatives. But the DoD didn’t reduce its top brass at all. Instead, six generals were added from May to September, increasing the number of general and flag officers from 964 to 970. Moreover, from July 1, 2011—Panetta’s first day as Secretary of Defense—to September 30, the Pentagon added three four-star officers. Coincidentally, this is precisely the number of four-star officers Gates cut during his final year as SecDef, from June 2010 to the end of June 2011. Thus, in just three months, Panetta undid a year’s worth of Gates’ attempts to cut the Pentagon’s very top brass. It’s doubtful that Gates would consider Panetta’s current rate of adding a new four-star officer every month conducive to efficiency. One of these new four-star officers is Admiral Mark Ferguson, who became vice chief of naval operations and consequently a four-star admiral less than a month before he testified at Senator Webb’s hearing. Ironically, this beneficiary of Star Creep wrote in his prepared statement that the “Navy supports these efficiency actions and anticipates additional review to reduce or merge flag officer positions.” At the hearing he expanded upon this, stating that “We [the Navy] remain absolutely committed to create a more agile, flexible, and effective flag officer staff structure.” Apparently, this support and commitment to flag officer efficiencies includes adding admirals.
"We currently have 183,000 soldiers and 30,000 civilians in defence. We will gradually bring that down to 150,000 soldiers and 20,000 civlians, with a reduction of around 43,000," Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paola said. "This target can be achieved in a decade with a 20-percent or 30-percent reduction in hirings, transfers to other civil service jobs and temporary work options," Di Paola told lawmakers at a defence committee hearing. The number of admirals and generals would also be reduced by "more than 30 percent" from the 425 currently in service, Di Paola said.