Gates, Russian Counterpart Look to Downsize Militaries
Full-day meeting seeks ways to cut waste
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2010 9:30 AM CDT
Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, right, shakes hands with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates prior to their meeting in defense ministry headquarters in Moscow, Monday, April 23, 2007.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Robert Gates today becomes the first US defense secretary to show his Russian counterpart around in almost six years, devoting an entire day to Anatoly Serdyukov, the New York Times reports. The two men are looking for common ground on a topic that would have been unthinkable during the Cold War: Reducing the size of their militaries. Both are on eerily parallel quests to trim waste from their respective bureaucracies.

Gates has pushed to cull the ranks of Pentagon contractors, while the more ambitious Serdyukov wants to eliminate some 200,000 officers, including 200 generals, reduce his headquarters staff by 60%, and slim Russia’s military by 130,000 troops. They’re expected to discuss Afghanistan and Iran, and sign memorandums of understanding intended to solidify the Pentagon’s alliance with the Russian Defense Ministry.