Gates is trying to reform the Pentagon. Lots of luck on that. It's needed. Of course, He's also announced he's leaving in 2011, so a lot of people are just going to try to wait him out. The system is bigger than anyone--including the SECDEF.
Gates has proposed initial reforms that include dismantling one command and eliminating 50 generals. To put this in context, we have almost 1,000 generals and admirals, a number that has grown 13 percent in 15 years, even as the armed forces have shrunk. Every layer of Pentagon bureaucracy is much larger than it was at the height of the Cold War. Paul Light of New York University's Wagner School of Public Service notes that in 1960 we had 78 deputy assistant secretaries of defense. There are 530 today. Gates likes to point out that there are more musicians in U.S. military marching bands than members of the Foreign Service. In fact, the Pentagon has 10 times as many accountants as there are Foreign Service officers.