Yesterday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel gave his first major speech since he was confirmed for the job in February.

“The Department must understand the challenges and uncertainties, plan for the risks, and, yes, recognize the opportunities inherent in budget constraints and more efficient and effective restructuring,” he said.

Secretary Hagel listed three main drivers of the defense spending: (1) acquisitions, (2) personnel costs, and (3) overhead. “Left unchecked,” he said, “spiraling costs to sustain existing structures and institutions, provide benefits to personnel, and develop replacements for aging weapons platforms will eventually crowd out spending on procurement, operations and readiness—the budget categories that enable the military to be and stay prepared.”

So what should be done about this internal imbalance? The Heritage Foundation’s proposed reforms can serve as a blueprint for creating a better, more resource-efficient Department of Defense and reinvest resources to badly needed weapons modernization and research and development.

Heritage’s reform proposals for acquisitions:

Heritage’s reform proposals for personnel costs:

Heritage’s reform proposals for overhead and better management practices:

These reforms would help to free up resources for badly needed weapons modernization and put the Department of Defense on a sustainable fiscal path. The sooner Congress and the Pentagon work together to implement these reforms, the better for U.S. security, forward-deployed troops, and allies around the world.