Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Gates proposes radical overhaul of Pentagon budget

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Noah Schacntman in The Danger Room at Wired:

Defense Secretary just proposed the most sweeping overhaul of America’s arsenal — and of the Pentagon budget — in decades.  Major weapons programs, from aircraft carriers to next-gen bombers to new school fighting vehicles, will be cut back, or eliminated. Billions more will be put into growing the American fighting force, both human and robotic.

For a year and a half, Gates has been trying to force the American military-industrial establishment to concentrate on the dirty, irregular wars America is actually in — instead of tomorrow’s hypothetical showdowns with China or Russia. After 18 months of jawboning the generals, the defense executives, and the Pentagon bureaucracy, Gates is now backing up his words with a truly radical reworking on the Pentagon’s $1.6 trillion weapons portfolio. Troops and low-cost tools to fight insurgencies and terrorists are in. Gold-plated weaponry for tangling with another superpower are out. Critics will try to paint this new budget as some kind of kneecapping of America’s ability to project power around the world. But really what we have here is the Defense Secretary trying to shake the defense establishment free of the Cold War, finally.

None of this is a done deal — Congress will push back on Gates’ budget, hard. But under his proposal, the Navy will have its new aircraft carrier program slowed, and its hulking destroyer effort cut short. The Air Force will see the production of its prized stealth fighter, the F-22 Raptor, ended at 187 planes — almost two hundred less than what the air service wanted. The Missile Defense Agency’s interceptor portfolio will be reoriented around the threat from rogue states. But the biggest change, perhaps, will be in the Army. Gates is gutting "Future Combat Systems," the $200 billion behemoth modernization project. (More on that, in a sec.)

Instead, Gates will pour $11 billion into increasing the number of troops in the Army and Marines while halting manpower reductions in the Air Force and the Navy. $2 billion will go towards increasing the number of drones and manned surveillance planes in the skies above Afghanistan and Iraq. Special forces troops will grow by five percent, or 2,800 commandos…

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

6 April 2009 at 12:39 pm

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