It is less risky than the strategy upon which it is based.
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The Army has not reacted as strongly to Gates’s FCS decision, while the Navy is not at all unhappy with the closing of the DDG-1000 line after three ships; Navy leaders sought a similar outcome last year only to be rebuffed by Congress.
Finally, it is arguable that the missile defense program has not suffered nearly as badly as many expected. The Airborne Laser program is not dead; the cancellation of a second aircraft leaves the door open for procurement at a later date. Other missile defense programs are being maintained, and even the so-called Third Site in Europe may yet come to fruition if Washington and Moscow cannot reach an understanding regarding the Iranian threat.
ALL OF THE FOREGOING PRESUPPOSES a compliant Congress. That may or may not be the case. Congress will certainly make some changes to the defense program, and could well keep a system like the C-17 alive, or refuse to adjust health benefits. Other elements of the defense program may also be adjusted or get an additional lease on life.
At bottom, the core issue resides not with the fiscal year 2010 program, but with that of next year, and with the strategy that underpins it. Will the administration really provide for another year of growth in defense spending, as Gates himself appears to have intimated? Will that growth be sufficient both to maintain the health of the current defense program and to cover the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, which, the administration insists, will not be funded by supplemental appropriations?
Perhaps most important of all, will the administration modify and rebalance its current focus on irregular warfare at the expense of conventional needs—resulting, for example, in a new decision to expand the Navy and/or increase the Air Force’s airlift capability? If it does not, the price of the swinging pendulum may not be immediately visible, but if history is any guide, it will definitely be paid, though perhaps after those involved in today’s strategic choices will have all long since retired.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?