Archive for the ‘Gates’ Category

Obama’s Defense Spending Cuts Roil Conservatives

May 11, 2009

Some conservatives who welcomed President Obama’s decision to keep Robert M. Gates as defense secretary are already having second thoughts.

Decisions in the first 100 days of the new administration regarding future weapons systems have dismayed members of the Air Force fighter community and others who had considered the former CIA chief one of their own.

By Rowan Scarborough
The Washington Times

Obama Silently Caves in To Russia
Baker Springs, a budget analyst at the Heritage Foundation, described Mr. Gates’ first months under Mr. Obama as “not very good” and a reversion to policies that weakened U.S. defenses.

“We see a consistent chipping away at the defense budget at the top line level, and the structure of the defense budget internally favoring personnel and operations accounts over modernization,” Mr. Springs said. “I think he is lining the department up for another procurement holiday when we just came out of one in the 1990s.”

Supporters of Mr. Gates say he is only following administration priorities in moving money – at a time of huge budget constraints and two ongoing wars – from expensive future weapons systems to fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Defense chief outflanked lawmakers and lobbyists to get the budget President Obama wants

April 25, 2009
Experts say Robert M. Gates’ careful campaign and timing has outflanked lawmakers and lobbyists as he plans sweeping changes in military spending.
By Julian E. Barnes
Los Angeles Times
April 25, 2009

Reporting from Washington — In a carefully orchestrated campaign, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates appears poised to push through what many consider a historic remaking of the military with relative ease, averting an expected battle royal with contractors and lawmakers.

“It really looks like he has played his cards well on this,” said Todd Harrison, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington think tank.

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Robert Gates In his new spending priorities, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates would increase production of unmanned aircraft, such as this plane at Kandahar, Afghanistan. He may avoid a tussle with lawmakers and contractors.  Photo: Scott Olson / Associated Press

Pentagon cuts are about budget pressure — not what Pentagon really needs for the future

April 22, 2009

It is always a hard thing to watch honorable and intelligent people torture themselves to avoid acknowledging the obvious. Unfortunately, the contradictions and incoherence of America’s defense policy are beginning to make everyone involved in it look silly.

Here is the latest example.

By Jim Talent
National Review Online

On April 6, Secretary of Defense Bob Gates announced that he was recommending a number of cuts in major defense programs. At the beginning of his remarks, Secretary Gates made a point of insisting that his recommendations were not the result of pressure to cut defense spending:

“My decisions have been almost exclusively influenced by factors other than simply finding a way to balance the books or fit under the ‘top line’ — as is normally the case with most other budget exercises. Instead, these recommendations are the product of a holistic assessment of capabilities, requirements, risks, and needs for the purpose of shifting this department in a different strategic direction. Let me be clear: I would have made all of the decisions and recommendations announced today regardless of the department’s top-line budget number.”

A week later, the Department of Defense fired its first salvo in support of the recommendations of its chief. Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post defending Gates’s decision to end procurement of the F-22 air-superiority fighter at 183 planes and close the F-22 production line. They had a difficult task, since it was only last summer that the same two men had vigorously argued that without at least 60 additional F-22s, the Air Force could not perform its air-dominance mission. And air dominance is the cornerstone mission of the Air Force. Unless the skies are cleared of enemy fighters, the rest of America’s military, including bombers, non-stealthy strike fighters, ground forces, and naval vessels, cannot operate safely.

Donley and Schwartz began their op-ed by conceding what could not be denied: that the F-22 was “the most capable fighter in our military inventory” — the only American fighter that can hold its own against advanced Russian- and Chinese-built fighters, which will remain in production for years to come — and that they had indeed, less than a year ago and after a thorough review of global risks, concluded that increasing the F-22 inventory from 183 to 243 was necessary to America’s national military strategy. Then they got to the heart of their argument: that the Air Force could simply not undertake the cost of buying more F-22’s because “defense budgets are becoming more constrained.”

“This decision has increasingly become a zero-sum game. Within a fixed Air Force and overall Defense Department budget, our challenge is to decide among many competing needs. Buying more F-22s means doing less of something else. In addition to air superiority, the Air Force provides a number of other capabilities critical to joint operations for which joint warfighters have increasing needs. These include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, command and control, and related needs in the space and cyber domains.”

In other words, one week after the secretary of defense absolutely, positively denied that budgetary pressure had anything to do with his decision to shut down the F-22 line, the two men who run the Air Force defended that decision on the basis of budgetary pressure.

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The Center for Security Policy said:

The defense budget reductions recently unveiled by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates seem to have one thing in common: They will diminish the United States’ ability to extend its global reach for the protection of this country and its interests around the world.

First 100 Days: Blame America First, Undermining U.S. Sovereignty, Appeasement

U.S. Didn’t Use All Assets To Monitor North Korean Missile

April 15, 2009

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates denied permission for the U.S. Northern Command to use the Pentagon’s most powerful sea-based radar to monitor North Korea’s recent missile launch, precluding officials from collecting finely detailed launch data or testing the radar in a real-time crisis, current and former defense officials said.

Jamie Graybeal, Northcom public affairs director, confirmed to The Washington Times that Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, the Northcom commander, requested the radar’s use but referred all other questions to the Pentagon.

By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Mr. Gates’ decision not to use the $900 million radar, known as SBX, was “based on the fact that there were numerous ground- and sea-based radars and sensors in the region to support the operational requirements for this launch.”

SBX, deployed in 2005, can track and identify warheads, decoys and debris in space with very high precision. Officials said the radar is so powerful it could detect a baseball hit out of a ballpark from more than 3,000 miles away, and that other radars used by the U.S. would not be able to provide the same level of detail about North Korea’s missile capabilities.

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, who until recently headed the Missile Defense Agency, said the SBX would have gathered data other U.S. systems could not.

“The sea-based X-band radar is clearly without a doubt the most powerful and capable sensor in all of our missile defense inventory,” he said. “It is three or four more times powerful than other radars” in Asia, including Aegis-equipped ships, a Cobra Dane early warning radar in Alaska and a small X-band radar in northern Japan, he said.

Gen. Obering noted that the SBX was used by the U.S. Strategic Command to track a falling satellite and guide U.S. sea-based missile interceptors that destroyed it in February 2008.

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