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Defending the US on Half Trillion $$$$

July 17, 2009

In battling to get his budget passed on Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Gates isn’t backing down, according to Politico:

“If the Department of Defense can’t figure out a way to defend the United States on half a trillion dollars a year, then our problems are much bigger than anything that can be cured by buying a few more ships and planes.”

Washington has never been kind to reformers. In Rumsfeld they had a convenient excuse in an unpopular war, but Gates has been winning his wars so far, and this standoff with the Defense Budget will likely go his way, if just barely. Thankfully the President is standing by his Cabinet member.

I often mock the politicians saying “Democrats will cut a weapons program no matter how essential to our national security, and Republicans will back a Big Ticket program to matter how irrelevant it is”. Gates has proved the exception to this rule, a Republican seeking focused cuts rather than just for the sake of cutting. The statement he made is telling, it is amazing that we have such a huge budget, even aside from war costs, and still run shortages in all three services. The obsession with gold-plated programs which last for decades, then are obsolete when they do enter service has to end, or it is the end for us.

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