There have been a lot of smoke signals indicating that Robert Gates and Barack Obama are gearing up to take on the bloated defense weapons system sector, but there have also been a fair number of contrary signals. Now the signals are looking both clear and good:
Two defense officials who were not authorized to speak publicly said Gates will announce up to a half-dozen major weapons cancellations later this month. Candidates include a new Navy destroyer, the Air Force’s F-22 fighter jet, and Army ground-combat vehicles, the officials said. More cuts are planned for later this year after a review that could lead to reductions in programs such as aircraft carriers and nuclear arms, the officials said.
This is excellent news. Matt Duss observes:
This is welcome news. As I wrote yesterday, one of the key strategic misconceptions of the Bush administration was to focus on threats from strong state actors rather than non-state actors operating within weak and failed states. (Last fall, CAP’s Brian Katulis argued — as did I — that Gates’ demonstrated approach to 21st century national security challenges was a good reason to keep him in place in an Obama administration.)
Andrew Exum observes that this means the Gates Pentagon will now be fighting a three front war, adding “the bi-partisan coalition of lobbyists, congressmen, and industry leaders” to their existing problems in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Gordon Adams in a guest post at Democracy Arsenal takes on the specious economic argument for continuing with strategically blinkered weapons programs.