Disarming America

You just knew this was coming.

Gates Prepares ‘Fundamental Shift’ in Defense Funding Priorities

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates plans to brief congressional leaders and announce Monday a “fundamental shift” in defense spending and priorities, his spokesman said Friday.

The fiscal 2010 funding choices in the announcement will represent the first major defense policy decisions of President Obama’s administration. Specific details of the budget are not expected until the first week of May, but Gates will make the unusual move of announcing several major program decisions weeks ahead of the budget release, according to the spokesman.

“These are not changes to the margins. This is a fundamental shift in direction,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. “And the secretary’s point of view argues for an unconventional approach in explaining that shift to the American people.”

Morrell said that Gates would finalize the decisions over the weekend and brief congressional leaders Monday morning. A press conference will follow.

“The fact of life is that since September 11, 2001, the military has been engaged in irregular warfare activities that require more of our focus, more of our energy, and more of our resources than we have been dedicating to them,” Morrell said. “So Gates is trying to shift between the large scale conventional near peer conflicts that we have to prepare for down the line and the very real conflicts we are engaged in now.”

The timing of the announcement allows Gates to present the strategic rationale for the decisions at once, rather than having individuals criticize the decisions piecemeal as they leak out.

“Gates’ hope is that by revealing it all at once and by explaining it in depth and explaining the strategic rationale for all of these decisions, that people will view it as a whole and not get focused on the individual decisions and not let their parochial interests overcome the fact that it is in our national interests to make these adjustments to the whole of the budget,” Morrell said.

Although Gates repeatedly has warned that no final decisions have been made about specific program cuts, defense officials have noted that some are at serious risk — particularly those that are poor performers or cannot be connected with a current threat.

The programs that many expect to face huge cuts or cancellation include the Army’s Future Combat Systems program; the Transformational Communications Satellite program; the Navy’s DDG-1000 destroyer program; and the VH-71 presidential helicopter program. Some cuts or procurement delays are also expected for the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft program..

Ballistic missile defense, which represents the Pentagon’s largest acquisitions program, also could be on the chopping block. Futuristic missile defense components are at particular risk, including the Airborne Laser Program, the Kinetic Energy Interceptor, the Space Based Interceptor, along with plans to begin construction on two missile defense sites in Eastern Europe.

See also:
Gates Planning Major Changes In Programs, Defense Budget
Defense Secretary Gates to unveil Pentagon budget Monday
Gates to Submit Defense Budget Review
Defense budget plan could be pushed to May
Obama: Pentagon Budget Cuts Needed
Lockheed, Boeing Weapons Are at Risk as Pentagon Shuts ‘Spigot’
Budget cuts concern contractors
Airborne Laser (ABL)
Airborne Laser
Future Combat Systems (FCS)
Future Combat Systems (FCS)
Ballistic Missile Defense
Missile Defense Agency
US Navy DDG 1000, Admiral Zumwalt class destroyer
DDG-1000 Zumwalt / DD(X)
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Lightning II
Kinetic Energy Interceptors
Kinetic Energy Interceptor
Space-Based Interceptor (SBI)
Transformational Communications Satellite (TSAT)
Special Report: The USA’s Transformational Communications Satellite System (TSAT)
VH-71 Kestrel / Marine One
First Production VH-71 Presidential Helicopter Arrives at Lockheed Martin to Start Final Production Phase

Sure, lets cut missile defense, what a great idea! With Iran building nuclear weapons and North Korea test firing long range missiles, why would we possibly need a missile defense program? Why would the Department of Defense want to, you know, defend our country from attack? Of course, Obama is only fulfilling his campaign promise to unilaterally disarm America, so it’s not like we weren’t warned.

Well, at least now Obama will have the money to pay for sex education for kindergartners while we all live under the threat of a missile attack on our own soil.

/there’s a good reason they’ve been keeping this defense budget process a secret, they know Americans, at least the ones who care about national defense, will absolutely freak out when they find out about all these cuts so Gates and Obama need to make it a fait accompli