Wired reports that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is not getting his way in trying to curtail military spending.
Over the past few years, Congress has approved continued work on an alternate F-35 engine, a move that would break Pratt & Whitney’s lock on the JSF engine market by funding a competing engine made by a GE/Rolls Royce team. Supporters say a second design would ultimately yield some cost savings, but that argument has failed to move Gates, who has said that things don’t need to be any more complicated than they already are for the troubled F-35 program.
Then there’s money for 30 Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters: eight more than the Department of Defense requested. Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, who introduced the amendment, said the extra aircraft (like the one pictured here) would “help address a looming fighter shortfall for the Navy’s carrier fleet.”
So much for austerity in naval budgets. Gates, as readers will recall, has already suggested that the Navy needs to take a hard look at whether it is right-sized — and whether it needs to keep 11 carrier strike groups for the next three decades. House authorizers, however, said their $65 billion recommendation for Navy and Marine Corps procurement was aimed at “reversing the decline in the Navy battle force fleet.”
What's your opinion? Is this too much? Does the kind of influence that accounts for these contracts, in spite of the Secretary of Defence's opposition to them, also explain the fact that we continue to fight two useless wars?
What do you think? Please leave a comment.