Three U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors fly over the Pacific Ocean. The planes were designed to fight a Cold War threat that no longer exists, making their exit from the Pentagon’s stable a welcome if obvious change.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates outlined his spending cuts on Monday, scrapping, among other boondoggles, the F-22, a fighter plane that apparently specialized in Super Bowl flyovers. Despite the cuts, America still spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined. And then there’s the cost of two wars to think about.
Gates said 50% of the money in the budget should go to programs meant to counter conventional threats, about 10% to programs useful only in irregular war and 40% to programs that are useful to both.
“I am just trying to get the irregular warfare guys a seat at the table,” Gates said.
The overall size of the budget, $534 billion, was announced earlier, but Gates had not outlined what weapons programs he intended to cut. The budget marks the end of a long run-up in defense spending that began in 2001.