Gates to unveil defense budget on Monday

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AFP

Confronting what he has called difficult choices on military spending, Gates has warned repeatedly that budget pressures will require cutting or scaling some weapons programs plagued by cost overruns.

Gates believes the years-long wars against militants in Iraq and Afghanistan have higher priority than the bloated weapons programs.  Possible cuts include Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet and the F-22 Raptor …

 

     

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will unveil recommendations for the 2010 defense budget Monday that could include cuts to some major weapons programs, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Friday.

Gates will make his recommendations to US lawmakers and then present them at a press conference in the early afternoon, before sending them to the White House.

After more than three months of "careful analysis," Morrell said, the recommendations for defense budget "aren’t changes on the margins. It is a fundamental shift in direction."

Gates "wants the opportunity to explain to the Congress and to explain to the American people how each and every one of these decisions adds up to a budget that he thinks better allocates resources to meet the challenges we are currently facing," said Morrell.

The announcement of the Pentagon’s operating capacity during the crippling economic crisis is greatly anticipated. The budget could spark controversy in Congress, especially among those lawmakers representing constituencies behind weapons programs facing elimination..

Confronting what he has called difficult choices on military spending, Gates has warned repeatedly that budget pressures will require cutting or scaling some weapons programs plagued by cost overruns.

Gates believes the years-long wars against militants in Iraq and Afghanistan have higher priority than the bloated weapons programs.

Possible cuts include Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet and the F-22 Raptor fighter jets, a digital telecommunications system and planned anti-missile defense programs in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Previous presidents have struggled to rein in Pentagon spending and encountered stiff opposition from lawmakers and their sponsors in the defense industry, one of Washington’s most powerful lobbies.

The administration of President Barack Obama, however, has planned for a core defense budget of some 533.7 billion dollars for 2010 (excluding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) — an increase of nine percent over 2009.

The vast US defense budget represents more than 40 percent of the world’s total military spending

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