Senator voices concern over proposed weapons program cuts

Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, Tuesday raised concerns over the Obama administration's proposals to cut many of the military's top weapons programs, suggesting, for example, that they could harm the U.S. government's ability to deter potential adversaries.

But during a hearing with Pentagon leaders on the Defense Department's fiscal 2010 budget request, Inouye did not signal how he would address these concerns as his panel prepares to mark up the Defense spending bill later this summer. He said after the hearing that his subcommittee will continue to discuss the concerns with the administration.

"I hope it doesn't send the wrong signal to our potential enemies or our friends that we are reducing our capabilities," said Inouye, who also heads the full Appropriations Committee. "I also hope it will not diminish our military industrial base. I hope that it will not diminish our deterrence posture and the strength that we provide to our allies."

During the hearing, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael Mullen defended their budget request, which calls for major changes and terminations for dozens of military programs, including the Army's Future Combat Systems and the Navy's DDG-1000 destroyer.

The request also would end production of several programs that are popular with lawmakers, including the F-22 Raptor fighter jet and the C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane. Still, Mullen said, 35 percent of the $534 billion Defense spending request will pay for modernization programs.

Gates argued that the request balances capabilities needed for conventional warfare against other countries and the types of equipment and skills needed for counterinsurgency operations. Gates also pledged to do "everything in my power" to prevent major cuts in defense spending as long as he is at the helm of the Pentagon.

Meanwhile, Gates said he plans to make a decision within the next 10 days on how to proceed with the new competition for Air Force aerial refueling tankers. Included in those decisions are whether the Air Force or his office will oversee the competition, as well as what mechanisms will be in place to ensure a fair, open and transparent process. Gates added that he plans to ask Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn "to take a very close interest in this process."

Last year, a team led by Northrop Grumman Corp. and EADS, the European consortium behind Airbus, beat out Boeing Co. for the contract to build the tankers, worth an estimated $35 billion.

But the Government Accountability Office upheld Boeing's protest of the award and the Pentagon canceled the contract. A request for proposals, which officially launches the new competition, is expected sometime this summer.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.