Gates' Struggle For More Sanity On Defense


Fred Kaplan covers the Pentagon budget battle:

In the coming weeks, the debate over the defense budget is bound to intensify. Passions will flare. The fight may seem surreal, but that's because it is unusually primordial; it's stripped down to basic institutional interests. The battle, waged behind the scenes in the Pentagon, is fiercer still in Congress, because there, it's conjoined with the struggle for contracts and jobs. (It is no coincidence that pieces of the F-22 are manufactured in 46 states; for more than a half-century, the services have been subcontracting out their most cherished weapons to as many congressional districts as possible in order to maximize political support.)

This is why the budget debate will be worth watching. Gates' proposals aren't particularly radical by most objective measures, but they're deeply threatening to the inside players. He's trying to change the culture in the Pentagon, and that's like shifting the building's foundations. It's going to be a great fight.

(Chart via Yglesias)