The most important thing here is context: the JFCom budget is $240 million in a Pentagon budget of over $700 billion. Gates intends to seek annual Pentagon budget increases of 1% per year; the savings from axing JFCom would be used to help fund the actual combat services being performed. That's good, but there's a larger question: How much of that $700 billion is actually necessary these days?
We can't ask that. It's anti-American! Ambers acknowledges the "political audacity" of Gates:
He has the credibility among all constituencies -- the military, Congress, Republicans -- to rationalize and restrain the defense budget in a way that President Obama could not do on his own, and in a way that a Republican president might not have the fortitude to ask for. Since the budget isn't actually going to be cut, Obama is not going to get credit from those on his side who will find Gates's measures cosmetic. But Gates, wittingly, provides Obama plenty of cover heading into 2011 and 2012, when many of these measures will take effect, and when congressional districts across the country will feel losses, and when Republican presidential candidates begin to make a case against Obama's stewardship of the national security establishment.
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