Just days after Chinese warships harrased an unarmed U.S. naval vessel, the USNS Impeccable, in international waters off the coast of China, Barack Obama's Secretary of Defense is set to announce massive cuts to the U.S. naval fleet.
Just days before the expected launch of a North Korean missile in violation of the spirit if not the letter of every agreement Pyongyang has ever signed with the international community, Barack Obama's Pentagon will release a budget that guts the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
This according to a report from InsideDefense.com citing sources "close to the budget process." According to those sources, Gates will essentially terminate the Missile Defense Agency and with it Boeing's Airborne Laser System which was considered particularly well suited to the missile threat from North Korea.
Gates will further announce that the United States will have to make do with just nine aircraft carrier battle groups. The Navy currently has eleven, already considered a shortfall by the Senate Armed Services Committee which objected when the Bush administration decommissioned the USS John F. Kennedy in 2006 due to fiscal constraints. The shovel-ready, already under construction USS Gerald Ford, the first of the Navy's new class of supercarriers, will be delayed.
On the upside, Gates is expected to announce an increase in the end strength of the F-22 fleet from the current 183 to 250, keeping the production line open for at least another three years. The Army's deservedly maligned Future Combat Systems program will also be restructured and the massively over-budget program to replace the president's fleet of helicopters will be terminated.
Barack Obama is spending billions on this country's infrastructure, but he's shortchanging the United States military and undermining its ability to project power overseas and mitigate the missile threat from rogue regimes. Obama will also be eliminating tens of thousands of high-tech and union jobs in the process.
HT: Danger Room