Robert Gates did George W. Bush a big favor when he agreed to serve as his Secretary of Defense replacing Donald Rumsfeld.
Rumsfeld and reality were not always in sync and during Gates' confirmation hearing when asked if the U.S. was winning the war in Iraq, Gates said no.
Secretary Gates also did Barack Obama a huge favor when he agreed to stay on at Defense with the new administration.
Gates has considerable credibility both in the field and on Capitol Hill. So there was no more perfect person to announce significant cuts in weapons programs.
Weapons procurement has turned into a political art form since World War II - in which the wealth of new contracts is spread throughout innumerable congressional districts, thus raising costs while providing jobs no member of Congress will ever vote to kill.
You will soon hear a chorus of shouts from Congress folks who will claim it's a darn good idea, but not in my back yard.
By Harry Smith
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