Defense Secretary Robert Gates unveiled a proposed military budget that radically revamps the Pentagon’s priorities, shifting funds away from high-tech weapons systems and toward programs to enhance the military’s ability to fight unconventional wars. The budget proposal calls for eliminating the Air Force’s F-22 Stealth fighter, eight advanced Army armored vehicles, and the next generation of Navy cruisers and destroyers. It would increase spending on intelligence gathering, special-operations forces, and unmanned aerial vehicles.
The budget, which increases overall military spending to $534 billion from $513 billion, drew immediate attacks from congressional Republicans. Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma warned against “sending our sons and daughters into combat in vehicles that are second-rate.” Other members of Congress said the planned cuts would increase unemployment during a severe recession.