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Gates Blasts Pentagon Waste

Two weeks ago the House oversight committee had a hearing where both parties bonded in their disgust over pricey Pentagon weapons systems designed for hypothetical wars. It turns out that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is also upset.

Today’s Washington Post reported on a speech by Gates, put on by the conservative Heritage Foundation, where he said the Pentagon was devising future technologies at the expense of today’s needs in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gates juxtaposed the billions spent on weapons like Air Force’s F-22 fighter with the crippled Walter Reed medical center and the lack of money for a mine-resistant truck for Iraq. Gates said that the Pentagon was reluctant to spend on the truck, because it wasn’t sure it would be used in future wars. Meanwhile, the F-22, designed for advanced aerial battles with countries like China, hasn’t been used once in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

Gates has publicly disagreed with the president before, most notably over what he sees as the over-concentration of the military in Iraq. But his words may signal that the administration will not fight to keep the most fanciful Pentagon programs if Congress finally tries to cut them.

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