Gates’ Spokesman on F-22 Vote: ‘An Important Step’ to Reform
I asked Geoff Morrell, spokesman for Defense Secretary Robert Gates, for a reaction to Gates’ victory in the Senate over the F-22 just now. Morrell:
“Secretary Gates appreciates the careful consideration Senators have given to this matter of national security and he applauds their bipartisan support to complete the F-22 program at 187 planes. He understands that for many members this was a very difficult vote, but he believes that the Pentagon cannot continue with business as usual when it comes to the F-22 or any other program in excess to our needs. Today’s vote is an important step in that direction and the Secretary looks forward to working closely with lawmakers as President Obama’s budget is debated in the coming months.”
Gates went to Chicago last week to deliver a confrontational speech on the need to cut funding for a plane that two different administrations have determined is unnecessary to current U.S. defense needs. “If we can’t get this right, what on earth can we get right?” Gates asked. Now Gates has proven that a reformist defense secretary working with key legislative allies can successfully shepherd a major defense-reform proposal to completion. It’s been four months since Gates announced his plans to end the F-22 production line and he experienced some major setbacks along the way. But Morrell’s statement today — and the numerous others from the Gates and top military leaders — indicates the defense secretary is just getting started.
Next stop: the Quadrennial Defense Review.