Defense Secretary Gates is clearly on board for the big win in The Long War. If we here at Abu Muqawama had t-shirts, he'd totally wear one to work (possibly under his suit, Superman style). And he appears to share our utter disdain for the Air Force:
"The reality is we are fighting two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the F-22 has not performed a single mission in either theater. So it is principally for use against a near peer in a conflict, and I think we all know who that is," Gates said. "And looking at what I regard as the level of risk of conflict with one of those near peers over the next four or five years until the Joint Strike Fighter comes along, I think that something along the lines of 183 is a reasonable buy."
Translation: we're not going to war with China anytime soon so kwitcher bitchin' about the damn planes.
Charlie could not agree more. Sadly, that doesn't seem to be reflected at all in the current budget, where USAF, Navy and Army all get equal shares of the appropriations pie, despite the Army and Marine Corps shouldering the vast majority of the burdens of war. Such static and equal percentages are a good indicator that something other than a detailed needs/strategic assessment is driving the budget allocations. I know, we're shocked, just shocked! (But check out Danger Room's extended analysis of the ongoing saga with the F-15s and the need for some sort of fighter upgrade.)