Those Navy snipers off the coast of Somalia might have done more than simply rescue an American ship captain.
They’re also giving Defense Secretary Robert Gates a new argument for his plan to steer Pentagon spending toward small-scale fights and dial back the Pentagon’s focus on multibillion-dollar weapons.
"As we saw last week, you don't necessarily need a billion-dollar ship to chase down a bunch of teenage pirates," Gates said at the Air Force War College, The Associated Press reported.
The Somali scenario fit perfectly into the narrative Gates has hammered away at for the past year. Gates’ budget proposal alters more than 50 Pentagon programs, and this week, he’s fanned out to military colleges to make his case.
Like roadside bombs that crush the Army’s armored vehicles, pirates armed with automatic weapons have rendered the Navy’s massive destroyers impotent. And so, while the nation will still need high-tech fighter jets and ships that can shoot down ballistic missiles, Gates argues that the Pentagon should pump more money into large quantities of more affordable equipment, as well as intelligence and surveillance capabilities, and training special forces