U.S. President Barack Obama is asking congress for a record $708 billion defense budget for 2011. However, despite the record level of military spending, Obama has promised to cut unnecessary weapons programs, saying “even though the Department of Defense is exempt from the budget freeze, it’s not exempt from budget common sense.” The items eliminated from the budget include the military’s annual $2.5 billion allocation to buy C-17 transport planes, a $465 million program to add a second engine to the F-35 fighter plane, funding aimed at the development of a new navy cruiser, and money earmarked for work on an early-warning missile satellite. “It’s waste, pure and simple,” Obama said. The president had previously tried to make similar spending cuts, but was stopped by Congress. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has suggested Obama use his veto powers if the cuts are blocked again.
Monday, February 1, 2010