TO REP. HOWARD P. ‘BUCK’ McKEON for his rash response condemning the new defense cuts. The new House Armed Service Committee chairman rushed out a heated response to Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ Jan. 6 announcement detailing $78 billion in cuts over five years, describing them as a “dangerous signal” and hinting at a fight in Congress as the fiscal 2012 defense budget is crafted.
McKeon further voiced particular concern about proposed cuts to the Marine Corps in this plan. But the Corps’ troubled variant of the Joint Strike Fighter was given a fair last chance, not axed, and the canceled Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program will be replaced with a more affordable vehicle. Commandant Gen. James Amos says he recommended and welcomes the EFV decision; McKeon should take the time to hear the service chiefs’ views before declaring that they “gut defense.”