The Shoo-In on Recapitalization

Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates breezed through the packed Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday, with Senators bent on replacing Donald Rumsfeld sooner than yesterday. Everyone expects Gates to receive full Senate affirmation, if not acclamation Wednesday. Responding to questions about a “fundamentally inadequate” defense budget topline from Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.) and the need to replace aging platforms by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the SECDEF-designee acknowledged that he thinks additions to the topline might be “a very real possibility.” He noted, too, the relatively low level of defense spending as a percentage of the GDP, saying, “I think there may be some flexibility.”