Knows What He Doesn’t Know:

Responding to the standard long list of advance policy questions provided by the Senate Armed Service Committee, Defense Secretary-nominee Robert Gates shied away from hazarding opinions about specific weapons programs or personnel issues. For instance, he responded to a question about his views of the requirements and timing for the Pentagon’s tactical fighter programs—the F-22A and the F-35—by saying he would “take a close look” at perceived threats, requirements, and timing for both aircraft. On prompt global strike, he said he would “look forward to reviewing DOD’s analysis and the studies Congress has requested.” And, on the Air Force plan to cut some 40,000 personnel, Gates said, “I am not familiar with the particulars,” adding that, if confirmed, he would “become more familiar with this issue and assess as appropriate.”