Blacker Saturday?

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to outline even deeper overall defense reductions in a speech he’s giving Saturday at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kan. The speech is part of the two-day celebration of the 65th anniversary of VE Day, the date of Germany’s surrender in World War II. Senior Pentagon officials said Gates’ speech to the Navy League on Monday—in which he warned that shipbuilding accounts will be too small to sustain the fleet at current levels—was “setting the stage” for Saturday’s presentation. Gates will outline more comprehensive reductions in force structure and, one official said, a “potential paradigm shift” in how the US will view international security. Officials compared what he will say to the presentation he made on April 6, 2009, now known as “Black Monday,” when he delineated budget cuts like halting F-22 production. Stay tuned.