The Less Is More Approach

Defense Secretary Bob Gates frequently has chastised his military leaders for wanting to pursue exquisite weapons when he believes a 75 or 80 percent capability will do just fine. (For background, read Air Force Magazine Editor in Chief Bob Dudney’s “The 75 Percent Force“) Apparently Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) has joined those protesting this attitude. Aerospace Daily & Defense Report (requires subscription) says Wittman challenged the “80-percent solution” in remarks at a symposium last week: “To say we’re going to seek the average has never been historically where we’ve been.” He continued, America must “excel in ensuring we’re putting together the highest quality systems to meet the threats.” Wittman, who sits on the Armed Services Committee seapower panel and co-chairs the shipbuilding caucus, naturally was bemoaning the state of the Navy’s shipbuilding budget, but the same sentiment would apply to the Air Force budget.