Where’s the Beef?

We’ve asked the Air Force for an unambiguous confirmation that its senior leadership recommended no further F-22s are needed, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday. Gates told a Pentagon press conference that “the military advice that I got was that there is no military requirement” beyond 187 F-22s, and when asked about the Air Force’s position, he replied, “that was their advice as well.” The Air Force’s response to our query wasn’t exactly on point. A USAF spokesman said, “The Air Force supports the holistic, strategic approach to next year’s budget adopted by the Administration and the Secretary of Defense, and we will continue to provide our best military advice to DOD and Congress as they propose and approve a Fiscal 2010 budget. As a service, we understand the need to balance current and future requirements and to exercise fiscal discipline. We’re ready to move forward with the guidance Secretary Gates has provided to make the most of the resources we’re given and to work as a member of the joint team in accomplishing our nation’s military objectives.” We’ll keep working on them for a direct answer.