Wynne on the F-22 Decision

Former Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne says last week’s decisions by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to cap F-22 production at 187 aircraft and to restructure major programs across the US military mark a dangerous “strategic drawdown” of US forces. In an entry posted Monday at Colin Clark’s DOD Buzz blog, Wynne argues that these moves, while shoring up the ability of US forces “to manage occupation,” will clearly weaken the ability of future Presidents to protect US global interests by projecting power abroad. “The evolving strategic environment,” with a potentially belligerent Russia, a rising China, and hostile rogues like Iran and North Korea, “simply does not support the reduction of US engagement to imperial custodianship,” he writes. Ultimately, the greatest danger may end up being the weakening of America’s ability to design and build modern weapons by essentially gutting sectors like aerospace engineering through these decisions, Wynne states. One could try to dismiss Wynne’s comments as sour grapes, seeing that Gates sacked him last June over disagreements on the F-22 and the proper mix of conventional versus irregular forces. But Wynne publicly warned of these very same dangers as Air Force Secretary before his feud with Gates reached critical mass.