The end of the Berlin Wall nearly twenty years ago led many to expect the end of the Cold War would result in large scale reductions in military expenditures. Of course, after years of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, military expenditures continue to rise. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced it was time to put an end to the production of high tech weaponry that was designed to be part of a Cold War arsenal and to think in modern terms. “We must rebalance this department’s program,” he announced, “in order to institutionalize and finance our capabilities to fight the war we are in today and the scenarios we are most likely to face in the years ahead.” It is about time someone looked at the reality of what we face and cease believing we need squadrons of high tech fighter planes when no such enemy exists.
Of course, the unknown factor is how Congress will react to the news of cutting back on production of high tech planes and weaponry since to do so means laying off workers. Which will take precedence- reducing military expenditures or keeping people working making equipment that can not be used in modern warfare?