The New York Times and other sources report Mister Bush has appointed new service secretaries for the Navy and the Air Force.
Navy nominee Donald C. Winter is a vice president of Northrup Grumman and president of its missile system division. As Secretary of the Navy, Mister Winter will be key in deciding the fate of the DDX destroyer. Northrup Grumman plays a leading role in the development of this platform. Northrup Grumman also owns Newport News Shipyard in Virginia, the only facility currently capable of building a nuclear aircraft carrier.
Air Force Secretary nominee Michael Wynn is presently a deputy secretary to that service for acquisition. In June, the Pentagon inspector general identified Wynn as one of a half-dozen top Pentagon and Air Force officials responsible for a failed $23.5 billion deal to lease refueling aircraft from The Boeing Company--a deal considered by some to be the most "significant defense contract abuse in decades." The Boeing scandal led to convictions and jail time for a top Air Force official and a former Boeing chief financial officer. Like Wilson, Wynne also has extensive private sector defense contracting experience.
On this morning's Imus program, Tom Friedman describes us at "the beginning of the end" of our presence in Iraq. Tom describes the Rumsfeld strategy in Iraq as "just enough troops to lose," and thinks its probably too late for more troops to make any difference, even if we had more troops to send to that country.
I suspect that by this point, putting more troops in Iraq--assuming we had more troops to put there--would be like throwing more cowboys at a cat stampede.
Iraq's interim parliament is stuck at a constitutional impasse. They can't decide on the role of federalism and Islamic law--which is like saying they can't decide whether or not they really want to be a country.
America spends roughly $500 billion annually on defense, which is as much as the rest of the world combined. Yet our "best trained best equipped" force did not deter the 9-11 attacks, it is bogged down in a quagmire by a rag-tag insurgency for which most senior military officials now say "there is no military solution."
But with "captains" of the defense industry at the helm of the Pentagon weapons acquisition process, don't expect the defense budget to shrink any time soon.