NYT: Victory for Obama Over Military Lobby

Star Wars? Quite the contrary, in fact.
Effective and sensible leadership? Yes We Can.

Our Democratic President, along with his Defense Secretary and formidable White House staff, have pulled off a major accomplishment and can claim victory over the Industrial Military Complex. The people who follow such things say this is surprising. I, on the other hand, think it's just plain awesome!

NYT
By CHRISTOPHER DREW
Published: October 28, 2009

When the Obama administration proposed canceling a host of expensive weapons systems last spring, some of the military industry's allies in Congress assumed, as they had in the past, that they would have the final say.

Congressional lapdogs and revolving door aspirants, many who are seasoned geezers used to getting their way (and subsequent big $$$ from lobbyists), had a bit of schooling, it would seem, from the new kids up the street...

Military analysts said Mr. Gates, a holdover from the Bush administration, also aimed at the most bloated programs. And Senator John McCain of Arizona, the former Republican presidential candidate, who has criticized the Pentagon's cost overruns, provided Mr. Obama with political cover to make the cuts without being seen as soft on the military.

"They probably get an `A' from the standpoint of their success on their major initiatives," said Fred Downey, a former Senate aide who is now vice president for national security at the Aerospace Industries Association. "They probably got all of them but one or maybe two, and that's an extraordinarily high score."

I'll give you minute for that to sink in.

Still, even White House officials say they were surprised at how far they got in reshaping the weapons programs.

"In terms of sort of bringing fiscal responsibility to Washington and changing the way the place works, you couldn't have picked a more challenging area than the defense budget," said Rob Nabors, the deputy director of the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

Good work, Mr. President. Keep it coming.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/busine ss/29defense.html?_r=2&ref=politics

Tags: effective, Gates, military, obama, rahm (all tags)

Comments

14 Comments

Re: NYT: Victory for Obama Over Military Lobby

Another small step from Obama that is a great symbol but misses the point.  

It is great that these huge weapons systems are cancelled.  However, at the same time, Obama has increased the defense budget.  If he was serious about change, he would bring down the defense budget to where it was before Bush II became President.

by chrisdarling 2009-10-29 07:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Apples and Oranges

While accurate in one sense, your critique deserves proper context:

One feature worth highlighting in the current budget is supplemental wartime funding. Since 2001, the US Congress has made a conscious decision since 9/11 to fund the Global War on Terror's operational components via supplemental budget requests. In theory, this separates "normal" pay, maintenance, and new equipment buys from war maintenance, aid to allied governments, and replacements for destroyed or broken equipment.

The FY 2010 begins to reverse that trend. Many items that were previously funded through supplemental appropriations, such as increasing the size of the US Army and Marine Corps, are now part of the base budget. There is a line item for "Overseas Contingency Operations" funding, but its scope is narrower and its size more certain.


http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/The- USAs-FY-2010-Defense-Budget-05407/

So, as you can plainly see, Obama has done even more than the remarkable defeat of the powerful lobbyists on certain weapons systems. He has moved away from the Republican shell game with regard to the funding of 2 wars he inherited. All in all, 'process' improvements are probably more important.

And thanks for your input.

by QTG 2009-10-29 08:12AM | 0 recs
In addition...

...reducing the overall military budget during a hot war is a guaranteed political loser.

I'm all for reducing the military budget in peacetime, though.  

by Dracomicron 2009-10-29 01:58PM | 0 recs
Re: In addition...

This is not wartime. If you classify this as wartime, then we will be in wartime a lot of the time.

Cheapest , most humane solution: Stop the war business. Enter into wars only for self defense. People like Osama and his assistants should be taken care of by Mossad like assassinations. What Mossad did was a lot more humane and just and cost effective than the other wars Israel has entered into. Just send assassins to infiltrate and put a lot of these islamic organizations into disarray. This avoids a lot of collateral damage of innocent people dying. Wars are outdated in this world. You cannot win a war in countries like Afghanistan especially with all your resources depleted.

Yeah, I know targeted assassinations are something frowned upon. Hey, legality didn't stop Cheney from getting us into a war that demanded some indictments of our public officials. It is very probably the CIA has been in cahoots on assassnations in the past. So why stop now?

by Pravin 2009-11-01 03:31PM | 0 recs
Re: NYT: Victory for Obama Over Military Lobby

In re comment above:  Obama should cut military spending to where it was before Ronald Reagan took office.  He was the real culprit in this situation, more so than GWB.

by demjim 2009-10-29 08:45AM | 0 recs
Reganism is the real culrpit all around

But Rome wasn't built in a day. It will take years for Obama and progressives to undo the damage of Reganism.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-10-29 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Reganism is the real culrpit all around

No No No! It must be DONE NOW! Right NOW! WAAAAAAH!

by vecky 2009-10-29 11:49AM | 0 recs
Obama only suffers setbacks

Never victories /snark.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-10-29 02:56PM | 0 recs
Re: NYT: Victory for Obama Over Military Lobby

This is good stuff.  Do people see yet why I always say Obama was 100% right to keep Gates on board?!

by Steve M 2009-10-29 09:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Gates

 One could argue that Obama inherited only one thing from Bush that wasn't an unmitigated disaster, and that would be the Secretary of Defense. Gates is extremely competent, and to all outward appearances as non-political as Rumsfeld was political. I didn't know you have always said Obama was 100% right to keep Gates on board, but you won't be surprised when I agree with you. The budget fixes and process fixes were almost certainly his work product, and he deserves much mojo. He has quiet power and extreme managerial skill. We could use more like him in non-elected government positions.

by QTG 2009-10-29 09:57AM | 0 recs
Re: NYT: Victory for Obama Over Military Lobby

It's probably the Administration's most significant accomplishment so far because it is a victory over the process.

But Gates is the hero in this. He's non-political in his management of an entrenched bureaucracy. No entrenched interest in DC is more out-of-touch than the Pentagon and Gates has gotten them to focus. Obama certainly set the tone, but Gates got it done.

by Charles Lemos 2009-10-29 07:19PM | 0 recs
I Sense a Collaborative Effort Here

A bureaucratic reformer, a decider and a toe-cutter:


Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, said Wednesday that the plan was to threaten a veto over a prominent program -- in this case, the F-22 fighter jet -- "to show we were willing to expend political capital and could win on something that people thought we could not."

Once the Senate voted in July to stop buying F-22s, Mr. Emanuel said in an interview, that success "reverberated down" to help sustain billions of dollars of cuts in Army modernization, missile defense and other programs.

Mr. Emanuel said the strategy emerged when the defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, told Mr. Obama they needed to "shake up sacred cows and be seen as taking on fights."

Christopher Drew - Victory for Obama Over Military Lobby 29 Oct 09

It's nice when the planets are in alignment.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-10-29 11:13PM | 0 recs
Re: I Sense a Collaborative Effort Here

Indeed. It leaves hope that more is yet to come.

It was a quiet win too. Done without much fanfare.

by Charles Lemos 2009-10-30 03:01PM | 0 recs
Re: I Sense a Collaborative Effort Here

It's too bad the Republicans would never appreciate such a gesture from a Democrat for the good of the country. All those assholes do is whine about Obama being a socialist.

by Pravin 2009-11-01 03:34PM | 0 recs

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