A year ago, Gates caused a ruckus by halting the F-22 program at its current level of 187 planes, half as many as the Air Force wanted. He should stick to that decision. He may get the support of his new Air Force chief of staff, Gen. Norton Schwartz, whose background isn't in fighter planes but in airlift: i.e., in planes that transport ground troops and their weapons to the battlefield.The F-22 was designed to keep us one step ahead of the next generation of Soviet fighters. Then the Soviet Union fell, but defense contractors weren't about to let that keep them from selling something really pricey to America. Gates' general agenda, according to the article, is to shift focus away from expensive Cold War superweapons to cheaper stuff that actually helps with today's conflicts. It's also good to hear that the new Air Force chief of staff does airlift, because that's much more of a useful skill in these Army-centric times than fighter jockery.
I got this article from right-wing blogger Tigerhawk, who also approves of Gates' views. If keeping a figure with Gates' bipartisan credibility in Defense will keep conservatives content about net reductions in defense spending, it's a thing well done.