Magazine article National Defense

China's Weaponry Gains Shape Pentagon's 2012 Budget

Magazine article National Defense

China's Weaponry Gains Shape Pentagon's 2012 Budget

Article excerpt

* It was only three years ago that Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned that the Pentagon's weapons acquisition establishment was infected with "next war-itis." Instead of buying technologies for today's wars, the services were obsessed with futuristic weapons that may never be needed, Gates complained. His comments sent generals, admirals and contractors scrambling for ways to show that their cherished programs were not suffering from the dreaded disease.

Circumstances have changed since, and the Pentagon appears to be ready--despite tightening budgets--to start turning more attention to big-ticket weapons that would be needed for high-tech warfare. Of particular concern is the ability to stay ahead of the new weaponry that is now being developed by China, Iran and even non-state groups, analysts said.

The defense budget proposal that the Obama administration will send to Congress next week shows signs that the Pentagon is concerned about asserting its dominance in aerial and naval warfare, vis-a-vis a rising China and saber rattling by Iran, said Jim Thomas, vice president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington, D.C., think tank.

The 2012-2018 budget is expected to begin a gradual slowdown in the growth of defense spending, which has doubled since 2001. …

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