Last year, when the Defense Department's civilian chiefs ordered programs to be trimmed, generals and admirals didn't salute and say, "Yes, sir." They mounted massive public relations campaigns, and fought the cuts on Capitol Hill.Now, the Pentagon is "looking to cut between $13 billion and $15 billion from the U.S. Department of Defenses 2007 budget," Defense News notes. And after all those billions spent on Katrina and on another year in Iraq, there are indications that the men in uniform might be a little less reluctant about paring back their budgets this time around.Senior Navy officials -- facing a possible $18 billion trim over the next six years -- are "weighing cuts to big-ticket programs such as the DD(X) destroyer, the Marine Corps variant of the Joint Strike Fighter and the LHA(R) amphibious ship," says Inside the Navy.
An internal e-mail dated Oct. 11 indicates Vice Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, commander of 2nd Fleet, proposed cuts to those programs in a discussion with fleet admirals about the endgame of the FY-07 program review. Fitzgerald, a former head of the Navys aviation requirements office, is but one of many voices shaping the budget. Regardless of whether his ideas are adopted, the e-mail obtained by Inside the Navy reflects the kinds of high-stakes choices that admirals and generals are discussing in private.As we look at money vs capability, we clearly cannot afford all these new toys and maintain our current capability, Fitzgerald writes.