America's Arsenal Aimed at China

Usually, I write about small things: a tight-knit group of cops, a single murder, a squad of soldiers, one crazy game. My cover story (!) in this month's Popular Mechanics is my first attempt to go big. Really big. $70 billion big.200604-sb.jpgThe idea was to take the President and the SecDef at their words -- that the "Long War" against Islamic extremism is the country's top military priority. Does the Pentagon's $70 billion a year budget for new weapons back that up? Is America's arsenal being geared towards counter-terror, counter-insurgency type fights?Take a guess.Inside the defense establishment, the Long War has competition. In many minds, the real threat is a rising China. And, at least when it comes to acquisitions, the China crowd has the upper hand. Which means the weapons budget is packed with gear -- Joint Strike Fighters, DD(X) destroyers -- optimized for a big war in the Pacific, not a messy one in the Middle East.The story hasn't appeared online, yet. I'll let you know when it does. But Tom Barnett, who's quoted several times in the piece, has some excerpts up on his blog.

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