Gates Poised to Cut Pricey Weapons

He's ready to steer Pentagon to 'Wal-Mart approach'
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Dec 10, 2008 4:05 AM CST
Gates is likely to curb the number of F-22s, pictured here, manufactured in favor of less costly planes.   (AP Photo/Gary C. Knapp, File)
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(Newser) – Armed with Barack Obama's endorsement, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is poised to change the Pentagon's pricey weapons priorities, reports the Los Angeles Times. Gates is expected to carve into expensive pending programs like the Army's $160 billion Future Combat Systems plan and high-tech fighter jets in favor of cheap, low-tech weaponry that can be quickly produced and used in counter-insurgency operations in the current wars.

Gates' "Wal-Mart approach" has led to innovations like light planes which can be used by Afghans to fight the Taliban but not to attack rival neighbors. He'll likely respond to upcoming budget shortfalls by cutting back on hefty purchases of big planes and tankers—though those already in production are safe because they provide crucial manufacturing jobs.