Morning Brief: Gates aims, fires

Top Story Under a new budget proposed by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates yesterday, the United States would cut funding of missile defense, cancel a number of pricey weapons programs including the F-22 fighter and the new presidential helicopter and focus spending on preparing for counterinsurgency programs in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Gates’s changes ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
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587035_090407_gates5.jpg
ARLINGTON, VA - APRIL 6: U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates holds a news conference at the Pentagon April 6, 2009 in Arlington, Virginia. Gates proposed changes to the defense budget, including the canceling of some projects and the expansion of others, and making significant cuts to big weapons programs. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Top Story

Under a new budget proposed by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates yesterday, the United States would cut funding of missile defense, cancel a number of pricey weapons programs including the F-22 fighter and the new presidential helicopter and focus spending on preparing for counterinsurgency programs in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gates's changes are widely seen as a frontal assault on the existing defense department procurement process as he called for "a dramatic change in the way we acquire military equipment."

Top Story

Under a new budget proposed by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates yesterday, the United States would cut funding of missile defense, cancel a number of pricey weapons programs including the F-22 fighter and the new presidential helicopter and focus spending on preparing for counterinsurgency programs in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gates’s changes are widely seen as a frontal assault on the existing defense department procurement process as he called for “a dramatic change in the way we acquire military equipment.”

Within minutes of the budget’s release, Republican Senators were speaking out against the missile defense cuts as irresponsible in the wake of North Korea’s missile test last weekend. There are also concerns about the loss of jobs that could result from the cuts. While congress is likely to push back against some of Gates’s plan, he did win the support of longtime procurement-reform advocate John McCain.

On ForeignPolicy.com, the Center for Defense Information’s Winslow Wheeler says there’s less change in Gates’s plan than meets that eye and Shadow Government‘s Kori Schake argues that Gates is fighting the last war.

Middle East

Speaking in Turkey, Barack Obama addressed the Muslim world saying the United States “is not and never will be at war with Islam.”

Israeli police shot and killed a Palestinian man who drove at them during the demolition of a house in East Jerusalem.

Israel says it has successfully tested an anti-ballistic missile shield.

Europe

Hopes of finding more survivors from yesterday’s earthquake in Italy are fading. There’s been major damage the region’s historic architecture and artwork.

Protesters stormed Moldova’s parliament building after yesterday’s Communist presidential victory.

Russia’s new stimulus plan heavily emphasizes boosting consumer demand.

Asia

Japan continues to call for a strong response to North Korea’s missile test in the UN Security Council but is encountering resistance from China and Russia.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s car was attacked as protests against his government grow more violent.

U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke met with President Asif Ali Zardari in Pakistan.

Americas

Americans have grown more optimistic about the economy since Barack Obama’s inauguration, according to a New York Times poll.

Cuban President Raul Castro hosted a delegation of U.S. congressmen.

The final verdict in former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori’s human rights abuse trial is due today.

Africa

Somali pirates have seized five ships in 48 hours.

After corruption charges against him were dropped, African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma said he was the “victim of a systematic abuse of power.”

Kenya’s justice minister resigned, saying her efforts at reform were being undermined.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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