Gates announces major shift in US defence priorities

April 7th, 2009 - 2:02 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, April 7 (DPA) US Defence Secretary Robert Gates Monday announced a major shift in the Pentagon’s spending priorities, cutting some expensive Cold War-era weapons programmes and boosting spending that would aid the country’s battle against terrorism.
Gates said the decisions drew heavily on lessons learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and represented a shift away from conventional warfare, as well as futuristic military projects where the technology was not yet proven.

The 2010 budget outline represented “an opportunity to truly reform the way we do business,” Gates said at a news conference in Washington.

Gates said he was slashing $1.4 billion from the US missile defence programme, would cut new helicopters for the president and axe a plan to buy advanced F-22 fighter jets that cost some $140 million apiece.

The budget outline now goes to President Barack Obama, who will then send the plans to the US Congress. Lawmakers are likely to offer stiff resistance, as many weapons programmes to be axed are built in congressional districts whose representatives will fight to prevent manufacturing jobs from being lost.

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