Gates announces budget cuts
"If approved, these recommendations will profoundly reform how this department does business," Gates told reporters during a news conference at the Pentagon.
Gates said his recommendations culminate experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, and lessons he's learned during his two-year tenure leading the Defense Department and a career in national security.
The defense secretary said he reached his decisions after consulting with President Barack Obama, and with military and civilian leaders in the Pentagon. The chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are in accordance with his recommendations, Gates added.
"My decisions have been almost exclusively influenced by factors other than simply finding a way to balance the books or fit under the top line, as is normally the case with most budget exercises," he said. "Instead, these recommendations are the product of a holistic assessment
of capabilities, requirements, risks and needs for the purpose of shifting this department in a different strategic direction."
According to the Associated Press, Gates will end the F-22 fighter jet and presidential helicopter programs run by Lockheed Martin Corp.
Military analysts widely expected the radar-evading supersonic jet — considered an outdated weapon system designed for the Cold War — would not go beyond the 187 already planned. The planes cost $140 million each, the AP reported.
Maryland-based Lockheed, the nation’s largest defense contractor, has said almost 95,000 jobs could be at stake if the Pentagon didn’t buy more F-22s.
The new fleet of presidential helicopters — with a price tag of $11.2 billion that was nearly double the original budget— could also be cut in the 2010 budget.