On Monday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced a significant reordering of U.S. defense programs. His recommendations should not go unchallenged.
In the 1990s, defense cuts helped pay for increased domestic spending, and that is true today. Though Mr. Gates said that his decisions were “almost exclusively influenced by factors other than simply finding a way to balance the books,” the broad list of program reductions and terminations suggest otherwise. In fact, he tacitly acknowledged as much by saying the budget plan represented “one of those rare chances to match virtue to necessity” — the “necessity” of course being the administration’s decision to reorder the government’s spending priorities.