For the second time in as many weeks, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has publicly proclaimed his own sanity. Or at least that he is “not crazy.”
The first happened May 7 when he told reporters:
I may want to change things, but I’m not crazy. I’m not going to cut a carrier, OK?”
The comment was in response to headlines Gates made on May 3 when he questioned the need for 11 carrier strike groups.
Today, Gates conceded a fiscal fight when the House Armed Services Committee decided the Pentagon’s basic pay raise from 1.4 to 1.9 percent. As first reported by Military Times’ own Bill McMichael in this story, the SecDef wanted to spend the $500 million difference on procurement. Congress wanted to spend it on the troops. Gates withdrew from the fight, telling Pentagon reporters (you guessed it):
I want change. But I’m not crazy.”
But Gates is sticking to his guns on the issue of JSF engines. He has warned that he would recommend a presidential veto if the HASC kept $485 million in funding for a second F-35 engine in the defense bill. It did. Gates, who says the second engine is a waste of money, said Thursday that he will “strongly recommend” the bill be vetoed, as promised.
Clearly he doesn’t think that’s crazy.