The Defense Department plans to issue information on the details of the Fiscal 2010 defense budget before President Obama sends his entire budget proposal to the Congress, according to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Speaking to the Defense Writers Group today in Washington, D.C., Levin said he had no specific date for when to expect this, but his understanding is that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is doing this for three reasons. First, Gates wants to preempt the inevitable press leaks that always occur in the days prior to the budget’s release. Second, Gates seeks to deflect some of the attention and criticism away from Obama and the overall budget over any of the painful defense cuts that are expected. And, third, this approach still allows for some time to make changes to the final version of the budget. Levin said he has heard the rumors that the budget’s formal release is slipping from April 21, but has not yet gotten anything confirming that through official channels.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.