Gates Targets “Unneeded” C-17s, Alternate F-35 Engine

Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday cautioned lawmakers not to underestimate the Obama Administration’s resolve in halting development of the F136 engine for the F-35 strike fighter in Fiscal 2011. He also came out anew against Congress adding money for any more C-17s. “Let me be very clear. I will continue to strongly recommend that the President veto any legislation that sustains the continuation of the C-17 or the F-35 extra engine,” Gates told Senate defense appropriators. Last week, Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), House Armed Services Committee chairman, implied that the White House might not follow through on the veto threat over the F136 because the same defense legislation likely will also contain language enabling the repeal of the Pentagon’s don’t ask-don’t tell policy, which Obama favors. Gates countered this Wednesday, saying, “It would be a serious mistake to believe the President would accept these unneeded programs simply because the authorization and appropriations legislation includes other provisions important to him and his Administration.” (Gates prepared remarks)