Le Bourget, France —Air Force acquisition executive David Van Buren, addressing an international audience here Tuesday at the Paris Air Show, said “efficiencies will not be enough” in reaching spending levels demanded in future US defense budgets. “We will have to make strategic choices” about missions and capabilities to retain, Van Buren said. The Pentagon’s comprehensive review of choices, he said, is to be complete in time to prepare the next defense budget (Fiscal 2013), which starts working up this summer. Van Buren said even the targets may change, and spending levels could go lower still. With a new Defense Secretary and Joint Chiefs Chairman coming in, “we’re in a period of transition,” and spending discussions may go in a new direction, he acknowledged.
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.