In truth, preparing for conflict in the 21st century means investing in truly new concepts and new technologies. It means taking into account all the assets and capabilities we can bring to the fight. It means measuring those capabilities against the real threats posed by real world adversaries with real limitations, not threats conjured up from enemies with unlimited time, unlimited resources, and unlimited technological acumen.
Some have called for yet more analysis before making any of the decisions in this budget. But when dealing with programs that were clearly out of control, performing poorly, and excess to the military's real requirements, we did not need more study, more debate, or more delay - in effect, paralysis through analysis. What was needed were three things - common sense, political will, and tough decisions. Qualities too often in short supply in Washington, D.C.
All of these decisions involved considering trade-offs, balancing risks, and setting priorities - separating nice-to-haves from have-to-haves, requirements from appetites. We cannot expect to eliminate risk and danger by simply spending more - especially if we're spending on the wrong things. But more to the point, we all - the military, the Congress, and industry - have to face some iron fiscal realities.
Well, I haven't changed. I did not molt from a hawk into a dove on January 20, 2009. I continue to believe, as I always have, that the world is, and always will be, a dangerous and hostile place for my country with many who would do America harm and who hate everything we are and stand for. But, the nature of the threats to us has changed. And so too should the way our military is organized and equipped to meet them.