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Pivotal Power

June 25, 2009
Two pieces of good news on defense

Last week, the House Armed Services Committee reinstated funding for the F-22, over the objections of the Pentagon and the White House. But it looks like the Administration is holding firm on its commitment to use the millions for the F-22 in more productive ways.

From the official release:

F-22 Advance Procurement: The Administration strongly objects to the provisions in the bill authorizing $369 million in advanced procurement funds for F-22s in FY 2011. The collective judgment of the Service Chiefs and Secretaries of the military departments suggests that a final program of record of 187 F-22s is sufficient to meet operational requirements. If the final bill presented to the President contains this provision, the President’s senior advisors would recommend a veto.

For more info, see this goofy video about Congress’s F-22 love affair.

Also, after resolving to kick the U.S. out last February, Kyrgyzstan has reconsidered and announced that it will allow America to continue to use the Manas air base critical to the war in Afghanistan. All of those who were worried that our expulsion showed the weakness of the U.S. in the face of Russian aggression and influence can calm down again.

Apparently, the personal letter from President Obama was influential, but I am sure the extra $43 million a year didn’t hurt; Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev knows a point of leverage when he sees one. Let’s see what happens to the reported request from Kyrgyzstan that Washington refrain from criticizing the handling of next month’s elections too much…

– Nina Hachigian

Nina Hachigian is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and the co-author of “The Next American Century: How the U.S. Can Thrive as Other Powers Rise.” She has worked on the staff of the National Security Council in the White House and been a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. She specializes in U.S.-China relations and great power relationships, multilateral institutions and U.S. foreign policy.

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