Stealth Jet Faceoff! Wars Over War! The Danger Room Guide to The Next Congress (Part Two)
In just a few months, the Obama Pentagon is going to shed nearly all of its top leaders, up to and including Defense Secretary Robert Gates. And before the new team gets put in place, it’s got to go through a Senate that’ll be newly stacked with Republicans elected to hold the Obama administration in check.
And that’s just the start of it. Expect big fights over just what the drawdown of troops from Afghanistan slated to begin in July 2011 will actually mean. Then there’s the coming showdown over Gates’ final budget: his attempt to save the Defense Department $100 billion over five years — and make a lasting mark on how the Pentagon does business. The next Senate is more likely to play ball than the House will be. But that’s a relative measure, as Senators have their own ideas for how and where to cut the budget.
Congressional experts, insiders and operatives interviewed for this piece said they expected the Senate’s next round of defense-related business to resemble the last congressional session — just more intense, as the Senate adds conservatives and sheds liberals. But just because the Democrats may not actually lose control of the Senate outright doesn’t mean that the upper chamber of the legislature is going to be a rubber stamp. Welcome to Part Two of Danger Room’s guide to the next Congress, where the tensions within the just-ended Senate session heighten.