Defense Secretary Robert Gates, apparently tired of the Air Force's very open campaign to buy hundreds more F-22 fighters despite Pentagon policies, has reminded the service's top brass that civilians dictate military policy in the U.S. and not vice versa.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Gates on Thursday "privately rebuked a four-star general" for comments suggesting the Air Force would find some way to buy another 200 F-22s regardless of the Defense Department's budget and planning guidelines.
The Air Force's campaign on behalf of the F-22 took on the appearance of open rebellion on Wednesday when Gen. Bruce Carlson told a defense publication the service would find ways to finance the purchase of the F-22s, which cost roughly $175 million each.
Carlson's remarks came one day after Deputy Secretary Gordon England told the Senate Budget Committee that DoD policy would be to buy F-35 joint strike fighters, rather than the F-22 to replace aging F-15s if that became necessary.
The Times story, attributed to Air Force officials says:
One senior Defense official called the remarks by ... Carlson, who heads the Air Force command responsible for testing and developing weapons, “borderline insubordination,” because they contradicted a decision by the president.